The last celebration proposal we had never got off of it's feet. In fact, the Birthday Celebration Proposal's time has come, and it left a long time ago. So a few other P.SE members and I came up with an idea: let's have a contest!

We realize that other sites that have had contests have had a lot of support, and the community didn't have to do too much of the dirty work. But that's the beauty of it. If we follow through with something like this, we will get more publicity and support from higher powers.

We have, somewhat, became the ugly little brother of Stack Overflow. We have had to rebuild, and clean up the mess from the early days of P.SE, before the revolution. A lot of other sites did too, but most are done. Mainly because they had SE backing them up. Or a CHAOS member.

That's why this contest will be great. We, as a community, will set the entire thing up, give it to SE, and let them serve it up. Overall, this is going to give us:

  • A stronger community.
  • More "power users".
  • A fun activity.
  • More executive support from SE

because they saw that we put it together ourselves.

If you agree with any of these ideas please upvote. If you disagree, please downvote.

If you have an idea, please post it as an answer to this question. Structure it in the same (or similar) format as I did. If you want to edit my idea, do the same.

And the winner is... Rachel!

We will implement this contest as soon as possible. Hope everybody has a little fun and we can help the whole community. Thanks to everyone who voted and submitted ideas!

  • 2
    If we start another cycle of comments, questions and concerns, I don't see a contest happening. Just post your idea, no need to start yet another pointless discussion, let's concentrate on the actual ideas.
    – yannis
    Apr 6, 2012 at 0:24
  • @YannisRizos: Done. Please read my update.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 2:30
  • Perhaps the reward could be a development book of choice from Amazon (providing it's under $X)? There's some books I'd love to get, but I'm cheap :)
    – Rachel
    Apr 6, 2012 at 13:06
  • @Rachel: ebook?
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 13:27
  • No, give me a real book (Is it too much to ask for the ones that come with an eBook version too? :)). Don't get me wrong, eBooks are great and I love them, but actual books are so much more convenient to use when learning and developing.
    – Rachel
    Apr 6, 2012 at 13:50
  • @Rachel: it'll probably be a choice. I like ebooks...
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 14:57
  • There are two issues I have with your proposal. First off, won't tagging/retagging questions bump them all to the main page? And second, it relies on actual user participation to get results, such as judges or voters. Not sure if you've noticed, but this hasn't worked out to well in our blog so far.
    – Rachel
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:34
  • @Rachel: I noticed. But if you read my post, a major point of the contest is getting more user participation. Secondly, the question should originally be tagged with the [contest] tag, or it is disqualified.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:39
  • 1
    @Jae - Shouldn't your proposals be answers so they can be voted on individually and separate from the basic contest idea itself?
    – psr
    Apr 6, 2012 at 20:47
  • @psr: Will that be better?
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 20:48
  • @Jae - Well, I think so, or I wouldn't suggest it. It's what I assumed you had done when I saw your comment in chat. If your proposals are intended to be the same kind of thing you are looking for as an answer, then I think it makes sense.
    – psr
    Apr 6, 2012 at 20:51
  • @psr Ok. All done.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 20:52
  • 2
    Could we also include what the purpose of the contest is in the idea? For instance, Gaming's contests were designed to attract new users and advertise the site. We could also have a contest as a tool to clean up a tag, or promote better/longer answers. I feel that defining the purpose will help to focus the ideas better.
    – Michael K
    Apr 9, 2012 at 13:47
  • @YannisRizos: Idea... Should this post be a community wiki so that we can edit each others ideas?
    – Dynamic
    Apr 9, 2012 at 18:48
  • @MichaelK: The post is now community wiki. Feel free to add the suggested or established motives there.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 9, 2012 at 20:26

8 Answers 8


I think a better way to approach it might be like how Gaming.SE does their contests

You start by picking a timeframe and a tag. The tag could be a design pattern, a development methodology, or any broad category you'd like to promote.

There are two winners: One for best question, and one for best answer.

Best Question is won by the person who asked a question with the contest tag within the contest timeframe, that has the most Views.

Best Answer is won by the the person who answered a question containing the contest tag within the contest timeframe, that has the most votes.

Winners get the software development Book or eBook of their choice (within a reasonable price range) from Amazon

The beauty of this is users don't have to do anything extra to participate in the contest, and very little administrative work is needed to manage the contest. You'll need someone to determine the contest tags and timeframe, and create the announcement for it, and you'll need someone that knows how to get the top question and answer based on the criteria mentioned above (I'm not sure if that can be done with SE's search, or if you'd need the help of an SE employee to query the database)

Other than that, it's just regular SE Q&A. The only difference is users are encouraged to post questions and answers within a specific tag to win prizes.

