Thank you eBaums for bringing back the Caption contest. I am sure I am speaking for many here when I say the effort is appreciated. However, your execution repeats the mistakes of the old staff. The problem is that this contest was allowed to run too long and the resulted in 290 pages of comments. That shows people love the contest, but it is far too many pages for most people to want to read them all. In addition, people lose interest and comments become repetitive or just complaints after too many days.
The old staff used to leave this contest up for 10 days or more at times and then pick 3 or 4 of what they considered to be the best for a final vote. However, it was very clear that these were just random picks that had nothing to do with votes. As a result, people never took these contests seriously and it ended up with everyone voting down one and other. In one of the last contests before the change, the winner was the comment with the least number of thumbs down votes! That sucks!
Heres my idea of how the next Caption contest could be vastly improved. First, run it for 4 days only! This would reduce the total number of repeated comments and make the contest manageable. Then take the top 20 best captions based on thumbs up votes (approx 2 pages). Where there is a tie in votes, use the earliest postings. Then run the finalist votes for the remaining 3 days of the week and announce the winner every Monday. If there is a tie for the winning votes, the win goes to the earliest post. The prize of erep points is fine, but I think a better prize would be that the winner gets to choose between having one of their current postings featured on the front page or taking 5000 erep points. A good feature post has the potential to earn more.
The Caption contest could alternate weekly with a Photoshop contest using a similar 4 day on 3 day off structure and voting and award structure.
You can also set up a category for people to submit pictures that would be used as the weekly contest image. Disable comments and allow people to vote on the submitted images. Each contest image would be selected from this category and be the image with the highest thumbs up votes (or the earliest whenever there are ties or repeat postings). The person who has their post selected for the contest would get erep points based on number of views while the contest runs, so nothing special needs to be done.
I know my suggestion would result in some extra work at eBaums head quarters, but the Caption and Photoshop contests were some of the most popular features on this site. With a little effort these contests could become far more legitimate than they were under the old management and encourage more participation.