In preface to my feedback and suggestions below I must first say
- I believe the principle of the competition is great and engaging
- you’ve been really proactive in engaging with competitors and fixing issues as they arise
However I imagine that many of those that have dropped away have done so because their first encounter was difficult and ended in a failed first, second or third submission. At which point they may have quiet reasonably decided to give up.
I’m an experienced Kaggler and the leader of a Data Science team that developed and runs it’s own in-house data science competition platform; so I do appreciate how difficult it is to get this right. The profit leaderboard aspect of this competition, which adds to the fun and engagement, necessitates some complexity in the submission process and behind the scenes will introduce complexity in IT infrastrutre and scoring process.
Unfortunately for competitors they experience that complexity before they get the reward of leaderboard feedback. You can’t remove all of that but you can smooth the way a bit.
Hears my 5 suggestions…
- continue to make your platform more stable and responsive
- continue to make the website cleaner and easier to navigate
- continue to improve the submission process
- if large claims are causing a leaderboard lottery then implement a fix quickly (so people at the top of the leaderboard don’t give up because they know skill may not help them win)
- introduce an element of knowledge share (so people further down the leaderboard aren’t demotivated and drop out)
There will be a limit to what you can do in the time available and I recognise you’ve been working on a number of these aspects already.
The competition and platform now is much better than it was when I was the first person to struggle to make a submission, for which you should be congratulated!
So my final recommendation would be to reach out to people that may have joined early and been put off to let them know you listened to user feedback and made improvements… maybe they’d be encouraged to try again?