It seems there are still some questions about the Picture of the Day contest threads. We've been using a single-thread approach for a while now. This approach is certainly a bit easier for moderators to manage, however it is a little more nebulously defined, and there are some issues with such a long, persistent topic.

So, here is your chance to voice your preference:

Option A) Single-Persistent-Thread (SPT)
Option B) Thread-Per-Week (TPW)
Option C) Thread-Per-Timeframe (TPT)

Option C is basically like Option A, with a periodic update to a new thread just to keep things moving and avoid some of the problems inherent in using one single everlasting thread. Feel free to recommend a timeframe... every month, every three months, six months, year, whatever. Make your pick, and feel free to back up your opinions with an explanation of why you prefer that option, arguments as to why we should use it, etc.

I don't think we will make any change right away... it takes a while for things in PhotoSE meta to get noticed, and I want people to have time to weigh in before we make any changes.

  • I added some answers to represent choices. Vote up the one you want accordingly. Or add a new choice. – rfusca Apr 8 '14 at 4:37
  • Huh. I expected more voting on this. Looks like @JohnCavan's option is in the lead right now, with an overwhelming 2 votes beating out the runner ups' four-way tie with 1 each. I'm not quite sure what this lack of voting enthusiasm says in general -- I guess mostly people don't care either way? – mattdm Apr 17 '14 at 18:52
  • I dunno...we've never had the most involved community, and our core is pretty small. I think something definitely needs to change, though...if for no other reason than to shake things up and see if we can get more people's attention, and maybe get people out to photograph things for themes. – jrista Apr 17 '14 at 22:22
  • Heh... I haven't even got started on my opinion around minimum participation for this. I would actually prefer to reserve the banner for real participants on the site. – John Cavan Apr 18 '14 at 3:49

This is an "Option A" answer, but with a slight twist.

Overall, I think the continuous format is working. The banner photos every week are consistently high quality, and relatively new photos often do rise to the top, so clearly people are looking and voting.

But I would like to see the themed contests restarted as discussed in Time for a pic-of-the-week theme? — the idea is that that one would run once a month and be reset. That way, there are options for everyone (and people who don't like this format could just ignore it).

I think we have general agreement in favor of the themed contests — it just takes someone to do the work. (And, it won't be me, because I can't really take on any commitments like that.)

  • Well, do we have a winner here? I think this sounds good. I would like to maybe periodically (once a year?) clean up the ongoing thread...it's just HUGE now, with so many deleted items. Anyway, either way is good with me. – jrista May 15 '14 at 2:10
  • I guess so! I really don't have time to launch the themed contests, though. Maybe we can get one of our newer active users to do it? – mattdm May 15 '14 at 21:42
  • And on cleaning up the ongoing thread: how about closing it at the end of every year, and to avoid being unfair to people who were close to the top allow people to resubmit if their previous entries were over some threshold (10 votes?)? – mattdm May 15 '14 at 21:44
  • That sounds good to me. Once I have more time (juggling a couple contracts concurrently right now) I'll see if I can get with John and figure out a plan for the themes. – jrista May 21 '14 at 2:31
  • I have to admit, I don't think it's working that great. Maybe I'm a little too close to it since I do most of the image rotations, but I struggle with the low to zero site participants who only post to this being rewarded with our banner and I think this model contributes to that. Just my $0.02. :) – John Cavan May 22 '14 at 18:33
  • @JohnCavan How do you think changing the format would help with the site participation issue? – mattdm May 22 '14 at 18:38
  • With a continuous thread images have a much longer span in which to eventually bubble to the top on some week. Having a new thread each week or month means that the participants have to be a bit more engaged in the day-to-day of the site. My sense is that will tend to reward more active participants. It's just a sense. I may also be the only one that is fussed about it too. :) – John Cavan May 22 '14 at 18:42
  • In any event, I'll back up the desired site direction, but I'm just throwing out that consideration. The idea is community, so drive-by contest participants seems off to me. – John Cavan May 22 '14 at 18:44

This answer represents Option A.


I have a different thought on this. I'm not entirely convinced on a weekly rotation, but regardless of the rotation, a sequence of themes with target dates, perhaps staggered out so that each theme challenge starts a month (maybe two, depends on frequency) before it goes live. So, for example:

  • Elements: Air (May 19, 2014)
  • Silhouettes (May 26, 2014)

And so on. The winning image would then go live on the date stated in the subject. I'm sure we could beg, borrow, or shamelessly steal themes from various challenges out there now (e.g. DPReview, DP Challenge, etc). We might even have an official theme sponsor, who would devise the theme, and give them credit in the banner. That would spread the theme thinking around too.

