The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Compassion of A to Z? (Part 2 of 2)



A Conversation Begins

        The response to part one of this two part series was fantastic.  The comments overwhelmingly display support and positive attitudes toward the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  I thank everyone who commented on part one and if you missed that post I encourage you to go back and while there be sure to peruse the comment section to get a sense of the A to Z love that is out there.

        In that post I didn't mean to mislead anyone that we had been deluged with negative feedback about A to Z.  That is definitely not the case as the comments on that post will attest.  What I was doing in that post was creating a set up for the discussion  about The Compassion of A to Z.  The complaints actually only amounted to murmurs and unfounded rumors about how some had reacted to the A to Z Challenge.  I think we sometimes have a tendency to hear negatives more loudly than the positives and that's probably why the negatives caught my attention

The Compassion of A to Z

       When I started the A to Z Challenge in 2010 I was already blogging everyday so it was nothing for me to continue to do so using the gimmick of the alphabet.   If one is not used to blogging daily and finds it a chore then there’s nothing wrong with that–the Challenge may not be for them if they find daily blogging too difficult.   I do commend anyone for at least putting forth an honest effort even if they do feel the need to drop out of the Challenge. We especially appreciate when bloggers who drop out communicate that to the A to Z Team so we can take them off the list.

       But before I get into the issues of removing blog links from the list. let me first point out the fact that the Team of A to Z Co-hosts and all of their volunteer helpers put a lot of effort into keeping the list cleaned up as best we can for the enjoyment of the participants.  Despite the fact that we make it very clear on the sign up page the criteria that allows bloggers to participate in the A to Z Challenge, there are always opportunists and as well as others who skip reading our requests and suggestions and just add a link without any thought other than to be on the list.   This is the first inconsiderate act that makes the job more difficult for the Challenge administrators.  Unfortunately most of the problems related to these entries don't become evident until after the Challenge has started and we are all at our busiest.

       Our mission is to make sure that participants will find links that are valid and lead to blogs that are actually posting for A to Z.   Some of you are understandably perturbed when you find a non-participating blog that is still on the list.  Others might feel that we are being too tough when we remove the blogs of those who fall behind.  A suggestion was even made that we were lacking compassion in removing the bloggers who weren't able to keep up with the letters and the daily posting.  The very basic rules of the Challenge are to post daily from A to Z--that's what makes it a Challenge!

        I found the term "compassion" to be interesting as this was the very term that I had discussed with the A to Z Team.   We didn't want to come across as hard-nosed about removing blogs because we know that things can happen to interfere with blogging--computer problems, illness, family emergencies, increased workloads or you name any one of a myriad of life complications that can interfere with our April Challenge.  We try our best to open up a line of communication between us and the blogger who is experiencing problems before removing them.  We leave encouraging comments and send emails.  We don't want to take links off the list because we'd rather the list stay filled with all the starting numbers.   But if we are getting no response then in fairness to you who are playing by the rules we must remove the bloggers who aren't.  We extend compassion but compassion does not mean playing the fool.

The Compassionate A to Z Team

         Those who might have thought the A to Z Team was mean or lacking compassion are unfortunately not likely to be reading this post and that's too bad.  There are probably a few who might be harboring resentment about being kicked out of the Challenge because they couldn't keep up.  Again we have to point out that it is a Challenge--you don't meet it, you don't win it.  That doesn't mean that you are a loser, it just means we hope you try again and better luck next time

         The articles at the A to Z Blog as well as the team members' own blogs and even comments of help and encouragement that we leave are part of our desire to teach about better blogging and to uplift spirits of those bloggers who might be a bit discouraged.  The entire A to Z Community is about friendship and mutual support.  I see a lot of compassion all around.  A lot given and a lot received when needed most.  

       I don’t know about people quitting blogging because of the A to Z Challenge. I doubt that’s true, but if it is I think it is a statement on the bloggers who quit and says nothing about A to Z. Sometimes bloggers just leave their blogs and there's no reason to blame the A to Z Challenge. Since we rarely know the people behind the blogs, it’s hard to say why blog owners do what they do or even why they respond to the A to Z Challenge as they might.  But if bloggers do reach out there's usually someone in the community who is willing to take time to listen and to lend whatever assistance they can.  
 
