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A few years back we tried a question asking contest on Philosophy and History. The format was somewhat flawed, but I think the basic concept is sound. Having a specific suggestion of a type of question to ask about tends to prompt more response than a general call for more questions. So I'd like to suggest running a "weekly topic challenge". The Judaism site ran one a few years ago and it was fairly effective. So I'd like to try a similar series of challenges on this site.

Here's how it will work:

  1. Suggest topics in the answers below.

  2. Next Friday, the organizer* will pick one of the topics and write up a new meta post introducing the challenge for the following week. The topic will be associated with a specific tag so that we can count how many questions were asked.

  3. Anyone who wants to participate asks about the topic of the week.

  4. At the end of the week, the organizer post an answer to the challenge with a count of how many questions were asked and anything else they feel like highlighting (like favorite questions or notable achievements).

  5. The organizer picks a new topic and starts back on step #2.

People are free to add new topics at any time and when the list of topics is exhausted, the challenge series ends. Sometime later, I can run analysis similar to what I did for the Mi Yodeya challenge series. And that's about it.

Please let me know what you think and suggest some topics for the weeks ahead.


* Either myself or someone who volunteers in an answer below.

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Here are my thoughts on big-picture topic areas for a series that might help deepen our content a little bit:

  1. Major Subdisciplines (Ethics, Aesthetics, Ontology, Metaphysics, Logic)
  2. General Eras (Classical (Greek/Roman/etc.), Renaissance, Modern, Contemporary/Postmodern)
  3. Interesting or Important Concepts and Movements (I kind of imagine just picking randomly from something like WP:List of Philosophies, e.g.: Occam's Razor, Dialectic, Categorical Imperative, the Cogito, Qualia...; see also WP:Glossary of Philosophy, WP:List of Philosophical Concepts)

I think maybe we should even think about doing a mix between all of them, to try to keep interest from dwindling. (In passing I do worry a little about the distraction factor these had last time -- but I think the benefits are probably outweighed by the artificially increased engagement, which might help vitalize things in general.)


So now that we're running them, I thought I'd also use this answer as a running list of the challenges. To date they are as follows:

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