Wanted: Contest Ideas

image A new book about hoaxes has just come out. A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes, and Frauds by Michael Farquhar. The publisher (Penguin) sent me a free copy to help promote the book--which means that we get to have another book give-away contest! The winner gets the book. However, I can't think of a good contest to have (my brain is just too tired right now). I'm inclined to do another urban-legend/hoax haiku contest, since that was pretty fun last time. However, I thought I'd take suggestions first. If anyone can think of a fun contest, leave your suggestion in the comments. Otherwise, in about a week, I'll do another hoax haiku thing.


Posted on Wed Jun 01, 2005


I think you should just give it to Charby for his "Home of The Strange" lyrics paraody from a few days back...He'd know where to find it... don't be modest, Charbs...step up, and recite that baby
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Wed Jun 01, 2005  at  09:58 PM
Alex, I think you should have a hoax contest. In other words, people would submit either an idea for an original hoax they'd like to see perpetrated OR information about a hoax they have already pulled off.

The submissions would be fun to read, just for starters. You'd decide the winner but keep it to yourself until you thought there had been enough entries. Then you'd announce the winner, setting off a firestorm of debate on the message board. It's a win-win!

I think all entries should concern hoaxes created by the submitter, otherwise you'd get a ton of entries about hoaxes we all already know.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  01:45 AM
How about a 'best hoax website' contest? Perhaps slightly exclusive but it might add some extra flair to Cranky Media Guy's idea above.
Posted by Chris 'Crispy' Philpot  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  02:17 AM
I was about to suggest the same as Chris... everyone try their hand at creating a hoax website.
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  04:25 AM
It's a good idea.
Of course, it means I won't be in the running, but it's still a good idea.

It would provide some humour, anyway.
Posted by Boo  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  04:34 AM
I agree better with the your-own-hoax idea. That would be really fun to read all those submited crazy ideas from crazy minds... crazy times these days..
Posted by Bernardo Santos  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  05:23 AM
Well, we could all find Alex Boese in our toast. It'd be more of a craft competition rather than one of writing. But I can't be to blame if anyone burns down his or her house.
Posted by Citizen Premier  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  07:28 AM
Perhaps the most fitting contest would be for each person to run a hoax ebay auction. Whoever's auction actually makes it to sale would qualify for the contest. The item that sells at the highest price wins.

Besides...you would have a lot of great additions for this site, as well.

Each person that participates would have to post their ebay user name and email here on hoax...along with the link.

Perhaps a less agressive contest would be to simply find the most outrageous item for sale on ebay.
Posted by redmond  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  07:37 AM
I think the great contest would be to give a new name to Raoul's Chariot of Fire...she has a real name, that of Raoul's First True Love, but this I cannot tell you, for it would sadden me greatly, and make small the pedestal in Raoul's heart upon which she stands forever...no Lauras or Georgettes, por favor...Rrrraoul
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  07:58 AM
Ha ha ha...Raoul has given the hoax to you...I am too sorry, the Llamas made me do it, okay, so don't bet on it...ha hah ha...Rrrraoul
Posted by Raoul  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  08:15 AM
You're frickin' hilarious, Raoul...you dork...I have another suggestion for a hoax contest...since "Deep Throat" came out of the closet this week (read a newspaper, for cryin' out loud), I think we should come up with a new name for the person who will eventually narc out George W. Bush...no, Raoul, I won't submit "Deep Llama"...that's all yours, you shlub
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  08:20 AM
How about "Urban Legend/Gonzo Journalism"?
Posted by jc  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  09:07 AM
It should be a contest-idea contest, obviously. The winning contest idea gets used for the _next_ giveaway.
Posted by Raymi  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  09:56 AM
Do some osrt of Urban Legend/Hoax/Prank Story contest, the most convincing one wins!
Posted by Yaanu  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  10:55 AM
I like Cranky Media Guy's idea of creating a hoax more than creating a hoax site simply because I have no skills and I think the first would get more entries.

The later would be funnier, as would a photoshop-type contest of "things that don't exist - or do they?" contest where you create a picture of a hoax, but how many would participate?
Posted by Chadds Ford Prefect  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  11:56 AM
I like the idea of best hoax website. Just my two cents. Well, more like one cent, since I'm pretty much saying IAWTP.

Posted by joemono  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  12:17 PM
Hey alex, I think you should do a photoshop hoax contest...With the originals included in the submissions of course 😊It'll be visual so it'll generate interest...and you can add it to your photo quiz.
Posted by LadyBug  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  04:22 PM
Like worth1000.com, Ladybug?
Posted by Boo  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  04:27 PM
Or like what I mentioned? Sorry, feeling inferior
Posted by Chadds Ford Prefect  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  04:37 PM
Oops, sorry Chadds. I read yours as more of 'creating a hoax in general' than specifically photoshop.

