While Rancid's Hints and FAQ hibernates between Eisteddfod Competitions, here are some of the frequently asked questions that you might want to know about as you prepare for the next competition. Please feel free to ask new questions in this thread, and we'll try to answer them here too. If you have the question, chances are someone else does too!
Q) What is the schedule for future Eisteddfodau?
A) Each season's Eisteddfod, Imbolc/Lughnasadh, Beltaine/Samhuinn, Lughnasadh/Imbolc, Samhuinn/Beltaine, begins approximately one week after the solstice or equinox before it. Entries close and voting begins approximately one week before the festival. Voting is complete on the day of the festival, and winners are announced as soon as the polls close.
Q) What if nobody likes what I did? Will the voting be made public? What if I don't get any votes? I'll be soooo embarrassed!
A) The Eisteddfod is a competition, and as such, there will be winners and, uh, not winners. The voting will be visible as soon as you place your vote, and entrants have been known to be embarrassed by having not received many (or any) votes. Before you enter, ask yourself this question: Does this entry satisfy ME? If the answer is yes, then you have already won the biggest prize, no matter what the voters say.
Q) I'm still a little nervous about entering. My work just isn't that good. What can I do?
A) The Eisteddfod isn't the right answer for everybody. There are other fora available in which you can post your work in a non-competitive atmosphere with no judging. You will find these fora under the Creative Bardic Pursuits banner. They are entitled: Poetry and Writing Forum; Music Forum; Visual Arts and Multimedia Forum; and Arts and Crafts.
Q) I posted a poem last month in Poetry and Writing, and I also posted a photograph a week ago in Visual Arts and Multimedia. Can I re-enter these items in the Eisteddfod?
A) Yes. You may even re-enter items that did not win in a previous Eisteddfod if you wish to do so. It might be nice, however, to include an explanatory paragraph so that readers won't think they're seeing double.
Q) If I didn't enter the competition, can I still vote?
A) You sure can!
Q) What happens to all the poetry and stuff after the Eisteddfod ends?
A) After a week or two, the materials are moved to Historical Eisteddfod Gallery, while the winning entries will be immortalized on the Order's Eisteddfod web site.
Q) None of the competition categories seem to fit what I plan to submit. What do I do now?
A) Send a PM to one of the Bardic Pursuits moderators and they will work with you to see which category can best accommodate your entry.
Q) My poetry stinks, and so does my prose. I also can't seem to keep my thumb out of the picture whenever I take a photograph. And as for musical instruments, I can't even play the radio. How can I improve?
A) Practice, practice, practice, and develop a thick skin. If you don't write regularly, you probably won't be a good writer. If you don't work often with your camera, you probably will never take good photographs. We all like to hear good things about our work, and it is likely that you will receive nice comments when you post to any of the bardic pursuits fora. However, if you want a more objective analysis, when you make a post to any of the Bardic Pursuits fora, just ask readers to provide you with constructive criticism on your work. The OBOD message board is not a school for bardic pursuits. However, we do have accomplished artists who visit the fora, and it could be that some of them will offer sound advice.
Q) What does "Eisteddfod" mean anyway?
A) OBOD's main page has this to say about Eisteddfod: "The origin of the Eisteddfod can be traced to as early as 1176 and the idea of Bardic competitions probably dates much earlier. The word loosely translates 'to be seated,' referring perhaps to both the performers and the audience."
Q) What are all these "entry threads" and "voting threads" I see you writing about? I don't see any such thing in the forum.
A) Be patient. The moderators will introduce the threads to the forum just before the appropriate dates. Update - The voting now takes place at the top of the entry thread. Polls will become available after the entries close and voting is ready to begin. Entries placed in the thread after voting starts will be deleted.
Q) I don't know how to post a photograph. Please help!
A) The instructions for posting a photograph can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24490
Q) Do entries have to have a seasonal theme?
A) No, except in the Seasonal Category. Although the Eisteddfod competitions are organized on a seasonal schedule, there is no requirement that any of the entries have a seasonal theme. Some writers and artists find it helpful to do this, but again, it is not a requirement. In the Seasonal Category, entries can be of any type but MUST pertain to the season and must be COMPLETELY original material.
Q) I still don't understand what is meant by "original material?"
A) By "original material," we mean that an entry must have been written, drawn, crafted, designed, painted, cooked or photographed by the person or persons submitting it. The only category in which this rule does not apply is the Performing Arts category, because there the judging is based on an entrant's performance and not on the material being performed. Please note, however, that non-original material being performed should still be properly credited.
Q) May my friends and I enter something as a team?
A) Yes you may, but with one proviso: EACH member of the team must be a registered user of the message board.
Q) Will I be allowed to correct errors in my entry once I've submitted it?
A) The moderators expect each entry to be a completed work. But recognizing that accidents do happen, entrants are allowed to make simple corrections to spelling or grammar. However, wholesale revisions of your material once it has been submitted are not allowed.
Q) I won the Short Poetry competition in the last Eisteddfod. I also won in Long Poetry, and my prose was judged the best. People went wild over the recipe I entered, and my painting won the competition and is now hanging in its own gallery in the Louvre. Yet after all my triumphs, I only received one gold harp! What's the deal?
A) Gold harps are awarded on a per-Eisteddfod basis. The full logic behind this is lost in the mists of time, but the moderators have learned this much: Blame Taliesin. Back in the early days of Eisteddfod, the überbard Taliesin frequently won every category of competition, yet the villagers who sponsored the competitions barely had enough gold among them to melt down for the making of one gold harp, much less five or six. People were melting down the gold contacts on their television and radio tubes, and some even went so far as to remove their dental fillings. But then Taliesin, in his infinite wisdom, decreed that the practice must stop. Taliesin said that he would require only one gold harp for each Eisteddfod in which he won, no matter how many of his entries were judged the best. The villagers cheered (except for those who simply applauded because their mouths hurt too much to cheer). There's this, too: Yes, the Eisteddfod is a competition where winners are recognized for their achievement, but it's more than that. Is the Eisteddfod just about winning? There are many people who enter and never win. Perhaps their bardic skills are less, but they might have overcome embarrassment, shyness or physical disability in order to enter at all. Is their achievement then really any less?