Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I join the ARC community?
- How do I set up a profile?
- How do I search other profiles?
- How do I add an idea?
- Is there a limit to how many ideas I can post?
- How many ideas can I endorse?
- Why are some ideas listed twice?/ What is a Remix?
- Can I block remixes or comments?
- How many prizes can an idea win?
- When does the period of adjustment/modification of ideas end/close?
- If I am writing ideas as a proxy for person who does not have access to the site, how do I go about creating a profile or engaging in the Contest?
- If I am joining ARC as a representative from my NGO/business, how do I go about creating a profile or engaging in the contest?
- Who are the Site Moderators, and what is their role?
- What are the badges I have noticed on some ideas and profiles? How do I get one?
- What is a Pledge?
- What is the incentive for me to contribute to someone else's post if I don't win a prize?
- By what standards will business plans be judged?
- Can I form a team to work with on my idea?
- Can I present a full-fledged idea for the competition?
- When do I begin to turn an idea into a business plan?
- I don't know how to organize a formal business plan, how do I develop one for the competition?
- If members of our team make improvements to the business plan's ideas before it is submitted that were not presented in the ARC online forum, are they still qualified to be in the running for the contest?
- If my idea is not a Round Winner is it out of the running for future rounds or the Grand Prize?
- How is a prize allocated to members of a winning team?
- What if an idea I originally posted gets a lot of endorsements and lands on the Leaderboard, but someone creates a remix of it, how are they ranked?
- Can an idea be edited or remixed after it has been chosen for the Leaderboard?
How do I join the ARC Community
Just sign up. You can do this on the homepage or follow the link at the bottom of every page. Once you sign up, you are officially a member of Africa Rural Connect. Then, you can browse the site to give your feedback where you think it is needed or post your own ideas.
How do I set up a profile?
When you try to click on any activity on the site that requires a login, such as endorsing or adding an idea, you will be prompted to create a profile or sign in using your login name and password. Otherwise, click "Sign Up" which is found at the bottom of every page.
How do I search other profiles?
Usernames for each ARC community member who posts an idea or a remix can be found at the end of their Ideas' page. Clicking the individual's username will redirect you to their profile.
How do I add an idea?
After you log in you will be directed to the “Ideas” page. Simply, click the “Add Idea” tab and you will reach a composition page for your idea. Fill in the title and the text of your idea. Remember, an idea can be as short as a sentence or as long as a full business plan. Also, avoid cutting and pasting content from word documents, as the idea will likely end up in a distorted format when published. It is best to copy from WordPad, or Note Pad, or simply type the text directly on the site.
After you finish typing the text, make sure to complete the idea-components on the right: fill out and save your “Summary”, fill out “Tags” that define your idea, and select the project “Categories” that your idea falls in. Finally, scroll down and click "Publish" and your idea will immediately show up at the top of the "Ideas" page.
Is there a limit to how many ideas I can post?
There is no limit to how many ideas you can post on the site. In fact, the more you post, the more likely it is that your idea will gain support from the community and maybe even win a prize!
How many ideas can I endorse?
You can endorse as many good ideas as you want. You are only allowed to endorse an idea once, and once you've clicked "Endorse It," you cannot remove your endorsement.
Why are some ideas listed twice?/ What is a Remix?
Those ideas are actually remixes of the same idea, improved versions that can be made by the original creator or any other community member! When someone remixes a post, they can either keep the same title or change it. There can be many different remixes of the same plan, and just as many remixes of remixes! To find out which version you are looking at check the lower right section of the post's sidebar. Whenever you hit the "Remix" button on the side of an idea, you are opting to create a new version of this idea.
For an example of several versions of one idea, check out the Community Radio for Change postings. As you can see there are three versions. Each one is a slightly varied version of the same idea. You will note that each of them has a different author and were posted on different days, however this does not always have to be the case, the same author could create several versions of the same idea.
Can I block remixes or comments?
Because of the nature of the ARC technology tool and our emphasis on collaboration, you cannot prevent a community member from remixing your post or giving feedback. If you see an inappropriate post or comment, please contact the System Administrator as soon as possible.
How many Prizes can an idea win?
An idea can only win one Round Prize during the Ideas Contest. If one idea continues to have the highest number of endorsements, we will award the prize to the idea with the next highest number that has not yet won a prize.
When does the period of adjustment/modification of ideas end/close?
All ARC Community members can post on the site and remix ideas at any time. You can edit your post as much as you want up until the point another community member remixes it. After the first remix of your original post, you are no longer allowed to edit your idea. However, you can still remix your own idea or the different remixes of your original idea in order to add improvements.
Ideas that were posted during the 2009, 2010, and early 2012 contests are also qualified to take part in the late 2012 contest; the only ideas that are disqualified from the contest are those which have already won a prize in past rounds, 2012, 2010 or 2009.
The Ideas Contest will begin again September 15 and will run through November 30, 2012. We encourage all participants to continue using the ARC work collaboration space after the contest ends. All ideas and plans must be submitted by the final deadline to be considered in the contest.
If I am writing ideas as a proxy for person who does not have access to the site, how do I go about creating a profile or engaging in the contest?
Please add a profile as yourself. You are welcome to add ideas based on conversations with other people, but all ideas will be considered posted in the name of the official submitter.
If I am joining ARC as a representative from an NGO/business, how do I go about creating a profile or engaging in the contest?
Again, please add a profile as yourself. State in your profile description if you are submitting ideas as a representative of a larger entity.
What are the badges I have noticed on some ideas and profiles? How do I get one?
There are 4 different types of badges.
Round Winner- Ideas that are in the top 10 on the Leaderboard at the end of a round receive a Round Winner Badge on their idea post. These ideas are still in the running for future rounds.
