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  1. #1
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    SitePoint's New Contests System

    SitePoint's New Contests

    I'd like to announce the launch of SitePoint's new contests system!

    (Note added 10 November 2006: The 50% discount promotion mentioned below has now ended. Thank you to all those who bought a contest in order to try out the new system during this offer!)




    For the next week, all contest holders can create a new contest at a 50% discount - that's only $10 a contest!

    What's more, if you are not happy with the new system during this promotion, write to us at customer support and we'll give you your credits back.

    During the launch, we're also giving you the option to create an old contest if you really want to, at the regular price of $20.

    Benefits

    Launched on 30 October, SitePoint's new contests system offers the following benefits to contest holders:

    • Convenient thumbnail view for easy comparison of entries
    • Gain greater control over your contest - change the title, details or any other fields at any time
    • Open or close your contest whenever you wish (maximum 30 days)
    • Choose to award multiple prizes per contest if you wish
    • Set an automatic deadline for your contest


    Try out the new contests today, and tell us what you think! All feedback is very welcome.
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  2. #2
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    And how would this prevent the abandonment of contests and people looking to gain something for nothing (contest thieves)?

  3. #3
    SitePoint Cofounder Mark Harbottle's Avatar
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    It doesn't yet. One step at a time!
    Mark Harbottle - Co-Founder
    sitepoint.com - Master The Web!

  4. #4
    Galactic Overlord gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
    HAWK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Harbottle
    It doesn't yet. One step at a time!
    So I'm guessing it doesn't do vacuuming or ironing yet either?

  5. #5
    SitePoint Cofounder Mark Harbottle's Avatar
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    No, there are other solutions for that
    Mark Harbottle - Co-Founder
    sitepoint.com - Master The Web!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Harbottle
    It doesn't yet. One step at a time!
    Fair enough - Any previews of whats under consideration to help deter abandonment? reporting it doesn't seem to do anything and there are Contest Holders who are SAs - serial abandoners (hey how often can you come up with a new term ). Over and over again.

    It seems like about half of web design contests are abandoned at times. They get alot of "inspiration" for $20 and then go awol. Works well for them and when they abandon mods just close the thread and thats that until next time. Anything that you can do would really be appreciated.

  7. #7
    .* draziW tnioPetiS *. bronze trophy
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    Not a fan of contests... Design prostitution perhaps?

  8. #8
    SitePoint Cofounder Mark Harbottle's Avatar
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    Yes, one thing we're going to do is show a history of each contest holder, with information such as...

    E.g.

    Contest Holder: MMJ
    Total Contests Started: 5
    Total Prize Money Awarded: $600
    Feedback History: MMJ provides feedback for 75% of entries on average.
    Number of contests started where no prize was awarded: 2

    This will give the designer some information about the contest holder that they can then use to decide whether they enter the contest. It will help uncover some serial offenders, and highlight those contest holders that do the right thing. It's similar to a reputation system only it's automated.

    We also have some other ideas we're tossing around.
    Mark Harbottle - Co-Founder
    sitepoint.com - Master The Web!

  9. #9
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    As part of the new system, we are now tracking a number of things in a systematic way, such as what the outcome of each contest was, who won it, what the prize money was, etc.

    Previously there was no way of looking this up, and no database query we could do.

    As the new system is used more, and we get a reasonable amount of this data, we'll be able to implement a 'user statistics' feature that will enable you to see the following information about a user:

    - How many contests they've created
    - How many were completed with a winner chosen
    - How many were cancelled
    - How many were abandoned
    - How many were suspended by a moderator

    - How many contests they've entered
    - How many contests they won

    Contest holders, your contest will be marked as 'abandoned' if a new entry is without feedback for 7 days. You'll receive a reminder notice after 4 days.

    The 'abandoned' status may be removed at any time by providing feedback on all of the entries received so far.
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  10. #10
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Very nice.

  11. #11
    Brevity is greatly overrated brandaggio's Avatar
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    RE:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz
    And how would this prevent the abandonment of contests and people looking to gain something for nothing (contest thieves)?
    -------
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Harbottle
    It doesn't yet. One step at a time!
    Can't you make some effort to authenticate people via there IP (or even user - I am sure some serial abandoners continue to use the same user - surely they should face some punitive action)?

    How bout 3 strikes and you are out (something gracious) for serial abandoners.

    I have never bothered to participate because, at least on the surface, it looks like there is just too much fraud to bother.

    IMO this should be your primary focus not a secondary one as it legitmizes your contest and makes more capable people want to participate - IMO .

  12. #12
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    I like it. Except for one thing. Why such a leniency on abandoners? Can't it be automated as well that if you reach 2 then you are bounced to non member or flagged to a mod to be manually expelled? And why give abandoners the option of having - at any time - their abandonment status removed by giving feedback? Whats going to happen there is you are only going to get the feedback when the abandoner wants to run another contest. He'll just go through the motions and not award anything and with no intention of ever awarding anything.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Addict Clenard's Avatar
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    Sounds nice. Just in time too

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict grimsqueaker's Avatar
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    Is it possible to make the information on a contest holder available to the public? Show the number of times he's abandoned a contest (or at least make that info easy to find out) so that contest participants can see?
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  15. #15
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    There's a safeguard in there maginno. Notice how contests will be open for a maximum of 30 days. That alone will prevent holders from dragging their feet.

