Photography SE has a contest for the best photo every week. They represent this photo on their main page. Shouldn't we have something similar with novels\articles\posts\anything-that-could-be-written?
I would not be opposed to running such a competition within our community, but it should be run in such a way as to not game the system in terms of gathering reputation.
This is exactly the kind of thing the third place is for.
EDIT: Because of some concerns raised in the comments, I am going to add a bit more detail on my stance.
I do not think that we should prominently feature the winner of such a competition on the front page of the parent site. I do think that we should use these competitions as a community-building exercise.
As such, I do not support using the meta as a means to vote on the winner, like photography does for its photo competition, because I do not see the competition as being related to the parent site like is the case on photography. This is exactly the kind of thing that the StackExchange team had in mind when they built the chat.
Good idea, but I disagree with implementing such an idea on a StackExchange site - It isn't necessarily a forum, and these types of topics are usually found on forums. I think one of the policies of StackExchange (Can't remember where it was from, but I can't reference it right now.) is to not self-promote in discussions.
Having such discussions might make this go overboard, with everyone advertising their own story or such stuff.
I think that's a great idea for photography. I like the idea to do this for writings, but I see some problems:
- The best photography is presented on the frontpage as part of the site. That works. How do you will present the best writing?
- I think you will have to restrict the form - or would you want someone submit his 100k-word story? How do you compare lyric to an essay and to fictional writing?
With these questions in mind I would prefer something like:
- Submissions have a limited word-count.
- On the front-page are written the first sentences and a link named 'Read more ...' directing to the full story.
- Have every week/month/whatever different competitions, switching between lyric, fiction and non-fiction.
I would prefer using stackexchange-software for determining the best piece of writing. Some other answerer didn't want it. But every user of writers.stackexchange.com can definitely use meta. Other tools may have different technical or social barriers. So I would use meta. Setting the questions for the week to Community wiki though (should be posted by a moderator), so that no reputation is gained. (Although someone could argue, that writers of well-received texts may the best experts for this site, and therefore have earned this reputation.)