     Is there a more compassionate way to run this Challenge?  I’d like to hear some answers to that question.  There are undoubtedly some better things we can do and hopefully we will keep figuring those out.  The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge will never be perfect but it will keep getting better.   One of the reasons that A to Z will keep getting better is because of all of the amazing members of the A to Z community.  And they are not just April friends, but we have become a year round community of helpful bloggers.

       My thanks to all of you!

Here's what Dr.Gulara Vincent has to say about A to Z:
"...not only I survived the challenge and built my blogging muscle, but I now keep up the good work and exercising that muscle daily. Thank you for this amazing experience. It changed my blogging practice. What's more, it changed me. I feel more present and reflective in my daily life."
I think that sums it up for a lot of us.

        Is there a more compassionate way to run the A to Z Challenge?    How has A to Z affected your approach to blogging and life in general?    When you came to a non-participating blog from the Linky list did you read their posts or leave a comment?  

     

       Check out the A to Z Challenge After Party and join in the conversation.  Leave a link to one of your A to Z posts while you're there.  


81 comments:

  1. What an excellent write Lee, clearing up many issues that may have misled bloggers. I find the A to Z Challenge and it's team members a very compassionate and close knot community.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne, and you are always nice to us. Never a disgruntled word from you.

      Lee

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  2. 'We extend compassion but compassion does not mean playing the fool.' That kind of sums it up for me, and not just for the A-Z either.

    Personally, I think the A-Z team do a fantastic job, keep the challenge fun for all, quietly and without making the extent of their efforts apparent to ordinary participants like me. Thanks and kudos to each one!

    I would leave comments on someone a few letters behind, often a couple is just the result of time zones, but if someone was at F on a Q day, then I'd just assume that they were no longer in the challenge and leave w/o a comment.

    I don't quite understand how anybody can be negative about the challenge, you like it you do it, you don't, you needn't participate. To blame the organisers for following rules seems shabby and weird.

    That you are actually addressing those grievances through these posts is itself indicative of spirit of the A-Z.

    Best wishes,
    Nilanjana.

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    1. Nilanjana, we do like to listen and respond as needed. Since blogging is communication I think it's important to maintain the lines of communication open between those in the community as much as we can.

      Lee

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  3. I think you guys have done all you can do to be nice...or 'compassionate' to use your word...to the bloggers that sign up in January and don't start the challenge, bail part way through, and don't follow the basic rules. People are going to be butthurt sometimes and there's nothing you can do about it. That one female blogger from a couple of years ago comes to mind....her blog should have had the adult content disclaimer on it and she didn't. Her blog was bordering on obscene and when you were trying to work with her, she went off on you in a series of posts absolutely trashing you for being the blog police. Remember that Lee? Wow, she was a piece of work! All she had to do was put the 'adult' rating on it, or that page you that says, 'this contains adult nature, do you want to continue?'

    I was one of Tina's minions last year and I think my frustration as a minion was that I was providing reports to her which she passed onto who ever was in charge of removing 'dead' blogs, and they weren't being removed. I don't know if that's due to the time it took to try and contact the blog owner and wait for a response or what.

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    1. JoJo, I well remember the incident from a few years ago concerning "Blog Ratings". The co-hosts put ourselves on the line and that makes us more vulnerable to criticism. Not everyone agrees with what we do and that's why we like to communicate issues before they do get ugly.
      As far as the Minions or assistants reporting to co-hosts, we have a process that involves trying to communicate with the bloggers at issue after going through our own process of research. Once the status has been determined then Alex immediately slashes the link from the list if that is what is needed or he fixes the link. The link repair and removal requires going through steps so that we don't unfairly remove someone from the list and the bloggers don't always contact us immediately. It's a time issue involving volunteers who have jobs and other life issues so sometimes there is a less sense of immediacy in getting things done. If A to Z had a paid staff then we'd look at it all in a different we, but we are all volunteering our own valuable time.

