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First off, 'platform' might not be the best word. I am talking about what you construct a website with, as in Wordpress, vbulletin, etc. I can't seem to find what these are called. I will use the word platform for now, until someone enlightens me.

I am considering creating a website to host online writing competitions. They would be free and have no prizes, save maybe on-site titles or something. They would be frequent, and I would quite possibly have several running at the same time. My problem is that I've so far been unable to find a website 'platform' that would best suit my purposes.

Details about what I'm looking for as requested:

  • I anticipate this to be a large operation. Even if it isn't, I would like the ability to easily deal with any number of writers (at least 1000, and up to 10,000). People tend to flood in when something is free. On that note, if I have anywhere above twenty people in one contest, I would create several contests to split them up. One person judging 1000 entries would take awhile.
  • I need control over who has access to what. I am envisaging people starting out with basic challenges, proving themselves, and graduating to the harder challenges. This would also filter out the less-skilled writers.
  • I need the ability for someone (not necessarily me) to give out a challenge, and then have everyone else write something for that challenge.
  • I need to be able to sort all this, so that one can find challenges and entries and specific entries quickly and with ease.

Do you know of a website platform that could easily support writing contests?

Bonus points if you can find one that supports blog format at the same time. Otherwise I would likely just create a subdomain.

Note: I have next to no knowledge of php, so any php editing you give me will go over my head.

  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a "boat question." Asking "what kind of platform is best for writing contests" doesn't make this a writing question. – Lauren-Reinstate-Monica-Ipsum Aug 27 '16 at 12:25
  • @Lauren Ipsum Where would it belong then? – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Aug 27 '16 at 14:33
  • Maybe Stack Overflow? Google "online contest platform." Just because it's a writing contest doesn't make this a writing question any more than a painting contest would be a painting question. If you were asking about judging guidelines, I might consider that on-topic. – Lauren-Reinstate-Monica-Ipsum Aug 27 '16 at 16:11
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A lot of literary journals manage submissions via Submittable. I've never used it as an admin, but I know you can assign stories to particular readers and it keeps track of correspondence between you and the authors, and of readers' votes and comments.

For submitters, it keeps track of what's been submitted, and the stories' status.

  • Hmm, I never thought to look for something like that. The price seems a bit hefty (or it could just be me, not being familiar with platform pricing). Do you perhaps have a link to a website that uses it? – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Aug 26 '16 at 23:55
  • It's not a platform that you customize for your own use, like Wordpress. Though I think some minor customization is available. Try googling "fiction contest submittable." Here's one for Glimmer Train. – Ken Mohnkern Aug 27 '16 at 0:08
  • Ah, so it's on Submittable.com. I'm looking more for something I can put on a site I own, if at all possible. Otherwise Submittable could pull the plug whenever they feel like it (not that they would; it's the lack of control). – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Aug 27 '16 at 0:36
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I would suggest using a website builder, like Wordpress, Squarespace or Weebly. Then if you are looking for some database capabilities, which it sounds like you are (ex. storing records, user logins, viewing records in tables, creating records with forms) then I suggest you check out Knack.com. Full disclosure, I am a part of the Knack team, but it is a database/web app builder that can be embedded into other sites like WordPress. Seemed like it might be helpful for you so figured I would mention it. :)

  • The records I would need to create would be massive (being contest entries). I'm guessing on average 3000-10,000 words. Can Knack handle that amount of data and still display it completely? It looks like it's really good at sorting and analyzing data; I want to make sure it can display it too. :) Also, would I be able to create challenge prompts that everyone could see easily (be on the front page, as it were)? – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Aug 27 '16 at 14:43

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