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Andy K's Vanilla New Styles Contest! Cash Prize

Andy KAndy K
edited September 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
2006.10.05: Current prize pool, a humble $50.00 USD! That's like 10 beers, or 7 good beers!

Hi all- I really love how most community-supported projects like WordPress have an active community of CSS wizards making up styles for personal and community use.

We had a ton of community-made styles for Vanilla 9.x, but very few for 1.x. What's up with that? What happened with the Clockworks? (just like Default but in different cool "iMac" colors?) The Roots? (dark background, new format for determining old/new threads, sidebars on the other side, etc) Others?

Well, I want more styles for my community to choose from. But I'm not that great with CSS. So I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and host a contest, to try to get some spirit into the Vanilla Styles community!

So here's the thing: I'm putting down some money for a contest. $20.00 US to start us off. What I'm hoping to do is to two things:

1) Get some visual/creative people into making some cool or useful Styles for Vanilla.
2) And recruit other folks like me who have interest in new styles, and money, to pitch it into the contest.

I do these kinds of contests ALL THE TIME for Tabletop RPG, Japanese translation and Programming communities, so please have confidence that I know what I'm doing!

So, here's the rules:

1) The contest ends September 30th, 2006. You must upload it to the Lussumo Community's Vanilla Add-Ons page by then. The Style doesn't count if it's located anywhere other than the Vanilla Add-Ons section (like your website, etc). If it appears on the Vanilla Add-Ons page on October 1st, your entry is in. If it appears October 2nd or later, your entry won't be counted towards this contest. It also has to be a 1.X Style, not 0.9.X.
2) I will be the sole arbitrator of the winner. It's easier, less confusing, and far less messy that way. My wife is a professional visual designer and I'll tickle her until she gives all the entries a once-over as well, so there will someone with some artistic taste looking over the entries as well. But I run a pretty huge, active Vanilla community and will be looking for what is not only pleasing to the eye, but can stand up to the test of hours of community use ("Oh! Gorgeous Style! But my eyes burned to cinders after reading with it for 30 minutes- Ouch!" etc).
3) There will be two prizes: The Main Prize and the Creativity Prize.
4) The Main Prize will be awarded 3/4 of the collected money, the "pot". The Creativity Prize will be awarded 1/4 of the "pot".
5) The Main Prize will be judged on a few simple categories: DESIGN (major). USEFULNESS/PRACTICALITY (major). INTEGRATION WITH/ENHANCEMENT OF VANILLA (minor). If you go nuts into making the style all creative and weird and cool, but it turns out to be not too useful, hard to read, etc that will be "minus points". If your style changes the fundamental look of Vanilla, rock on, just make sure it's also a useful, easy to read and solid design, and doesn't break dozens of extensions in the process. Pretty simple, right?
6) The Creativity Prize will be awarded to the design that is the most creative with design, and enhances Vanilla's capabilities. It pushes the limits ("it is aaaaaahhhhrt") while still readable.
7) Both prizes will not go to the same Style.
8) You are free to also create new THEMES, and STYLES to go with those themes. Doing so will not get you "bonus points" just because you went that route, but this is definitely a way to explore with vastly new and experimental themes (if that's the way you want to go. Or are specifically aiming for the Creativity Prize). Again, though, for the Main Prize just make sure your awesome new Theme doesn't trash 90% of all Extensions.
9) I say "Integration with Vanilla". This does not mean you must test your style/theme with each and every Vanilla extension. Just do your best. I won't deduct points if "Smooth Page Scrolling" doesn't work, but will be more critical for the Main Prize if, say, 90% of the commonly used extensions break on it.
10) There is no limit to the number of themes or styles you are allowed to submit. The more useful submissions you make, the better it is for our community in the long run. Go nuts! Do a New Style, then do it again in Cornflower Blue!
11) Themes and Styles that are already in the Add-Ons directory are also included. In fact, if the contest ended right now with no submissions, Jazzman Style 1.0 would be the winner.
12) The winner will be announced no later than October 9th, 2006 in this thread.

Does this make sense? Are there any questions?

So, for others who want to donate to the contest:
1) Post here in this thread with the amount you would like to contribute (and make a personal promise with yourself to pay up at the end of the month). No need to be a big spender. I'm hoping that a few small contributions here and there will add up into something nice for the winner.
2) I'll total up the prize pot every few days, along with user handles for accountability as to who promised what.
3) When the contest ends, you'll be responsible for paying the winner by Check, Money Order, International Postal Money Order, or Paypal. Funds should be un US dollars for the purposes of this contest.
3.1) And again, be honest with yourself. Slamming a few bucks down now, only to say later, "Oh crap, I have to make my rent payment. Sorry, I'll pay you Later When I Can..." isn't really cool for the purpose of the contest. Only put down what you can promise to give on the first week of October.
4) Entrants: I can't promise that nobody will be a deadbeat, but I'm hoping that only serious folks will contribute and pay quickly and on time.
5) Entrants: If possible, please set up a Paypal account (especially if you live in a non-US country) early so that sending you the funds is as easy and painless as possible.