      Lee

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  4. Our compassion also has to be for those who are playing by the rules and becoming very frustrated by the amount of non-participants on the list. I hear that complaint far more often than I hear someone grumble about being taken off the list. And the three that were removed accidentally this year were all placed back on by the next day and usually in a higher position,
    And Jo-Jo, I am the one who takes care of the list, and I remove whatever links are sent me every night.

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    1. Exactly, Alex, and we have to be most considerate of those who do play by the rules and will be the ones returning in the following years. You are great about managing the list and considering all you have to do it's amazing how efficiently everything gets done.

      Lee

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  5. First of all let me reiterate that the A-Z challenge has been only a positive experience for me.
    I’ve expressed that in my reflections post, in comments on your blog, Lee, and will wear my T proudly when it arrives.
    I have also expressed frustration when trying to visit as many blogs as possible and sometimes finding two or three dropouts in a row. But, I’m not angry at the dropouts. At this point in my life, anger is merely a time waster, you know?
    I simply move on to the next blog.
    (BTW, I did not leave a comment, as I figured if they were no longer participating, they most likely wouldn’t be interested in a comment. Maybe I might be mistaken there, though.)
    I think compassion might be too strong of a word to use here. Maybe that would indicate we were taking the challenge a little too seriously? It’s supposed to be fun, right?

    I am grateful to you for creating this event. I probably can’t even imagine the effort it must take to pull it off. I give props to the co-hosts, minions, helpers.
    That’s who I have compassion for!

    Question. When we as participants, not official helpers, come across a drop out, might we notify someone?
    PS. I have compassion for myself right now, because I have tried to publish this comment four times. My internet keeps cutting out!



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    1. Lynda, we welcome it when participants join in to inform us of problems they run across and many have over the years. Even though we have all the help we do, many link problems might get overlooked or a participants reaches that link before any of us do so it helps when everyone pitches in.

      Sorry about the commenting problems. I started this morning with a brief internet problem too. Hate it when that happens.

      Lee

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  6. I believe that there is the right mix as things are. It is only kindness to allow someone who falls behind a few days for life crises a chance to catch up. But overall it is a Challenge, and to extend even more compassion would cheapen the victory for those who make it.

    That said, I am extremely admire a couple of bloggers I have come across still posting A to Z to finish for their own satisfaction! To me that is the spirit we all need!

    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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    1. There is a limit to how much we can be willing to be lenient without diminishing the achievement of finishing as called for in the "rules" for the others who participate in the right way. When a blogger is encountering a life difficulty and communicates that to us then we are willing to work with them. The frustration comes from those who keep promising to catch and never do. I eventually mercilessly slash them off the list. It's probably the story of their lives.

      Lee

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  7. I have felt nothing, but compassion and friendship with everyone connected with the A2Z challenge. The first time I attempted my hand at this, I did get overwhelmed. I really didn't understand what I had signed up for and in doing so I bailed out. It didn't cross my mind to communicate this with anyone at the time because I think I read that links are checked and pulled, if not active. However, I really should have to make things easier on you guys. But, I did not feel bad in the least that my URL was removed because I understood that much. It's easy for anyone to get their toes stepped on, especially when you're talking about communication done in writing. You can't see a person's face or the body gestures and most of the time you don't have a glue about on what that person is like ~ hateful, loving, rude, polite, nothing. So... an action or communication might come off negative when it's not meant to. I learned years ago when I did a lot of pen palling that if something didn't read right, then chances are good that it was a reflection of the mood I was currently in and not the words. I found, if I placed my friend's letter to the side for another day before resuming with it then her greeting was totally understood. This same thing can be applied to emails or text messaging or comments. Finally, if any of the readers who might be holding onto bad feelings let me say this...life is too short to hold a grudge. Get things resolved by going straight to the source. It never hurts to ask the A2Z team (or anyone else for that matter) for clarification to clear the air of misunderstanding that you may or may not have and guess what? You'll be all the happier for having done that and you'll be very glad that you did. I learned it's better to confront and learn, instead of feeling like I'm in the dark on something. Trust me, no one will think bad of you and chances are good they'll totally appreciate your asking. Thanks for all you & your team do with this huge blog event every year, Lee!!

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    1. Whew, Cathy, this is a lot to which to respond and I'll just respond to a couple of points here. But this is a great comment and I get extract a couple of posts out of this. In fact I actually have a post that I keep postponing about the topic of written communication. You're right about that.

