We've been having a fortnightly challenge for a while now, but recently the attention devoted to it has appeared to drop off. Not only are people posting less questions with the topic challenge in mind, but less of our experienced users seem to be around/willing to update the challenges regularly (last challenge dragged on for an extra week, and this one was supposed to be ended yesterday).

Not only that, but as Green pointed out to me, the challenge's initial goal of generating more questions seems less important now that we have so much more site activity. We also have a lot of new users who either don't know about or don't care about the challenge.

So, I'm here to ask the hard question: is it time to end these challenges? Should we throw in the towel, and if not, who will step up to continue to manage this? And what can we do to get more users to participate?

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    $\begingroup$ I originally suggested these not to bring the overall question rate up, but the rates in underused tags up. I think that need still stands, but I agree that the whole thing isn't doing too well. I definitely support killing off the regular challenges, but doing something along the lines of what Monica suggested could still help achieve my original goal. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Apr 13 '16 at 1:28
  • $\begingroup$ If all that is needed is a person to keep up with updates and posts, I'm sure we can find someone. $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Apr 13 '16 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ If closing, is there a way we can archive the event (questions, answers, topics, "winners," etc.)? $\endgroup$ – Mikey Apr 26 '16 at 0:23

The need has dropped off, which may be part of why the interest has dropped off. We should stop regular topic challenges.

But if, occasionally, somebody feels motivated to call for a challenge, drawing from the proposals that were collected or doing something new, that should be ok. Keep the idea of topic challenges but drop the weekly/biweekly/triweekly part. Topic challenges are now self-serve; if you want one, make one.

  • $\begingroup$ "Topic challenges are now self-serve; if you want one, make one." what are the criteria for getting them pinned to the side-bar (which is what really helped to promote the Fortnightly challenges). $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jan 18 '18 at 7:58
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    $\begingroup$ @PyRulez let's keep it informal for now. If you make a topic challenge, flag it to ask for it to be featured. If there's some problem we'll let you know, but I assume we'd generally feature it if asked. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jan 18 '18 at 15:26


The challenge was a great way to generate various content for the site. Now we are graduating (that is a long process), and we already have that much content. There isn't any need for more experienced users to generate more questions. We have plenty of new users coming up with great creative questions.

As you wrote, it's time to shoot the dying horse. I'd say we do it now. Not calling for another challenge.


Yes, but finish what we started

As I suggested in chat, close the question, then make it into a weekly challenge to clear out the well thought out answers.


I think they could work, but would require different presentation. I feel like, right now, it's hard to tell what questions apply to a given topic challenge, or which one 'win' the challenge.

If there were a way to script a bot to dump any question asked after the challenge started and matching the challenge tag into a leaderboard post on meta with votes on each question, it might make for a fun competition that could generate more questions. Of course, I'm saying that without any knowledge of SE bots other than that they exist.

Of course, there's also the question of whether we want people to be coming up with questions specifically to win a competition, or whether we'd prefer for worldbuilding to be primarily focused on helping people who are actually using their questions to build worlds.

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    $\begingroup$ The answer posts on the more-recent challenges are actually generated by a script already, though it produces a static post and not a dynamic leaderboard. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Apr 17 '16 at 19:57

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