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 Post subject: A Wii Problem
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:41 pm 
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This may get posted to the blog over the weekend.

I have a dilemma. The other day at Costco, I found a Wii squeezed back behind some other merchandise. Obviously, somebody was hoping to return to get it later. We can't have that. Since it was the last one in the store, I bought it. With Get Rich Slowly money.

Since I already own a Wii, the new Wii is destined for greater glory. Specifically, I'd like to give it away to a GRS readers somehow. It's this somehow that's the sticking point. I've already mentioned that I'd like to do a Writing Project, so that's certainly a possibility. Or I could use it to promote the forums (do you guys want new blood in here, or are you content at the current rate of growth?). Or I could just give it away at random.

Vintek suggested a "best comment" or "most helpful poster" type contest, and that sounds intriguing.

Anyone else have an idea? Ultimately, I'll return the thing if I can't decide on a cool way to give it away. Let me hear your ideas!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:19 am 
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That's a hard one because it will come down on you to decide the winner which could be hard. One thing you could do is create a poll of the top 4-5 entries for whatever you decide to do and let your readers vote (don't post the entrant's name if possible) so it takes some of the pressure off of you.

I probably wouldn't use it to promote the forums though. All that will do is get a rush of people in here who don't really care about participating but only care about winning the Wii.

If I were to do it I might run a "if you had $x what would you do with it to better yourself, your community or your world" contest. After the winner is chosen you could put the entries on a separate page for people to read - it might be interesting.

The best comment or most helpful poster contest might be easier. You could ask participants to nominate people/comments. I have a form program that I could use to create a form for you to use for nominations. then they export right into excel to make it easier to count. Or, if you do want to get the forums involved, you could start a thread here to take nominations for a week and then run a poll so people can choose the winner.

for the random thing you could just choose a comment number and when you get it that person is the winner. I wouldn't announce that though as it might have people just making random, useless posts in order to win.

Whatever you decide, good luck. :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:29 am 
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While a random drawing is probably the "safest" option, I think don't think it's an effective use of the investment. (You said you spent GRS money on the Wii, so you should consider the contest an investment in the site.) I think you need to do something that will (theoretically) increase the value of the site. Which means using it to encourage more readership. The writing contest is probably the the best idea in regards to long-term site quality, but the comments contest is probably more open. However giving something as desired as a Wii away is going to (as pf101 pointed out) bring people out of the woodwork who are more interested in the Wii than in GRS. Opening up to voting is potentially going to lead to stuffing of ballot boxes and otherwise gaming the system. (I'm from Chicago, I know all about rigging elections :) )

Another thought is that you've been having server issues from time to time and a large influx of users will aggravate that. However, you're likely to get some publicity (digg?) out of it and while many of the visitors may disappear after not getting the Wii you may have a few really good people who stick around.

Like anything theres a cost/benefit equation here. I just don't know what the answer is.

(Of course, I'm opposed to a writing contest, because that guarantees that I won't get the Wii.)

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:18 am 

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pf101 wrote:
I probably wouldn't use it to promote the forums though. All that will do is get a rush of people in here who don't really care about participating but only care about winning the Wii.


Actually, I had the same concern. My original e-mail was as follows:

Quote:
Perhaps a vote on forum participants, by the forum participants. Take the top 10 (or 20 or 25, you choose) posters by volume (this takes care of the participation portion of the criteria). Have the population vote on the most helpful poster (this takes care of the quality portion of the criteria). You can make this for past posts (which helps to eliminate gaming the system) or for posts within a set time (which encourages everyone to jump in and participate). Either way, quality should be a key element to the voting criteria. Any fool can post nonsense, which should not be rewarded.


The way this suggestion came about was that J.D. was kind enough to tell me about the Wii when I suggested that some kind of celebration was in order when the forums passed the 500th member milestone. As such, my suggestion was connected to the forums. Hopefully, the emphasis on quality will filter out the majority of folks who rush in simply to try to win the prize. However, if the contest did attract a high volume of quality posters, this might be construed as a good objective. We could even further eliminate the possibility of gaming the system by allowing only members 1-500 a vote, with one vote per member. That way anyone could win based the quality of their posts, but people have no incentive to create phony memberships just be able to vote for themselves.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:30 am 
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Thanks, Vintek. You're a better archivist than I am. (I'm sure your message is here somewhere, but I don't know exactly where.)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:43 am 
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VinTek wrote:
pf101 wrote:
I probably wouldn't use it to promote the forums though. All that will do is get a rush of people in here who don't really care about participating but only care about winning the Wii.


Actually, I had the same concern. My original e-mail was as follows:

Quote:
Perhaps a vote on forum participants, by the forum participants. Take the top 10 (or 20 or 25, you choose) posters by volume (this takes care of the participation portion of the criteria). Have the population vote on the most helpful poster (this takes care of the quality portion of the criteria). You can make this for past posts (which helps to eliminate gaming the system) or for posts within a set time (which encourages everyone to jump in and participate). Either way, quality should be a key element to the voting criteria. Any fool can post nonsense, which should not be rewarded.


The way this suggestion came about was that J.D. was kind enough to tell me about the Wii when I suggested that some kind of celebration was in order when the forums passed the 500th member milestone. As such, my suggestion was connected to the forums. Hopefully, the emphasis on quality will filter out the majority of folks who rush in simply to try to win the prize. However, if the contest did attract a high volume of quality posters, this might be construed as a good objective. We could even further eliminate the possibility of gaming the system by allowing only members 1-500 a vote, with one vote per member. That way anyone could win based the quality of their posts, but people have no incentive to create phony memberships just be able to vote for themselves.


That sounds like it might work. I was taking comments to mean comments on the blog, not comments here... It would be easier to track if they are comments here.

