The future of SP-Studio contests

  • The first SP-Studio picture contest started back in the year 2010, and it has always been a big pleasure for me to see your artworks! This is why I continued to start the contests (nearly) every month, even though the number of entries is not that big anymore. But this number gets VERY small now... I know there are several reasons for this. There are less SP-Studio visitors in general, I am bad at marketing and the gallery addon is annoying because of its errors. But I see there still are many people out there who create SP-Studio pictures, they just don't show them here. The contests would be more fun with more entries, so I want to change this. I plan to abandon the system we are useing right now and switch to something different. The forum and user galleries can stay, but I'd like to have a new system for the contests. And this is why I am writing this right now...

    I want your opinion! :pc:

    What are your suggestions on how the contests should change?

    Perhaps you know a great WordPress plugin or have an entirely different idea? Would Facebook be a more attractive way to vote? What I want is just the following:

    • Everybody should be able to upload a picture as easy as possible (no registration)
    • There should be a way to vote, but if it's without stars that would be fine as well.
    • Of course the new system should work without annoying errors

    Apart from this it is up to you. I am willing to collect and sort the pictures myself if the rest of the system is easy to use and it makes the contests more fun for everybody. Let's see where this will lead to. :)

  • It's a pitty the lack of participation in the latest editions.
    Maybe the 'open' way with no registration could be tested to see if it works... but I think that the reason is in the changes in people about internet and smart-phones.
    The contest's themes also has relationship with the participation. The last one wasn't an easy one.

    I'd like the contest to go on. :thumbup:

  • Most contests these days are run via Facebook (like the picture you want to win!), but I am not sure about this approach... the pictures which show up first have better chances. And you'd need a facebook account to vote. Most people have one, but it's still a restriction - and I'd prefer to be independent.
    Another approach would be to find a WordPress plugin. I will post some of them here after some research.

    Do you think we need the 5 stars system or is a simple "like" system good enough? I think it's important to be able to vote for more than one picture, but I am not sure if we need the stars.

  • Quote from Janina

    I am bad at marketing.

    Well it's a good thing I'm a Marketing Student :]

    The contest themes are becoming more difficult, you said you're trying to get more creative entries rather than just making the latest movies and the infamous "Joker" problem but to bring people in they need to make the picture as a reaction. When I make a submission I don't do it straight away, I think about it for a few days and when I get an idea I experiment till I get it right.

    I think extending into social media is the best move. You said it yourself, less people are coming to the website so letting people engage on a platform they already use will invite more people to the website. However, I think you should do it through Instagram rather than Facebook. People are judging images and that comes most natural there. Make it it's own account and use it, the main account, Facebook and Twitter to promote the heck out of them and the community.

    I have met so many people who have used this website but barely anyone used or even knew of the community. To bring people in they need to know why people like me have stayed for over 7 years. To see what amazing artwork people have made with the creator and so much more.

    Most of the responsibility lies with us. The users. When new people come they see an online graveyard, it can be weeks before any new posts. If we want this website to thrive we need to feed it, get people to see something they want to engage with and sign up to add to the discussion. No one wants to add to a year old discussion.

    I've been a member since I was 11, I've known most of the long time users for longer than I've known most of my friends. I want to see this wonderful place become as amazing as it can be :)

  • Thank you Jetpack-guy. :)

    I am more familiar with Facebook than with Instagram. How do you think the submission of the pictures should be handled? I could build an easy submission form for the website and also allow submissions via Facebook.

    Would it make sense to combine the likes on Instagram and Facebook so everybody can use their favorite platform (or even both)? I still know many people who only use Facebook and no Instagram.

    Of course social media means the contests won't be anonymous anymore and everybody would be allowed to promote their pictures. I guess we'd have to try it out to see if the results still look fair.

  • I think using Facebook in the way you said makes sense, I was thinking the Facebook contest way was the really clickbaity "like this photo for chance to win £250!" kind of contest.

    I'm no social media expert, if you are more comfortable with a particular platform go for that. People will be more likely to engage if it looks like you know what you're doing ;)

  • I neither use Facebook nor Instagram. Maybe you can use these platforms to promote the contests and keep the contests open so a registration isn't necessary to upload pics.

