LJ Idol: How did you come up with the idea for LJ Idol?
clauderainsrm: I'm a HUGE reality show fan who is always looking for a new way to get my friends list to interact with each other. Heh, plus I was bored. The idea seemed obvious to me, I'm astounded that it didn't already exist!
LJ Idol: Who can be a contestant?
clauderainsrm: Anyone with an LJ, interest, and some time on their hands!
LJ Idol: Do you have to join the community?
clauderainsrm: You don't HAVE to, but it doesn't hurt as far as keeping up with the new topics and voting goes. There are also certain weeks when the voting is "friends only" , so you might be shorting yourself out of a vote that week. But if you're ok with that, I'm ok with it.
LJ Idol: How does the contest work?
clauderainsrm: Every week I will post a topic. You will write to that topic. Later in the week people will vote. The one with the fewest votes will be eliminated.
LJ Idol: What if two people are tied for last place?
clauderainsrm: We have a special run-off between those tied for last place with the person who gets the fewest votes this time being eliminated. If it goes to a SECOND run-off, that run-off will be "friends only" meaning you have to be a member of the community in order to cast a vote.
LJ Idol: What if someone doesn't get his entry in on time? What if it's more than one person?
clauderainsrm: Unfortunately if someone doesn't get their entry in on time, they are eligible for automatic elimination. If there is more than one person (or two in weeks with a double elimination) then there is a run-off to see which of them will be eliminated.
Those weeks also tend to feature "twists" or special voting for the people who did get their entries in on time, that usually end up making a major impact on the game.
LJ Idol: What if someone knows ahead of time they won't be able to post for a certain week (out of town on business, or taking vacation, that sort of thing)?
clauderainsrm: Those can be worked out on a case by case basis.
LJ Idol: What kind of topics have you assigned in the past?
clauderainsrm: All of season 2's topics can still be found on the site, but have ranged from open topics where people can choose what they want to write about, to very specific entries concerning international politics.
LJ Idol: Will you give any hints for what kind of topics you'll assign in the future?
clauderainsrm: The final question will probably be the same.*g* Other than that, I hope to have a decent mix of the "soft" questions and ones that make people stop and think.
LJ Idol: What topics were your favorites?
clauderainsrm: I really liked the double question round last season with the final four where they picked one of the "softer" questions and one of the "harder" ones. I also really like the rounds where contestants pick their own topics, because that's when *I* get kept on my toes and usually end up learning a lot about the contestant.
LJ Idol: What does the winner get?
clauderainsrm: A nifty title, a banner and an icon of their very own.*g* I've been toying around with the idea of a "prize", but that is going to depend on a lot of personal factors in my own life at the time, so I don't want to promise anything beyond that. But it is possible.
LJ Idol: Do you throw in special mini-contests, or extra prizes in the middle of the season?
clauderainsrm: Last season featured the "Spirit of LJ Idol" award, to be given to a long shot at winning, but who everyone thought had done a really great job and was what the contest was all about - that "long shot" ended up winning last season and that award may have been the tipping point for her.
As I said when talking about the automatic eliminations, there are also special voting sessions involving various "twists" and prizes.
LJ Idol: What do you think makes a person an LJ Idol?
clauderainsrm: If you look at the two LJ Idols - tinhuviel and tru2myart - you see two completely different people who won in completely different ways. HOWEVER what they have in common is big personalities who weren't afraid to also be vulnerable and open up to people. Neither one of them lost sight of who they were, or what was important to them, and that connects with people more than anything else anyone could come up with as a "sure fire way of winning".
LJ Idol: Do you have any words of wisdom for prospective contestants?
clauderainsrm: Be yourself - have fun and try to make friends. That's what this is ultimately all about after all.
LJ Idol: What do you like best about LJ Idol?
clauderainsrm: The friendships that have formed as a result. I love it when people who would have never come across each others journals if not for this contest, suddenly find a connection.
LJ Idol: Is there anything you would like to change about LJ Idol?
clauderainsrm: Honestly? I wish I could get things streamlined a little more, there are some rough kinks here and there. They will be ironed out in time I think. I would also like to come up with more ways to continue to even the playing field between people with large friends lists and those with small ones.
LJ Idol: How long should the average season last?
clauderainsrm: The last season lasted 4 months. The first season lasted 2. So plan on at least 3-4 months.
LJ Idol: How long do you think you'll keep the contest running? Season Four? Five? Ten?
clauderainsrm: No set time really, as long as there is interest, there will be an LJ Idol. Or until *I* get bored. . . *g*
LJ Idol: Will you ever be a contestant?
clauderainsrm: It wouldn't be fair to run the contest *and* participate.
LJ Idol: Do you have plans for any other LiveJournal contests in the future?
clauderainsrm: I keep joking about LJ Survivor. But that would just turn nasty really really fast. I'd rather concentrate on something that while there is people being eliminated, is ultimately about people making connections. If I found another format that would work for that sort of positive experience, and I had the time, maybe. Right now though? Nah.