It's simple ethics, isn't it? You run a contest, you exclude yourself from the running. I've been in many organizations and that was almost always a given. It's not so much to prevent cheating as to prevent any appearance of impropriety. There must be absolutely no doubt about the results.
And if you didn't realize that and someone pointed it out to you, should you take it personally? I tend to think not. Someone pointing out that you shouldn't be running in your own contest is akin to the friend who points out you've got spinach stuck in your teeth before heading out the door. It's a bit of advice to avoid embarrassment.
Superangel feels pretty bad and bitter about being excluded from the HSBA awards. She's young and very bright and I know she'll get over it. Meanwhile, even more interesting than her post are all the responses from fans who think she's justified in her position and her anger. Note them all Superangel. These are the people that would smile at a friend with the piece of spinach in their teeth and say, "You look fantastic! Let's go!"
It's not until pianosteve, well down in the comments, that someone thinks and cares enough to point out what's gone wrong with Superangel's reasoning. He writes a graceful response that does Superangel more honour than anything else above it. I hope she puts quality above quantity and gives his post some serious thought.
HT to Doc.