    In the past the contest entries/winners were more appreciated imho by updating the hall of fame, the blog etc.

    Please don't misunderstand- you're still doing a really good job, Janina and I'm convinced we all will do our best to keep this page/forum alive. :)

  • You are right, I'm annoyed by myself for not doing the blog posts and hall of fame updates on a regular base. I noticed the hall of fame wasn't visited by a lot of people, but I should at least continue the blog posts. I have no particular reason for not doing it... When a contest ends I update the forum threads and often think: "Don't forget to write a blog post as well!". And then things happen in real life, I work and suddenly a week is over and then another week. This should be something I can find the time to do, but I often don't. :( It's a vicious circle. I want more people to notice the contests, but when nobody comments the blog posts I don't care that much anymore... then I miss the blog posts and less blog posts mean even less people who notice the contests.

    Regarding the platform: I would prefer to not run the contests here anymore because the software is so bugged. We often cannot see the pictures when we want to vote and I haven't found a fix for this error. And the whole thing looks very dated... If I post the link to the contests on facebook nobody cares, and I guess it's because it's not intuitive. People are used to things being easy now.

    My favorite solution would be to combine the votes from different platforms (voting on + Facebook likes + Instagram likes) so we can reach everybody, but I guess this means I'd have to do the calculations myself.

  • The next contest will start on Tuesday and I will test a new system for this (social media based). Let's give it a try and see what happens. :)

    But I am not sure about the topic yet. Waat are "easy" but interesting topics in your opinion? Since it's a new platform we coul recycle an old topic which was popular.

  • I am not sure if this is a good idea for the start because most younger people don't have a close connection to theater and even think it's boring. I think movies or a genre in general (like comedy or horror... this could also apply to theater) speak to a wider audience.

  • The test contest is finished and I feel like it worked pretty well. It might not be a huge boost in numbers, but at least a small one. The big advantages are the lack of errors and the easier submissions without registration. This worked very smoothly.

    I am not 100% happy with the voting yet because now we have Facebook AND this forum. But Facebook has the bigger audience and I don't want to loose those of you who don't use Facebook. So I guess it will stay this way until somebody has a better idea. And it is a bit annoying to have two threads per contest because of the vote, but I cannot imclude votes in the middle of threads.

    What do you think? What do you like, what should be changed?

  • Right now we have 20 days to submit and 10 days to vote (or "until the end of the month"). I don't think a shorter voting period would make it better, because you can vote directly after the submission period. And I'd like to have at least one full week for people who only have time during the weekends.

    Or do you mean a shorter submission period? This could make a difference... In the beginning of the contests it used to be 15 days and I though more time means more submissions. But I am open to new ideas and get your point that some might forget about the contest when the voting starts 19 days after their submission. Do others feel like 20 days is too much?

  • Please have a quick look at this. :) I found a way to implement an easy voting system directly on (wordpress). What do you think of this? Right now you need to click twice to exit the big view, but I think I will be able to fix this. I haven't edited it yet because I wanted to show it to you first.

    It's really easy to use (for me and the voter) and works like Facebook, but you don't need a Facebook account. I noticed some of you did not upload pictures in the last contests and it might be because of the Facebook votes. So I hope this will be better. You can like as many pictures as you want and in the end the one with the most likes wins. This could be shown on the front page instead of a single page, but I have to make sure every picture has the same chance to get noticed.

    I found another WordPress plugin which should be able to provide the star ratings some of you are missing. But unfortunately this one would cost 30 $... So I am not sure it this is worth it. And I haven't found a demo for it, because the official demo does not show ratuings. I'd be willing to spend those 30 $ if I'd know for sure more people will use star ratings. But I don't even know yet if they want to vote at all. Perhaps I should try the one with the likes first to see how a vote directly on the website is accepted by the visitors? I don't want to change the system all the time, but right now we haven't found a good solution for the vote yet.

    The upload still works great, this month I already got a nice amount of pictures. So I won't change anything there.

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