Beauty Contest, My Foot
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.