      Since maintaining the list is all manual and quite labor intensive, it helps tremendously when a blogger just outright tells us that they have to or want to drop out. Then we can just go to the list without any discussion or investigation and remove their link. No problems or negative feelings, but instead an appreciation that the blogger cared enough to communicate.

      I hope no one harbors bad feelings for any length of time, but I would appreciate if people who are upset about A to Z or the Team would communicate directly to me to work out the issues and not spread the issue in negative comments and blog posts. I probably miss some negativity, but considering the few that I've found tells me that those bad feelings exist.

      Thanks for your continued support, Cathy.

      Lee

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  8. I don't think anyone should have a gripe about being removed if they didn't even start the challenge. I think all the co-hosts took the time to encourage bloggers who fell behind by a few days but when they're an entire week or more behind, their blog doesn't really belong on the list. Not everyone conquers a challenge. I'm kind of a rules are rules person and don't really understand any complaints for those who don't follow the rules and then reap the consequences. It's not a matter of kindness or lack thereof.

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    1. Susan GK, I'd like to find a way to accommodate those who start but have to stop for some reason. Maybe another list or ideally some means that could only be achieved efficiently by a programmable automated list. But that's been my dream for a while.

      When people don't start though there is no reason that their link should be on the list. Most of them had no intention of doing the Challenge and are just wanting to dupe people into visiting their blogs.

      Lee

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  9. Like you said, it's a challenge, therefore it needs rules and those rules have to be enforced. That's not being mean or lacking compassion. If you didn't have rules and let people run amok then why even bother? It would lose it's meaning and focus.

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    1. Patricia, the problem is that with a list of rules or the informal explanation that we have now, there will always be those who don't read them and just sign up. Odds are most of them aren't even aware when they are removed from the list. There are probably a good many that don't even remember they signed up.

      Still the issue of "compassion" was mentioned by a blogger and I was curious if anyone else had any thoughts about this concept as related to A to Z.

      Lee

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  10. A to Z and all involved are the most compassionate bloggers I know. Like Cathy, I haven't encountered anything but friendship and kindness. Those who think the A to Z team are mean or that the Challenge is annoying, etc. are truly missing out.

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    1. Chrys, I sure like the Team of Co-hosts and it seems like everyone who volunteers to help out are pretty nice as well. But most of the participants are wonderful as well.

      Lee

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  11. There is nothing more frustrating than visiting blogs that have dropped by the wayside or never even got going. I compiled my own special blogrol for the challenge comprising people who I knew were taking it seriously. It worked and I'll continue to visit them! Keep up with the weeding!
    Keith's Ramblings

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    1. It's annoying I agree, Keith, but I've certainly dealt with more frustrating things. Customizing your own blogroll is a good approach. The blogroll currently in my sidebar originally started with my first A to Z.

      Lee

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  12. People who sign up should read all the rules, and at least make a blog post explaining why they're dropping out, or apologizing for falling off and possibly making up for it. My weekly Sunday blog hop, Weekend Writing Warriors, just changed the rules from 8 lines to 8–10 lines since so many people were going over. I'm sure there will still be folks who feel those rules don't apply to them. When the now-indefinitely-hiatused Sweet Saturday Samples blog hop still ran, one particular participant was frequently removed after the list went live, since she kept posting erotica and other decidedly non-sweet samples. The rules on the host's blog clearly explained what sweet meant, and said nothing more than PG-13 with a warning.

    I might leave a comment on a non-participating blog if I really like the posts or the blogger only recently fell off, but I probably wouldn't bother if I saw the posts stopped very early in the alphabet. As a minion, I had to report the blog of someone from my local writers' group. She stopped participating around H, without any post saying why she'd stopped.

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    1. Maybe we've all gotten used to just checking the box and not really reading the "Terms of Agreement" and tend to do this wherever there are "rules". Many people just do what they think is right for them without regard to what they're actually supposed to do.

