Beloved FOD staff,please take the follow as some constructive criticism on the way the caption contests are being run.
FOD is a social networking website based on premium and user-created comedic content, as such, the voting mechanism for caption contests allows 'Die Bombers' to take the joy out of participating.
To better handle this, I suggest the following:
1. weight votes based on a user's community involvement or 'credibility points'; more posts on the site or fan subscriptions, more weight in voting.
2. change the caption scoring algorithm so that 'Funny' votes outweigh 'Die' votes or at least the main win metric is total number of Funny votes. A 1/0 caption should never outrank a 18/19 rank in other words.
3. take a lesson from Dave's Caption Contests. in that environment there is no voting, just a benevolent dictator. The atmosphere is funny and positive and discourages a-holes without anyone having to lift a finger. When the FOD junkies feel like newbie die-bombers will prevent them from ever winning that god-forsaken t-shirt or that the moderator is just picking favorites, then interest will be lost.
4. This is web 2.0, don't be afraid of total community ownership. This is really just another extension of my first point: let the community establish its own rotating or guest moderators for the contests. This, of-course depends on some kind of credibility rating for user profiles. I nominate Dave ('phukuhp') for starters
I'm sure you never intended this much thought to go into the contest design. It's just part of the sad reality of my day-job: I build web apps and social networking websites for a living and need this to keep my sanity!
Plus i'm dying for a free t-shirt!!!