In the end, sure, there's a money prize and all that. But I don't expect it to reach sky-high or anything like that. Consider it a little incentive for those awesome stylists out there who have been thinking of getting around to making that new Vanilla style "any day now" to get up and do it! So I want to make it clear that the ultimate goal isn't "FAT CA$H KA-CHING!", it's "Flood the Vanilla Add-Ons Section with useful and creative styles for us to make use of, or creative ones for folks to use and bend Vanilla in new ways (or build off your work." Cool? Cool.



  • *strokes beard*
  • I'm in for ten bucks. I know, big spender. Hey, maybe more later ...
  • Andy KAndy K
    edited September 2006
    Rock on, man! No reason to go nuts on this thing, $10 is totally fine. I'll make this post, then, the Post of Accountability:

    Andy K: $20
    russlipton: $10
    jacmgr: $20

    As of 10.05:
    Total Prize Pot: $50

    (expect updates for contributors and total pot every 2-3 days or "when I get around to it next")
  • I am thinking about entering it. Not to win, but just because this will actually force me to sit down with it to make something nice.
  • edited September 2006
    what we need are some commercial sponsors like many other style contests
  • "What's up with that? What happened with the Clockworks? (just like Default but in different cool "iMac" colors?)"

    No, way! Someone used/liked those? Haha. Thats cool. I guess I could redo them for 1.0 if people wanted. No one ever really said anything in the thread I had them posted in so I figured they were not being used.
  • you want some new styles make them yourself lol, it always annoyed me to see these silly contests I think everyone should be creative and make their own template that way you don't see 100 sites using the exact same cookie cutter template, come on people lets not be like everyone else ;-) I also believe many of these contests or template makers really just want to make a name for themselves or find a way to market their incredible template machine web business you seem them all over the web, but i guess it can't be avoided, maybe you should up the prize to $1000 lol
  • Perhaps you shouldn't be so negative? Andy K takes the time to start up a little contest with incentives to participate, isn't that nice? I agree with Andy K, it would be neat to have more styles around. /me thinks about doing some more work on the things he started.
  • @bugsmi0: Not everyone knows xhtml and css. If it where not for the generosity of others, giving up/sharing their time, resources and knowledge, then Vanilla itself would not be a reality. Give the guy some slack. I am sure that you would use some of the themes that came out of it. I think it is a great idea.
  • blizeHblizeH ✭✭
    edited September 2006
    I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea too, it'll be a great way to kickstart people into developing new themes, and me saying this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact I think bugsmi0 is a moron.

  • I'll add 20 USD.
  • Although I won't be able to contribute anything(no code, no money <_< ) ... I cannot wait to see the results of these great initiative and enjoy the new styles ...
  • Andy KAndy K
    edited September 2006
    Krak: I guess I could redo them for 1.0 if people wanted.

    Please do! I used to roll with Clockwork Purple and Green all the time, and I know that a few dozen other people in my community in the 0.9.x days did too!

    Yeah, it's hard to get feedback and all here in the forums, I really wish there was a mechanism for commented feedback on the Extensions themselves (instead of just simply the 1-5 star rating). It would also make spotting problems and QA faster as well as giving you all some solid, human feedback saying how we're making use of your (the designer's) tools.

    bugsmi0 hold on a sec, it'll take me a sec to parse the unique grammar of this post... OK, I think I've got it:

    OK, I won't go too deep into this, but there are some valid points brought up in this run-on sentence soup here:

    you want some new styles make them yourself lol

    I work 10 hours a day, and in my spare time mess around with hobby projects. Japanese translation? No problem, I'll do it myself. Project planning? I'm on it. Fixing storage server networks for Fortune 100 companies? It's what I do all day long. Learning enough CSS and design fundamentals to make a style as awesome and yet useful, like the Root Light/Dark series for 0.9.x? No can do. I also can't fix my car or inspect my own meat.

    I'd trade "Japanese translation!" or "Fix your Netapp filer cluster performance!" for Vanilla styles, but I don't think I'd get very far. :-) So instead, I'll just pay a little out of pocket and hope to encourage those folks for whom throwing down CSS is a cakewalk, to come out and bring more coolness to the community!
    And as I figured, other folks too who love and support Vanilla but don't have the leet CSS skills are also coming out to wave some flags, too!

