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Difficult situation - club competitions and possible cheating

(5 Posts)
MrsExpo Tue 16-May-17 14:02:14

I am a member of a photography club which runs several competitions every year. Members are allowed to enter 4 images in each event, with the winner being the person who scores the highest score out of 80 (20 per image): at the end of the year, the person with the highest cumulative score gets to be the club Photographer of the Year and there is also a prize for the person who is classed "Best Beginner" - i.e. the person who has come highest in the rankings without ever having won a prize before.

We have a member who brings his 8 year old DD along to meetings. She's a sweet kid and seems interested in what's going on. She also enters all the competitions (6 per season), and her images are remarkably accomplished for an 8 year old, clearly having had the benefit of a good deal of "improvement" through the use of photoshop of other processing software. Anyone who's ever used these things will know that they can be tricky to master and require a good understanding of the software itself as well as how digital images work, how cameras work etc.

This year, the child has won the Best Beginner prize and, sadly, there's a lot of muttering in the ranks amongst the other members (even those who frequently do well in competitions) about whether she actually does the work herself or whether daddy is helping her out a bit. As he's a graphic designer by profession, he clearly has the skills to produce excellent images himself. But the whole point of these events is to encourage members to learn, improve their skills and try new things. A few members want the committee to ask him to prove the girl is producing these images herself, but no-one else is being asked to do that. Or we could out-and-out accuse him of cheating and exhibiting his own work under his child's name giving him two entries to each event, which wouldn't be great for the club as a whole.

My own view is that we suck it up this year as members can't win the award twice, so give it to her this year in the knowledge that she can't win it again.

Reading this back I want to tell myself to get a grip ...... this is hardly the Olympic Games or anything, but i'm getting a good deal of grief from certain members who object to being beaten unfairly (I'm on the committee which organises these things) and have no idea what to say or do. It's the awards presentation next week - I predict a riot!!! Any thoughts?

RNBrie Tue 16-May-17 14:05:58

He's probably helping her. Proving it would require her to demonstrate her lack of skill publicly which would humiliate her. I would suck it up, it's his fault but she would suffer the consequences.

WellThisIsShit Tue 16-May-17 14:10:41

Well, first things first, what do you think has happened?

Do you think the work has been photoshopped massively by the father? Or simply done wholesale by him?!

It's a tricky situation, with other members riled up.

What do you think would happen if you weathered the storm and kept the girl as winner? Both good and bad consequences from doing that?

And likewise, what do you think would happen if you stripped the girl of the award?

Finally, are there any other options that steer a middle course? Like, tightening up the rules around the extent of photoshop type editing, different awards for high levels of photoshop vs none etc?

CatsInKilts Tue 16-May-17 14:15:14

I think you'll need to let it go this year and then tighten up the rules and procedures for next year.

If there's nothing in your current rules that will invalidate the girl's entries, the other members will just have to accept that she's won.

FATEdestiny Tue 16-May-17 14:26:01

I would suck it up.

Do you get many children taking part? If not, this is a great way to boost her confidence and maybe foster a life-long love of photography. Which would be great for your club long get.

If you already have a handful of children taking part, maybe start a children competition with specific rules over no adult help.

She probably did get some help. But I think all parents who share interests with their children will have a blurred lines between wanting to foster on going interest and talent, but not taking over.

For example in a chemistry teacher. I can see myself having heavy involvement in science coursework when my children get to that age. While I wouldn't actually cheat and do it for them, they would get a lot of guidance on the subject from me, since it's my expertise and so I'd be very knowledgeable and interested. He father is bound to have helped and coached to some degree. The question is, did he cross a line.

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