      Like most people during the Challenge, I was usually trying to make it through actual A to Z posts and just bypassed the ones who hadn't done anything. I often left a query comment to see what there plans were, but that was due to my role in the Challenge. I think it's just a matter of courtesy to let visitors know when your blogging habits change drastically whether you're doing the Challenge or just regular blogging.

      Lee

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  13. Can I just say, I **loved** this challenge. I just learned about it on April 1, having seen the link on a friend's blog, so I jumped in with no pre-planning, writing all my posts on the fly. For me, that was what made it a "challenge." Very different from my normally analytical, review-and-revise method of writing, and **that's** why I learned so much. Keeping the list active, with only links that lead to blogs owned by people who are still plodding daily through the alphabet, is what makes it useful to the reader. Isn't that why the list was created, to be useful? Dead links, or links to blogs that aren't still participating are not useful. Keeping the list useful is compassionate, yes? (okay, maybe with a day's grace for blogs that have otherwise been involved, if one day a person has computer problems, etc) I can't thank you guys enough for the inspiration; looking forward to a tour and to next years challenge. (Ha! I've already got my theme figured out!!)

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    1. Sure, Dan N Jaye, you can say that you loved A to Z. That's what we're hoping for. Jumping in like you did might be the best way to start out--no expectations and lots of surprises. We indeed want the list to be useful and we try to make it so. It's a big ol' list and requires a lot of scrutiny from the volunteers. Glad that you'll be coming back!

      Lee

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  14. A bloggers compassion does exist for good honest individuals. Just keep laments motivational. Never ostracise people. Quarrels rarely show tact. Understandably, veteran writers Xerox your zeal.

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    1. Not sure what all you said here, Jeffrey, but your points about ostracizing and quarrels are good advice. The A to Z is full of motivation from what I've seen.

      Lee

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    2. Just trying to post a comment with each word utilizing the next letter of the alphabet. As a homage to the A-Z challenge.

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    3. Oh, now I see. I thought you'd been drinking a bit to celebrate the end of A to Z. You did a great job with that. By that I mean the usage of all the letters. You might have done a good job celebrating too.

      Lee

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    4. Who says Scotch wasn't involved? ;)

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    5. Scotch is probably the more refined approach that would be conducive to writing something no matter how incoherent. On the other hand, if it had been tequila you'd have been more likely to be hootin' and hollerin' with no clothes on.

      Lee

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  15. I think the rules for the challenge are clearly stated at the beginning of the challenge with sign ups. If someone can't reach their commitment with it and doesn't communicate to you the reasons for it, I think their link should be taken off the list. I don't think its not being compassionate if you do so, I think it is only fair for the others who are trying to play by the rules, blogging daily during April, etc. I ran across a few blogs that had done a few letters of the challenge but weren't where they should have been in the month. I would leave them a comment that I hoped they would continue with the challenge.

    betty

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    1. Betty, we see this the same way and leaving a catch up comment is what I did before I reported them to be removed.

      Lee

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  16. I loved this challenge and appreciate everything the volunteers do. There are so many entrants and I tried to check in on five new ones a day - and sometimes hit on someone who had stop posting, or never started, but I just moved on - no worries. I wonder if everyone shouldn't have to pick a category. With so many bloggers to follow it would help me not to go to one I know I will not be interested in - such as fashion, or cooking, etc.
    Just a thought. Also not sure if you had a category for faith based blogs - but that would be a good one to add. And if people (like me) blog about more than one topic maybe they could be allowed 3 categories max, or something like that.
    Anyways - even if nothing changes I will totally do this again next year. hmmmm....I might even start planning now. ;)

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    1. Yes, Faith Based would be a good category to add. Hopefully we'll find a way to better categorize the entries. The code system is okay for one category, but more might be too much doing it this way. Maybe we'll figure something out by next year.

      Lee

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  17. I had to drop out (because of illness) and was removed from the list. Let me just say I applaud this removal HUGELY. I *love* the A-Z Challenge and look forward to it all year. But I have been one of those who diligently visits a blog, only to find it non-participating - and I would hate for anybody to take the time to visit mine ditto. So actually my reputation is saved! because there's nobody out there muttering evilly about my non-participation. I definitely don't feel like a loser (I was keeping up daily until I fell ill) and am looking forward to April 2016! *LOVED* the Challenge! and thanks to Arlee and the minions!