As far as voting goes, when you do a poll in the forums each person can only go once and there would probably be a way to disallow voting by people whose accounts are less than 24 hours old or have less than X number of posts. If not, the form that I mentioned captures IP data so it would be easy to eliminate multiple votes from the same IP. Granted, someone could switch their IP and create a new handle and vote that way but if they want it that bad... Besides, they'd have to do it enough times to counter all of the other votes for other people and JD can be the last judge as to whether the person really deserves to win. Another bennie about it being that way is that the results are anon so no one can tell who is winning so that might cut down on any 'campaigning'.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:52 am 
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All I know is that when you send it to me, make sure you tell UPS that no signature is required.

I'm going around and around (on the phone) with the drivers who failed to leave a slip for me to sign, so now I won't get the presents that I bought for my g/f before I leave to see her in NYC next week. Think my g/f will appreciate me giving her the receipt and an IOU for our anniversary? "Look honey, I got you a completely useless tracking number."

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:55 am 
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tinyhands wrote:
All I know is that when you send it to me, make sure you tell UPS that no signature is required.


LOL

sorry about the UPS thing...but maybe she'll forgive you if you can give her a Wii? :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:10 pm 

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I love sincerely love GRS and sincerely SINCERELY have a strong desire for a Wii. In fact, the bf and I are contemplating saving up for one and getting it a few months (not ready to drop the money yet).

I do think the suggested contest is feasible and and a good idea, but I don't like it because I know that I will have no chance of winning!

Selfish, yes, I admit that. I would like an idea that gave people who weren't the "top" posters a chance too. I am fairly new to personal finance and don't always have advice to give, but that doesn't mean I'd just be entering a contest for the Wii. I read the blog and forum daily. I like the writing project idea. I don't think I'd win that either, but at least I'd feel like I had a chance, and I'd put more into it than just voting for the kind readers on here who are helpful.

But I would understand (and remain a loyal GRS reader!) if you decide to go the other way. In that case, I think it is more of a reward to loyal and helpful posters rather than a contest, which is still a great idea


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:28 pm 
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She plays her brother-in-law's Wii all the time. I'd never be able to get rid of her (or get a chance to play, etc.) if I had a Wii too. That plan would backfire big time. ;)

But I actually agree with SJean that quantity of posting on the forum shouldn't be a major factor, even if subject to prior date restrictions or somesuch. I'm not even sure it should be based on quality of posting, which I think is too subjective (and since I'm often the first to admit when I've made a mistake or given bad advice). Essay contests are likely to favor the professionals/seasoned bloggers, but I can't think of a better idea.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:32 pm 
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tinyhands wrote:
But I actually agree with SJean that quantity of posting on the forum shouldn't be a major factor, even if subject to prior date restrictions or somesuch. I'm not even sure it should be based on quality of posting, which I think is too subjective (and since I'm often the first to admit when I've made a mistake or given bad advice). Essay contests are likely to favor the professionals/seasoned bloggers, but I can't think of a better idea.


I kind of agree. That's why i suggested a writing subject that was money related but not educational. Anyone can write about what they'd do with money whether they just started learning about personal finance or have been blogging for years.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:15 am 
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All good ideas.

The most important question from my point of view is, will it be open to non-US people?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:36 am 
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Plonkee, I think that the Wii has "regions", just like DVDs. That means that since I have this one Wii, it's good for just the U.S./Canada. (I'll verify this before giving it away.) I'm happy to ship it elsewhere, but it might not do any good once it gets there.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:47 am 

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I'll elaborate a little bit on my original post.

The "filter" of post quantity was designed to reward active participation in the forums. It was never intended that sheer volume would be the deciding factor in winning the prize. Under this portion of the criteria, I myself would not qualify for the prize, which suits me fine.

I think that the "filter" of quality is important. I am very impressed by the overall quality here on the forums and think that it's an important thing to encourage. Quality does not have to be defined on an educational basis. For example, J.D. himself is still learning a great deal but his own contributions in asking the right questions is invaluable to the community. Many of the Fiscal Fitness Journals are essentially voyages of discovery for the diarist, and provide wonderful insight into what others can do. It's definitely not all about being the best pedagogue. It's not even about being the best writer (which would give an advantage to experienced bloggers). It's about being the best contributor to the community, which may or may not include education.

And that's where the voting comes in. It's the community which decides what "best" means. I'd imagined that only the first 500 members would be eligible to vote (which would essentially be a "reward" for those who joined for reasons other than winning a Wii). Each member would have one and only one vote.

Anyway, it's really J.D.'s call as to how to proceed. I think he has to decide if the purpose of giving the Wii away is just to simply celebrate the success of GRS (in which case a random drawing is as good as anything else) or if something more complex is called for. I'm not adverse to a simple drawing. Sometimes simplicity is best.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:13 am 

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Quote:
Anyway, it's really J.D.'s call as to how to proceed. I think he has to decide if the purpose of giving the Wii away is just to simply celebrate the success of GRS (in which case a random drawing is as good as anything else) or if something more complex is called for. I'm not adverse to a simple drawing. Sometimes simplicity is best.


Perhaps a random drawing, but you in order to be considered, you have to contribute to a writing project. And not just a garbledygook entry, something thought out. This would elimate the worry of favoring the professional bloggers, give a fairly level playing field, but not allow people to be in it just for the wii.

Though I still can see about a million entries from people who may never come back.... You could limit it to forum participants with a cut off date of joining before the contest is announced. Still, that seems not to encourage new participation, but reward former members, so it really depends on your goal. (Though it sort of seems the main goal was to thwart the person who tried to hide the Wii!!)

How about whoever comes up with the best idea for a contest to win the Wii wins the Wii? Ha.

Of course it is JD's decision, but he requested our thoughts and these are mine!


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