Well, must say I just jumped into this after getting married and going on my honeymoon, so I wasn't watching each second of the contest... however I did get something that everyone missed out on, which was an objective opinion. There was a lot of emotions here, and I don't think that we were all thinking clearly in the conversations that ensued.
First off - lets take a deep breath and give a HUGE congratulations to three awesome athletes who put up stellar performances. Matt Walker, Gus Kentworthy and LJ Strenio are three guys who have been long-time NS members, and for years have been the talk of the town on this site. Each of them have been huge heroes on Newschoolers in their own time, and have grown into fantastic athletes with successful careers. These guys are heroes on here, and we should be honored to have them representing us.
Hell, if we hadn't had a contest and Jon had just called up Schmuck and I and said "Pick 3 dudes to represent your site" I think that we'd have had the same team.
Also, lets not forget to thank Jon for bringing such an awesome opportunity to our site. Having faith in the NS community instead of a panel of bros is an honor to all of us, and we need to support the fact that we don't all have the same opinion.
Second - newschool freestyle skiing is a subjectively judged sport. There are many things we can agree on, but just as many that we don't. Hell I know that if I was a judge, contests would go way differently. I value a slow, stylish rotation higher than any double cork 1440 - but I know that not everyone agrees with that. The trouble that this causes, is all of a sudden when you allow everyone on NS to be a judge we have an opinion that is birthed out of all of the opinions skiers everywhere mashed together.
If I look at these three skiers objectively, they seem to all be really good at all areas. Technical, stylish, park, rails... everything you need to score at JOSS. Maybe Lolo has more style (he's one of my favorite skiers BTW), maybe some of the up-and-comers have some raw talent... but all three of these guys have everything you need. They are a common ground for many of the people that visit this site.
Third - Don't for a second think that this contest is any different from any other contest in the world. Think about how much people bitch about judging at the X-games, US Open, Aspen Open... absolutely any contest on the planet people go nuts over the judging. I've been there as a judge at major contests before, and sometimes even the judges don't agree... but you select your panel of judges and stick with it. The idea with this contest was to find a team that represented the whole NS community, and again - I think that we've done an incredible job of that. Newschoolers is the place on the internet where everyone is allowed to have an equal opinion - and in my mind, that is something special that we should fight for to the end of time. Sometimes when everyone is allowed to have an opinion, the answers that come out of it surprise people... but at least you got to say your bit.
Think of it like the president of the United States...really democracy as a whole... Everyone goes out and votes and we choose a leader based on the results. Obama started his presidency with a 65% approval rating (or something like that) - which is fairly high based on my limited political knowledge. But remember, that leaves 45% of people that totally disagree with him and what he stands for.
Wars have been fought all throughout history, and are still fought to give people the right to vote, and to choose their leaders. For the first time ever in the sport of skiing, that same democratic concept has come to you the people. We have as a group chosen these three athletes to represent Newschoolers. Over the last year, Newschoolers has skyrocketed in popularity to become a true representation of our sport. We are skiing - not just a portion of it.
The people spoke, and I'm willing to bet they are right. This team is fucking solid.
Fourth - Don't blame the judging system. Sure there are things that could be better, but the bottom line is that we manually went through and deleted everything that we determined a cheating vote. We decided that a cheating vote was someone intentionally trying to boost some videos, and drag down the ratings of others. This wasn't explained properly in the rules, but if you were a fair person giving fair votes, that wouldn't matter. You can only complain about the voting system if you were trying to cheat.
With painstaking accuracy we went through and normalized the votes. We've run countless simulations with huge banks of data, and found that this is an effective way of getting a proper result out of contest, because surprisingly enough not that many people cheat. So most of the voting was legit where people were voting videos fairly based on what they thought of them.
Chris and Jeff talk about a new contest system, which yes we are creating so that we can do stuff like this more, make it way cooler, and make it harder to cheat. But in the end, the changes to the voting system are all based on the accuracy you get when you go through and manually remove the cheat votes. So we're already employing the most effective cheating-eliminator that there is... its just not efficient enough to do every time, so we're coming up with something automated.
For those of you that noticed that only one person behind an IP address can vote, this was done absolutely intentionally. The reason being that it made it difficult for people to create new accounts and vote multiple times. They would have to go to a new house, new internet cafe, or new location in order to cheat in that way. Yes we lose some votes, but on the majority we lose less votes than we would by allowing people to cheat in this way.
As for the Telluride article encouraging people to vote - no chance a site that small could even cause a flicker in our contest. To be sure, I logged into newschoolers main analytics program, which tells me absolutely every single person that clicked that link. 9 people clicked that link and came to NS, which incase you're wondering isn't fuck all and wouldn't sway the contest in the slightest. Not to mention that 55% of those people had already visited the contest, so in reality there was about 4 people who came through.
Finally, I just want to remind everyone that the large amount of hate you see from time to time on Newschoolers in fact represents a very small portion of real people. Haters are the most vocal, and since it makes you the most angry it also is what you notice the most. Go through that front page article and count the positive posts about the team vs. the negative... probably you'd end up with an approval rating better than Obamas (when he first started, not now)... or for that matter most leaders of the free world. This contest was an overwhelming success, and we have ourselves an amazing team of riders that truly represent the spirit of Newschoolers.
Please, everyone out there show your support for our team. These are the guys that are going to hold it down for Newschoolers, and the ones that we as a community have chosen for our leaders.
There will be other years, there will be other contests, and other people will have a chance to win. Show your support, and make sure that the guys you want to win get the chance to do so again.
Go Team Newschoolers. You guys are going to fucking kill it.
The internet is weird.