A Contest To Think of Contest Ideas

I'm having a contest. The challenge is to help me think of contest ideas. I posted the full details in the Hoax Forum (but then it occurred to me that only registered members can post responses there, so I'm posting a brief announcement here too so that comments/ideas can be left in either place.)

The basic challenge is to think of contest ideas. The one condition is that the contest has to generate responses, the best of which can be used as sidebar material somewhere in my archive of famous hoaxes throughout history. Like I said, full details are in the Hoax Forum.

The winner of the contest-idea contest will get a copy of A Treasury of Deception by Michael Farquhar. I then have two more prizes to give away (once we have ideas for more contests). Another copy of A Treasury of Deception, and a copy of Bar Mitzvah Disco.

Update: I should also note that I don't want contest ideas to demand people to do elaborate things like creating a hoax website, or creating a hoax on eBay. That presents too much of a technical challenge. People should be able to submit contest responses as text in the comments section (though if someone is inspired to photoshop something or create a website, that's fine, but it shouldn't be a requirement for entering the contest).


Posted on Wed Dec 14, 2005


Howabout a contest to see who can hold their breath for the longest. Any takers? grin
Posted by Absinthe for Brains  in  Vancouver  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  09:41 AM
You go first, Absinthe!
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  09:52 AM
Seems to me the ideal contest that does not require contestants to create a website and so forth, would be for the best submission for HOAXES I WOULD NEVER PERPETRATE. Let's face it, there are many clever ideas that would make for a good hoax, but for some reason (risk of life or limb, arrest, damage to property, etc.) most of us are not willing to try them. So why not tell all of us your ideas for a hoax you are not willing to attempt?
Posted by Bruce Carroll  in  Louisiana, USA  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  10:03 AM
A contest to see who can creat a hoax that will trick Alex into thinking the hoax is real, and posting it on his website. When the hoaxer's "hoax" is posted by Alex, they should notify him and provide evidence that they are the creator of the "hoax".

It could work....but I'm sure a lot of people will try to send in hoax's they did not invent, and try to fake proof as well. But, if someone were to actually create a hoax and let it make its rounds by the internet and word of mouth...it could end up being pretty fun! smile
Posted by Mike  in  Guam, USA  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  10:04 AM
That's a pretty good idea, Bruce. But remember, I want to be able to save the best responses on some page in my hoax archive. That's my one requirement. So which page would this be appropriate for? (Maybe the Bonsai Kitten page, or some of the other more disturbing hoaxes.)
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  10:15 AM
"...I don't want contest ideas to demand people to do elaborate things like creating a hoax website, or creating a hoax on eBay. That presents too much of a technical challenge."

And besides, both of those stunts are so commonplace that they aren't really very notable.
Posted by Big Gary in traffic  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  11:07 AM
Helena Bonham-Carter is my favourite actress, and I hope she is your favourite actress as well. In fifty words or less, please explain why you adore her so:

In response you will receive a mixture of (a) crap and (b) serious and funny tributes to Helena Bonham-Carter. You could alternatively use another actor or actress; in order for it to be funny you would have to pick someone who is fairly well-known, but not the kind of person who you would expect to have a fan club. Such as William H. Macy, or Stacey Keach. Or Dennis Quaid, because the name "Quaid" is funny.

You could run the responses either without mentioning that they are about Helena Bonham-Carter (i.e. you could illustrate a story about the Loch Ness monster with the quote "I think her hair is gorgeous"), in which case the juxtapositions would be random and hopefully amusing, or you could simply puzzle people as to why your site mentions Helena Bonham-Carter so much.
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  11:08 AM
N.b. the hoax prize could be a picture of Helen Hunt, or a "Get Carter" t-shirt, or a Jon Bon Jovi album, or something that isn't quite about Helena Bonham-Carter and which would disappoint a genuine fan of Helena Bonham-Carter.

I want to stress how sick I am of typing Helena Bonham-Carter, and how much I wish I had picked another actress such as Bai Ling, who is easier to type and does not have a hyphen, albeit that using Bai Ling in this kind of competition would be too obvious (and you would have thousands of responses along the lines of "I like her t*ts, p.s. I am w*nk*ng as I write this").
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  11:11 AM
I do have a fan club, and I'm not terribly amused by this.
Posted by Helena Bonham-Carter-Burton  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  11:33 AM
We should probably come up with our own ideas, instead of bashing other's ideas in our posts.
Posted by big gay  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  11:47 AM
Is this another contest where Alex forgets to award the prize? I'm still waiting to hear if I won the Xenacate contest.

I think Alex is counting the number of times he can trick us into thinking he's running a contest! LOL
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  12:09 PM
A contest to get full nude pictures of Jessica Alba and email them to me.
Posted by Craig  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  12:29 PM
My submission takes the recursive thinking even further:

A contest to see who can think of the best idea for a contest!
Posted by Joe  in  St. Louis  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  01:51 PM
Hey Alex,

Maybe we can have a contest when something that seems outrageous but possibly true comes out where the winner would be the first one to provide actual proof of whether it is real or a hoax.
Posted by MtgAceSooner  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  02:01 PM
On a tangent, Helena Bonham-Carter's grandmother was this lady, who looks of a spookily similar type:

I was moved to find this out in order to determine if the name is Bonham-Carter or just Bonham Carter. It appears she is the former:

I want to stress that I have no special obsession with Ms Bonham-Carter, I am merely bored. It's a shame she didn't marry John Bonham from Led Zeppelin (as a child bride, perhaps), because then she would be Helena Bonham-Carter-Bonham.

