Your concerns about the stolen bike contest have been heard and the contest is being reconsidered.
First, let me tell you that as part of the CHAOS team, it's my job to bring in new users from the outside. As such, I designed this contest - with much help from the moderators & not enough help from the community (my fault) - with the outside in mind:
- A NYC-based Stolen Bike contest is specific & catchy - I can promote it to blogs & influencers
- A vote-based contest gives participants incentive to reach out + pull in
A variety of concerns have surfaced. Some of the most pressing:
- Too localized
- Little benefit to existing & high-rep users
- Relies on back-end data (how to confirm a vote was delivered by a "new user")
- Criteria for winning vague or "overwrought"
- Incentivizes creation of "sock puppet" users
Many of your concerns are specific to the Stolen Bike contest. In my mind, the criteria for winning is the biggest problem. We need a clear and concise criteria before we move on. As for "too localized" - I failed to adequately communicate that this was a pilot program to establish a contest model we can later take global. Despite my personal failure, this contest may indeed be too local to move forward as it is. Let me know what you think about this.
Other concerns - the "sock puppet" concern, in particular - raise issues about upvoting contests in general. Next week, we'll be talking at SE HQ about the viability of this type of contest, which I think is a flawed but highly effective means of bringing new users to this and other SE sites. (We'll be discussing, among other things, whether or not it is possible or even useful to allow no-rep outsiders to upvote answers posed in a specific class of "contest questions.") Let me know if you have any concerns about upvoting contests or ideas about other contest models that encourage users to "reach out."
For the moment, the Stolen Bike Contest is on hold. I'll give you an update on where we stand at the end of next week. Until then, let the ideas flow. This is your site. Let's figure out a way to reach out that you approve.