Do we need to give away weekly prizes to encourage people to create threads?

Posted May 01, 2012 at 8:40 am in Threads > Assignments

So we noticed during the Dark Meadow contest that daily thread creation increased by about 50x. There were some crap threads created, but there were also a ton of quality threads made that generated some awesome discussion.

This whole threads feature is still a big experiment, and we are constantly tweaking the experience. One thing we have discussed is creating leaderboards for carrier choice and device manufacturer choice. We could acquire devices from select carriers and handset makers and then reward the top users in each group with prizes.

My only fear is that people will try to game the system and spam a lot of crap, but hopefully the voting system will prevent that.

So uh, this sounds obvious, but would more prizes help? What other features would you like to see added to threads?

  • bolanrox

    i would love to see a way to manage the threads better – like by category or something, the increased threads was great but it makes it pretty hard to search for anything having to keep clicking the view older threads button :)

    • kazahani

      I agree, but also, PRIZES!

    • Zagrash

      Also to go along with this, Threads might be easier to peruse if there were more than 20/page. I LOVE the open layout and design of the site, but for Threads (which at least seem an awful lot like a forum), that style doesn’t fit quite as well.

    • tmihai20

      Do you really need hundred of threads? I noticed there are not so many to comment on, but you should decide if you prefer quantity or quality.

  • B2L

    People will do anything for a “free hat”, so I say yes.

    • bolanrox

      that is the truth sad to say

  • txbluesman

    We are needing better feedback (more comments) on our threads. I try to get involved in as many as possible, but some go missed. Out of sight, out of mind. Would it be possible to put each thread up on the main page for people to see for a couple of days, then another, and another, and so on? As with the main articles that you guys write and get plenty of feedback. Just an ideal, not that it is worth anything….LOL.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      We already feature a widget for Threads in the side bar, but we are looking at ways to increase exposure. Thanks for the feedback.

      • tjw344

        Widget? What? Where? This man is right. I made a comment below and it is kind of what this guy is saying. The main page has articles from two days ago. The main page can and needs more action than this. Look at Android police and talk android etc. An easy way to do it is with a thread and a picture. This will make the threads hit my RSS feed and then I click it and I’m at the threads.

        • tjw344

          Alright I see the widget. Doesn’t matter it ain’t colorful and it doesn’t go in RSS feeds. O would switch. At least until the threads get more popular. You need something unique. Can’t beat the expertise at XDA can’t beat the number of quality users at RootzWiki (for now). You need something to single you out. Is this it? Maybe. Maybe its a start. I don’t work here, but a unique identifier is something I learned in school that belongs in every business plan. That’s like the hardest part. The other is persistance.
          Good luck.

  • SGB101

    Don’t give prizes out just to genarate interest as that is not the input you need nor want. you tall about gaming the system above, but with giveaways, that is exactly what your offering, inflating your traffic by bribes.

    if you sort the format of the threads out, to be more like a normal forum, you will get a lot of genuine traffic and quality discussions, input and content.

    I know you wanted the threads to distinguish itself from other forums, but sadly it isn’t working. the modern forums are tried and tested, and have evolved to what people like.

    • kazahani


      Give me prizes!!!!

  • pekosROB

    Taylor, you can’t go wrong with prizes! I mean who could complain about that?

  • kazahani

    Prizes always help. Everything. All the time.

  • MJM128

    I think what is needed is more of a forum threads implementation. It’s not really an appealing posting method right now.

  • orangestrat

    I say give it a shot, I’m not going to say no to prizes. Has the forum stayed active now that you can’t win prizes?
    If spam goes crazy, either shut the thing down or only give away prizes to the best threads.

  • aranea

    One thing that’s hard following threads is that new posts can be anywhere among the posts and there are no identifiers. A different color background for not read posts or an option to see threads as forums will be helpful.

    There may also be an option to see the most popular threads for people starting new.

    • mkstvns

      Spot-on. This ability to reply directly beneath a post is handy and not unwelcome, but it does indeed mean that we have to scroll through the whole thread to see/find brand-new posts.

      Perhaps some sort of highlighting or user-selectable ordering options, and a traditional quote function rather than nested replies?

      Getting off track here, aren’t I…

      Yes, prizes! As long as they’re available to and useful to international readers. We’re not all in the US, after all. :)

  • Chris Lewis

    Honestly, the contest last week pushed me to write my first thread but its something I have been wanting to do anyways. People have strong opinions, and great ideas and if they want to share them they will create threads. Prizes would be a great addition for the people taking the time to write thread, but then the thread tab would be filled with junk. Maybe have contest for most commented on, or highest voted threads. I dont know but I do enjoy reading a lot of the posts people are writing.

    Also, Its a great place to post questions and get a lot of feedback form a pretty knowledgable community of android enthusiast.

  • kwills88

    I think the threads might need some moderators.

  • skugern

    Prizes will certainly help create more threads, good and bad, but maybe once a month instead of weekly.

    I think that participation will increase if there is better structure (separate by topic?) and the ability to up/down vote the original thread post, maybe with different weighting or thresholds ie, only those with a score of 10+ can up/down vote a thread.

