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I think it's about time for Server Fault to have its own contest.

Within the last few months Super User had a contest coinciding with the release of Windows 8, and now Stack Overflow is having a contest. I'm tired of being left out of the fun, and I want some prizes!

So, what should Server Fault's contest look like? Who might sponsor it? What might the criteria be? What about prizes?

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    Both of those contests were related to Windows 8... If you propose a contest that has anything to do with Windows 8, I will hunt you down and kill^H^H^H^H sic WesleyDavid on you! – Ward May 18 '13 at 5:54
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    @Ward I propose a frisbee-style trowing competition for Surface tablets (Windows 8 has to be installed and running of course). This needs to be carried out in a data center and bonus marks are earned by participants causing spectacular rebounds off rack cabinets. – the-wabbit May 18 '13 at 13:02
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    @ward How about Server 2012, then? – Michael Hampton May 18 '13 at 15:30
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    Art Contest. Locate AOL CDs (or better - Windows NT) and microwave them. Best arc-art pattern wins! – voretaq7 May 19 '13 at 2:12
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    @voretaq7 Best art made from obsolete networking gear: i.stack.imgur.com/chaUG.jpg – Ward May 19 '13 at 2:47
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    Ahh, now I understand why Server Fault has never had a contest. – Michael Hampton May 20 '13 at 14:04
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What about "none"? Do we really want some stupid PR event on our site? Both events where only there to promote Win8 - I could somewhat live (not participate!) with something vendor-neutral with just sponsored prizes (from multiple vendors), but I don't want such kind of blatant PR nonsense, not from MS or anyone else.

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I don't see anything wrong with a contest. I get SvW's thoughts on keeping the site "pure" and not ending up with a GeoCities style front page, but the idea is no different than concepts ranging from a lunch-and-learn to Interop.

People show up at a an IT event/symposium/etc. and what happens? They learn a little, interact a little, and then stick around for the drawings/contests. If I'm wrong then why the mass exodus when the last name is drawn? Why the hours spent getting stamps/sigs from various booths to get a t-shirt? Because that's what people do. Some may have risen above this or simply frown on it as polluting the sanctity of IT with consumerism/commercialism but it is still very prevalent.

So, you say "I go to Interop/etc. and don't participate in that contest crap." OK, but do you stick around for the after-parties? Or go party with other IT folks you know while there? That's what the Comms Room is to some extent here. Adding things like announcements/news via either a tab at the top or a weekly email might be worthwhile.

I haven't been here from the beginning nor do I have tribal knowledge of what the founding team was striving for...but I don't see any harm in having a contest from time to time. It helps get people involved in something, and just might be the thing that attracts the next 50k member.


All that said, since the original question was "what sort of contest, who should sponsor it, etc." I don't really have the creativity to come up with the contest idea or rules. But why not get a sponsor such as O'Reilly or an online CBT course provider to offer up a training course(s) as the sponsored prize?

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Contests are not necessarily stupid PR events - and I dare say that @SvW is utterly unfamiliar with the contests that have happened in the SE ecosystem in the past.

It was a SU T Shirt that got me hooked on the SE community, and the reason I'm here now, which I got quite randomly. Contests and swag do help build community as do contests.

Contests arn't necessarily corporate sellouts either - the first two SU contests I was in had were pretty awesome, and the categories were essentially glorified janitorial work. It was a great excuse to get used to, and get familiar with the way the site worked. Considering that quality is something SF strives towards, this might work pretty well here.Its an excuse to get things neatened up and help set the tone we want to set for the site.

The windows 8 contest only occurred this year (and is the third contest, replacing the anniversary contest) and followed the system that I believe gaming.se used for game promo contests and I don't think is a very good fit for SF.

  • could you elaborate a bit on what the previous contests were actually about? – the-wabbit May 21 '13 at 9:09
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    I guess the link would be self explanatory - you have different categoties - best editor, tag wikis and so on - these are actions that make the site better. In addition you have a 'popularity contest', for the user who seems to have contributed the most. While I admit the exact categories that are here won't be a perfect fit, this will allow users to do a nice little orgy of fixeruppery and recognise them. – Journeyman Geek May 21 '13 at 9:38
  • Mmmm... orgy... +1 to you for using it in a sentence that doesn't involve a scene from Game of Thrones – Mark Henderson May 21 '13 at 11:46

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