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Inspired by: A "complaint" about the "Best Answer" contest

Edited Proposal:

Thanks to Alex, DoubleAA, Isaac Moses, Monica Cellio, and Shmuel Brin for their helpful feedback so far.

With the community's permission, I would like to run/fund a "Best Question Contest". I am looking for ways to run it and wanted to get some people's opinions on how it could be run. Here's my full idea in point form:

  • Once every two months (6x a year) at the beginning of a month (e.g. beginning March 1, on questions asked from January 1 - Feb 28)
  • 5 days of nominations, 5 days of voting (e.g. March 1-5 nominations, March 6-10 voting)
  • Contest is run on Mi Yodeya Meta, just like the Best Answer Contest
  • you can nominate questions asked by other people only
  • you can nominate any number of questions
  • winner gets a 200 rep bounty on their question, with a message noting that they won the most recent "Best Question Contest", and that users should therefore give it extra consideration for upvoting and favoriting (?)
  • the following graphic (or something better made by someone who uses a graphic design program that isn't Microsoft Word and Paint combined) will be edited into the winning question:

enter image description here

(I'm not sure why there is a little line under it, it doesn't appear that way in the original file)

  • the asker will have the option of adding this to his/her profile

Just some comments on why I think this would be a good thing to have on MY:

Firstly, read the link above with DanF's "complaint", as well as Monica's answer, both of which are well-expressed. I would add that I'm not going to try and find sources about questions being important in Judaism (although I'm sure I could), but rather note that on a personal level, a good question inspires me to learn about that topic, do research, ask others, etc. etc. I feel that for me, it is not simply that if I happen to know the answer to a question, I will share it, but rather, that I cherish the opportunity to learn more about something. I can think of so many good examples of this, and that is why I want them to be rewarded!

Thank you all, and I look forward to your continued feedback! (If possible, please provide alternate proposals or changes as answers rather than comments.)

  • @Alex, ShmuelBrin thanks, everything has been updated to fix your issues. – רבות מחשבות Feb 2 '18 at 4:17
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    Just a tip: it may be worth linking to user profiles at least for usernames that aren't so unique, like Alex. – Double AA Feb 2 '18 at 21:28
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    the line underneath is because it's a link, just like any other link on Meta.MY – Ploni Feb 6 '18 at 21:09
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You need the community's permission to make the change in scope policy you're proposing, not the mods'. If there's a community consensus in favor of a policy change, the mods will act accordingly.

Not speaking as a mod, then, but as a community member, I don't think we should start hosting meta-style posts on our main site. The reason there is Meta is so that we have a place to talk (and act) about Mi Yodeya, without mixing up the scope of our main site, which is Judaism.

Contests like this have value in terms of bringing attention to good content and giving the community an extra bit of fun and intrigue. However, I don't think the value is tremendous, and I don't think it exceeds the value of maintaining the purity of our Judaism Q&A format.

I recommend that if you do this, you provide a prize other than a bounty on an answer. There are incentives in life other than imaginary points. Some possibilities:

  • Public recognition for winning the contest.

  • Extra attention drawn to the winner's question.

  • A special graphic, indicating the contest victory, is edited into the question and may be edited into the winner's profile.

  • Money or other tangible prize sent to the winner, or winners are entered into an annual drawing for same.

  • A blog post is written or a podcast episode is taped, featuring and expanding upon the winning question.

  • 100% agreed, you make a great point. I too would not want to change the entire Q/A format. How would I go about looking into the "winner graphic" option, which seems most interesting to me? Or would there be some way to feature it for a couple of weeks as a winning question? – רבות מחשבות Feb 2 '18 at 1:18
  • (Btw, the reason that I thought of doing it this way was that I wanted to be the"you" who donated the rep and ran it, just like what you do for the best answer contest. Now, I think I have to rely on others for a reward, which is ok, since that seems like a better idea than major policy changes, as you described above.) – רבות מחשבות Feb 2 '18 at 1:34
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    Even a bounty on their question is already a reward. It gets the q more votes and can either help get a good answer or reward one that the OP likes but didn't want to spend a bounty on. I'd love for someone to promote my questions and get me good answers. – Double AA Feb 2 '18 at 1:49
  • @רבותמחשבות There are any number of programs out there one could use to design a graphic... – Isaac Moses Feb 2 '18 at 2:27
  • @IsaacMoses sorry, I had misunderstood the "edited into the question and winner's profile". I thought that it was something official, like a SE hat or something, but now I realized my error/misunderstanding. I'll work on something and let everyone know. – רבות מחשבות Feb 2 '18 at 2:47
  • @DoubleAA Good point, I'll try figure that in to it. – רבות מחשבות Feb 2 '18 at 2:48
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    I can't agree with the suggestion that a "graphic, indicating the contest victory, [be] edited into the question". Question posts should contain questions, and to the extent practicable should not contain meta-info about the questions. – msh210 Feb 2 '18 at 4:37
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Thank you for volunteering your effort (and reputation in the form of bounties) to highlight site content!

I agree with Isaac that we shouldn't distort the Q&A on the main site to provide the scaffolding for this proposal. But I do appreciate well-asked questions; I've seen many questions on this site that really impressed me, even if I had no clue how to offer an answer. So I'll suggest one way that you might be able to use bounties to do what you want.

You could (on meta, where we do the answer contests) collect nominations of questions, with the understanding that to be eligible, the author of the nominated question must also have a bounty-worthy answer somewhere on the site. Maybe you set a minimum score and you (the bounty-giver) choose, or maybe you ask for nominations for the answers too, or maybe you come up with some other way to give a reputation prize to the asker of a good question. Please don't award bounties to bad answers (whatever "bad" means), because bounties are a permanent addition to the site and future viewers won't know anything about your contest.

But, all that said, there are other ways to reward good questions:

  • Announce winners on meta and link to the announcement in a comment on the question. Years ago we had a weekly topic challenge and that's how winners were recognized. People seemed to like it. I'll bet we could tweet these, too. (I don't think we had a Twitter account back then.)

  • As DoubleAA suggested in a comment, put a bounty on the question you want to highlight. The question author can't win the bounty (unless he self-answers), but the mere presence of the bounty will draw attention, some of which will turn into votes -- but, more importantly, might get the person who asked a good new answer.

  • I just updated the proposal to include DoubleAA's idea, and the graphic. (I was also taking it for granted that there would be some form of announcement about it, but I should really state that clearly.) I like your bounty idea, but I think I'll stick with what I have as of now. Thanks for the clever idea, though! – רבות מחשבות Feb 2 '18 at 4:09

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