Interesting topic. I have been reading the posts about this and I also have an opinion.
First of all, just because I have been decorating cakes for many years, I may not have done half as many as those of you who have been doing a lot of cakes for only a year or two. I have never taken the Wilton courses and when I try something new, it is new to me and I learn it by looking at another cake and figuring it out or by following instructions I see written somewhere.
I don't often post pictures of my cakes, that is just a thing I have, I also don't like getting my picture taken. I post pictures when people ask for them and if I happen to have a picture , but that is about it. It isn't a question of not wanting to share or not wanting anyone to copy, it is just the way I am.
I don't consider myself a professional decorator, just a person with a bit of knowledge about decorating and a fair bit of knowledge about baking.
I have only voted once on one cake competition here. I must say, I am not keen on the way folks vote. I think that every single cake should be voted on, in fact, I wish that was mandatory, vote for one, vote for all. That is just my opinion. I think that otherwise it is a bit offensive to the participants and also, I do think sometimes it is a bit of a popularity contest, not so much based on the cake itself but who did the cake. I also think that some folks rate the cakes very low and I cringe when I note that. So, as a result, I will no longer vote on the cakes entered in the contests.
I am not critiquing what Jackie herself is doing here, but rather a bit put off by how the members are using the contests even though they are well within the rules. It is Jackie's site, she can do as she sees fit. I am only a guest here.
I think many sites have many members who only look and do not post. That is unfortunate, but true, but again, well within the membership rules. Not everyone has time to post or comment. And yes, there will always be folks that will take, but not give. It is true of all of the sites.
I don't think you can ever please everyone. If you post a lot, people think you are a bit of a "Know-it-all" and sometimes feel that their task is to cut you down to size. Some folks resent sharing information, others take other folk's information and post it as their own. Others won't share a thing. Some will argue every point anyone makes.
I guess it doesn't matter to me what status folks have, when they enter a contest. I just enjoy seeing all of the various takes on a theme.
I just wish that folks were kinder when they vote and kind when they post.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes