I was about to begin this post with “I apologize in advance if I am about to offend anyone,” then realized that would pretty much take away from the whole point of this post. But isn’t that how we are wired? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, but Oona K’s Facebook post about the International Pole Championship, and Spinning Love Story’s blog post on the UKPPC, made me want to take this discussion now.
If you don’t follow Oona, the quickie version is that she was not very happy about not getting the results/placements/judging sheets from IPC, as she wanted to know how/why her performance did not place in the Top 3. Now, disregarding whether she deserved a top placement or not, I think it’s important to look at why this was such a controversial post. As I’m writing this, her post has received close to 400 likes, and comments both supporting her and judging her.
I don’t understand a Facebook status like this. If you have a problem with the competition, why not contact the organisation directly? What is the point in writing all your frustrations in public?
Comment on Oona’s status
Why is this even a question? Should you not be allowed to voice your opinion? “The point” is that it’s important that we share our experiences so that others can learn, and so that we can move toward improving both individual competitions and the pole sport as a whole. Polers are told to research all the available competitions to find a good fit, but if we are supposed to hide everything negative, how can we make informed decisions on which competitions to support?
I have to say that I think it is unfair to constantly criticise the world championship in public if not everything runs smoothly.
Comment on Oona’s status
I fail to see how it is unfair. When you organize an event, you know from the start that there’s a large chance that not everyone will agree with how you run things. That’s the risk you take. If you want to reduce this risk, do your best to avoid problems, but you can never eliminate the risk completely.
As I watched the live stream from Miss Texas Pole Star a couple of weeks ago, I kept writing down things I wanted to blog about. The event started over two hours behind schedule. Multiple competitors were sent off stage because of technical difficulties with their music. Can you imagine waiting backstage for hours to perform, going on stage, finding your starting pose, then having to wait for another hour because someone failed to check that the songs would work before starting the show? I’ve never competed, but even for a studio showcase I think this would be bad. A competition running on its fifth year? Unacceptable. Still I never posted my complaints (or compliments), because I didn’t want to be “that girl”.
The day after the show, every single post I saw on Facebook was about how amazing the show was, and about how good of a job the organizers did. If you hadn’t watched the live stream, you would never know anything had gone wrong.
Look. Shit happens.
You can keep the most organized to-do list in the world, and yet some times things happen that are out of your control. It is how you deal with it that matters.
When the California Pole Dance Championship had a last minute change of venue and showtime due to being double booked by their venue, they posted about it right away. They spread the word, tried contacting everyone who had bought tickets, and gave refunds to those who would no longer attend. Nadia even posted a public apology, explaining what had happened. And because they were so open about everything, I don’t think anyone holds it against them.
I never saw a single post from MTPS apologizing, or even mentioning, their mistakes.
Now I don’t want to encourage trash talk or slander. I don’t see anything useful in comments like “Competition X sucks, don’t bother entering!” Open discussion and constructive criticism, however, can only help us learn from our mistakes, and help us continue to grow and improve pole as a sport, as an industry.
What do you think? Is it okay to share negative feedback about pole events, or do you think it’s better to keep quiet and let the organizers deal with the problems without the public knowing about it?
I mean no harm to MTPS or IPC, and simply used these two competitions as examples because I had more knowledge about these than others.