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Part I: Answers to Questions Pondered

These are comments that I received from Facebook, email and eSpecially Ben to the post, Life After About.com Awards. Thank you for weighing in on this discussion and having the courage to say what is on your mind.

I will add my thoughts next week. Feel free to post your comments below.

The contest, “was it worth it?” Of course it was worth it.  So many things separate us, but this helped us find the ties that bind.  For a couple of weeks, it brought people from all over the country together for a purpose.  Sand spread out on the beach is sand, but with a common interest we made a castle.  
--Kevin

Was it worth it? A resounding YES.  Should you do it again? YES.  What about the other families, cheating, motives, trophies?  Its clear to me that everyone wins this contest, there are no losers, just bragging rights.  So life can go on, as it will and if some peopled learned more about special children, then the contest accomplished its goal.  
--Arleen

These are good questions, Vanessa, and I'm glad you're asking them. This was my first time hosting the Readers' Choice Awards on my site, part of a larger contest across a number of About.com sites that's been going on for a few years. I had hoped it would be a fun way to get some attention for some great special-needs resources. And certainly, as you have hoped to get more readers for your site, I have hoped to get more readers and traffic for mine. In addition to being an About.com guide, I'm the parent of two children with special needs, and my work on the site helps support my family. I work hard on my content and want to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. So I'd hoped this would be good for all of us.

I did not at all expect the level of interest and competitiveness this would draw, especially since, as your son so appropriately points out, there is no trophy. All four of the categories have close two-way races with thousands of votes cast. At this point, it seems impossible that four finalists and their followers won't be severely disappointed and feel that they've wasted their time, and I feel terrible about that. I'm doing what I can to bring attention to all the finalists; I'd like everybody to feel that they've been a winner in some way. But I've got a lot to think about, too, in terms of how I want to conduct this thing if I participate next year. I hope, in the end, after the frenzy dies down, that this will have been a good experience for you.

I'd like to remind your readers that, after the voting ends tonight, it will still be possible to support eSpecially Ben by leaving comments about why you love the blog at http://specialchildren.about.com/u/ua/rca2011/Especially-Ben.htm. There are some very nice comments there already, and they'll stay up long after the contest is over. 

--Terri Mauro

Well said. I love learning about the mentor books, childrens' books and other blogs. At the end of the day we are all in a battle and if one of us wins then all of us win!!! 
--Territory Mom

Here's my take on it: a) there's nothing wrong with being competitive and wanting to win (even if there's no actual prize.) It's nice to be the people's choice and b) You got the word out about Ben and others with special needs to a lot of ...people who might never have encountered your blog otherwise. Your entries are inspiring and insightful and the more people who know about it the better.
--Rebecca


Thank you for giving these questions some thought.

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