As an added bonus, you will be promoting tags which are clearly on-topic for the site, such as design-patterns or algorithms, and this will hopefully generate some great on-topic questions and answers for P.SE, which I think we need more of.


Per discussions in the programmers contest chat room, the final decision was to run a contest for a 4-week period, with one tag being highlighted per week.

The tags will be , , , and

At the end of each week, two prizes will be awarded:

  • The Best Question prize will be awarded to the user who asked the question with the most views in the contest tag during that tag's contest week (so feel free to advertise your question any way you can to get more views!)

  • The Best Answer prize will be awarded to the user who posted the answer with the most votes that was answered to any question with one the contest tags during that tag's contest week

Prizes will be determined by the SE team, and as of right now it looks like they will be $50 worth of programming-related stuff from Amazon (winners choice!)

Prizes will only be awarded to open questions, so be sure what you post is on-topic for the site.

  • 2
    Most views isn't a good idea here. All of the [contest] questions are probably going to get more views because of their participation. I think we need some kind of alternate voting, such as a panel or a community wide (moderator vote like) vote. Not default question votes or views.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:40
  • @Jae We'd have to ask Gaming.SE why they decided to go with Views instead of Votes, but it probably has to do with the fact the best question is the one that drew the most people to it (and therefore, to the site), and not the one with the most registered users voting it up. Don't forget, it'd only be the most viewed question, posted within the contest timeframe and with the contest-defined tag. I don't want to get into some kind of closed circle of judges evaluating questions because then we run into the issue of user participation and a potentially non-transparent process for picking winners
    – Rachel
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:44
  • But isn't that what we want? More registered users?
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:45
  • 1
    @Jae We need users before we can have registered users. The site is more welcoming if contests are open for everyone to participate in, not just registered users (participating as in through views, not votes I mean). Someone saying "hey come view my question at this link to help me win this" is more likely to get someone to come see the site than saying "hey come register for an account and vote my question up so I can win this". Hopefully it will also lead to people blogging/tweeting their questions to get more views too.
    – Rachel
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:48
  • We'll let the community decide. Give it like 24 hours and see how many votes/comments you get.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 15:50
  • Just got a chance to read the edited comment. I guess you're right.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 18:36
  • @Jae Sorry about that. I re-read what I wrote after I hit enter and realized it needed to be explained a little further, so edited it. You must have seen it after I initially hit enter, but before I finished editing it.
    – Rachel
    Apr 6, 2012 at 19:44
  • 2
    Gaming was trying to attract new users as I understand, which is why they ranked by views. That number takes into account googlers, I believe.
    – Michael K
    Apr 9, 2012 at 13:39
  • @MichaelK: The question is "are we looking for more outside users or already SE users?".
    – Dynamic
    Apr 11, 2012 at 0:53
  • I really don't like this, exactly because it requires little participation. People are sufficiently rewarded (rep/badges) for their normal participation, I don't think there's any point in further rewards.
    – yannis
    Apr 11, 2012 at 11:48
  • @YannisRizos Perhaps you can talk with the Gaming.SE mods about how effective their contests were at bring new people to the site and generating new questions within a specific tag. I thought it worked out fairly well, and I remember actually taking the time to look for questions/answers within the specified tag, something I normally wouldn't have done. I'd say it does promote user participation, without actually requiring them to do anything beyond using the site in the way it was meant to be used.
    – Rachel
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:03
  • @Rachel [status-declined] no moderation intervention required. The Bridge is almost always full of people and most of the times there's at least one mod there, and they have a very helpful [contests] Meta tag.
    – yannis
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:07
  • @Rachel: See my newest proposal. It is similar to yours, but it adds extra categories... tell me what you think.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 15, 2012 at 16:09
  • @Jae I prefer mine :) It allows us to focus on specific on-topic tags, and generates content within those tags. I like the idea of having some kind of focus for the contest instead of just saying "use our site and win prizes". In addition, with only two winners we can afford some nicer prizes :)
    – Rachel
    Apr 15, 2012 at 20:30
  • Regarding the best question: I would also prefer votes instead of views.
    – sakisk
    Apr 17, 2012 at 18:50

Answer all the things

How this would work:

  1. We set up a contest chat room,
  2. We answer previously unanswered questions, and post our answers to the chat room.
  3. Highest voted answer on a previously unanswered questions win the super awesome prize!
  4. Contest lasts for a month.


