So.... we had an idea for revitalizing the contest by moving it to the main site but the moderators (who of course need to be on board for it to work) didn't like it.

We've had plans to inject some interest with contest themes but that's also gone nowhere in seven (!) years.

We suggested another mod to help but that got a "meh".

Meanwhile, the contest, which used to get entries daily, now gets an entry or two per month, and those get no attention or upvotes.

So, something should be done. The question is: what? We need something that will actually change the status quo, and which the moderators are actually willing and interested in working on.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Outdoors outdoors.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1484/… and Travel travel.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5105/… do monthly photo contests on meta (the rules and procedures are slightly different between the two) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Images must be 210 px high and up to 375 px wide." This is a pretty astonishing constraint in 2019. I was going to submit a photo, but frankly if this is the viewable size, it's almost pointless. \$\endgroup\$
    – 52d6c6af
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 11:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ben The point of the contest was to select an image for the site header. The redesign wiped that away and put it in the sidebar. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 11:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ben, it's unfortunate that it's small (and I've offered a suggestion to double the resolution which has earned one upvote) but you can fit a large or small space within those constraints. It's not the medium which is pointless. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rob
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 16:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why not simply have a monthly "competition" question, for which the answers are photos? \$\endgroup\$
    – 52d6c6af
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 17:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure if a lack of submissions is such a big deal when there is already a great backlog of submissions. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:56

4 Answers 4


Too much about the contest is being conducted in order to be "site acceptable" instead of for the purpose of running a contest:

  • Contest on Meta...cool, let's put the thing that's going to suck in and engage people...behind a curtain?
  • Contest all in a single question...cool, so we're going to create pages and pages of submissions over time to, to which new ones get drowned...to make it easy on the site?
  • Contest is constantly ongoing...to make life easy on mods?

If we want eyes on the contest, then it needs to be on main or there needs to be some active driver pointing people from main to meta.

If we want active engagement, then refreshes need to be recurring. Zero the slate. Reset the bar. Get rid of the old so people can submit for the new.

Downtime creates excitement. There doesn't have to be a contest constantly going. Build a break in by having a month where old submissions are simply showcased at random (or something) while giving everyone involved a break. This isn't going to deter people - in fact it can help build engagement by giving submitters something to look forward to and plan for.


For what it's worth, I think Proposal: Rules for *New* Photo Contest on Main Site is still the best proposal on the table.


  1. Was the result of several people collaborating to find a solution
  2. Addresses not just the contest but a broader problem with Photo SE
  3. Had the most support of the few people actively interested in doing anything.

It's possible moderator stop-energy has killed most of that enthusiasm (I seem to be the only person remaining who even cares a little bit), but maybe it's not too late.

So, unless someone comes up with an actual better idea, we should try it.


Part of the problem may be the appearance of posts not being able to get to the top due to the large backlog. Perhaps we should consider doing a one time restart of the contest with new submissions. If we don't have a post on the new one, we can always fall back to pulling one off the old, but it would let us see how that works out and if it works well, maybe we could see about doing it with some kind of regular period.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems fine but I don't think it will really address the problems. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not have a time limit in which entries "roll off" after a set period of time. Surely this would be easy to automatically implement? something like nothing submitted more than two years ago (or one year) is eligible to win? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 22:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ That or maybe votes per day with a certain minimum starting value so posting immediately before doesn't make it too easy. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 23:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ The current leading entry took over three years to amass 19 votes. The runner up took over five years for 18 votes. That's about 0.01 votes per day. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 6:21

The Mods could ask the CMs if we could have free Community ADs:

Apparently ADs are being offered on more sites, a deluxe campaign costs $10K/month (so a partial campaign has value). It would be valuable to put in a few hours work to develop a great AD with our most upvoted photo. As you can see in the first link many of our sites and related projects have benefited from the free ADs, along with various outside projects.

Each month the most upvoted photo could be the background photo for the AD (using black, grey or white (outlined) lettering, depending on what looks best on the background photo). We could use the most upvoted photo of all time for the first month.

At the very least the current entries would be seen by more people, we might attract only more visitors or a larger user base, best case scenario we would get people engaged with the site and contributing great entries (along with upvoting).


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