Anyway, sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel belittled or anything, I just thought you were making a different suggestion and/or point.

If it makes you feel better, I liked the idea of a general hoax better than photoshopping only.
Posted by Boo  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  04:46 PM
I like the idea of a hoax bid on e-bay. Everyone that gets bids and actually completes the process should qualify. But it has to be a "legitimate" hoax, not something like the Toast of Felt. It should be something like the "air from a UFO crater" or "mermaid urine".
Posted by Big Dave  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  04:46 PM
Boo - I just, i just, i - can't talk right now (so small)
Posted by Chadds Ford Prefect  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  05:07 PM
Maybe you should eat a biscuit or drink a drink that someone anonymous has left on a table down a rabbit hole?
Posted by Boo  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  05:17 PM
Here, see how this idea grabs you:

We have a contest where each participant has to tell the true story of how they started a well-known urban legend. This is a double-recursive hoax contest--not only will it be about urban legends, but it will give each contestant a chance to create his own bullcrap tall-tale origin story for how the legend got started! The story that Alex likes best wins.

"I remember back in the seventies, my uncle Roger died. He had lost his hand in the war, and for some reason he left his prosthetic hook to me. I sat their at the funeral, looking at the hook in the box at my feet, wondering what the hell I could do with it. That night, I went out to the local Lover's Lane...."

(I'm weird, which results in creativity.)
Posted by Barghest  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  07:52 PM
I think the contest should be posting a forum or blog comments entry that is funnier than a Hairy Houdini post. You may think that this is discriminatory against Hairy Houndini, but once you consider how crazy Hairy is, it shouldn't be impossible for him to outdo himself. Anyway, whoever posts something funnier than something that Hairy Houdini would post would win the book. That's my idea.
Posted by BugbearSloth  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  09:03 PM
Bugbear, I don't think it's possible that anyone can be more funnier than Hairy.
Posted by Smerk  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  09:06 PM
I think it should go to the first person who points out that you don't actually posses said book and that this whole contest is a hoax perpetrated by Alex.

So I guess I win... nothing.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Thu Jun 02, 2005  at  09:09 PM
Hmm, a hoax-photoshop contest is a bit too obvious for this site (more of a fark or worth1000 domain).

However, what if it had a twist?

People submit an image to Alex, either a photoshopped fake picture, or real picture, of an improbable person, place, object or situation. They also tell Alex if it is real or fake (with proof if possible). Alex then posts only the images (no names) on a page allowing people to vote whether they thing the image is real or fake. Whoever fools the most people wins, hoax master.

A contest worthy of this site. IMHO.

It could also work with the story contest, but that is harder to prove either way. I once got arrested for paying for a taco with a $2 bill...
Posted by Splarka  on  Fri Jun 03, 2005  at  12:46 AM
The problem with a Photoshop contest is that not everyone has Photoshop (or an equivalent program). Photoshop is pretty expensive, after all. Also, not everyone who is creative at hoaxing is necessarily good at graphics.

As for an eBay auction contest, you have to remember that there's a fine line between a clever auction and breaking the law. An item listed on eBay has to be exactly as advertised or the seller could be in trouble with the law. I'm not saying an eBay auction contest is a horrible idea, just that you truly do have to be careful with what you claim to be selling. As they tell you, an eBay auction is a binding contract.

If you advertise "air from a UFO crater" just as an example, if you couldn't prove that it truly WAS air from a UFO crater, you'd be guilty of false advertising and the buyer could sue. That was just an example, so please don't pick it apart, OK? You get my point, right?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Jun 03, 2005  at  01:53 AM
Expensive??!! Come on, everyone knows you can download software like that...shall we say...slightly less than legally. Not that I'm encouraging this type of online befowlment, but google the words 'P2P' and 'client' together and you might get some interesting results....
Posted by Alun  on  Fri Jun 03, 2005  at  04:44 AM
Of course, some of us have incredibly old computers that are too rubbish to run photoshop, but why should that stand in the way of illegality?
Posted by Boo  on  Fri Jun 03, 2005  at  05:07 AM
Well, I was thinking about this last night, and a thought occurred to me - since not everyone has photoshop or web skills etc, maybe we should leave that out.

