This weekly topic contest has been discontinued.

Thank you all for your participation.


The basic idea of a Topic of the Week contest is to increase the content we have about hot and/or underrepresented topics. Feel free to leave suggestions here for future topics.

How it works: We will designate one topic each week, and each person who asks a question relating to that topic will be eligible to win a prize.

Congratulations to Sobachatina, winner of the dessert contest!

How to enter: Ask a question relating to the topic of the week, and tag it accordingly. Each question you ask will get you one entry into a random drawing to win a book of your choice (under $50).

Choosing the topic of the week: Topics are chosen based on community input. If you have suggestions for next week's topic, please leave them as answers to this post.

Fine Print: This contest is open to all users across the globe, but the book of the winner's choice must be available for purchase online so that Stack Exchange can easily buy and ship it. The book does not have to be related to the topic of that week, but it should be related to cooking. Questions must remain open and not have a negative score in order to be eligible. You must include at least one of the designated tags for the current contest, but you may add additional tags as necessary. Each person may only win one weekly topic contest in an 8-week period.

Previous Weekly Challenge Topics & Winners:

  • Jan 3 - 10: Deep frying (winner FuzzyChef)
  • Jan 10 - 17: Cheese (winner rumtscho)
  • Jan 17 - 31: Pastry (winner KatieK)
  • Jan 31 - February 7: Soup (winner Aaronut)
  • Feb 7 - 14: Chocolate (winner ElendilTheTall)
  • Feb 14 - 21: Vegetarian/vegan (winner Sam Ley)
  • Feb 21 - 28: Bread (winner rfusca)
  • Feb 28 - March 6: Sauce (winner mfg)
  • Mar 6 - 13: Middle Eastern cuisine (winner Mien)
  • March 13 - April 3: Pies, cakes, cookies (winners jotyc, rumtscho, and village)
  • April 3 - 10: Catering & bulk cooking (winner Sobachatina)
  • April 10 - 17: French cuisine (winner BaffledCook)
  • April 17 - 24: Gluten-free cooking (winner F'x)
  • April 24 - May 1: Coffee (winner Jay)
  • May 1 - 8: Mexican cuisine (winner ElendilTheTall)
  • May 8 - 15: Condiments (winner Peter Taylor)
  • May 15 - 22: Strawberries (winner Ray)
  • May 22 - 29: BBQ/grilling (winner yossarian)
  • May 29 - June 5: Bacon (winner yamikuronue)
  • June 5 - 12: Salad (winner mfg)
  • June 12 - 19: Cocktails (winner KatieK)
  • June 19 - 26: Vanilla (winner Mien)
  • June 26 - July 3: no contest
  • July 3 - 10: dessert (winner Sobachatina)
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I'm wondering if the lackluster results thus far are simply because people don't read meta; only 30 views?? –  Aaronut Jan 5 '12 at 17:42
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@Aaronut Very likely. I'll see if I can get a house ad up before next week that advertises the Weekly Topic Challenge in general, linking to this thread (which will be updated with whatever the current theme is). –  Laura Jan 5 '12 at 18:25
    
In the spirit of fairness and transparency: I did ask a deep-frying question during the deep-frying week, but I did not include myself in the drawing since I am the administrator of this contest and an SE employee. :) –  Laura Jan 10 '12 at 15:47
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Hey Laura - do you think maybe there should be a new meta thread for each contest? I think that's how most of the other sites are doing it, and it keeps any answers/responses in context. –  Aaronut Jan 10 '12 at 15:59
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@Aaronut I had thought about it, but since all of the suggestions for topics are here, I kind of wanted to keep everything in the same place. This thread should get bumped to the top of the meta homepage whenever I edit it for a new topic, and I'm still working on getting a house ad advertising the Weekly Topic Challenge for more visibility on the main site. If it gets too confusing, we can split it off into multiple threads, though. –  Laura Jan 10 '12 at 16:07
    
Is there a maximum of questions that can be asked by one user? –  Mien Jan 10 '12 at 16:40
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Also, I notice we have no tag wiki for deep-frying. Nor do we have one for cheese-making. Seems like we ought to have tag wikis for tags we try and promote. I'm going to go write up a trivial one for cheese-making... –  derobert Jan 10 '12 at 17:21
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BTW, we should make a rule that nobody can win more than one contest per quarter, or something similar. I'll add some cheesy questions anyway to pump up the contest, but it wouldn't be fair for me to win two in a row. –  FuzzyChef Jan 10 '12 at 17:41
    
@Mien As long as the questions are all of good quality and are on-topic for whatever the current week's theme is, I don't see a reason to set a max number of questions. –  Laura Jan 10 '12 at 18:13
    
@derobert That's a great point; thanks for taking the initiative on that. If other people would like to help out by filling out tag wikis for some of the topics listed in the answers below, that would be awesome! I'll try to tackle a few as well. –  Laura Jan 10 '12 at 18:14
    
@FuzzyChef Good idea; I'll update to reflect some sort of timeframe that must pass between the same person winning twice. –  Laura Jan 10 '12 at 18:15
    
Based on what I've seen so far, it definitely looks like the cheese theme is working. I still think this thread is going to become untenable very fast, though. –  Aaronut Jan 10 '12 at 21:27
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@mfg Yes. Done. :) –  Laura Feb 17 '12 at 22:00
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Jazzed to have won the contest for veg-week! I guess 12 years of vegetarianism has finally paid off. :) As a new user of SE, I can say that contests like this are quite a cool way of encouraging good content, similar to Instructables offering free Pro memberships as a reward for featured projects. Motivates me to make good content! –  Sam Ley Feb 21 '12 at 21:59
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The contest updates have been going up later and later it seems... do the mods need some extra help? Is this getting to be too much? It's really fun, I'd hate to see it crumble into nothingness. –  Yamikuronue Jun 27 '12 at 11:49

2 Answers 2

Anyone can edit this post - add your suggestions here.

