1. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    How can we best improve the writing contests?

    Discussion in 'Writing Contests' started by Daniel, Oct 27, 2018.

    @Wreybies @thirdwind @theoriginalmonsterman @Zerotonin (sorry in advance if I forgot anyone)

    How Can We Improve Contest Administration / Participation / Voting?

    Beyond the add-on discussed here, what can I do to improve the contest area to make facilitating a contest easier and potentially boost participation and provide a smoother experience for contest administration and user experience?

    Are prefixes used and updated as intended?

    Would a more simple interface for submissions and/or a readable interface for reading submissions be beneficial?

    Promoting Contest Engagement

    In the past we’ve discussed ways for contest admins to promote new contests, open voting, and winners throughout the site, and potentially social media, or accomplishing this through automation. Thoughts on the best ways to accomplish that?

    It’s more possible now than when it came up before. I’ll try to find the previous thread on the topic, but I believe we discussed automatically updating/adding it to a Writing Contests menu item, or utilizing alert notifications, notices, email, on-site banners that rotate and get updated when there are new contests.

    Or potentially automatically create sitewide alerts when a contest admin posts a new thread in their contest forum.

    We may be able to utilize the dummy Anonymizer account and have open contests/voting it’s it’s postbit and integrate it’s functionality elsewhere in some way.

    Submission / Reading / Archive Improvements

    Thoughts on need for entry submission improvements? Useability / Intuitiveness? Contest Archives / Winner Spotlights?

    Other Improvements / Medals / Private Submissions

    What else is needed and how else can we improve? Are medals functioning okay and as expected? Is it time to bring back a contest cash prize?

    If my memory serves me, certain contest forums had members who wanted to hide submissions for everyone after a contest or at least from the search engine. On what level is this done, and how common? Is it only the private submissions sub-forum or also in-thread private posts?

    I ask because it’s a custom functionality and would need to be recreated for XF2, but will be complicated (and expensive) if we want to preserve current post privacy permissions.

    I know we’ve discussed some of these topics elsewhere, and I will dig up and review those threads (feel free to link), but I thought I’d create this for open feedback and improvements as they may soon be possible and it’s always better if they’re planned. Some functionality may be implementable now.

    Thanks in advanced for your feedback.
     
  2. Lifeline

    Lifeline Into the Cold Supporter Contributor

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    I thought about a banner in a corner of the main site, maybe with the alert for the current contest theme/or the reminder to vote—to get people to remember that we have contests :) I don't know how much work that would create for the contest administrators, because banners would have to change monthly. Also, I don't know if it could fit in a corner of the main website, and if that would be wanted.
     
  3. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    @Lifeline in the past we’ve had square banners in the sidebar promoting different areas of the site (contests, resources). The issue is making it easy for contest administrators to update it for each contest.

    Once possible solution is using custom fields. Contest admins could have a custom field in thier profile settings - or potentially in a thread - where they copy and past the current link go voting / submissions / winners and the link location is always the same and always updates. I could schedule do banners on showing only on specific days of the week, but we might have trouble updating the banner.

    Is making these promotions / announcements via alerts to all members too intrusive? I feel like it’s the way to reach the most eyes.
     
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  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline Into the Cold Supporter Contributor

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    It's always the question of getting people to look at something versus the annoyance factor, isn't it? For a time, @Tenderiser updated her status or answered in the voting thread to bump it at time of voting, which worked really well; but then, Tenderiser is a very outgoing and friendly person.
    And this wouldn't be an ad. We don't want people to buy something. We want to engage them to take part in something for which they came to WF—writing. So no, I wouldn't view it as too intrusive, but I'm only one person.

    I like the idea with a square field because it wouldn't stand out with regard to design to the rest of the site. I thought about a permanent static banner/message (whatever it's final form), with the link to the current contest. It could say something like 'Writingforums: Short Story Contest. Current Theme: Halloween.' and a link to the thread. At time of voting, it could flash/change color and in the message 'Get Voting!' could be added. Or something.

    The custom field therefore would have to have three areas which would need to change: One with cut/paste of the weblink, a part to update the words on it, and a radio button to click to make the banner flash/change color at voting time. Ideally, the mods would have a dedicated area for contest administration, and the custom field for the banner could be added to it, giving them everything at one glance.

    I'd like that. Maybe in a sticky thread, adding the link to the current winning entry to the list. This way, there'd be one thread linked to all submission threads. It'd make not only each winning entry easy to find, but also link all submission threads together. I know I could scroll through the long list of threads in the Archives, but face it: Who does that? If I have a link to these threads in the main contest area, that'd make it easier for me to look at people's contributions in the past.
    If you decide to make such a thread, I'd volunteer to copy/paste all the old links to winners. Actually, I'd look forward to doing this. I think it would be fascinating :).

    Also: I didn't know that medals were linked to the specific entry that won. It'd be good to let our members know that there is such a link ;)

    I am not one of them, but I understand wanting to hide them from the search engine. It wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me, trying to decide if I should take part in the short story contest, but I understand the sentiment.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  5. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Senior Member

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    Yes, I agree making the contest easier to find would be nice, such as a visible link on the home page. I would suggest either getting rid of the prompt or enforcing it more closely. The prompt was "Tumbleweed" in the just closed contest, but were any of the stories about tumbleweeds?
     
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  6. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    Twenty dollars?
     
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