    I still think that the prize money should be fronted (in addition to the posting fee for the holder). That way the entrants know they'll get their money. But as Mark said, one thing at a time.

    @grim - I'm not privy to the details, but it looks like that's the plan.

  16. #16
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    Okay one constructive suggestion on the new system. You might want to consider polling designers as to what the best default contest deadline is.

    I noticed the first few contest under the new system are 15 days on web designs contests. In my opinion thats too long. Longer contests actually get less attention. Sounds counter intuitive but its true. Designers hone in on the contests that are ending sooner put the long contests on the back burner and they end up forgetting about them as they vanish from the front and even second page with nearly a week to go before they end. so longer contests tend to have more days passed with little entries and then the Ch gets frustrated and even think its dead and abandons (one of the rare cases where an abandonment is at least understandable). Some of the hottest contest have been shorter than a week but most 7-10 contest do pretty well. If they don't do well in that time extra days usually doesn't help. Thanks. Like the new look and the things coming too.

  17. #17
    Night Elf silver trophybronze trophy Varelse's Avatar
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    User statistics sound very promising. I'm looking forward to seeing them implemented.
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Cofounder Mark Harbottle's Avatar
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    good suggestion maginno. we can set the default at 7 days and recommend that contest holders use 7 to 10 days.
    Mark Harbottle - Co-Founder
    sitepoint.com - Master The Web!

  19. #19
    SitePoint Cofounder Mark Harbottle's Avatar
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    Is it possible to make the information on a contest holder available to the public?
    Yes, that's the intention. Read the posts that came before yours.
    Mark Harbottle - Co-Founder
    sitepoint.com - Master The Web!

  20. #20
    SitePoint Member bunnydojo's Avatar
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    I'll represent the "I used to love doing contests here but grew to hate the setup of people bickering/copying/setting up dummy accounts to compliment their own work/holders abandoning, etc." group (the group's t-shirts cost quite a lot to print ) in saying that I'm glad to see some improvements to the section. I actually liked things a lot less after the mandatory minimum pricing and posting cost since it led to more new users coming in and copying entries that had been given good feedback (in my eyes) and eliminated the market for quick and very easy to win contests, but this new setup seems to be a great step in the right direction, and certainly more professional presentation.

    The only thing that I'd suggest at the moment is picking up the special red phone in the library and getting straight on the line to FrozenToast to cook up some spruced up buttons.

  21. #21
    <code></code><WoW></WoW> nukeemusn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhulse
    Not a fan of contests... Design prostitution perhaps?
    What can I say? I'm a whore...
    And I need all the practice I can get, being new to the biz and all. I figure I can get all kinds of practice and feedback, and if I win, then thatx beer money and a little exposure. I certainly wouldn't plan my entire budget around it, though...
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  22. #22
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Why Toasty?

  23. #23
    SitePoint Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz
    There's a safeguard in there maginno. Notice how contests will be open for a maximum of 30 days. That alone will prevent holders from dragging their feet.
    Fair enough. However the 30 days does nothing really. If they have a new contest to run in that time frame they will run over and give meaningless feedback (meaningless because they have no intention of awarding a prize) just to run another contest and if they don't have a need for a contest in the 30 days nothing will be different they'll just abandon as they do now. So the net gain is you allow people who really have abandoned a contest the free 30 day (well at least minus the days before they actually abandoned it) opportunity to have it absolved. Besides that You must agree - Having a number allowed for abandonments implies that you can abandon and continue using sitepoint.

    In fact quite a few Serial abandoners give the excuse that their abandonments are exceeded by their successful contests. Kind of like saying they steal from people some of the time but most of the time they don't or that you don't beat your wife most of the time. Abandoning shouldn't be a ratio thing. You don't have to award a winner. its a common courtesy that should be extended in all contests. its a simple post is all it is.

  24. #24
    .* draziW tnioPetiS *. bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukeemusn
    What can I say? I'm a whore...
    And I need all the practice I can get, being new to the biz and all. I figure I can get all kinds of practice and feedback, and if I win, then thatx beer money and a little exposure. I certainly wouldn't plan my entire budget around it, though...
    Hehe, I hear that.

    I think the problem is not the contest department, it is me.

    I become frustrated seeing so many good works being served-up to folks that do not seem to realize what kind of treat we are feeding them...

    I do not know many other places a company or an individual could go to get a bunch of great work for dirt cheap (i.e 50 comps at no cost)... reminds me of my college years -- Not the work mind you, some amazing and professional designers/artists are up in the SP contest forums. All very inspiring.

    Again though, I think I am the one with the prob.

    Ok, so maybe this is not the place to vent.

    Off Topic:

    Speaking of venting, anyone else hate it when people discover the answer to their questions but then fail to post the solution for others? Lol, that is my biggest forum pet peeve.


    Cheers,
    Micky

  25. #25
    SitePoint Member Sicloan's Avatar
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    Very cool, i like it. I'm wondering about the 'My Shortlist' thing though. I would love a place where I can add contests that I'm interested in Joining but don't have the time to at the moment. Before I would just subscribe to the thread, but I hated getting constant emails from the subscriptions.

    xI'd be nice if you could set the level of notification when you 'add to shortlist' as well as in the 'my shortlist' section.

    There should be different levels of notifications, which you could turn off if you wanted for example:

    [ ] Email notification for new entries
    [x] Email notification for feedback
    [x] Email notification for deadline approaching [5 days] [3 days] [48 hours] [24 hours]


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