Cooking techniques:

Types of cuisine:

Classes of food:

Food specializations:

Misc.:

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I might save [budget-cooking] until we've really got this nailed down; it's a pretty good topic but it's also a honeypot for poor questions. (The top two questions in that tag really should be closed according to the guidelines...) –  Aaronut Jan 9 '12 at 17:10
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I'm up for anything which doesn't involve food storage or "is it safe to eat" quesitons! –  FuzzyChef Jan 10 '12 at 6:27
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Hmm, then how about a "when in doubt throw it out" week where anybody who asks a question that isn't about nasty old spoiled food is eligible to win, and anybody who asks one that is is immediately disqualified? –  Aaronut Jan 12 '12 at 3:00
    
@Aaronut and others: I'm vetoing the "when in doubt throw it out" theme for now because the point of these contests is to encourage people to ask more questions (achieved by given them a narrow enough scope that it's not overwhelming). Having a contest where all but one topic is included doesn't fit with that goal, and I haven't seen many spoiled food questions lately. But as always, I will reconsider if you can provide a compelling argument. –  Laura Feb 28 '12 at 18:28
    
It was a joke, not a serious suggestion. –  Aaronut Feb 28 '12 at 19:02

Given the apparently low participation 1 day before the finish, my feelings are:

  • We need a way to get more people to notice this promotion. We're actually getting some pretty decent traffic on the main site these days, but this meta thread has had only 60 views, which is pathetic. Thoughts, ideas?

  • I also think that we might, in the beginning, need to choose topics that are a little more accessible. I don't want to go for the lowest common denominator like having a baking week or (god forbid) food safety week, but to this end I've added a number of more popular, but hopefully still high-value topics like , , , and to the list of proposed topics.

and are also popular, but still fairly specialized topics - and I know there's a lot of interest in Coffee in particular because there was even a Coffee site proposed on Area 51 (which was, of course, subsequently closed as a subset of Seasoned Advice).

Note that even these broader tags aren't huge, they all have fewer than 100 questions right now. The tag had, I think, 25 questions before this contest, so I figure 100 is a reasonably-good popularity rating that will net us at least a steady trickle of new questions (a couple per day would be nice).

I have to admit I was wrong, I was expecting a flood of low-quality questions because that's what's happened on other SE sites and we do get low-quality questions here, but apparently deep-frying is just too remote a topic for our current audience. Which is understandable, I think; I'm probably the most active here and rarely deep-fry at home, personally.

Maybe once the contests themselves start to garner more attention and people know to look for them, then we can start delving into the less popular tags like or .

That's my feeling, anyway. Hindsight...

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I didn't know of the competition until I read meta today, by chance. The info banner, usually used to warn about moderator elections and SOPA, could be used to advertise the competition. –  user4697 Jan 9 '12 at 17:45
    
@TimN: Those are really meant to be used for system messages... if we're doing these every week then the banner would become useless for really important things. There is a link under the "Visit Meta" sidebar because it's [featured], but (a) it's on the right side of the screen, which usability studies show is the very last place people will look, and (b) it's in smaller print than any of the other links on the front page, and buried under a bunch of loud noise that hardly anybody uses here (favorite/ignored tags, chat links, the newsletter FFS... this should definitely be above that!) –  Aaronut Jan 9 '12 at 17:54
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I'll point out that even as a pretty frequent user I only check Meta around twice a month. If we expect the weekly challenges to work, the need to be posted on the main page somehow. I'll post a deep-frying question now ... –  FuzzyChef Jan 10 '12 at 6:04
    
There, done. Don't say I never did nothin' for ya! Incidentally, starting this contest two days after New Years' probably didn't help either. I think you should just push back the deadline by a week. –  FuzzyChef Jan 10 '12 at 6:26
    
Thanks for your reflections after the first round. I agree with you; we should probably build up momentum by starting with more accessible topics. Let's try cheese for this week and see how it goes. –  Laura Jan 10 '12 at 15:45
    
We could go for a community ad, that might work. Also, we could add the contest link to the tag wikis—maybe people will see it there. Especially if its in the short description. –  derobert Jan 10 '12 at 18:27
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I only just found this via Mien's comment on a recent question, and I check the main site very frequently. The link to meta is so small that I wouldn't even call it discoverable for a new user, and this site gets a lot of novice user traffic. I did presciently (accidentally) ask a cheese question last week though! –  Jefromi Jan 10 '12 at 19:37
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Advertising (or the lack thereof) of 'extra-curricular' aspects is StackExchange's biggest weakness IMO. –  ElendilTheTall Feb 13 '12 at 9:57

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