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Last year in writers.stackexchange.com beta forum they had a "Best Question Contest" named by "Writers.SE's Genre Contest". Many users participated in it and this event produced a good motivation for them to keep contributing in the forum.

Question. Can such a contest for best questions and answers of the year, help us for improving matheducators.SE?

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    $\begingroup$ I like the idea! What about a "best answer contest" too? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ @GammaFunction: Very Nice. I will edit the post. $\endgroup$
    – user230
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 4:26
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    $\begingroup$ This site is not "an olympic swimming pool" either. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: (+1) Very Nice! :-) $\endgroup$
    – user230
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 1:59

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It seems unclear, personally I doubt it, that such a contest can improve the this site in the long run.

If this site will be succesful, then it will be due to a broad community of mathematics teachers contributing to this site a bit out of personal conviction, not a couple of power users contributing a lot. There is already a lot of gamificatioon going on an SE site, which has some good but also some risk to it see The problem with extrinsic motivation, I do not see a need for more.

For this site, perhaps more than for more technical ones, I think we should really optimize for breadth and not focus too much on high-lighting extremes.

The contest there also had a component of giving credit for promoting this site. This might be relatively more useful. Yet, it also seems very premature. At the moment we are still in private beta. Let us wait what happens if the site "opens." There is also a risk in too rapid growth, and in any case at the moment most everybody will anyway be motivated to do things, as the site is new (and thus exciting).

More generally, personally, I am not that convinced of the usefulnes of such 'contests' and related things for longterm goals. It somehow sets the wrong incentives and one runs a risk of achieving less: one starts a sprint, one progresses fast, it is great, then one is tired and takes a rest, and perhaps gets frustrated nothing is moving now, and so rests a bit more and more. Had one just continued walking all the time one would have gone further already.

Of course, there can be times when inducing some extra effort can be useful, such as for burning down a giant queue, but for the longterm developpment at the site at its very start, in my opinion this is not the right approach.

Perhaps if at some point in the future it should seem that things slowdown too much, while we are still below a critical mass, then might be a good time to induce some extra effort via some "contest."

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I agree with quid. I don't think a contest would do much for us.

However, I think there is a current need to identify good questions and answers. As mentioned in this recent meta post, "Changes that will occur when public beta starts", it might help to have such a list to share with potential new users to advertise the best features of this site and illustrate how it can be useful.

So, I think a "contest" (though I wouldn't call it that) should occur in very near future, and should be consigned to the meta, but it should really only exist to help us find our best content to share with others.

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