Prize Winner- Ideas that receive prizes at the end of each round receive a Prize Winner Badge on their idea post. There are two prizes at the end of each round. These ideas are no longer qualified to compete in future rounds. The Grand Prize Winning Idea will also receive a Prize Winner Badge.
Power Creator- ARC Community members who post more than 10 ideas will receive this badge under their username on their idea posts.
Power Collaborator- ARC Community members who remix more than 10 ideas will receive this badge under their username on their idea posts.
What is a Pledge?
If you think an idea has such merit that you would be willing to offer something to help the plan become implemented, click the button that says, “Pledge.” Select in what way you would invest in this project. By doing so, you will create a pledge and allow the writer of the post to contact you via the website to discuss ways to follow through on the pledge
What is the incentive for me to contribute to someone else's post if I don't win a prize?
The most unique aspect of Africa Rural Connect is the emphasis on our community and its members. The benefits of being an active member of the ARC Community, posting ideas, comments, and feedback do not lie solely in winning prize money. You also make valuable contacts and connections with people in related fields. Through ARC you could end up getting involved in a project in rural Uganda or gaining support for your work from an Australian development practitioner. Perhaps your contribution to an original idea will encourage someone else to build upon it and turn it into a winner. You will be acknowledged as being part of the winning solution. To learn about the non-prize related benefits of ARC, read what some of our community members have said here and here.
This site was created to further develop the many ideas for agricultural development in Africa, to pool all of our expertise and experiences to make existing and new projects stronger and more viable and to inspire others to bring their ideas to fruition. You will have made an idea for development better than it was before, helped to improve it. We believe this is a step toward improving lives, so we hope that you will continue to offer your intelligence and insights to the process.
By what standards are business plans judged?
At the end of each round of the contest, the top 10 ideas are judged by NPCA and a Panel of Judges. Two prize winners are selected for each round. NPCA and the Panel of judges will evaluate the posts and proposed plans, identifying those that in their opinion are the most original, creative, practical, scalable and likely of success, with special attention given to those which appear to offer the greatest improvements in the lives of a population of subsistence farmers, mostly women, and others in the rural communities of sub-Saharan Africa. Accordingly, we suggest that ARC participants develop ideas under one or more of the following themes: water resources, agribusiness, post-harvest losses/storage, transportation and infrastructure, and communication methods with the rural African farmer. The Grand Prize Winning Idea will be selected among all of the entries posted on the site along the same guidelines.
Can I form a team to work with on my idea?
The ARC Community encourages people to work together to make the ideas better! You can continue to remix your work or that of others with as many people as you want. All of the remix history will be found on the lower right side of the post. ARC participants do not have the option of choosing the contributors to their plan. All ideas and plans remain open for contribution until the contest ends in late 2012.
NPCA will determine the contributor profiles that best represent the essence or critical contributions to the winning plans. The names of all contributors will be listed in the acknowledgements of the Project Plan. If it is not clear to NPCA who contributed the critical pieces of the plan, each contributor will be asked to write one paragraph about why they should be chosen or how their contribution was the most critical for the success of the post.
Can I present a full-fledged idea for the competition?
Certainly. Posty as much or as little of an idea or comprehensive agricultural development plan as you would like. The more information you can give about your idea, the better, but we recognize that some ideas lend themselves to more description than others. Every idea that is posted on this site is open to remixing and commentary from all members of the ARC community. Therefore, the initial plan will likely have many remixes before the end of the contest.
When do I begin to turn an idea into a business plan?
An idea can be formed into a full plan at any time. It is advantageous to do this sooner rather than later so that your plan can have more information and be endorsed by the Community.
I don't know how to organize a formal business plan, how do I develop one for the competition?
For suggestions on what to include in developed versions of your post, please see this section of the Official Rules. Any further questions can be directed toward the ARC moderators who will be monitoring the development of all ideas and plans. Please take full advantage of their services, they are at your disposal!
If members of our team make improvements to the business plan's ideas before it is submitted that were not presented in the ARC online forum, are they still qualified to be in the running for the contest?
Only those changes and modifications to the idea that are posted to the ARC Community website before the Contest deadline will be considered as part of the plan.
If my idea is not a Round Winner is it out of the running for future rounds or the Grand Prize?
If an idea fails to be chosen as one of the two prize winners of a round it will remain in the running for every subsequent round. The Grand Prize Winning Idea could be any of the ideas on that have been posted on the Africa Rural Connect site and will be chosen solely by merit.
How is a prize allocated to members of a winning team?
All of the prize money will be donated to the person to implement the plan through a certified 501 (c) 3 organization. NPCA is not responsible for distributing money to more than one winning person. Please see the Official Rules for more details.
What if an idea I originally posted gets a lot of endorsements and lands on the Leaderboard, but then someone creates a remix of it, how are they ranked?
The version with the most number of endorsements will rank higher than those with less. Whether the post is an original idea or a remix is irrelevant, they will compete independent of one another. Since endorsements do not carryover, every remix will need to collect its own endorsements and compete against others based on its merits. Endorsers will still be able to see what idea a remix originated from by looking at the remix historu on the lower left hand corner of each idea post.
Can an idea be edited or remixed after it has been chosen for the Leader Board?
Absolutely. An idea can be remixed at any time by clicking "Remix". However, only that which is on the site by the final deadline will be entered into the Grand Prize selection pool. Changes can still be made after that for the discussions to continue.
Win a prize for your idea!
Win a prize for your idea!
Collaborate with others to turn your best idea into a practical, creative, sustainable plan with real world impact. Don’t Delay!