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?


4 Answers 4


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.

  • Meh, the chat doesn't work for me - don't know why. Everyone using stackexchange can use meta. So meta would be good. Make it CW though, so that not reputation is gained through this.
    – Mnementh
    Nov 24, 2010 at 22:23
  • @Mnementh Honestly, if chat doesn't work for you, it's because of your own configuration. Update your browser (or don't use IE) and try again. Chat is the place for this suggestion, not meta.
    – StrixVaria
    Nov 24, 2010 at 22:59
  • I have Linux, no IE possible. I have no incentive to figure out what is wrong here. I don't want to use chat (I only tried it as a test). Please don't try to force me to use chat, because you switch an important decision (like determining the weekly testpiece) to this tool. And as I said in my answer: not only technical barriers might exists, social might also exists. Not everyone able to work with the QA-system of SE is willing to invest his time into chat.
    – Mnementh
    Nov 24, 2010 at 23:13
  • @Mnementh I am not forcing anybody to use chat. I am arguing that the meta site is not the place to hold competitions. If you opt out of chat, that is your decision. The Meta is a place to discuss the workings of the parent site. That is its sole purpose. The chat is a place to build the community and to run things outside of Q&A and meta-discussion.
    – StrixVaria
    Nov 24, 2010 at 23:19
  • If active participation of a community does include the usage of more and more tools I may drop the community completely. I did that before and I will in the future. If something I want to participate - and determining the front-page writing would be something like it - is happening I the chat, I feel forced to use the chat. I have to make a choice. And that I don't like. And I don't understand why. Why can't we go with the SE-software? It is made for voting a piece of text. What would be so bad about it? Why does it work for photo?
    – Mnementh
    Nov 24, 2010 at 23:24
  • @Mnementh Whether you like it or not does not change the facts. The meta is a place to discuss the parent site, and that is it. It is not a place to hold competitions.
    – StrixVaria
    Nov 24, 2010 at 23:27
  • Doesn't is a text presented on frontpage as an intro something, that is about parent. But you have your opinion, I have my own, I don't think I can change your mind or you mine...
    – Mnementh
    Nov 24, 2010 at 23:35

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 didn't see any advertising in their votings. Just a picture and two triangles for voting, as for any question.
    – Dan Ganiev
    Nov 24, 2010 at 13:38
  • 4
    @Daniel - it would easily become a forum (and I mean that in all senses) for "look at this story I wrote!" It would be as if SO let people advertise their open source projects.
    – justkt
    Nov 24, 2010 at 14:19

That depends, would these be links to stories that people submit, or would they be posting the stories to the site itself? I ask, because as an former editor I do see some possible issues with posting full works of fiction onto the site.


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.)

  • Why the downvote? What's wrong with this?
    – Mnementh
    Nov 24, 2010 at 23:14
  • The downvote is because I don't like this idea. If we had one competition per month, then I could see putting something on the front page like photography does. One per week is a bit too fast-paced and I foresee it resulting in very poor quality writing being featured. The downvote is also because I disagree with using the meta as a means for determining the winner in case we had such a competition, as you already know.
    – StrixVaria
    Nov 24, 2010 at 23:24
  • Hmm, one per month might be better, you're right. That's finetuning.
    – Mnementh
    Nov 24, 2010 at 23:27
  • A reminder to all: Upvotes and downvotes in meta don't cost anyone reputation, whether the question is CW or not. Nov 25, 2010 at 2:15
  • @neilfein: Are you sure?
    – Mnementh
    Nov 27, 2010 at 8:18
  • @Mnementh - Have a look at this question in meta.so. Nov 27, 2010 at 19:13

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