First of all, hats off to the Hearthpwn team for creating the Fan Creations forum and to embracing the community's love for creating HS content. The Fan Creations' board is a great addition to an already outstanding community for HS enthusiasts. And in particular I think the idea of Fan Creations Contests are great idea!! However, I think the approach with the contest process could be improved. Here are my thoughts for future contests:
The idea of using the number of upvotes as a way to curate the submissions for finalists has numerous flaws (initial posts will get more upvotes because they are out there longer and many people aren't likely going to take the time to sift through 18+ pages of submissions). Even picking the highest vote getters from each thread tab isn't ideal since there could be multiple great cards on a single tab later in the thread. Instead, Hearthpwn should create a submission form that members can use to submit their card directly to the HS Fan Creation mods. These submissions would be accumulated during the contest period (e.g., a week). Hearthpwn should then create a form that would present all the card submissions on a single scrolling page. Key to this is that the cards would be presented in a random order so no member would see the exact same order of presentation.This random presentation would prevent cards from being favored just because they were listed first. Sure this page may contain alot of cards for a voter and perhap[s be imposing but certainly would be less imposing than a thread that contains all the cards where the voter has to click on many of the cards that are attached as smaller images and sift through numerous tabs. While I understand this approach requires some work on the part of the Hearthpwn team, I think it would promote the fairest competitive environment. The community is obviously very excited and very interested in creating content for HS. We don't want to see that quelled by a less-than-ideal competitive environment for these contests.
I'd limit submissions to one per member. There's obviously ALOT of enthusiasm for creating HS cards in the community and we'll get ample submissions more than likely for any contest even limiting the submissions to one per member. Sure members might have multiple cool ideas for a particular contest and perhaps some tough decisions will have to be made by members wanting to participate in the contest but it should result in the highest quality content being submitted.
I like the idea of a "Winner's Thread" but I think another carrot to dangle in front of all of us would be Site Achievements! For example, for weekly contests you might offer silver achievements that can be earned multiple times for the winner. Gold achievements could be awarded for a monthly or quarterly contest that might have a particular challenging design mandate (e.g., design a card with an entirely new game mechanic or design a card that synergizes with an existing card in a way that is consistent with Warcraft lore). Gold achievements could also be awarded for earning a sufficient number of silver contest achievements. Another idea would be special forum titles that could be awarded for certain contests.
I'm sure other members might have interesting ideas about how to create an enjoyable experience in these contests. If you've thoughts please post them here so the Hearthpwn crew can review them!
I don't want to get into the "process" and "submission limits" sections just yet as that's something that is definitely still up for discussion, however, I would like to talk about your "prizes".
I would really like to be able to reward the winners and runner ups with a site achievement which could be earned multiple times, but the way our site achievements system works, it isn't possible to reward an achievement manually.. yet. This is something I'd like to push for, it's just a matter of actually getting the dev time to put into it. There's several other things that take precedence, but there's always hope.
If we do implement site achievements for the card creation contest, I'll make sure we credit everyone who won the contests prior to them being available.