I've been meaning to post this for a while, but haven't really gotten around to it. Now that Peter Sisung has asked, I thought it was about time to drop the "bomb".
You might have noticed that the Braille Scale Monthly Competition site has more or less died in 2011. After several years of great competitions, good prizes, and more and more participants, the site has drowned in it's own success!
The site is heavily dependant on the judges. During the first couple of years, the number of participants grew steadily, and that increased the work-load for our volunteer judges. Unfortunately our judges were worn down before we handled the problem.
The core team behind the site (Alex, Elliott, Jason and myself) started out with a plan, and I don't think we imagined how successful it would end up being and how quickly it all happened. We're all busy people, so we never planned on putting a lot of time into this after the initial effort to get it going. So after pulling a heavy load (with our other volunteers) for more than 3 years, we kind of gave up in late 2010.
So the massive success coupled with problems getting judges to volunteer, and more importantly, training the judges. The initial idea was to judge the galleries against their own potential, not against each other. This has been a bit of a challenge for some judges. And this is not something we wanted to change. We still want to run competitions this way, at least the competitions judged by our judges.
So it this the end?
I don't plan on switching off the site, and I'm actually working on a re-launch. I have been for a while (I'm on the 2nd code base and 3rd design). I contacted Alex, Elliott and Jason last year, and we had a small talk about what could be done to save this great community site (and the initial, sound idea).
The old site can only run monthly competitions, and as Peter Sisung suggests, the new site can run competition at any interval we would need, bi-monthly, 4 times a years, etc.
The Achilles' heel will still be getting judges.
I hope this will be less of a problem, hopefully with more people involved, making it more a community effort! We'll probably run more competitions where the galleries are judged and commented on by other users. Having only a couple of competitions every year with real judges. At least until we hopefully have a lot of judges volunteer that can share the work-load. When we re-launch, the site will include a forum to make it easier to give us feedback and to get involved.
So I'm playing around with ideas for involving the community more! And feel free to start getting involved already now by commenting and throwing ideas at me!
Keep updated on new announcements and releases from the small scale manufacturers at http://inscalemodelling.com