dean080580, fair points. The way I see it is that any form of public voting which has a direct bearing on the outcome of the challenge proper is bound to mess with peoples’ ideas of what constitutes fair, considered voting. The trouble is I can’t imagine how the public vote could be done better, save for some wholesale change. The only way I can see people being happy with the voting (read: feel that their hard work was given due and equal consideration on it’s merits within the specific challenge guidelines) would be to have the official judges in charge of every stage. Perhaps as the stakes get higher this will become a necessity.
The public vote could be shifted into an essentially irrelevant, but worthy activity where they could mark each entry out of ten for say style, technique, originality and relevance to the topic. This could be collated and some kind of scoreboard posted along with the final outcome. That could be interesting! But I guarantee there would be differences of opinion even then.
And I’d just like to clarify: I have no axe to grind - I’m very pleased with my entry, I feel like I learned a lot, I enjoyed being part of a very large group of talented and supportive artists, and I enjoyed the banter! Anything beyond this is a pure bonus for me. This latest was my third challenge entered, and it seems to me to be getting bigger and better organised every time, so hats off to the organisers for refining the system, and I hope there will be many challenges to come!