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A great suggestion from Jon Ericson is to have Weekly Topic Challenges, these would involve 4 steps:

Step 1: Ask for topic ideas.

Step 2: Post a challenge.

Step 3: Profit!!!! Tally the results.

Step 4: Repeat until no more topics are left.

For the full details, follow the link above.

What do people think of this idea? Do we want this on The Great Outdoors?

Here's one I started on Gardening & Landscaping beta We have 1 completed challenge and are working on the next.

Please post your feedback to this idea as an answer.

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No, deliberately soliciting questions on a particular topic is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • It gives the wrong impression of the site. Someone new looking at the front page of questions may think this site is mostly about climbing ropes just because the topic of the week was about climbing ropes. They want to ask something about hiking, and go elsewhere.

  • If feels like this site is not for you to those that are not interested in the topic. As long as there is a consistant mix, lots of topics can coexist because everyone gets something regularly. However, when a particular topic gets too much attention, as technical climbing seems to be doing here, it pushes others away. I know that my own interest and participation in this site has decreased since it has become swamped with technical climbing.

  • A bunch of questions all on a related topic makes it obvious the questions were solicited. That in turn clearly points out that desparate measures are being taken to keep the site from dying. People will find someplace else to invest their time and emotional connection that isn't a sinking ship.

  • No matter what topic you pick, it will probably be of low interest to the majority. We all understand that the site must include a broad spectrum of topics, and that therefore there will be some questions we have no interest in. That's the way it works. But, it's a lot more aggrevating when the uninteresting questions were artificially created. Put another way, I signed up for a crap shoot of topics, but deliberately flooding the site with drivel would piss me off.

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