About a month ago, I started a prize for Cryonics promotional videos published to Youtube during the month of May. There was a fair bit of interest, but nobody actually submitted anything. So the 14.75 bitcoins are thus far unclaimed.

I want to use this money (worth ~$125) to start another contest, but I thought that this time it would be a good idea to solicit some feedback on how best to do so.

  • What is the best medium to use?
    • It may be that few less wrongers are comfortable with videos
    • Other media might be just as effective or more so
    • Youtube may not be the best site
  • What is the best way of judging?
    • Likes on youtube or some other site
    • Karma votes here on LW
    • A panel of judges
  • What is the best timeframe?
    • Long, 6-month projects (more money needed?)
    • Quick projects 15-30 minutes (less money? specific amounts?)
    • Repeating prizes (monthly, weekly, annually, etc.)
  • Is regular cash a better prize than bitcoin?
    • May vary from person to person
    • People already know what cash is worth
    • Bitcoin might have novelty value or geek appeal
    • Bitcoin is ridiculously easy to transfer without the hassle of fees
  • Is cryonics really the best topic?
    • Maybe we would get more creative output from other topics
    • Other prize funds could be started for other topics

So anyways, I'd love to hear some opinions. I think making the contest more fun will probably get more results, so basically what I want to know is, what would be the most fun?

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11 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 4:05 PM

I want to use this money (worth ~$125) to start another contest, but I thought that this time it would be a good idea to solicit some feedback on how best to do so.

Making the dollars estimate more prominent may help. Only skimming your previous bounty I hadn't noticed the price. Last time I used bitcoin it traded at about 1:1. $14 sounded laughable. Mind you $125 is still rather low for considering making a video.

It's not yet to $14. More in the range of $9 today. 14.75 is the number of bitcoins in the prize fund. Good suggestion regarding making the dollar figure more prominent. Perhaps the prize fund should be given time to grow (via contributions and deflation) before we set the deadline?

I think an animated video is the best bet for something that is intended to be viral. The video should not be gentle and aim to get a bit of a rise out of people (while being jocular enough not to arouse true backlash).

youtube is the best site. karma votes would be okay. likes on youtube would be terrible, high variance. timeframe of a month is good, I'd just repeat the contest. Could try six weeks. regular cash is better than bitcoin in that it will garner more attention. Lots of people have no idea what bitcoin is or think it's a joke.

What goals do you have that you're open to besides cryonics awareness? Are you just exploring low hanging rationality fruit?

I'd turn mysterious answers to mysterious questions into a video.

By animated I mean this sort of thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-son3EJTrU

Nice. I'm open to other ideas, though I feel I've already committed this sum to cryonics. I'd actually be willing to match you up to $100 on a Mysterious Answers prize. What service would you prefer to use for handling the cash?

I think fun, animated versions of the sequences will have greater overall value than a cryonics video.

Why not repeat the cryonics contest after running a general rationality contest to gather general interest in this sort of activity on LessWrong?

I'd be willing to contribute a bit to this. I suggest you start a Project and create a ChipIn (or similar) page to collect donations for the prize.

I was actually going to submit to the original contest at the last moment to win by default (I frankly saw this contest as a niece piece of low-hanging fruit), but I didn't see that the end time was in GMT and therefore missed the deadline.

As for your questions:

-Youtube is probably the best site if you're doing videos and probably one of the best sites for reaching a more general audience as well.

-LW votes are probably a better mechanism than YouTube likes (YouTube likes can be bought online)

-Shorter projects = less barriers to entry

-Bitcoin is almost certainly better for this sort of thing than cash.

-If the point is to promote cryonics, cryonics is probably the best topic...

It seems you are in agreement with others that karma is better than youtube likes. This matches my current intuition. Anyone have other suggestions on possible judging mechanisms?

One thing that occurs to me is we could make the prize be something that does not pay out until some kind of milestone is reached, e.g. whatever the usual criteria is for a video having gone viral. Then the incentive would tend to build over time.

Maybe use smaller / more specific prizes for starter incentives (e.g. 1 BTC, or perhaps $10, for each video that gets more than 10 Less Wrong karma votes).

Are you talking specifically about another cryonics video contest? Or similar contests for similar types of videos? Are you primarily concerned with getting good advertising for particular causes, or building community involvement in an idea, or promoting bitcoin as a valid form of currency?

Roughly speaking, all of the above. I want to promote cryonics, but if another project seems more urgent I am open to focusing on that instead. The 14.75 bitcoins are already committed to cryonics promotion, but I'd be happy to start or contribute bitcoins to another prize fund.

In order of their importance to me, I'd say promoting community involvement > good advertising for cryonics > promoting bitcoin. I also want to have fun with this, but I'm hoping to do so in a productive way so I'd be happy to trade some units fun for units of productivity.