Making a contest that doesn't suck... (in General)


Stephen Young August 17 2005 6:37 AM EDT

...is not very hard to do. But, there's a lot of contests floating around that are seriously starting to get on my nerves. I'm not saying that I don't enjoy the fact that so many people are interested in making contests. That is awesome.

I just have to say one thing, because I know a lot of you are thinking it:

TRIVIA CONTESTS IN THE CONTEST FORUM (unless executed in a very interesting, google-stumping format) DO NOT WORK.

Someone, somewhere is better at using google than you, and will find the answer in practically no time at all. (Mr.Wuss has proven that to most of you)

Please, for the sake of your CB peers, and the sake of interesting contest content, keep your "Who performed these song lyrics" contests in the chatrooms.

Thank you for your time.

Flame me if you dare: you know I'm right.

QBBarzooMonkey August 17 2005 7:39 AM EDT

I'm not usually one to flame, but against your single complaint, I've gotten 10, maybe 12 "these are the best contests ever, keep it up."

But we certainly don't want to annoy you, do we.

Everyone, "Name That Tune 2005", with it's 25k & item naming prizes, is officially finished, because it annoys the Vampire King, and we certainly can't have that...

Xiaz on Hiatus August 17 2005 7:51 AM EDT

Settings > Supporter Preferences > Forum Portal > Uncheck "Contests."

That'll stop you being shown these 'unwanted' contest, and you'll have the option of looking in the contest forum itself to pick out your prefered contest that you like. :)

Phaete August 17 2005 7:56 AM EDT

I fully DISAGREE with you VK.

I'm not using chat(like some others), so the alternative you offer is nonsense.

You can prevent your own nerves from being gotten by simply not reading and/or participating in those contests that you so vividly label.

But why do you prevent others from having fun? (even though it might not be your kind of fun)

Life and let life.

QBJohnnywas August 17 2005 8:02 AM EDT

A lot of people round here don't do chat. So as Phaete says that cuts a lot of people out of involvement.

Personally I hate the FS/WTB posts but again as been said you can change your settings and not see them.


Of course if your point is that people should try and make the contests that bit more difficult and (possibly) interesting then I would probably agree. These little bite sized contests are still good snacks though...

[T]Vestax August 17 2005 11:05 AM EDT

There are three major categories of contests as I understand it. There are the contests that make you find the answer to some question, contests that make you solve a riddle, and contests that make you develop something of your own.

The first contest is low maintenance for the person putting on the contest since these contests don't last very long (usually over in hours or minutes as opposed to days) and they usually don't require any form of judgment of the answer, either they are right or they are wrong. As noted these contests are designed to be quick and dirty and it's only fair if the prizes are indeed small.

The second type still falls under the category of either you are right or you are wrong except the answer should not be found on the web, but could be if it is a popular riddle. This is the type of contest where the answer must be generated and so it should require more effort on the part of the participants. This could also include contests requiring you to do math or encryption. The basic idea is that everything you need to solve the answer is right in front of you.

The last contest type is the hardest for the host of the contest as it requires judging every submission. These are your find a funny pic contests, write a good story contests, and your make a funny transfer note contests. The prizes for these tend to be larger and ought to be for good reason. However, the host has to be careful to not make a biased opinion or else others could claim foul. The easiest way to avoid this is to hand out consolation prizes to the runner ups and to ask for the second opinion of someone not in the contest.

Currently I find nothing wrong with the contest situation, yet the ideas could be a bit more original.

Stephen Young August 17 2005 2:10 PM EDT

I believe that the point of my post has been missed due to the heated method used to convey it.

I wasn't trying to belittle the generosity of those running such flash-in-the-pan, google intensive contests. This post was more of a warning to those with aspirations of running a contest and giving back to the community. Their contest will be over much faster than they might imagine if it is simply a basic trivia contest.

The simple fact that BarzooMonkey has received so much praise for running such a contest tells me two things:

1. (good) BarzooMonkey, and others like him, are doing a good job of providing some form of entertainment to the community.

