This is a slightly-different-than-usual contest for the purpose of predicting the developments in the finally installment of the HP series -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Other contests ask lots of questions. Some quizzes award variable point values for different questions. But no other contest (that we know of, anyway) lets YOU determine how the questions will be weighted. Here's how it works.
1) During the first week of July 2007, beginning Tuesday the 3rd, polls will be posted asking many of the unanswered questions that have fans most curious.
2) The questions are divided into five categories and, most likely, will be posted one category per day:
3a) SCORING: Only correct predictions will be awarded points (1 point each for most questions*). Incorrect predictions will not be penalized, with one exception*.
*Items that allow multiple responses will be scored differently. Point values for each correct response may be a fraction of a point. Most importantly, selecting every option as a fail safe will not be permitted. When there are mutually exclusive choices, entrants must choose either "none" or other options but not both. Also, contestants who select all of the options other than "none" will lose the value of one item unless all choices turn out to be correct.
Finally, answers that consist of some-thing/where/one else are considered to be less difficult predictions to make, so a poll will be posted at some point during the course of the contest for participants to select, on a scale, the percentage of the total available point value that those answers, when correct, will be worth.
3b) MORE SCORING: Some queries will be identified as key questions and will have two additional poll items associated with them for the purpose of determining weighted point values:
What is the importance of Question X? (on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the least important and 5 being the most important)
What is the difficulty of Question X? (on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the least difficult and 5 being the most difficult)
The mean scores will be added together and divided by 2 to determine the value that will be the total additional points awarded for correct responses.
4) After all categories have been posted, entries will be open for responses (including changing your choices, if you wish) through July 13th. At the close of that period, answers will be documented elsewhere by the moderators and no additional entries (or revisions) will be accepted. The small print disclaimer: We reserve the right to close submissions earlier if it is deemed preferable to do so.
5) One week after the release of Deathly Hallows, the moderators will tackle the task of calculating participants' scores. While we have done our best to provide answer options that are comprehensive, objective, and fair, it is probably inevitable that we will have to exercise some subjective judgment in identifying the correct answers. All moderator decisions are final. C'est la vie.
6) Prizes for the overall Prediction Master and the top scorers in the individual categories will be awarded. Also, at our discretion, we will identify a variety of Honorable Mention performances and post top rankings (probably the highest 5 or 10) in all areas.
7) What do you win? Primarily, BIGTIME BRAGGING RIGHTS! But also, cool, shiny buttons that will probably look nothing like this:
8) We encourage discussion of the questions in the comments and in your own journals. In fact, we are going to produce a meme on the final day that includes some questions we just couldn't fit into the format of the polls, just for fun! ETA: joining the community is not mandatory but you might want to watch it so that monitoring for updates is easier.
9) Code of conduct: we don't think we need to tell you how to behave. Pretty please be courteous and respectful, don't flame or troll, mods will act if needed, etcetcetc. ;)
10) NO SPOILERS! This is a spoiler-free community. Don't post them here—not even fake ones! We are asking potential contestants, on the honor system, who do indulge in spoilers (if there are any) to not participate--read and privately gloat, but don't submit answers, m'kay? We have attempted to set the timeline for this so that the contest ends before any real spoilers are likely to start circulating. We will probably turn off commenting to most posts at that time and screen any others that we may allow, only to be reviewed by our own resident spoilees. However, we do not consider information released by JKR, her publishers, the film-makers or anyone known to have officially read the book (Stephen Fry, Mary Grand Pre, etc) to be spoilers -- so you man not want to read anything else here if you do.
11) The community moderators will be permitted to submit their own responses to the polls, for our own record, but will obviously not be eligible for official place standings.
12) Results will be announced by July 31, 2007!
13) If you have questions, please reply to the Welcome Post.