A long time ago, on a site far, far away (roughly two clicks), a great suggestion was made. Jon Ericson came up with the idea of weekly/fortnightly topic challenges. For those not willing to make the one click that is now needed to get to that post, here's the gist:

  1. Users suggest various topics or themes. For example, on Worldbuilding, the first suggestions have been space, flora, and creature design.

  2. Everyone upvotes topics or themes they like.

  3. Each week, the highest-voted suggestion becomes the weekly topic challenge. A meta post is written up giving a brief summary of the idea (with the tag, hopefully), and at the end of the week, users who asked or answered one or more questions about that topic are recognized.

  4. Repeat until everyone gets tired of the idea or everyone runs out of suggestions.

Should we have weekly/fortnightly topic challenges? By the way, let's agree to go or not go with the idea as a whole before suggesting specific ones.

And no, nobody is required to participate in the challenges.

  1. Yes, I know - Worldbuilding is a very cool site!
  2. Disclaimer: To my knowledge, Jon is not a Jedi or a Sith. I think.

(This question is shamelessly copied from Puzzling, which is shamelessly copied from Worldbuilding.)

  • 2
    I worry that we don't have enough traffic to keep momentum for this. We talked about chat nights in an earlier meta. That has yet to happen. I think we might need to park this one for a bit until we get more users. Also crafts can take time to get tangible works that might generate questions which for some people can hamper imagination and inspiration. It is a good idea. I just don't think now is the time.
    – Matt
    Aug 2 '16 at 19:01
  • Your footnotes 1 and 2 (unlike mine in the post you copied from) aren't actually referenced in the text :-) Aug 15 '16 at 19:44

Yes, but not yet.

Topic challenges are a great community-building exercise, and I really like them in general. They can be a way of encouraging less popular topics and tags on the site, of bringing the community together to celebrate an event or a shared interest, and of making a little friendly competition in a non-permanent setting and in a way which promotes questions more than answers.

But as Matt said in a comment, trying to start at this early stage in A&C's life probably won't go well. With an average of only 1.4 questions per day, how can we expect the community to come up with enough questions on one particular topic over the course of a week or fortnight to justify the effort? Let's wait until the site is a bit bigger and has more active users first.


Not right now and not in its current form

This would be hard to do well in its current form as mentioned in comments and Rand al'Thor's answer. The Area51 statistics paint us a site that is still growing up. Another specific statistic that would hold the challenges concept back is that, as of this post, we only have ~53 avid users. Which is not a lot to carry something like this. Considering average view on main site post is about 30 and meta less. We would not want to introduce this to have it fizzle out and potentially sour people on the idea later.

That leads into a larger issue that affects how this and other whole community ideas. We are a site that brings together so many different genres of crafts and art. We are only scratching the surface right now with things like and for instance but there are many more. To quote Catija in chat about this issue better than I could:

The point I'm trying to make is that "themes" like "Ask questions about owl projects" require two degrees of separation from our scope... Generally, these topic challenges are only one degree away - "Ask questions about Crochet". But, because our topic is so broad, it's unlikely that a large percentage of users will be interested in participating in any one topic... which makes "topic challenges" difficult.

Designing themed based or topic based challenges had the potential to hinder or exclude large groups of users that don't have interest or skill in a particular genre.

For argument sake even if you could get all users interested in drawing you would still have to quantify the challenge somehow. Just a crochet weekly challenge doesn't seem very enticing from the lack of focus.

You could argue that we need to do actual themes like "Doctor Who", "Outlander" or mushrooms. You cannot guarantee that a large portion of the community would show interest.

If you think this is a good idea I would love to see some Challenge theme/question candidates.

Chat Nights

This was brought up a couple of months ago in another Meta. If we wanted to do something I think this would be a better start. It would definitely be a community building experience and there would be no pressure to conform to a topic or theme. It most certainly would have an element of question inspiration which the site could use right now.

I would push to get that rolling first but it might have the same issue of not enough users yet to keep momentum.

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