2. (not-so-good) Unlike Vestax's opinion that there is "nothing wrong with the contest situation," these contests (not just "find these lyrics" contests, but any simple google-for-the-answer kind of contests) are obviously the best thing that the contest forum currently has to offer. Maybe others are okay with that. I'll have to deal with that on my own.

However, the next guy who feels like giving back to the CB community is going to look at these contests--and their aforementioned praise regarding their comparison to other contests--as the easiest way to achieve his goals. After all, these contests are starting to become the "norm."

The problem is, instead of coming up with something that entertains the masses, these contests simply turn into giveaways. The person running the contest for the sake of running a contest doesn't achieve his goal. Two recent, blatant examples of this can be found here and here.

A quote from the first example:
"sent 5k to wuss and everyone else got a refund. i tried to make a decent contests. . .and i failed"
--Fat Tony

And from the second:
"cupofjoe won....crap i thought this would be hard"
--Lu BuII

I feel bad for these two guys, because they were trying to do something entertaining--in vain, due to the nature of the contests.

I wrote all of that to say this: If you want to make a contest that entertains, think of something original. If you want to give away stuff to the fastest-googler-in-the-land, make a simple trivia contest.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] August 17 2005 2:34 PM EDT

I made a contest to create some new uses for that greasemonkey script. I'm surprised more people didn't take that one and run with it. ;)

[T]Vestax August 17 2005 4:12 PM EDT

Granted, two people failed to make a contest that stumped anyone or managed to have a question that would have taken a while to find. If you don't want people to google the answer, then don't use google. Web search engines are not the only ways to look for information. if you develop a question, google it yourself just to see how hard it would be to find the answer.

As for the situation, I was referring to the fact that the prizes I have seen seem to match the type of contest, with "find this answer" based contest netting the lowest rewards. If someone did want to make a longer lasting and more difficult contest, I hope I have given them the tools for such a thing.

Remember, open-ended contests, like the one I ran, can last as long as you would like and can often generate not just a chance to gamble and win, but may also provide everyone with some fantastic entertainment.

Admin{CB1}Slayer333 August 17 2005 4:31 PM EDT

One contest I used to love (and have running on Cb1) is Mythology's old "What Am I?" Contests, they were quite entertaining :)

empty orchestra August 17 2005 6:08 PM EDT

i like these contests. i would participate even if there were no prizes. especially the tougher one's, like the last two i participated in. sure, putting nirvana lyrics or something like that is no fun... it's just too easy. but these ones lately are much more difficult. they're like a geeky scavenger hunt, not really who can google the fastest. for bast's latest one i had to do _a lot_ of digging, and i didn't even get the lyrics. i had to find and listen to a song clip (which was quite good btw) based on other ppl's responses. seems to me that this is a way to have fun and open people up to new music they would have never heard, and might enjoy.

Mistress Reyna August 17 2005 6:48 PM EDT

/me gets up on her soap box
Thanks for joining Both of my original contests people and im glad those who participated had a good time and that both the contest and the prize was well done and well earned. I can put another 1 mill prize out and watch as i get cm'd, pm'd and forume'd about how neat the contest is and how hard it is, and why cant i do somthing simplier, Obviously the contests are fun enough that people are entering them, as well as profitable enough that people who are interested in gleaning a little bit of CB community time also get somthing a little extra. If the contests arn't "good" enough for you, or the interaction of the community isn't worth your time, dont check the contests, skip the posts that say, 10k if you can answer " Who framed roger rabbit" Its your CB, and your wasting your time reading the contests if all thats going to come of it is belittling the attempt of bring us together.

/me hops off her box, and goes the find out, what the 43rd element on the periodic table is, because she'll give 5k to the first to cm it to her

Mistress Reyna August 17 2005 6:56 PM EDT

Mistress Reyna (Tenshi Kuma) 68.154.224.26 Karmic Mishap (Chao Tipper) $5000 6:52 PM EDT

congratz on the win Karmic :)

Stephen Young August 18 2005 7:55 AM EDT

Mistress Reyna, your 1 mil contest didn't suck. Even if the prize had only been 50k.

You know what? I don't care if some of you dislike my opinion. It's mine. Neeya. :P
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