  • 1
    Themes for every PotW or intermixed with a normal one? – rfusca Apr 8 '14 at 5:17
  • @rfusca - Nothing prevents a theme from being "free for all" as often as we want. :) – John Cavan Apr 8 '14 at 5:18
  • 1
    I'm not sure that answers my question....would the theme replace the 'normal non-themed PotW' or just an occasional theme period? – rfusca Apr 8 '14 at 5:24
  • What's a normal one? It's an open contest. No theme is still a theme... The frequency of that would probably depend on how the thematic ones are going, that would need some time to figure out, but it could start out as every 4th is an "open" contest. – John Cavan Apr 8 '14 at 5:27
  • @rfusca: As I understand John, I think he means themed threads would replace the normal non-themed, and we would just have periodic "Free For All" themes without any requirements. It's an interesting thought, we've always wanted to do themes. I think the one problem with themes was getting the community to choose which theme they wanted. If we try them again, I think we just leave it to moderator discretion as to what the theme is for any given week. I think that would help keep the ball moving, and avoid any deadlock or delays. – jrista Apr 8 '14 at 19:18
  • Didn't we have fairly low participation with themes before? – rfusca Apr 8 '14 at 20:27
  • In some cases, yes, and in one or two, I think participation was closer to average. If we start theme threads well in advance of the close date, I think we might get more participation...people need time to get out and get theme-conformant photos. – jrista Apr 8 '14 at 21:57
  • @jrista - precisely. If we give the theme a month runway then we give time for people to create an entry for it. If you only have a week, that's pretty hard. – John Cavan Apr 8 '14 at 23:22
  • 1
    We should also start using our advertisements to advertise our contests. That could even bring in people from all around StackExchange, not just PhotoSE. – jrista Apr 9 '14 at 7:09
  • @jrista - That would be a good idea. We can also use the feature tag to have it appear in the community bulletin box on the main site. Might even be able to use tags to manage the links in. – John Cavan Apr 9 '14 at 13:56
  • @JohnCavan As I understand this, the idea is to have multiple theme contests running with overlap — several would be open at once, but with different close dates. If that's what you mean, I actually like that quite a lot. – mattdm Apr 13 '14 at 17:18
  • 1
    @mattdm - yep, that's exactly what I'm suggesting. I was thinking that we'd have 4 or 5 on the go at any time. – John Cavan Apr 13 '14 at 17:38
  • @jrista The theme suggestion thread has a bunch of good ones. I'd be fine with moderator discretion in picking from that list (or making new ones as appropriate, for example seasonally) rather than just needing to do the top ones. – mattdm Apr 13 '14 at 23:24
  • 1
    @jrista - One month is a good start, we can always extend if it doesn't play out well. – John Cavan Apr 14 '14 at 15:50
  • 1
    Open for 4 weeks, with 4 going at a time? – mattdm Apr 14 '14 at 18:15

This answer represents Option C with a time frame of 3 months.


This answer represents Option B.


This answer represents Option C with a time frame of 1 month.


I am a big fan of the old format, therefore I vote Option B. A fresh set of new photos every week and only a handful to choose from and discuss was IMHO great. I like the theme idea. We used to have themes every now and then but we should definitely have more themes based on season but also style. I would like to see a regular monochrome theme, portrait, macro, landscape, HDR, astrophotography, product photography, etc.

Under the old format (similar to Option B), 2 or 3 leading photos regularly received 20 - 25 votes withing a 7 day time frame. Under the continuous format, a winning photo still receives 20+ votes but some take a year or more to get these votes. I personally believe that as a result the quality of winning images has dropped dramatically in the ongoing contest. Nearly any photo that is around for long enough may bubble up to the top. Perhaps we could stay with the existing format but let's put in a cut-off: any photo older than 2 or 3 months will be deleted...

I think incorporating theme challenges into the existing format will complicate things. The contest is already struggling to attract voters and further complicating things may not help this situation.

I also think a shorter weakly contest with less photos to go through will attract new users to this site. Some of us express ourselves better through images and art rather then words and allowing new users to participate in quick contests in which they may receive immediate attention by means of votes and get drawn into discussions about their own work may be a good icebreaker in having them participate in the PhotoSE proper.

If the contest is too much to manage for a primary moderator perhaps a moderator to just manage the contest could be assigned?

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