    In the end, I figure dropping some cash, even a tiny bit, is better than starting a thread saying "Hey you CSS hosers, get out there and make us some templates!" :-)

    it always annoyed me to see these silly contests I think everyone should be creative and make their own template that way you don't see 100 sites using the exact same cookie cutter template... come on people lets not be like everyone else

    Er, there's not that many vanilla sites to begin with that you'd visit every day (compared to say, Wordpress or vBulletin or whatever, where seeing a common template used over and over stands out like a sore thumb). Also, check out the Wordpress style community (or see ). There's *thousands* of styles out there, enough so that if you're concerned about originality, you can choose that One Style that only like Four People on the Internet use. Sure, the real gurus code up their own sites, but for the rest of us we can only piggyback on greatness.

    Also, there's the other side of the contest: I'm hoping that with that "Creativity Prize" angle, that maybe a few folks will put their thunderously awesome and Out There Themes and Styles into the community's reach. Frex, I can't find the post here now, but there was that one dude who basically tricked out Vanilla to make it into a blogging tool, and yet it was still unmistakably Vanilla. I remember there were a lot of others on the thread who were good at CSS who looked at and dug through his style so that they, too could take Vanilla to the Next Level- Doing things with it that no one tried before.

    So, sure, if you happen to catch the post or two in the community forums here where someone's really working Vanilla in new ways, then you get a glimpse of the possibilities of the tool, and if you too have skills you can pick up the ball and run with it yourself. But man, if those unique, Vanilla-evolving themes and styles were freely available in the "Vanilla Add-Ons" section for new adopters (and people considering moving to Vanilla), it's exciting to think of what they could do with this tool.

    Who knows, maybe it's like a Dominant Effect thing, where the more styles and themes we have on display in the Add Ons section, the more people will get interested and involved with Vanilla (and contribute themselves). We'll have to see.

    I also believe many of these contests or template makers really just want to make a name for themselves or find a way to market their incredible template machine web business you seem them all over the web

    Notice, though, I didn't refer to my own community here. Nor did I say "Upload the style to my server". Nor will any part of the contest be hosted on any part of any of my domains. Instead, I require everyone to upload their styles and templates directly to Lussumo so that they can be used by anyone from now on.

    This isn't an "Andy K promotional contest", this is a "Let's improve the Vanilla community contest".

    maybe you should up the prize to $1000 lol

    Hah! ... you payin?

    Anyway, I do appreciate comments, questions and concerns about this contest. I appreciate criticism, too, although I would give much more thought to the criticisms of community members who have already actively contributed to the community with Extensions, Styles, community support and the like.

    Sure, as a "do work for MONEY!" contest, the prize is so small and lame (currently) to be not worth it. But if you're good with CSS, and have been thinking, "I've been meaning to upload that style I've been working on" or "I've had a few ideas, but just haven't had a chance to sit down and bang them out", then this contest is for you.

    We've got tons of extensions for Vanilla 1.x now, but comparatively very few styles. This contest will hopefully be a shot of some Community Development Adrenaline.

    Thanks everyone!
  • I think I'll have a go. There's a couple of ideas I've had, but just never found the motivation.
  • Great idea, I'll try and do a theme, if not I'll chuck some money in the pot :)
  • Andy K gee you think you wrote enough on my comment ? I think you could have written more, you're holding back aren't you lol, I would do a response to each of your responses but i'm too lazy to type ;-)
    My point was simply don't be like everyone else, themes are easy to make, some people are just too lazy, yea you work 10 hours a day wait here while I go find a tear and a bucket to drop it in, you'll get no sympathy from me,
    I think a cool idea would be to have a quick vanilla template CSS guide > this is where your header goes > this is where your side goes and then people could build on it. just copy the CSS and paste and your good to go I may set up a theme site for that if its not already existing sounds like a brillant idea ;-)
  • 'Themes are easy to make'...are you kidding? Easy to make for a designer, perhaps. Until you get to making sure it all validates properly, works in all browsers, has all the pages themed correctly and matching, includes all the necessary parts to make sure all the information appears when and where it's supposed to, works with extensions as far as possible. There are always tons of threads on here about how such and such a browser is misbehaving with certain things and whatnot. Calling it an easy job is rather an understatement in my view. Then again it's a shame you wernt here for the release of v0.9.3 when Mark (and a couple of others) poured hours of their time into creating a nice easy to use and aesthetically pleasing theme which validated correctly and worked in all browsers. Clearly you could have had it knocked together in seconds. There was a css outline theme for which i believe was designed to make it easier for users to know what did what and where. I've not seen one knocking about for v1 yet though.
  • "I really wish there was a mechanism for commented feedback on the Extensions themselves (instead of just simply the 1-5 star rating)."...I do believe it's on marks list. In the meantime just starting a discussion by the name of the extension is the best (though admittedly not always successful) way of achieving something.
  • I really wish there was a way to punch people through the internet... people that bugs me, o I dunno anyone in particular... Great Idea Andy K, if I find a job before the deadline i'll donate! (just gradauted!) :)
  • I think the most important thing right now for Vanilla is to have an ignore feature, just so I don't have to listen to anymore of bugsmi0's senseless, and irritating, ramblings.
This discussion has been closed.