So, about the newsletter on Friday… [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Michael’s written his own response to the concerns surrounding the newsletter prizes. You’ll find it at the end of this post.

Did you get multiple copies of it? Were you confused about who exactly won the rAge competition? Are you concerned that your personal information is now being used as part of a space lizard conspiracy to control the weather with fluoride vaccinations? It’s not just you. Unless it’s only that last one, because that’s definitely, probably just you.

We messed up. The system messed up. I messed up.

First, the multiple copies thing. Our newsletter system is new, and although we’ve not had too many problems with it until now, some very important subroutine glitched on Friday and a number of subscribers got more than one copy of it. This was an unprecedented issue, and with the recent increase in subscriber numbers over rAge, the consequences were that much more… consequential than might’ve been otherwise. One guy got 18 (!) copies in his inbox, which would be impressive if it wasn’t so obnoxious.

Because of the way the system sends out the newsletter to recipients, by the time we were informed that some people were receiving multiple copies of it, we couldn’t even shut it down. And because things weren’t bad enough already, the unsubscribe link in the newsletter busted, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so disastrous.

We’re working now to resolve this with the developers who built the system for us, but please accept our apologies in the meantime.

Next, the winner of the competition. It was Shawn Wayland, not you. I realise now that my I’M COOL LIKE THE COOL KIDS LOL phrasing was super ambiguous, and I’m the worst. I suck. I’m so sorry. If it’s any consolation, I got food poisoning over the weekend. Okay, I didn’t, but I should‘ve.

Also, your personal information isn’t being used as part of a space lizard conspiracy to control the weather with fluoride vaccinations. For real. But until we’ve fixed the unsubscribe link in the newsletter, you can let me know if you want to be removed from the mailing list and I’ll sort it out. We’ll miss you, though, so maybe consider not doing that.

Michael’s response:

I want to clarify a few things, because it seems there are some conspiracy theories brewing around the 15th anniversary rAge prize and its winners.

When I first cooked up the concept for this giveaway, I had no idea what the end result would look like. I didn’t know how many prizes there’d be, where I’d get them from, and so on. At first, some exhibitors said they’d give us smaller prizes like lanyards, others said they might be able to arrange a notebook, and some said they may be able to give away a few games.

Over the weeks leading up to rAge, it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be an assorted collection of duplicate prizes that could go out to a bunch of different winners, but rather one big prize that’d go to a single winner, with any duplicates in the prize pool going to one or two other people.

Once all the prizes were back in the office after showing them off at rAge, it became apparent that we only had enough duplicate items to accommodate one runner-up winner. After a completely random selection, the main winner was Shawn Wayland, and the runner-up was Jayson Govender. Perhaps I should’ve thought this through a bit better and been clearer with the details, but in the end I believe the right thing was done.

This week, we’re delivering the prizes and taking pictures, which was the plan all along. We only announced the winners on Friday, so it’s entirely reasonable that we’d only be able to arrange delivery this week.

Some people are suggesting that we’ve somehow rigged the system so we could keep the prizes for ourselves. This is hilariously untrue. If we wanted to keep the prizes for ourselves, there are much easier ways to make that happen. Why would we go to so much effort to do such a thing, when at least half of the stuff we’re giving away is stuff we already have in our office?

Keep an eye on the site for the winners’ details (again, to be perfectly clear, there are two winners). Be happy for them. Maybe next time you’ll be the lucky winner, because we frequently give away prizes. Throughout the history of NAG and rAge, we’ve given away well over a million rand worth of prizes to many happy winners.

Thanks for all the concern and discussion. I’m sorry we weren’t very clear about how it was going to play out. We’ve learnt a few good lessons here, and we’ll put them to good use in future.