Bonham is of course French for "good jambon". No, it probably comes from the same place as "bonhomie"... probably.
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  02:42 PM
Ashley, "Bonham" is probably a corruption (or alternate spelling) of the French "Bonhomme", or "Goodman". I'm bored too...!
Posted by BugbearSloth  in  earth, 3rd planet, sol system  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  02:50 PM
'thephrog' won the Xenacate contest, because I decided to use the red-shirted characters on Star Trek as the example. I added an update to my xenacate post explaining my reasoning.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  02:51 PM
Maybe we can have a contest when something that seems outrageous but possibly true comes out where the winner would be the first one to provide actual proof of whether it is real or a hoax.

The trouble is, if this is something that can be proved by news that follows, or is relatively simply proved in a couple of hours or something, that essentially rules out anyone in a different time zone. Same with any 'first person to...' competitions.
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  02:55 PM
How about a contest to get nude pictures of Craig and mail them to Jessica Alba?

Nah, Craig would have an unfair advantage there.
Posted by Big Gary in North America  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  04:02 PM
How about a contest to find the most real looking hoax video/pictures?
Posted by spotleaf  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  04:30 PM
Gary, get me her email address and I'll voluntarily do it.
Posted by Craig  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  04:37 PM
Alex chooses the name of a 17th century German existentialist philosopher, but does not tell anyone which philosopher he has chosen. Entrants post the description of the behaviour of a vegetable of their choosing (except zucchini) in the style of a 17th century German existentialist philosopher. The winner is the entrant whose post most closely matches the style of the philosipher that Alex has chosen.
Posted by Whipper Snapper  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  05:06 PM
Good point boo......doesn't really fit his criteria anyways. Maybe something like a faux email where the contestant would have to state on here before hand what they are sending out. The winner could be based on circulation. Maybe like an online petition of something weird and see who got the most responses.

I remember the first one of those I ever received. Think it was like in 98 or something like that. Some email claiming the CEO of Proctor & Gamble had announced publicly that he was a member of the Satanic church and that all P&G's products would be stamped with the Mark of the Beast.

I still believe things like these are sent out by competitors to try to gain an advantage. Especially religious stuff like this because lets face it religious people are probably the most gullible people.
Posted by MtgAceSooner  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  05:19 PM
Good idea, Whipper Snapper. But it would be more fun if we did it with Danish philosophers.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  09:44 PM
Create a hoax civilization. The civilization has to be believable, but have some sort of absurd practice or aspect about them. Perhaps Alex could select some random aspects (religious practices, food sources, habitation locales, etc.) that you have to incorporate into the hoax civilization and the person who does it best, wins the contest.
Posted by trident87  on  Wed Dec 14, 2005  at  10:23 PM
I wanna se the winner of this contest actually proclaimed!!! Think about it. Whatever the outcome, it will be hardpressed to determine the winner, as when you are dealing with hoaxes, y'all are pretty much gonna come up with the same base idea, it's just gonna come down to who will post the miniscule guidelines that Alex ends up following. I enjoy reading the comments you folks post, not just on this contest, but all of them. Some of you are just TOO witty... cool grin
Posted by Christopher in Joplin, Missouri  in  Joplin, Mo  on  Thu Dec 15, 2005  at  04:14 AM
Couple of ideas:

How about a spot the hoax type contest? List out 20 news/historical items and people have to determine which are real and which were hoaxes.

Find the Jackalope. Hide a tiny picture of the jackalope somewhere on your site. Kind of like the bunny on the cover of Playboy.

Best believable hoax. People submit tall tales or hoaxes to explain common things. Here's an example of such on my site: http://tinyurl.com/7snb8

New word or phrase contest. Create a new word or phrase to discribe a common occurrence. (Ex. Crotchfry: A french fry that falls into your lap that you still eat.)

My humble submissions.
Posted by Chris Carlisle  on  Thu Dec 15, 2005  at  08:54 AM
How about a contest about who can create the best/funniest/most believable hoax cryptozoological (how the heck do you spelll that?) animal. Such creation could include text description or story of first encounters, and could include obligatory (photoshopped) grainy pics. Just an idea. Thanks. Have a nice day.
Posted by BugbearSloth  in  earth, 3rd planet, sol system  on  Thu Dec 15, 2005  at  09:57 AM
Of course, everyone knows that existentialism grew from the *18th* century works of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche; the 17th century was the time of empiricists such as Locke and Descartes. I have written a poem about Descartes:

went to many parties
and was a fan
of Pilates"
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Thu Dec 15, 2005  at  03:15 PM
Danish philosophers, Alex? An oxymorn, surely.

You are right, of course, Ashley - I should have said 18th (or even 19th) century. Can you do a carrot after Arthur Schopenhauer? Of course, Descartes (when properly pronounced) does not rhyme with parties...
Posted by Whipper Snapper  on  Thu Dec 15, 2005  at  06:25 PM
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