A bit of feedback in planning these types of events...
The current prize awarding scheme (for the KoA contest) sets up something of a competition between people on the site. That's fine, and I agree that individual contributions are important and should be rewarded. However, I worry about the impact this has on the community.
There's a few disadvantages to awarding the prizes solely this way:
- It creates friction between members of the community - We're all gamers here, and we are used to competing on the internet. In addition to the potential "rep competition," now we're adding actual prizes that have monetary value to the mix.
- It is biased towards early contributions, to the detriment of people arriving late - although votes and views tend to peak shortly after a post is made, and there are certainly statistical anomalies, there's still some benefit to the early comers that might discourage later entrants.
- It creates a conflict of interest between participating and voting - Voting is now a "loaded" action that determines actual prizes being awarded, as opposed to just sorting the good from the bad. People who are participating in the contest may become biased in their voting as a result.
I think all of these are surmountable obstacles, but I kind of worry with the more of these we do, the more likely it is to cause some issue between us, which is not what I want to happen.
I don't want to see this type of incentive disappear, but I would like to see some balance between celebrating our individual successes and our group successes. Awarding prizes to us as a group is difficult, but perhaps some sort of lottery for some percentage of the prizes would help?
For instance, perhaps in addition to prizes for stellar individual contributions, what if there was a prize (or class of prizes) that you earned "entries" for as a result of posting upvoted (ie, +3 or something) questions or answers? Perhaps there could be some that give you entries per-post (ie, if you answer 2 questions and those answers get to at least +3, you get 2 contest entries) and some that are equal footing for all participants (ie, whether you ask or answer a single question or 10 questions, you still get one entry).
These are just ideas I'm floating - I don't think anything is going to be 100% fair to everyone, but better ideas may exist, so feel free to make a different suggestion.
This might level the prize playing field for people who want to participate in the contest, (and should be incented to participate!) but can't keep up with some of the community members who are super-high output.