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    1. Your attitude is the right one, Ros. No one should expect to just stay on the list no matter what. I like your take on reputation saving.

      Lee

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  18. I have found nothing but positive thoughts regarding the A to Z. One can not please every person but one does the best one can. I think you mention it more than once about being removed from the list if you don't continue. You forewarn in every way. I follow Ros(above) and wondered what happened to her until she wrote that she got very sick. If people get upset by being taken off the list after all the warnings beforehand then they are not looking at it from your side. There are bigger things to get upset about when all is said and done. I think all of you did a great job!

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    1. I agree, Birgit. We could make it all close to perfect and still there'd be someone who would undoubtedly find fault.

      Lee

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  19. We enjoyed the A to Z this year... did "Villains" (instead of "Horror")... even learned of a cool Villain that was unknown to me...
    ... even with "problems" that arose ... we made sure to do our post each day....
    have a pleasant day good Sir Arlee...

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    1. Thank you, Dr Theda, for understanding through the problems and making your experience turn out good.

      Lee

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    2. the "problems" were those here at Home...
      Our thanks to you and the wonderful people who put together this year's A to Z...
      Bless You and them.... Stacey / Dr. Theda

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  20. Hi Lee.

    Your questions:
    Q - Is there a more compassionate way to run the A to Z Challenge? A- I was perfectly satisfied with the running of it.
    Q - How has A to Z affected your approach to blogging and life in general? A- I came away humbled by the many talents displayed; the kindness from others, and; great respect for the co-hosts' duties.
    Q - When you came to a non-participating blog from the Linky list did you read their posts or leave a comment? A - My rule of thumb: if I found the post interesting, leave a comment, whether or not they were participating. My comments never included A-Z business. As a minion I would send a message to the co-host I worked for, as it was their duty to make any/ all contact regarding A-Z posting protocol.

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    1. Dixie, we can't ask for much better response than yours. We appreciate your help too.

      Lee

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  21. Excellent post. I am amazed at how many team members visit my blog and checked in. Considering how big the participant list was it was an impressive feat. The challenge is a highlight for me. It gets my blogging focused and I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end of April. Thank you.

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    1. Kat, I too was very pleased and impressed to see comments from my fellow co-hosts on blogs that I visited. Glad to hear your positive report on A to Z.

      Lee

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  22. A to Z . . . . DAMN have I missed it. . . .

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  23. It is disappointing when people don't finish the challenge but not everyone has time.

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    1. So true, Eve, things can happen and life sometimes gets in the way of the more minor events like A to Z, but it's good to see how many bloggers actually finish.

      Lee

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  24. I don't believe A-Z could cause anyone to stop blogging. That doesn't make sense to me; there is another underline cause. I do choose to take a break in April, and I know others do too. It works out nicely for me.

    But I'll always have the A-Z challenge for giving me all my gem posts - that I still do. I even have a new one for next week.

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    1. HR, the ones who have said this about people "quitting" might have misinterpreted April blog breaks. Or maybe they just heard this from reluctant bloggers who wanted an excuse not to blog without the blame laying on them.

      Lee

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  25. I know I did my best to act as compassionate as I could when I checked with other bloggers about participation. It was hard to hear about some falling behind due to family problems and things like that. And if there are better ways to do it, I'd love to hear and improve!

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    1. Lauren, I felt bad about some of the stories, but it annoyed me when some of those people told me they'd resume posting on a certain date and then never did. Then I didn't believe the original story anymore. These are the kind of people whose dog ate their homework and had grandmothers who died 20 times. When people use excuses it's bad enough, but when they don't follow through with what they say they're going to do then I'm no longer very compassionate.

      Lee

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  26. First of all I have to say a great big Thank you for The A to Z Challenge. This was my third year to complete it. I have LOVED every moment. You are a God to me Arlee Bird! You were spot on when you said that we tend to hear negatives LOUDER than we hear positives. It's a shame. But it's human nature. When we talk about compassion and the A to Z Challenge I have to tell you my experiences. I have met some of the most wonderfull people through this challenge. Many of them I now call my friends. When my husband died last July it was these very people who propped me up, supported me, and loved me through this most difficult past 10 months. I don't know where I would be without them. And it is all thanks to You, Arlee, and the A to Z Challenge!

