The new ongoing rolling voting feature for our Weekly Featured Image (Picture of the Week) contest has been going on for a couple months now. We did have a glitch with the winter hats contest, which somehow interfered with our header in some way thus messing with our timetable. Outside of that, I believe the rolling voting is working well.

One thing that I think we may need to address are "stale entries", or submissions that get a few votes, but are unlikely to make it to the top and actually win under normal circumstances. There are two entries that have less than 10 votes and are over two months old in the current contest thread. I've deleted one...it had only 1 vote, and was very unlikely to garner any more as it was more of a "snapshot" than any kind of artistic photography that our membership would like to see on the home site banner. The other is a daisy, and it has received 8 votes, but it's been at 8 votes for a while, and was first uploaded on December 5th.

Do we want to institute a hard "lifetime limit" on entries?

If photos are submitted, garner less than some threshold of votes, and reach some maximum age such as 60 days...should they be deleted? For entries that get more than the threshold, but say live twice as long, say 120 days, but never actually win, should they also be deleted?

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    Personally I like this idea. Even if it means one of my entries is first to go. I hate looking down the long list of entries to pick out he ones I like. Feb 12, 2013 at 5:33
  • Due to a CW auto-conversion problem, we may end up having to cycle threads every couple of months anyway, which would make the "stale entry" removal problem rather moot.
    – jrista
    Feb 15, 2013 at 1:07
  • The first question to ask then is: Amng all winner so far, what was the maximum age they had at the time of winning? Any hard lifetime limit should be at least twice as long ... Feb 9, 2015 at 16:02

3 Answers 3


I may be in the minority on this, but I'd like to see them stay indefinitely, with no expiration. I think it's a unique format which uses the technology the Stack Exchange platform offers. As long as voters remember to use the active tab so new entries get visibility, there's no real harm in having a trail of lower-ranked entries. Some of them will eventually move up, and the others, oh well.

(There's a few quirks. The deleted winners are visible to mods and high-rep users, but they're automatically pushed to the end. And we may eventually hit a limit for number of answers, but that's well over 500 so I'm not currently worried about that. But I don't see any of these as show-stoppers. Even if people don't use the active tab, the older entries will be pulled off the top, and the new ones will eventually get their day. It's self-correcting, basically.)

  • Read my comment on Caleb's answer for more insight. There is a management aspect here that I am sort of trying to address. As I am currently the sole proprieter of PotW management, I'd like to keep my workload light. Adding formulas, or letting the list of entrants grow indefinitely (which I believe would not only make it difficult to manage but also make it more difficult for "stale entries" to be found and voted on, further compounding the problem) only adds to the workload. Managing PotW right now takes far too many micro steps and little edits here and there to take care of everything.
    – jrista
    Feb 5, 2013 at 1:43
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    Well, I see how having a formula complicates things, but doesn't the straightforward way still come to picking the top one, no matter how many entries there happen to be? I'm all for lightening your load here; that's part of the point. Making you go through and cull old entrants seems like more work.
    – mattdm
    Feb 5, 2013 at 1:54
  • I dunno. Lately, I keep seeming to have to go through the whole list anyway to find entries that don't conform to the rules or whatever, and either comment on them or delete them. Those tend to stay at zero votes and have low activity, so they fall down in the list naturally. Since I have to go through the list anyway, I figure I could cull along the way. That said, anyone with enough rep can delete (or vote to delete)...it doesn't HAVE to be JUST me to manages the entire contest in all its factors. (hint hint)
    – jrista
    Feb 5, 2013 at 2:05
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    Theeeoretically, you just need to pick the top one off the list. Maybe look at the top two or three for irregularities. Everything else doesn't need a moderator. I think we have enough active people who are good at commenting when an entry doesn't conform that you don't have to worry about that.
    – mattdm
    Feb 5, 2013 at 3:18
  • I like this idea. Maybe it can also be up to the community to decide when a photo is stale and somehow flag it for deletion? I know personally mines was up there for a couple weeks without getting any additional votes so I just deleted it myself. Feb 5, 2013 at 19:10
  • This seemed like a reasonable response to me -- until the entries started paging. There's now an additional effort involved in getting beyond the "stale" entries to newer entries that might stand a chance. Oh, and the damned thing's gone CW again...
    – user2719
    Feb 18, 2013 at 16:36

I think the long list of images is getting rather long, and should be kept down in size. Otherwise it is just too tedious to scroll through all those oldies we've seen for ages to get the the new ones. If I enter a photo and it hasn't gotten a decent amount of votes the first week I delete it myself and try to do better. However, I still see it, though... I wish I dont see it.

I suggest 1 month old photos that is still not in top 5 are deleted.

(My students called me "the butcher")

  • "Otherwise it is just too tedious to scroll through all those oldies we've seen for ages to get the the new ones." Doesn't this depend on the sorting mode you apply? You can sort by active, this will show the new answers first. Feb 17, 2013 at 15:58
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    @BartArondson -- that's what's called "friction", and it's absolutely the wrong approach to tell users that their expectations are wrong. By default, newer entries (especially now that the entries are paging) are not going to be seen, while entries that are several months old clog up the middle.
    – user2719
    Feb 20, 2013 at 4:23
  • At the same time, 1 month is probably too short a period, since there may be times when several really good photos are submitted in a short time period. 60 days is probably better.
    – user2719
    Feb 20, 2013 at 4:25

If photos are submitted, garner less than some threshold of votes, and reach some maximum age such as 60 days...should they be deleted?

Seems like the age of the submission should simply be part of the popularity calculation. That is, instead of using raw votes to determine a winner, we should divide the number of votes by the number of days or weeks that the post has been around:

popularity = (upvotes - downvotes) / (age in weeks)

Rather than deleting submissions once they reach a maximum age, I'd suggest deleting posts that have reached some minimum age and are among the bottom N per cent of popularity. So, for example, take all the submissions that are at least 60 days (or whatever), calculate the popularity for each of them as described above, and delete the bottom 30% (or whatever). Alternately, keep the top M submissions (a hard number, not a percentage), so that we always have M submissions in the queue, and the queue never gets larger than M except for submissions younger than the specified age.

  • Well, I'll happily end any discussion about using a formula to determine a winner. I'd have to run the formula for every entry every week, one at a time. It already takes enough time to switch over the winner as it is...and I am the only moderator who manages the contest lately (and for the foreseeable future). I don't want to add to the work I already have to deal with. It is to the same end that I'd like to start culling, as I have to manage the topic, go through each entry and make sure it conforms to the rules, etc. The larger it grows, the greater the workload I have to endure.
    – jrista
    Feb 5, 2013 at 1:41
  • @jrista I should have been more clear: this seems like exactly the sort of thing that should be done automatically with a query like those at data. If we can use a query to find the top 50 most prolific editors I'm sure we can calculate the popularity of each of the answers for a specific question. Finding a winner should be just a matter of you clicking a link.
    – Caleb
    Feb 5, 2013 at 1:51
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    And then finding the right answer in a big list of answers that is the "actual" winner, when the highest voted is always at the top. Deal with everyone who complains that they did not win because they had the most upvotes, because they did not notice or refused to read the rules. Etc. etc. Assuming we could write the necessary query...
    – jrista
    Feb 5, 2013 at 2:07

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