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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 64 > Articles > Beauty Contest, My Foot

Beauty Contest, My Foot

by oddhatter

STINKY COD SPLATTER - This is not an article on how to win the beauty contest. Because, let's face it, I can tell you to slave over an excellent picture (within the 17k limit, of course!) that will inevitably be superior to the other entrants in the beauty contest - but you won't win. This is not an expose-it-all article, most of us already know that the beauty contest is dependent on the amount of publicity you get. Rather, it is merely a self serving rant on my part, written for no other reason than to vent my frustration with the Neopian Beauty Contest, more commonly known as the Neopian Popularity Contest.

I have won two beauty contest trophies for my pets. The first, was admittedly not that difficult. My pet, GentleRosencrantz, was a Mynci at that time and competition was rather scarce. Therein lies my first "I really want a trophy but I can't spend 12 hours a day posting on the chat boards" tip. Make sure your pet is a rather unpopular species. Tuskaninny, Skeith and Lenny sections are rather easy to win as you'll rarely have more than 30 other competitors. If you have a Lenny (or another pet at the bottom of the popularity charts), or morph your pet into one, be assured that you can easily win by telling your friends about your beauty contest entry, posting in your guild and the occasional post on the chat boards (Mind you, I'm not saying I dislike Lennies, I'm just saying they're rather unpopular). You had may as well forget about the Lupe, Gelert, Kougra and Aisha categories - the winning spots are either reserved for the Neopian elite (read : popular) or those with more than enough time to spam the beauty contest boards.

Don't get me wrong; I hold nothing against those who are popular. Most have worked hard to get where they are and certainly deserve its benefits. The Beauty Contest however, is a place where artistic merit should take precedence over clout - of course "should" is one of those annoying little words that rarely means anything. A popular person winning with a gorgeous picture that he/she drew of her pet, is fine by me. A popular person who repeatedly enters his/her pets in the beauty contest and wins, is annoying. A popular person who wins with pictures that other people have drawn is exceedingly annoying. Admittedly, they have done nothing wrong. Most likely, they have not done anything against the rules of the Beauty Contest - but rather, merely draw upon their extensive fan base, Neofriends list or just plague the chat boards. This goes back to the earlier point about artistic merit however - it is a sad day when a poorly created cut-and-paste picture triumphs over a stellar piece of art.

On that note, the Beauty Contest is yet another place where art theft runs rampant. Being reasonably active in the Neopian art community, I've heard more than my fair share of pictures being lifted off their creator's sites for use in the beauty contest. Some are altered slightly, some are completely unchanged and most have the username of the person who created it removed. While as per the Terms and Conditions of Neopets, all that is created and submitted to the site belongs to it, at least legally, Neopets has never failed to give proper credit where it is due. Of course, removing someone else's credit from a picture that they slaved over is not only wrong, but manages to belie the unoriginality of the picture thief. It is similar to turning in someone's else's homework as your own. Thanks to the Beauty Contest however, and its generous prize offers, this practice will most likely continue, thanks to greed and human fallibility.

Anyone who has spent some time in the environment of the Beauty Contest has experienced the worst that Neopia has to offer. After entering my pet Starlight_Blunder in the beauty contest, I received a number of Neomails from a person threatening to report me if I did not give him a dubloon for voting for my pet. Considering that I had done little in the way of advertising other than placing a link on my profile and pet pages, and certainly did not offer any items to anyone, I was quite befuddled. It was then I realised that I had just met one of the less pleasant gremlins that haunt the Beauty Contest - the Beauty Contest scammer. I knew not to take him seriously, but a newer and less experienced resident of Neopia might feel threatened by him and give in to his threats of a report. While "my" Beauty Contest scammer merely threatened to report - some actually do. I know people who have been frozen after entering the Beauty Contest, due to numerous reports against them, presumably from a jealous rival. Most were cleared of the "charges" later, but the Beauty Contest for that week had ended.

Second, is one less vile, but still aggravating - the chat board trolls. Needless to say, the chat boards are one of the best places to advertise a beauty contest entry, if only because of the large audience. I do not condemn people who advertise there; as a matter of fact, I think it is a great idea. However, the place to advertise a beauty contest entry is the Beauty Contest board. Not the Chat board. Not the Help board. Not the Battledome board. Not the NeoQuest board. These chat board trolls are either lacking in the intelligence department and therefore not able to understand simple headings and instructions, or merely out to frustrate people. Another characteristic of these trolls is their tendency to repost the exact same message every few minutes. While it is certainly attention getting, it is also exasperating to have to look at the same post appear ten times or more on a single page. I would recommend that you ignore and avoid these trolls as not to encourage them further.

And of course, there's the all too common pitfall - yourself. As mentioned earlier, greed has and always will be a driving factor in the Beauty Contest. Unfortunately, it can also get you in more trouble than it's worth. Yes, it is tempting to vote for your pets in all your multiple accounts, and tell your friends to do the same with their multiple accounts. It can also get your pet disqualified, and even worse, frozen. And the friends you told to vote? They may be frozen too. I personally know a couple people that have had this happen to them. I also know a number of people who have had their pets disqualified because other people, out of misguided good will, voted for their pets on multiple accounts. It is not pleasant. The previously mentioned picture stealers have also had many of "their" pictures removed from the contest and some even frozen for such. Come to think about it, is this all worth it?

So, what can be done about this? Anyone who has been watching the Beauty Contest for a while will notice that the top few rankings have been monopolised by a number of users for a very long while. Considering this, will the removal of the Beauty Contest be a detriment to the majority of Neopia? It seems that few people benefit from the Beauty Contest, while quite a number of people are harmed by it, whether by scammers, having one's picture "stolen" or merely the frustration of having their gorgeous picture trailing behind a number of poorly done cut and pastes. Admittedly, the Beauty Contest has been a staple of Neopia for such a long time. But as the site has grown bigger, and communities are now divided to the point of rivalry, perhaps it is now time to ask if the Beauty Contest is actually a good thing for Neopia.

Week 64 Related Links

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