Challenges – Suggestion for improvement

Hello everyone

While watching the last challenge, I noticed that some tiny details don’t quite guarantee a fair competition:

Although the authors are not displayed, the badges from the reader ratings are. As a result, some stories get more attention than others.

The number of comments can also result in a distortion of the competition.

What can also be a limitation of individual chances is that the stories take part in the voting for different lengths of time.

Therefore, I propose the following suggestions for improvement:

  1. Submitted stories will all appear at the same time at the beginning of the voting period.

  2. Badges (including comments if applicable) are only visible after evaluation.

Kr, Vince

P.S.: Is it possibel to show a full ranking, or at least the top 10, instead only 5?

Hello Vince,

I fehlt complete the Same and think your suggestions are very good and will make the Challenge more fair for all authors.

As i See the icons (e.g. very hot, or good Idea) - i thougt,i have to ready this Stories and prefer IT.

BR Arcturus


Hey Vince
I think for fairness, it would be nice for all stories to be published at the same time. Practically, I think there would be too many stories for readers to go through all at once (I suspect reader fatigue would kick in). @Nu-and-the-Nus would know the total number of stories this competition.

Possibly as an alternative, have a smaller window to publish for the competition (say 2-3 weeks).

I think hiding all comments and the comment count is a great idea (but letting the author’s see them).

One idea I had was restricting authors to one or two stories per competition (only their best story is published). Only an idea, I can see pros and cons to this. Maybe, only two parts to a series…?

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An author is Limited to one Story.

Publish all at once and let the competiotion run for a longer period, would fix your concern.

As far I saw 36 Stories took place in the Last competiotion.

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Interesting suggestions! I myself only read a handful of stories for every contest, and it is true that the only stories with a chance of winning are the ones with badges. They are, after all, highly rated.

In terms of it being fair, i’m not so sure it ever can be, there are a handful of well regarded authors and they tend to win because they know what people like.

Stories with long word counts also tend to not do as well, because it is more of a time investment to read them.

The purpose of the long voting period is to give people time to look over the oldest stories, or ones they havent read. Whether the majority of the votes come during that period i can’t say. I would guess not if people are anything like me! :rofl:

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I like that the stories are published in real time, so to speak— from my experience, it generates excitement and motivation for authors to see the entries rolling in, and keeps the contest on people’s minds. There’s perhaps also a practical consideration, as far as generating readers—Given the realities of smut, I’m guessing it would be a more unusual reader who would say “I want to read (and get off to) 30 stories today as per the recent contest” rather than a reader who says, “how delightful—a sample for each evening coming in” or “a sample coming in each morning and evening” for the more libidinous reader.

I suppose a longer contest time might allow you to take a slower pace in reading, but it seems like it could diminish the delight of discovery.


I See.

My Main Suggestion would be:

No comments or Ratings visible for a Reader, while the competiotion ist active.

Kr, Vince

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As long as I could still see the comments, lol. I love the challenges of writing to a prompt, but if I didn’t get the affirmations of comments I would very quickly stop writing for contests.

A lot of people choose what to read based on ratings and comments—maybe it isn’t fair, but it is a practice of people. Would it diminish reader engagement to take that away, rather than increase it, do you think?

I would support hiding ratings until after the contest ends, but I think comments are a valuable part of interaction and feedback, and should continue to operate as normal.

I think ultimately, while the contests are fun, the intent is to generate interest on a fun prompt, not really to find the “best” story since that is subjective.

Contests create more stories! That makes us all winners.


I would vote for this, at least on a trial basis.

Valid points as well. I guess I’m still trying to figure out where I am on this. I will confess that even though I thought the last contest (Mad Science) was excellent, I didn’t manage to read every entry. Not sure how to fix that.

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You’ve taken the words out of my mouth, Naedre. :smile: This is largely my position on this too.

I’ve actually floated the idea before to Corin about hiding badges for contest stories… at least, until after the results are revealed. (Though, I will add a caveat that I will not be asking Corin to make any coding updates to the site for now. He’s on a much-needed break from actively coding and managing the site, and I’m going to be firm about respecting that. Maybe we can try out this change later—but not anytime soon.)

I actually have a ton of thoughts on how the contests work in practice, and on my why I’ve made my various decisions and changes on how they’re run. But if I shared all those thoughts, it would become a full essay, and I don’t know if anyone is asking for that. :sweat_smile:


It might be interesting to have your thoughts/philosophy in a separate informational posting? Then those who love to get into the weeds of things like this could peruse and understand why the challenges run the way they do?

