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IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:27 pm
by nooutlet
Over the past few weeks, I've been fiddling with a more automated Show & Tell Contest process.
Currently, the standard format for a new contest has been

###th Show & Tell Competition: Contest Theme
Description of contest which may include example photos.
Date and time that contest will end.
Previous contest themes and winning images.

From now on, I would like contest hosts to only have to enter
Contest Theme
Description of contest which may include example photos.

Everything else will be added by the forum automatically.

There have been difficulties in the past with posting the links to previous winning images because phpBB abbreviates long urls. When the new host attempts to copy and paste the shortened links, they are broken because they end up copying the "..." instead of the missing portion of url.
This will not be a problem anymore because from now on, rules and winners will first be updated and then added automatically to the end of the new contest post.
Also, the "##th Show & Tell Competition: " will be added to the beginning of the subject automatically, so from now on, you will only need to enter the theme name into the subject line.
The thread will then automatically lock itself after the allotted time of the contest. As of now, my plan is to set the amount of time for each contest at exactly one week(604,800 seconds, not at the end of the day a week from the post date). The previous two contests have lasted closer to 10 days. Would you rather that be the time limit for contests? Either is fine by me, so I'm asking for input on that.

After the contest has closed and been locked, the host will be allowed to post a WINNER thread. There will be no place to enter the subject for the post. The subject will automatically be set to "##th Show & Tell Competition: (Contest Theme) - WINNER". Instead of a place for a subject, they will find a drop down menu which includes every username of anyone that posted an embedded photo in their contest. When they select the winner, the thumbnails of the photos that were embedded in that user's posts will show up with radio buttons. The host will then simply select the winning photo.

I've still got some bugs to work out with regards to editing contests and a few other things, but tell me what you think. It should be possible to start this at the beginning of the next contest.


Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:03 pm
by sandiwhi
It's very nice of you to offer to automate this feature.

For my part, I'm happy with the way it's going along since, what, 2004? 2005? Yes, we did have problems with pretty much every aspect of the most recent contest, but that seems rare to me. In the end, some of our good ole' pbasers jumped in and helped out to post winning pics, etc. Pbasers are great for being helpful.

One thing I would miss in having it automated as you described, and maybe this can be offered as an option, is having the flexibility of picking when I start it up and when it ends, so I can have it fall (one day more or less) on a day that I'm sure I'm available to close it. Of course the number of days should be limited. Should never go so long that it loses momentum.

My primary concern with automation is will we have to go any glitches with it at the start, and if it does malfunction, as programs can, it can be challenging getting ahold of someone to fix it.

Personally, it hasn't seemed difficult for me the couple times I've run the contest, posting it myself. I kinda like doing it myself. It seems rare that there are problems in how it's run. Perhaps adding some instructions about how to run it correctly, for any newbies who might happen to win, would help, and making sure they are aware that they can decline running the next contest. Which brings to mind. If the winner doesn't want to run it, or something comes up and they can't, how would an automated program move on to the 2nd or 3rd place winners?

Just some thoughts! Thanks... Sandi

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:14 pm
by gpmerfeld
Your semi-automated plan sounds great to me, NoOutlet. Thank you for taking the time to work on it , making this popular feature of PBase easier for all who participate. Personally, I vote for the seven day (604,800 second) time limitation rather than longer, so that it can actually be a weekly event.

With the new plan, will the Host still be able to select some "Runners Up" images to go along with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place? I hope so, as often there are so many outstanding entries, and it is a great way to honor more images, as well as provide a learning tool, especially when the host supplies a short comment about why he/she chose those particular shots, time permitting...

It has always been a responsibility for the winner to chooses the theme and then judge the the following contest, which sometimes is daunting if you are not familiar with the Forum format. Your plan should make it all easier and more fun for everyone.

Thanks again,

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:34 pm
by nooutlet
Thanks for the feedback, Sandi.
Though there were problems with the recent one, I had already begun working on automating this contest process when it all happened. One major benefit that I haven't really mentioned is that it will allow the front PBase page to be updated automatically. That was of major significance when I began this. Because as you said, someone isn't always available to watch and keep track of whether the contest has ended or not.
Also, the system will automatically sticky the new contest and de-sticky the old contest, and sticky the new winner announcement and de-sticky the old winner announcement.

I'm sure I could set it up so that the host can decide how long the contest will go(within limits), but because the forum will automatically lock the thread after the time is up, there is no need for the host to "close it" with a post saying "No more entries, please".

I'll certainly be keeping an eye on it to see if malfunctions occur at first. I have been doing extensive testing in a test forum(with some help from tsienni) and though there have been bugs and there still are some, I've been figuring them out and doing my best to make sure everything is foolproof.

Though there aren't usually major problems, I foresee the broken urls problem as something that will persist through each iteration. The only solutions to it that I can think of(under the current system) are for the current host to message the new host with the complete list of previous winners with full urls each time a new host is declared OR for the new host to click on each working link and copy the URL to replace each broken URL in their post.
There is no way to pass the crown on(to 2nd place) as of now. I can think of a few ways to implement something like that, but one way to get it done would be to simply send me a private message with that request. I can easily change the username that is set as the new host of the contest. It's not a very common thing is it? I haven't noticed it happen myself.

Thanks again for the feedback!

Thanks also to you, gpmerfeld!
As it is, the only thing that is changed about announcing the winners is that you don't define the subject and you instead define the winner and the winning image. The only reason I need you to define the winning image is so that it can be added to the list of previous winners. Nothing is added to the post. That is, the post body text will remain untouched for all Winner announcements and it will be up to the host to say whatever they want there including reasons for the judgments, runners-up, gratitude for the opportunity, etc.
It was suggested to me by Tsienni that I include areas to define 2nd and 3rd place winners, but I felt that sometimes people don't want to define those, sometimes they want to define more than 3 winners, or multiple runners up. But the only thing that actually affects the running of the competition is who won 1st place(because they are then given permission to start the next contest) and which image won(because it is included in the text of that next contest). That is, until the winner declines to run the next contest... :?


Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:59 am
by sandiwhi
I have to say that I'm a little confused by this last explanation NoOutlet. Are you saying that there would no longer be the chance to...

- name 2nd, 3rd and runners up?
- include a one line text about what you liked about the winners?
- have the chance for the winner to opt out and pass the baton to one of the other winners?

I'm a bit confused too by how this will all automate, and how the new winner can then take over the contest and add their description. Different folks take more and less time to both...

- decide on the winning pics
- decide on a new contest topic.

Will the new contest somehow be activated by the new winner adding their contest subject description? If not, will the contest begin counting down the 7 days regardless of whether the new description is in place yet?

Also, what happens to the old description of the previous contest? Does it automatically get erased when the new one starts, or does the new winner erase it when they add theirs?

Will someone be keeping an eye on this?

thx sw

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:00 am
by nooutlet
No, I wasn't saying that. Sorry for the confusion.
The naming of 2nd and 3rd place winners and runners up beyond that is done exactly as it is now. It's not affected at all by the new system. The post that announces the winner will still be written the exact same way and the host will even still have to post the 1st place winning photo if they want that to be included in the post. In order for the winner to opt out and pass the baton to the 2nd place winner, I'll have to be told to change the new host to the second place winner. It is my understanding that that doesn't happen all that often though. I haven't seen it happen.

I'll explain how this all will go step by step with pictures on Monday, but I'll try to be as clear as I can in text here.
Immediately after a contest has been judged, the winner will see a button next to the "New Topic" button labeled "New Contest". This button will remain there until they have posted the new contest. Once they have posted the contest, the timer begins. After the timer ends, the next time the thread is viewed by anyone, it will lock itself. Once the thread is locked, the host will find a "New Winner" button next to the "New Topic" button. This button will stay there until they post the winners. When they do, whomever they choose as the winner will become the new host and a "New Contest" button will appear next to "New Topic" for them and we've now come full circle.

I don't know what you mean by "what happens to the old description of the previous contest". All contests will be held in individual posts just like before. The threads will remain in the forums, but will lose their sticky just as they do currently.

I'll be watching to see how everything is going, for sure.


Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:20 pm
by nooutlet
First, the current host will notice a "new contest" button:

Clicking that will give them something similar to a new topic window. But they need only enter the theme and the description.

The subject title will be changed to reflect that it is a S&T contest and the post will have the rules and previous winners added automatically.

Contestants will be required to embed their photos. I recommend the PB-Image tag since I consider it to be the easiest method.

The images I used are previous winners of the S&T Contest. I hope they do not mind. The medium size photo is ALWAYS embedded when using PB-Image.

Once the contest has ended AND been locked, a "new winner" button will appear.

Instead of setting a subject title for the Winner thread, you will choose the username that won the contest...

...and the image that the user won with. Thumbnails show up automatically after you select a username.

You'll still have to write out all the information you want to have in the original post, including runners-up, 3rd, 2nd and 1st place winners, reasons for choosing, etc. It should be easy to find the image ids in order to embed the winning photos because you can use the thumbnail urls.

Just take off the "/small.jpg" from the image location.

Finally, when you're done, click Submit. The winner announcement post will be posted and the new winner will then have a "new contest" button and the cycle will repeat.

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:09 am
by sandiwhi
I just found this info and have to say that, right now, these instructions seems more complex and confusing than what I was already meant to do to pass the baton.

I don't see how this is going to generate the new contest for the winner and new contest manager, and give them the chance to decline.

Plus, I don't see the New Contest button you are describing anywhere. Wouldn't it be sticky? Or does that only appear for the winner? So then, do I as the current winner and contest manager just proceed as usual?


Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:17 am
by nooutlet
They may seem more complex because you're only seeing pictures of it and I'm taking some pains to provide each step(no matter how small) a picture of it happening.
It really is very similar to doing the contest and what makes it easier is not having to try to copy and paste the previous winners, rules and the end time of the contest.

I was planning on having you finish your contest the old way and the new system would happen for the new winner and contest manager. For the code, it's easier to start with a new contest.

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:46 pm
by jwaldorff
I'm sure glad I found this thread! Being new to the Show & Tell forum it was all kind of confusing, but it's all pretty clear to me, now.

I'm planning on starting the next contest tonight (tomorrow at the latest). I don't anticipate having any problems, unless something in the automation doesn't work - I sure hope you've tested it thoroughly, NoOutlet, because it is about to be stress tested! :wink:

I'll do my best to follow your instructions (NoOutlet) to the letter. Have there been any last minute changes the I should be aware of?

Sandi - Thank you for all of your help and advice!

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:20 pm
by pavona
Though I'm never selected as a winner, I love the S&T contests.... I vote that they have a set timeframe, both in start/end dates, and length.
Monday start, to Sunday eve end sounds good. That gives the host time to select a winner, and start up the next contest on time.

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:18 pm
by agroni
this is amazing what you have done

thank you ;)

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:48 am
by norm4fun
whats the time interval that these contest are held at?

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:20 pm
by nooutlet
One week. Accurate to the second.

Re: IMPORTANT info regarding Show & Tell Contests

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:32 am
by mbearsley
I only first looked at Forum tonight. All the info I have found re contests is dated Febuary. It is now the 13th of August. What is the current theme? Are contests still popular? Any major changes to the rules I need to know? Mike Bearsley