  1. Unanswered means no answers at all, but we can work something out for questions that have no positively scored answers (a volunteer should verify).
  2. Obviously, eligible questions must have been posted before the contest starts, as every new question is essentially unanswered.
  • So you would have to post your answer in the chat room to be eligible for the contest? And someone would be responsible for going through all answers posted there and determining which one has the highest votes? I don't like the idea because it sounds like it's a contest for only pre-existing P.SE users, and would either exclude new users, or would promote bad answers.
    – Rachel
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:15
  • I do like the premise though of getting old unanswered questions answered, however at the time of writing this there are less then 100 questions with no answers on the site.
    – Rachel
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:15
  • @Rachel Promote bad answers? The community can take care of that through voting. And you'd have to post your answer in the chat room because otherwise it would be insane trying to figure out if the question was previously unanswered. And why does any of this exclude new users, anyone can answer. It excludes new questions, not new users.
    – yannis
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:27
  • Another thought... what happens if two users both try to answer the same unanswered question, a few hours or days apart, but the later answer is better so gets upvoted more. Would it be excluded because at the time of the answer, the question no longer qualified for the content?
    – Rachel
    Apr 11, 2012 at 16:37
  • @Rachel Not a problem, we only need to check that the question had no answers when the contest started (or no positively scored answers). Every answer it gets after the contest starts is eligible...
    – yannis
    Apr 12, 2012 at 10:40

The Great Programmers.SE User Fest

What the goal is:

  • To create more site activity.
  • To give existing users a more enjoyable time.

What we do:

  • Throughout a 2 week period, we find the following things:

    • Best Question (based on views)

    • Best Answer (based on votes)

    • Best Editors (most edits in certain time)

    • Best Rep Racker (user with most rep in certain time)

    • Any other idea that I get from comments...

At the end of the contest, incentives will be given to the winners.

  • mod note: Only open questions count ;P
    – yannis
    Apr 13, 2012 at 17:43

The great Stack Overflow treasure hunt

How this would work:

  1. We set up a contest chat room;
  2. We explore the vast wilderness that is Stack Overflow for questions that rightfully belong to us;
  3. If we find a great question we post it to the chat room;
  4. People periodically check the chat room and if they agree the questions are more suitable for Programmers they vote to migrate;
  5. Whoever salvages more questions wins the super awesome prize.

The rules:

  1. No crap. If it's closed on Stack Overflow, it's crap.
  2. No old questions, nothing older than three months. You can always post them in the chat room, but they won't count towards the big prize.
  3. No flags, no need to bother the SO mods with our contest, just post the questions you find in the chat room.
  4. Contest period: A month.

What we gain:

  1. Super awesome questions (hopefully)
  2. The immense satisfaction of stealing the questions from Stack Overflow.

One volunteer from the community will be responsible for counting each user's salvaged questions.

  • This will be a huge annoyance for the moderators.... you'll get spammed with many migration requests and have to explain why many questions don't belong here, or should stay on another site. Ultimately I think it will decrease user participation, not increase it. In addition, I thought I saw some meta.SE question thread about not migrating questions unless they met some kind of criteria, such as that they were newer, and had no good answers.
    – Rachel
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:18
  • @Rachel Did I forget to mention that I'll suspend anyone complaining on Meta that their question didn't get migrated? ;P Seriously now, I think the vast majority of the site is pretty knowledgeable on what a good Programmers question is, and the point here is for the community to bring over the questions. You see it in the chat room, go to SO and vote to bring it over, no need for moderators to intervene.
    – yannis
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:24
  • Don't you need a certain rep to vote to migrate questions? It sounds like users will have to spend quite a bit of time trying to get migration votes for their questions, and don't forget close(migration) votes expire. I have the rep to vote to migrate from SO, but I'm not going to spend a lot of time reading questions people think should come here and casting migration votes. Then there's the case of what happens when users migrate something that shouldn't be here? They spent the time finding questions they thought were on-topic, getting migration votes, and the question just gets closed
    – Rachel
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:32
  • @Rachel I could look over the questions in chat and delete those that obviously don't belong...
    – yannis
    Apr 11, 2012 at 12:39
  • 1
    If I could get a quick 230 SO up-votes I think it would facilitate things.
    – psr
    Apr 11, 2012 at 20:59

This is my proposal:

  • A panel of judges is chosen (volunteers).
  • Each week, the judges make picks on certain topics (best answer, best question, most edits, etc.). Of course, some of these topics may not even need judges.
  • We do this for about 4 weeks.
  • Incentives are given to winners at the end of the month.
  • diamond moderators != judges, if there is any moderation intervention required, we can help, but other than that judges should be volunteers, regardless if they are regular users or moderators.
    – yannis
    Apr 6, 2012 at 21:44
  • @YannisRizos: Haha... I knew what response I would get. In that case, I VOLUNTEER! But really, thanks for the input.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 21:47
  • I'm concerned about the user participation required for a proposal like this. In addition, it sounds like winners will be picked from volunteers, and I'd rather have the winners based on some value that can be measured, not volunteer opinion
    – Rachel
    Apr 7, 2012 at 2:24

Here is my proposal:

  • Each week a new tag or general topic is chosen.
  • Throughout the week, questions using the tag that want to be part of the contest will be marked with a special [contest] tag.
  • At the end of the week, the questions with the most upvotes (or some other kind of feedback) will go into a "final round".
  • After a certain amount of weeks, the community will vote on the 3 questions they thought helped the community the most, and 3 answers that they thought were the most helpful.
  • Winners will receive some form of incentive.
  • 3
    I don't like the [contest] tag, too prone to abuse.
    – yannis
    Apr 6, 2012 at 21:40
  • @YannisRizos: Is it possible to make it moderator only tag. This way, questions that want to be part of the contest will be flagged to be tagged.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 21:46
  • No. blah blah blah, comment character limit is getting on my nerves...
    – yannis
    Apr 6, 2012 at 21:50
  • @YannisRizos: The what else can we do?
    – Dynamic
    Apr 6, 2012 at 21:51
  • Don't know, will think about it. It's tequila time here, difficult to be productive.
    – yannis
    Apr 6, 2012 at 21:55
  • I agree with Yannis that I don't like the idea of a special tag for this, and I have the same concerns as your other proposal about user participation. In addition, it seems kind of pointless to be voting on questions twice, and it only promotes asking questions, not answering them.
    – Rachel
    Apr 7, 2012 at 2:27
  • 1
    @Rachel: That's why we are structuring ideas. Feel free to edit my post.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 7, 2012 at 13:29

The great tag wiki edit

How this would work:

  1. Set up a contest time frame and chat room,
  2. discuss and evaluate tag wiki edits submitted during time frame set,
    in order to short-list ones to be presented in nominees list at next step,
  3. set up a "voting question" with nominees list (like elections town hall or SCNA wish list),
  4. whoever edit scores best gets kissed by Anna Lear and Mark Trapp wins.

The rules:

  1. No edits outside the time frame.
  2. Contest period: A month.

What we gain:

  1. tag wiki improvements
  2. more publicity
  3. better understanding of Tag Wiki best practices


  • definition from page with a really nice title: 'tag-wiki' tag wiki - Meta Stack Overflow

    An editable page that briefly summarizes the topic of the tag and that may provide links to existing questions that are often useful to many people...

    Tag wikis are made of 2 parts:

    • The Excerpt - which is displayed on question lists and tag hover menu.
    • The Body - which contains detailed information about a tag wiki.
  • definition that inspired me, from a tag homepage/FAQ request at MSO:

    a community-wiki editable home page... where we could place essentially the tag-specific FAQ and other tag-specific links

  • I like the idea of editing tag wikis, but I don't like the idea of reading all the edits to vote on them
    – Rachel
    Apr 13, 2012 at 17:10
  • @Rachel my bad - didn't made it explicit that nominees list to be voted are to be short-listed at previous step. Fixed that in rev 2
    – gnat
    Apr 13, 2012 at 17:16

I propose we do something a little more different than business as usual.

In honor of April Fools Day, we have a Foolish question contest. To avoid disrupting the site, we post the questions on Meta, labeled with the Fool tag. The goal is to ask the worst questions related or tenuously related to programming.

For example, "Should qBits be renamed to mechicka booleans?".

Whoever gets the most downvotes wins. The prize is to be deleted last in the structured tag cleanup that immediately follows.

  • 1
    I'd rather not spam meta with bad questions :p
    – Rachel
    Apr 7, 2012 at 13:34
  • Yeah. Meta is not the place you would post questions. Especially bad ones.
    – Dynamic
    Apr 7, 2012 at 15:45
  • @Rachel Oh, really? </sarcasm>
    – yannis
    Apr 11, 2012 at 0:08

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