Seeking suggestions for EA cash-prize contest


I have grown in­ter­ested in the cash-prize EA es­say con­test for­mat that I’ve seen on LessWrong. I’m in­ter­ested in spon­sor­ing a 3-es­say se­ries of con­tests, and would ap­pre­ci­ate ex­plo­ra­tory thoughts and cri­tique. My goal is to make this es­say se­ries pro­duce gen­uinely use­ful new in­for­ma­tion for the com­mu­nity and lead to pos­i­tive changes in the way we or­ga­nize these con­tests. Any strate­gic ad­vice would be helpful.

The first es­say would be on the prompt “What is the most effec­tive way to run a cash-prize EA es­say con­test? Make sure to spec­ify how win­ners should be se­lected and prize money dis­tributed.”

The sec­ond would im­ple­ment sug­ges­tions from the first con­test, and be on the prompt “what is the most com­pel­ling ar­gu­ment for not run­ning cash-prize EA es­say con­tests?”

The third would be on the prompt “How could we de­sign a use­ful sci­en­tific ex­per­i­ment to de­ter­mine the ideal size of es­say cash prizes?”

My plan is to offer $50-$100 as cash prizes for each es­say. I don’t earn a lot by Amer­i­can stan­dards, which is why these prizes are rel­a­tively small. I’m con­sid­er­ing crowd­fund­ing for higher prizes. I’m not sure if I should al­lo­cate it all to the win­ner or di­vide it among top posts.

For the sec­ond es­say, I can de­ter­mine the win­ner through the method sug­gested by the first es­say. But for judg­ing the first es­say, how should I go about it?