I think challenges are one of the most fun things the site does, and one of the things that really celebrates people who enjoy writing (almost) as much as they enjoy the kinks.

I do wonder if the visible badges are discouraging people from entering. If a story already has say golden badges, it’s almost impossible for it not to win.

There has been massive improvements in scoring, i must say, there is much less sabotage. The old days were like the wild west :rofl::rofl:

I actually love getting 0.5 stars but i know a few newbie writers have really struggled with it.

The contests are my favourite part of the site, if anything I would like there to be more of them. I’m not sure that’s actually feasible :rofl:

As a new contributor to the site and first-time author during the recent contest, I’ve got some opinions that are worth what you pay for them (nothing).

The badges are motivating. It kept me writing more chapters. It had the feel of social media in the ‘good old days.’ Comments are also motivating, but few people comment compared to the number of reads and ratings.

Is it fair? Hell no. But I agree that the whole ‘contest’ is subjective and the true purpose is to get authors to generate new content. The fact that the new content is based on a common prompt is both highly relevant and totally irrelevant. We could just as easily have a rating/ranking system on a monthly or quarterly basis with no prompt, but that would be much less fun.

I think the real problem is that anyone puts any stock in the outcome of the contest. Is there any reward, other than getting a front-page mention after the voting is done? No. It’s not like there’s prize money at stake. This is just supposed to be fun.

So my personal take is that the contest works well. Can it be improved? I’m sure it can, but I’m not sure I’m in a position to make recommendations.

If I were feeling cocky (and maybe I am) I’d say that maybe the contest structure could stay mostly the same, but run for a shorter time and happen more frequently. That would make for more and varied prompts. We don’t all get off on the same kinks, and not every prompt is going to inspire every author. Maybe the prompts could be announced further ahead to allow authors to prepare stories ahead of time for future submission windows. I’ll admit to feeling rushed to get things written and submitted. On the other hand, sometimes pressure produces diamonds.

Maybe I don’t know anything and should stay out of this conversation, but I’ve had a few glasses of wine and I’m feeling philosophical. To paraphrase myself earlier, you get what you pay for, and I’m not getting paid.

Love you all, and you can do whatever you want. Just don’t stress about this. It’s just supposed to be fun.


Just to include a small technical detail most of you are probably not aware of:

There is a delay for how long after a stories publishing, all its badges will remain hidden from the public. Only the author and admins get to see them in that period (the other requirement, which is to have at least 12 ratings in a category, notwithstanding).

I’m not sure how long that delay is currently set to (having no admin tools at hand anymore), but I think it was 15 days. @Nu-and-the-Nus might check it. This value can be changed to any value you want.

In theory it would be possible to implement a change that badges are also not shown for challenge stories until the challenge is ended, while they would still remain visible to the author themselves. To do that for comments as well would be more difficult, though.

But as Nu has already said, I’m currently not in the mood to make any changed to the site’s code. So this might happen at some point, but not in the immediate future.

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Please don’t ever feel like you have to stay out of any conversation here. Your input is valued, as is from every other person who cares, and you obviously care!

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It all depends on just what the intended outcome of the contests is supposed to be.

If you view it under purely competitive terms then the current setup has various flaws that can be exploited to push some submissions into greater spotlight.

If however, the whole point is to encourage participation and the result is a side effect then it is working as intended.

It is easy to make suggestions regarding changes but you have to take into account the multiple parties involved: those making submissions, those reviewing submissions for approval and those voting on the submissions; and to complicate matters people can and do fit into multiple categories.

The ‘fairest’ way for writers would see more work for admins and could be overwhelming for readers if there was a massive glut released simultaneously. This also may disuade potential writers who find themselves inspired by early submissions, or those who just think they can do better than that.

The best approach for readers would probably see stories released in small groups, preferably with similar interpretations of the brief to better pick favouties. This would take more admin coordination and would potentailly annoy writers as they may feel their story is overshadowed whether justifably or not.

Admins may well like the status quo, being spread out means there is unlikely to be a sudden rush but authors may feel that the timing of submission can count against them, and for long contests readers may have forgotten early submissions when comparing with later ones.

There are complications whatever you do, but you have to find a compromise that everyone can at least live with. The more restrictions you put in the more likely you will leave at least one group too annoyed to engage at all.