Now, I'd like to try and clarify some of what steerpike was trying to get at (and give my own opinion), because I completely agree with what he was getting at, and would prefer if this didn't end on such a bad note. So. First off, I really appreciate that you guy's did finally come here, and respond to this in full. Thank you. I want to start off by saying that I think that we all have the same goal in mind. Developing the community(in other words, to advance the art of magic...). It can be developed in two ways, by bringing more people to the sight, or by strengthening the community already here. We can go ahead and ignore the first point, as the only people that even know these contests exist are those that are already in the community in some form or another. Now, you might say that having such a contest may attract people within the community to compete that would not have otherwise. While this is true, it is also irrelevant. I will explain myself later on. For now, let's take a look at point number two. So how can we develop the community by strengthening it, in the context of contest. Well, holding such contests provides you with two means of motivation: competitive drive and winning the prize. I state these as separate, because in one it is the idea of beating your fellow competitors thats important, while in the other its the idea of earning the prize. These motivators can be used to develop the community in really any way desired, whether its trying to get people more involved in cardistry, photography, cinematography, or just plain old magic. They can be used as a way of getting people to show off old skills, create new ones, or just keep practicing. Now, as you guys have stated, you have little interest in just having a couple of the older more experienced magicians going in and just wrecking the competition, which I agree with. With that in mind, contests of old skills (best pass, best double, best spring, etc) are seemingly not the best. However, they do inspire those that couldn't quite compete when the contest was posted. For example, very early on in my time as a magician, I saw a contest for double lifts. I could not believe the skill level of my fellow magicians, until then it had been: there's the pros, who are flawless, and then there are the underlings who just keep on practicing forever and ever. This contest showed me the variance in skill; the different stages of development that went into having a killer double lift. It inspired me. So these types of contests certainly have merit, although they are not optimal for development, as so many members of the community either already have these skills, or just feel so out of touch with it its not even worth trying. (a magician watching a flourishing competition, or a having a competition on gambling sleights, etc). The next type of contest i'd like to address are lotto's. Here is where I explain my earlier assertion. You say that lotto's are beneficial, as they appeal to a large variety of people. The proof for this being the hundreds of entrants. This is absolutely true. However, it in absolutely no way develops anyone. This is because of a couple of factors. Firstly, the winner is entirely up to chance. Luck. The natural extension of this, is that there is no competition between members. Instead of competing with each other, you are pitting yourself against lady luck. In other words, hoping you get lucky. So this contest entirely eliminates half of the motivation these contests are supposed to provide. Secondly, these contests have no barrier to entry. This is accomplished by removing all barriers/obstacles whatsoever. The only requirement to compete is a working knowledge of english (not even fluency) and a keyboard. Oh and about 5 seconds of time. The natural extension of needing no skill to compete, is that no skill is used. It does not require creativity, or knowledge of magic, photography, flourishing, cinematography or any other skill that contributes to this community. And if not a single one of those things is being used, they sure as heck are not being developed. The only possible argument I could imagine for the pros of lotto's, is that they bring the community together. Well, look at how well that worked out. If you think steerpike and I are a small majority, well to put it simply your not involved enough with the community. Many on here share our feelings. And that means there are gaps and discord being created within the community, obviously not something you want. Finally we get to the good stuff, creative competition. You say that you want low barriers to entry, and to develop the community, and to have fun, and to develop skills within the community, and to get people excited, and to get people involved, and every other good thing you could want out of a contest. Creative contests involve all of that. The only general requirement is a functioning brain, and time. Creative contests at this level could consist of single deck displays, essays, trying to name an effect or explain how one was done. I think this is a little too low of a barrier, but it is here nonetheless, and is a thousand times better than a lotto contest of the same barriers to entry, as it actually develops each and every contestant. It requires them to think, to create. The next level up would be where I really think your focus should be. Creative contests which require a working knowledge of some skill. Here is where most of the great contests lie. Any contest involved in creating an effect, or creating your own way of accomplishing an action, or flourishing, or photography, or video editing, or presentation, or any other number of skills that you would like to see in the community, fits in here. You talk about wanting to appeal to a wide variety of people, well you can literally appeal to any skill set within the community using creative contests. The hardest part about creative contests, is coming up with good ideas. Well, we got you covered, with at least 500 different ideas just sitting in this thread. The next hardest part is finding someone to judge such a contest. While I fully understand and empathize with the challenge that may present, an elegant solution would be to create the contest as a poll, wherein the community gets to vote on whose entry was the best. It wouldn't always produce accurate results, but it would give very unquestionable and agreed upon results. Not only that, but it would give you guys an invaluable resource for seeing the interests and opinions of your community. Finally, imagine how much more involvement you would have as random people casting their vote, vs just having your contestants. I would imagine that you might even beat the lotto's in involvement. People love to judge. I fully understand the idea that these contests are just supposed to be for the fun of it, but you guys have to appreciate what an insanely cool opportunity you have here. If you guys put the time and effort into this that it needs, I think it would far surpass the wire or the forums in terms of community development. I base this assumption on all of human history, wherein competition, more than any other factor, drove man to develop themselves. It is just painful to see such an opportunity being treated with such nonchalance. I really hope that you guys can take some stuff away from reading this, as I took a lot away from writing it. And gave a lot too. If you want clarification on anything, just say so. I tried to keep my points short haha. Tyler Edit: I started typing this while you guys we're in the middle of arguing, I feel a little silly now that its resolved but I spent all this time writing... lol.