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I've noticed that a few other Stack Exchange sites have introduced a periodic (monthly/weekly/etc.) topic challenge as a way of encouraging questions on a particular interesting topic. Here are some posts from the network:

I think that Latin.SE has a lot of excellent users with expert knowledge, but I can't help thinking that:

  • With one notable exception (2 Socratic gold badges!), we have a relatively low question count
  • Increasing the amount of high-quality questions in our site is the best way to increase its exposure and, hopefully, expert user base

Do other users on this site think that this is a good idea? If so, how do you envision it working for our site? A monthly challenge on something specific, e.g. the Catilinarian orations, the underworld in classical epics, the Roman legal system, could potentially spark a lot of interesting discussion in addition to our normal traffic.

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    This sounds interesting, but to be honest, I don't know how this works on any SE site. Is there any encouragement mechanism beside a meta post saying "please ask about <enter topic> this week"? It's unfortunate that there is no feature to reward excellent questions. Perhaps we could promise to offer to give a bounty for the accepted answer of the community-chosen best question asked during the challenge? (We could make it monthly instead of weekly.) If people like the idea, I can write a more precise suggestion as an answer. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 6 '17 at 18:19
  • As a reminder of how meta is supposed to work--vote this post down if you disagree! Better yet: make an answer that can be voted up explaining why you disagree. – brianpck Apr 7 '17 at 18:54
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    I had upvoted for exposure, but I'm not so sure this is workable or if it would translate nicely here. I would wait until people started to express interest in droves before launching something like this. Myth.SE had started a "Myth of the Month" thing that flopped due to lack of interest. I think these sorts of things are best left untried until there's a larger user base, rather than trying to grow it this way. I know that's not really constructive, but hopefully more will weigh in soon. – C. M. Weimer Apr 16 '17 at 4:51
  • @C.M.Weimer Preventing destruction is constructive. I agree that it's quite unlikely to work yet, and that it's wiser to wait. If our user base grows and people start showing more interest towards this idea, I can put some work into implementing it. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 26 '17 at 2:16
  • Related link on main meta: How do weekly topic challenges work? – Gallifreyan May 16 '17 at 23:57
  • Topic challenges have also been discussed at the mother meta. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 16 '17 at 23:57
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If we decide to have topic challenges, here is a suggestion for implementation:

  • We create a meta question asking for topics people would like to see.
  • We create a separate meta question for each challenge. The answers are links to and descriptions of questions about the topic. The questions have to be asked during the challenge period.
  • As a reward, a bounty of 50 points is started on the answer of highest score. (I mean score in the meta question. Or should we use the score at the main site instead? If yes, then the meta question would just have a single CW list of links as meta voting becomes irrelevant.)
  • There should be some waiting time to let people vote. Perhaps we choose the winning question one week after the challenge time ends and let the bounty be active for a week. The bounty is awarded to the answer accepted by the OP.
  • Each topic challenge lasts for a whole calendar month. One week sounds pretty short.
  • When a new month starts, the highest scoring topic suggestion (positive score, not yet implemented) is chosen as the new topic. If there are no unused suggestions, there is no challenge that month.
  • One possible structure: A month has roughly four weeks. People are encouraged to ask questions for the first two weeks. We wait one week to let people vote for their favorite questions. The fourth week is when the bounty (bounties?) is active.

This would be fairly easy to do. Would you like this kind of activity at our site? And most importantly, would this kind of challenge make you ask questions about the challenge topic? There is no point in doing this if no one reacts to it.

I don't know what kind of topics would work well for challenges. The mechanism I propose leaves that open on purpose; we can try different things.

Any suggestions are welcome! This was just a quick draft.

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    Poll: Upvote this if challenges like this would make you ask more questions. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 7 '17 at 19:55
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    Poll: Upvote this if challenges like this would not affect the questions you ask. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 7 '17 at 19:56
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    I can definitely see how being given a topic would help encourage people coming up with questions. I personally only ask questions when I really need a word I can't find elsewhere, since I'm not always certain what I should ask on the site. If a topic was presented by the community, however (maybe on technology/computer-related words; I don't know if that would fit this site's definition), I'd feel a lot more comfortable asking various questions related to the topic – jpyams Sep 16 '17 at 12:39
  • @jpyams Sorry for taking long to reply. It's good to hear that the idea has support. However, it seems that much more (and broader) enthusiasm is needed to make it truly viable; there is a significant chance of falling flat. Almost anything related to Latin is on-topic (including technological words), so feel free to ask whatever comes to mind. Anyway, thanks for the reminder about topic challenges; I will put a reminder in our chat too. – Joonas Ilmavirta Sep 19 '17 at 20:46

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