    • DSaif

      Once in a month :)

  • isovich

    I don’t have all the much time to be playing on the threads. I run a restaurant and spend 60-90 hours a week there, so to put MAJOR prizes in a thread on contest wouldn’t be so fair. Why should we loose out on a chance to win a new Google Glass per-say. I am more them happy to let you give away that hat that they mention above.

  • Yonas

    out of topic but it would be awesome,instead of posting articles announcing the app of the week,by just making a list starting with the top app and point out using arrows,which one went up this week and which went down……get it ?

  • tjw344

    Keep in mind that the only way someone gets to see threads is if they go to the threads section. An important and easy change is to have a good thread on the main page with a picture daily. This site doesn’t have nearly the volume of posts on the main page as say Talk Android and I like it this way, but there is room for another post a day on the main page. It must be hand picked and good. I scan several sites several times a day. When I see a headline I’m interested in I click it. Have this daily post be a quality thread with a picture or something link to the threads page will get me there and I’m sure plenty like me. The only time I actually come to the threads page is to read ” the next install” thread and post on it. Also you might even take that thread in particular and post an app/game with its picture everyday. No need to rank it. Just a simple post and like to the threads page. Don’t get me wrong I like free stuff, but what needs to be done is temporary movement of users from the main page to the threads page. Once there, they see something they like and click it. Most important is the attention grabber and then the redirect. This might be how it is done.

    • tjw344

      I meant link several times I typed like. Also, I’ll take 2 Asus tablets a galaxy tab and a hat for my idea.


  • Thomas Biard

    I don’t think incentives should be given away to encourage people to create threads on a regular basis. I think it is a good thing to do for a couple weeks to generate knowledge that threads exist and are quite informing or fun, but I don’t think it should be a weekly thing for a long time.

    When the Dark Shadows contest was posted TOO MANY threads were created to where many of the quality ones got pushed to the back by the newest unnecessary thread. Not all will be gold, but I believe the people that are using it regularly are the people that had wanted it for a long time and will therefore fill the threads with less spam and more useful information, relevant opinion.

    I saw the same thing happen at Christmas when 25 days of tegra was going on and people were basically trolling the feed so that as soon as a new article came up they would put a two word comment just to get upvoted and then increase their score. I still notice a couple people doing this just to make sure they are in the top 5% for the next points based give away.

    These are just my opinions, and I love your giveaways, but I also love quality comments and posts from regular readers rather than people that sign up same day for one contest and never return.

    • Thomas Biard

      /rant over

    • Joel

      Im on board with Thomas here. Quality comments from real people with real android love is what you want this site to be known for. High traffic from visitors only here for prizes would really depreciate the whole point of threads anyway. Not to mention people who would enter MULTIPLE times from different IP addresses and under different aliases to increase their chances (as im sure theyre doing for this current giveaway with the ASUS pad)

      Since you guys are still experimenting, why not add some more categories…they dont all have to be geared towards android/tech. I know you guys dont want a full blooded forum, but I doubt you want to be exploited for free stuff either.

  • jaxidian

    I’d say, yea, give away more stuff but make the contests “secret” in that we don’t know what we must do to qualify. One week give it to the person who created the most popular thread. The next week, give it to the people who made the most + votes in comments in threads. The next week give it to a random user who participated in threads at least 5 times and had 80+A&M score. But don’t let us know the rules until we win, then make a big deal out of it.

    • kzlife

      Great idea! +1

      • jaxidian

        Thanks! :-)

  • spintrex

    I like the incentive of prizes but like any giveaway it draws much attention while leaving a ghost town afterwards. What if there was a way to not necessarily announce a contest but instead provide prizes to those dedicated to different activity towards a site. If there is someone that constantly creates great threads they can possibly be put into a pool of other similar android users. This pool can then be placed in an unannounced contest that randomizes the winner which is then announced by Androidandme staff. This kind of works along the same lines as an ‘Employee of the Month’ incentive where people aren’t suddenly putting more effort and going through hoops just to get their hands on something free. This is just an idea that can be better thought out but I believe it would be a great way to award the people that really make Androidandme work.

    • spintrex

      Just saw jaxidian post something similar =/ lol

      • spintrex

        On a side note I wish there was a way to edit a post

  • TAM_the_MAN

    How do you make threads? I would like a chance to win some stuff.

  • ralphwiggum1

    I think prizes definitely encourage Thread creation, but it leads to quantity and not quality.

    If someone has something exciting to say, they will do so regardless.

    Maybe a thread can be promoted to a post if it’s buzz-worthy enough.

  • Taylor Wimberly

    Thanks for all the feedback! Keep in mind these are kinda-sorta-beta, and we will be making improvements.

  • TaoRenCe

    Well, what I’ve noticed is that the comment section under the articles is more of the thread section. Users typically come to the site, read any article that interests them, then comment if they see fit. So in the same way you got people interested in the site to begin with, you have get them interested in threads. That’s the key.

  • B2L

    “so now that I shared my opinion…Free Phone?”

    I wish it worked that way, I would probably have hundreds of devices by now.

  • Glenbot3000

    This. I think the idea of rewarding the most discussed thread is a brilliant. It encourages the creator to be active and spurring discussion along with weeding out people spamming for no reason. The only flaw is that is someone starts a thread that everyone already wants to talk about, it sorta skews this, but these scenarios would probably be few and far between. :>