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    1. Wow, Paula, I don't know what to say so I guess I'll leave it at "I'm humbled".

      Lee

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  27. I am constantly in awe of all the work that the A-Z team members put into this Challenge. As it stands, I think it runs like a well-oiled machine. I don't see any problem with taking off a link once it's been determined that the blogger can no longer participate. I ran into several blogs who were so far behind, them being on letter D when we're already on M or something like that. When I did run into that, I didn't bother to leave a comment because I just figured they were no longer interested in the Challenge and probably wouldn't be interested in my comment either. It was irritating when running into a few of them in a row, especially when time is of the essence when we're zooming around visiting all the blogs we can get to. But it is so nice to know that there is a team of people who take their jobs seriously and are working diligently toward as perfect a list as possible. Thank you all, A-Z team members, all of you deserve a standing ovation and a long loud round of applause!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, we definitely have a Team that knows their jobs and works together well. A great group.

      Lee

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  28. I enjoyed all the comments and your responses on this post Arlee thank you ...the protocol of the A-Z makes life easier for everyone participating, they're given guidelines first, and all along the way are encouraged and supported by the team .. what more could a blogger want? I KNEW that April was going to be the busiest of all the months including Christmas/December. Having a daily deadline plus visiting others takes much time and energy! It's like a daily workout on ALL levels!

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    1. Susan Scott, there's not too much more that we can do other than keep listening to participants and work smarter and harder. Mostly the problematic issues fall at the feet of the bloggers who are having the problems.

      Lee

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  29. I'll be honest, Arlee, the people I found it difficult to have much sympathy with were those who signed up for the challenge and then did nothing at all. Early in April I found a few of these, some of whom didn't even appear to be blogging much before the challenge started. It seems they just like to sign up to things.
    There's definitely no shame in starting and then falling by the wayside, although those blogs still need to be taken off the list, if only to be fair to those hardy souls who make it to the end of the "marathon" - the nearest I will ever get to completing a marathon.
    Congratulations again to you and the A to Z team for all your hard work. And kudos to you for all the effort you put in to responding. You must be a busy man.

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    1. Mark, I guess I'm more curious than sympathetic about some of the non-starters. There were some that I suspect somebody other than the blogger signed them up to do the Challenge. There were blogs on which there had been no activity for months or even years! Those seemed rather suspicious. Thanks for your acumen to fathom our situation and for your support.

      Lee

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  30. It is a challenge and if someone cannot keep up (life does sometimes happen) it isn't fair to those who do keep up to keep those that don't on the list. Compassion goes both ways.
    I think the challenge is absolutely amazing, I've made lifelong friends and have developed great habits. The only thing that could make it better would be sponsors and prizes:)

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    1. Doreen, your last wish is something I've been hoping to make happen. That could solve a lot of problems and provide more incentive for more people to enter the Challenge and finish.

      Lee

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  31. I had felt bad about dropping out of the challenge, but once April 1st hit, I knew I couldn't keep up, and I wouldn't be able to visit other blogs in order to reciprocate. I felt that wasn't fair, so I made my apology. I tried to do it in the spirit of the A-to-Z Challenge that I was leaving behind.

    Would it have been easier on you guys to have made that decision before April 1st?

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    1. Loni, no one should feel badly about legitimately having to drop out of something they might have started or committed to doing unless that is something they regularly do and if that's the case they need to assess their lives and figure out why they do this and how they can change. In your case you had a legitimate reason so there was no reason to feel badly about dropping out. Your life and circumstances come first.

      It doesn't matter when the decision is made as much as letting us know that the decision has been made so we don't have to guess or take time to research what is going on. We appreciated those who emailed us to ask to have their link removed from the list because they couldn't do the Challenge--much easier for us.