How about the contest be trying to post up a hoax that has occured, but =that has never been posted on MOH before, in blog or forum=. Of course people would have to post a reference or references on where they found it. Alex could then pick the most obscure or funniest one.
Posted by Winona  on  Fri Jun 03, 2005  at  09:30 AM
Why not have a contest to come up with a contest to give the book away. The winner gets the book.
Posted by RogueTRex  on  Fri Jun 03, 2005  at  02:56 PM
I've got another idea. People send Alex a digital photo of themselves. Alex posts them all randomly on a page. On this same page he posts the screen names of the people who sent in the photos. The contest would be to match the screen names to the pictures. The member who got the most correct matches would win the contest. After the contest is over, Alex matches the proper screen names to the photos. I think it would be fun to see what everyone looks like. And, it wouldn't require expensive or illegal photo editing software.
Posted by BugbearSloth  on  Fri Jun 03, 2005  at  05:17 PM
As for "expensive/illegal/unavailable" software, the term "Photoshop" has become a generic verb, meaning, 'to digitally edit a picture'. Before Photoshop one sometimes used to say "CorelDraw" or "Paint" as such verbs.

So: To Photoshop != To Edit With Adobe Photoshop

Most systems have some basic graphic editing programs, and if you want a good one free you can get GIMP, or a few others.
Posted by Splarka  on  Fri Jun 03, 2005  at  08:17 PM
As mentioned, it probably would skew those with photoshop-type skills/software above others with genuinely good ideas. Or encourage folks to steal already 'shopped works.

I have no such skills, but do have Photoshop 3.0 (Piltdownman age & was ~$10 on e-bay), but can barely remove red-eyes.
Posted by Chadds Ford Prefect  on  Sat Jun 04, 2005  at  08:47 AM
ok~ so the ebay thing could be risky. But finding the strangest thing for sale on ebay wouldn't be bad.

The photoshop thing would be difficult for everyone to participate in.

If you liked the haiku thing, how about doing an anagram poem. Everyone must write a poem with the first letter of each line spells out the title of the book: Deception.

(for those of you confused. If you were to write a poem about a fish it might look like this:

Fin covered, human faced, swimming
In the coi ponds of asia
Should we consider government
Heredity experimentation?

(ok, so there was absolutely no rhyming in this. I didn;t work on it...I just typed it out. So... extra points for rhyming!)
Posted by redmond  on  Sat Jun 04, 2005  at  11:44 AM
"... since "Deep Throat" came out of the closet this week ... I think we should come up with a new name for the person who will eventually narc out George W. Bush ..."

How about "Deep Colon Polyp"?

No, wait, I've got it! Deep Pretzel.
Posted by Big Gary C in Dallas  on  Sat Jun 04, 2005  at  12:08 PM
Here's my idea, which I think is very au courant:

A contest for the best miraculous (or not) apparition of somebody on an item of food. You'd have to use real food, but otherwise technique would be up to the contestant. Entrants could chose between sending the actual food item to Alex (no fair mailing something runny or smelly, though) or submitting a photograph of it. Who manifests him/her/it self on food and how would be up to each contestant.
Posted by Big Gary C in Dallas  on  Sat Jun 04, 2005  at  12:12 PM
The person who creates the most convincing "Virgin Mary on a window pane / crying / on toast / water stain" wins.
Posted by Anonymous  on  Sun Jun 05, 2005  at  06:46 AM
PHOTO A FAKE! take a hoax photo of any type you want but you can NOT use computer graphic manipulation. The most convincing and realistic untainted photo wins!
Posted by Rob  on  Sun Jun 05, 2005  at  01:28 PM
I like the haiku idea or maybe a rhyme. With the rhyme you could give the opening line and judge the resulting rhymes.

The problem I see with a best "hoax site" or a photoshop contest is that these require skills that not everyone has. Just my humble opinion.
Posted by Myst  on  Sun Jun 05, 2005  at  05:20 PM
Raoul the name, and I have THE RAP... It's all about Hoaxes, and that is NO CRAP... You take the great, big LIE, and right before you EYE, you put them all together, and it FALL INTO YOU LAP... You take the lying and the HoaxaNuts and put them all together, mix the lying and the HoaxaNuts, and then you feel better...okay, so don't get me started...ha ha ha... Rrrraoul
Posted by Raoul  on  Sun Jun 05, 2005  at  06:18 PM
Out of interest, is the contest going ahead soon Alex? Sorry if I'm disturbing your writing with a looming deadline. 😊
Posted by Chris 'Crispy' Philpot  on  Thu Jun 16, 2005  at  01:46 PM
Well this contest died...
Posted by RPGLand, formerly Ozymandias  on  Sun Dec 04, 2005  at  04:26 PM
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