I just had a realization. I will tell you, with the goal of increasing input into NANY, as well as the quality of the results, I was one of the people previously advocating for more guidelines, and differentiation. There was always the concern of putting too much pressure or the increased number of rules being off-putting, and I tried to balance that carefully in my contributions, as I know everyone else did as well. It was always a persistent consideration. I can only speak for myself, but I think others may agree, that I was never entirely confident these changes would work, but they did seem like the best way forward at the time. Now I think I've realized that we did indeed go too far, and overcomplicated things.
The thought that occurred to me that spurred me to post at all though was that perhaps it's more of a timing issue than anything else. What's interesting is that time is a key factor in NANY and really almost any "challenge". Without a time limit most challenges are less interesting, even if it's just a vague time limit. Yet too short a time limit can burn people out, and perhaps that's what's been happening. We've certainly seen that expressed several times recently. Now I don't have the history with NANY that many others here do, so I don't know if this has been the same in the past, but it did strike me as worth trying to address when I saw it this year and last.
At the same time you can't have too long a time limit, as I said. So it seems like it *may* be at least partly, if not in large part, a matter of determining when you open the challenge, so that people have the right boost of enthusiasm that will last them enough time to get through to the point where they release their app. Starting earlier seems like a good idea in general. The question is how early. That I don't know, but I think it could be a critical consideration, and even a week or two more or less seems like it could make the difference.