Wattpad's annual Watty Awards are always shrouded in rumors and controversy. This year, users have complained that Wattpad Stars seem to have a better chance of winning the Wattys.
Why Wattpad Has Been Accused of Bias
When Wattpad released their shortlist for The Wattys Shorts 2020, it was immediately met with backlash. (Similar responses in years prior led the main Wattys competition to stop releasing these lists.)
Users discovered that a disproportionate number of Wattpad Stars made their way into the shortlist, and many saw this as a sign of bias. In total, 9 finalists (3 per category) were announced. Of these finalists, 3 were Wattpad Stars and 1 was a Wattpad Ambassador. Despite making up a minority of users, 30% of the finalists were Stars. In previous years, users also complained that far more winners were Stars than non-Stars.
Do More Wattpad Stars Win Wattys?
While it's hard to calculate how many Wattpad Stars have won a Watty after joining, we do know that many Stars report having been invited to join the program after winning a Watty. In fact, one of the possible prizes listed for a Watty win is "consideration for Wattpad Stars."
In this case, it's a bit of a chicken vs. the egg scenario. While most people look at past winners and see a bunch of Stars on the list, the causality actually goes the other way. People who win Wattys are often good enough writers that Wattpad invites them to join the Stars program.
The Data Doesn't Tell the Whole Story
If you look at the numbers, it is odd to see a small percentage of users winning a notable percentage of the awards. This data, however, doesn't account for extraneous factors.
The first point is a relatively simple one: Wattpad Stars may be better writers. Authors selected for the program are chosen for their writing ability, and many were selected following a previous Watty win. So it's really no surprise that these writers tend to win more awards, because they're supposed to be talented.
Secondly, Wattpad Stars and Ambassadors are more plugged in to the platform. Stars have a lot of friends in the community and tend to participate more. That means that these writers are likely to be actively invested in their craft and to have support from others. They're also more likely to have heard of and entered the contest in the first place.
Lastly, Wattpad Stars aren't given a special leg up in the Wattys, but they are given additional support and resources. That may or may not play a role in producing better quality content.
So What's the Verdict?
While members of the Stars program may win more Wattys, they may also be totally deserving. It's likely that these people win Wattys for the same reason that they are chosen for the Stars program in the first place—because they're good writers with potential.
Have you entered the Wattys this year? Let us know in the comments...