      Lee

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  32. Hello there.
    Of the 450+ blogs I visited during the challenge, there were quite a few that posted for the A-Z Challenge, but also wrote other posts too. Their AtoZ posts got hidden a long way down their blogs, with no way of finding them...where was the compassion for the AtoZ visitors then? (just saying!) Most of the reflections posts I've read so far only had positive things to say. I even came across bloggers who had been inactive for sometime or others who started up blogging again just from being inspired by the AtoZ challenge. I agree if something crops up along the way that prevents a blogger from completing the challenge, it would be courteous on his/her part to inform the AtoZ team and also to leave a note on their blog letting visitors know they were no longer able to continue. I look at it this way...we make the decision to live by the laws of the country we live in so what's the difference in following the guidelines of the AtoZ Challenge? (again, just saying!) Unfortunately, we cannot please everyone...someone somewhere will always be unhappy and negative, always blaming someone else for their shortcomings in life.... that's just how it is in this life!

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    1. Barbara, yes some bloggers seem to post so much that their A to Z posts would get covered up immediately. Some of these made things easier by creating special sections where only their A to Z posts were. Then there are some blogging platforms where pages are so cluttered that it's confusing to find anything.

      Lee

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  33. I mentioned your battle of the bands feature and A to Z in my blog today.

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  34. I do not know how in the world you and your mighty team managed the A to Z, but it was magnificent.
    It was frustrating to visit site after site and find no one home. Since there is only so much time allotted in life, leaving a silent address took away some of that. In my Reflections post, one blogger reprimanded for expressing that thought. Sigh.
    A to Z is always a great experience: time to grow as a writer, meet other bloggers, follow ones whose work I appreciate.
    Now that the sprint is over, I can do some cross-country.

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    1. Susan Kane, now you've got me curious about the reprimand. I'll be right over to check that out!

      Lee

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  35. All in all, it was a good challenge. Being involved in the team made it more personal this year and that led to a more serious note. (I, by nature, am not a serious guy)

    I found great blogs and OK blogs. I left a ton of comments and I also found a lot of non-participants. It's going to happen. It will every year.

    I even found one blog who had to quit due to illness, but I had left her a comment asking her when she got better if she could come back and finish because I enjoyed her blog that much.

    Rules are rules and your grace period was substantial enough warning. If you don't post within the guidelines then it simply becomes blogging with letters and not a challenge.

    Perhaps a password on the linky list would allow you to remove yourself if unable to continue.

    I really don't know how you could be more compassionate. it is a challenge after all. If baseball players strike out after three pitches the umpire doesn't say, "Aw heck get back in the batters box and give it one more try."

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    1. Jeff, actually I'm pretty sure there's an easier way to clean up the list where it's not so labor intensive. Your suggestion of having access to the list to remove oneself is part of what I'm thinking. Unfortunately I don't have the programming skills necessary to create such a list and we'd probably need a different kind of site program than a blog on Blogger--an A to Z Website. Maybe someday.

      Lee

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  36. Hi Lee - it's a great idea and one I love and am so appreciative of all the time the background boys and girls put in for us!

    I try and be polite to all and sundry ... but if I'm not happy somewhere I just quietly leave and move on ... If a Linky List blog doesn't suit me, or they're not participating ... I move on without leaving a comment ... at the beginning I may leave a comment if I'm vaguely interested ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. I'm the same, Hilary. I will usually comment on a blog that I visit, but in rare occasions I just don't bother.

      Lee

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  37. I think I'm cold-blooded. When I submit to a literary magazine and fail to follow guidelines, my submission gets deleted. The editors don't care if I was sick, or too tired. If I don't enter a contest by the cutoff date, I don't get to enter. The judges have no sympathy for my lack of computer access or family emergency.
    Few people will make exceptions. And, if they do so for me, why not everyone else?

    I'm glad your team tries to work with participants who are struggling. But they shouldn't demand it.

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    1. Jennifer, I'm a little unclear about who shouldn't demand what? As you point out about things like submissions and contests they often follow the hard line about the rules but that does make sense. With A to Z we need to keep some kind of standard in order to be fair to everyone, but I like to have some leniency in certain cases as well. Not everyone will always be happy with the rulings though, no matter what.

      Lee

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    2. Sorry, the participants shouldn't demand it. Hope that clears my muddled mess!

      Delete
    3. That's what I'd thought you meant, but I wanted to make sure. I agree with you on that point.

      Lee

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Lee