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Creating a Challenge

For now, challenges are only available on our testing site, next.zone4.ca. These instructions and screenshots refer only to next.zone4.ca, if you’re trying to follow along on the main zone4.ca website, you’re going to be very confused.

The Zone4 Challenges platform allows you to create a challenge in which participants complete activities on their own time, and then those activities are added up to create a leaderboard for the challenge. Currently, Zone4 supports the following types of challenges:

  • Distance challenges track the total distance across all eligible activities during the challenge period, and rank participants by furthest distance completed
  • Time Challenges track the total time across all eligible activities during the challenge period, and rank participants by the most time spent completing activities
  • Average Speed Challenges track both time and distance, and a leaderboard is created by dividing the total distance by the total time. The participant with the fastest average speed taken across all the activities that were eligible for the challenge will be ranked the highest
  • Total Activity Challenges count the number of activities completed during the challenge period (without concern for how long they took or how much distance was covered), and ranks participants higher for recording more activities.

To create a new challenge

Sign in and find the “Create something else” link on your signed-in homepage:

Scroll down to the Leaderboard Challenges section and click the Create a Challenge button. You’ll be asked to fill out a few options, including general descriptive information about the challenge you want to set up.

The challenge Start Time and End Time are mandatory, all challenges must have a start and end set. However, the start and end can be changed at any time.

You’ll also be asked to set the type of challenge, as described earlier on this page.

Selecting which people and activities are eligible

The core functionality of the challenge platform is to detect which activities are eligible for the challenge, and count them towards the total. On the second step of creating a challenge, you’ll choose both which people are eligible to complete your challenge, and which activities will count towards their totals.

Choosing which people are part of the challenge

If you would like to limit who can participate in your challenge, you’ll need to set up a Registration form. After somebody registers, they’ll receive a link to the challenge, and will need to click that link to connect their Zone4 user account to your challenge.

Choosing which activities count towards the challenge

Any Zone4 user can upload an activity to Zone4. That activity will count towards all challenges the user is participating in, as long as it falls between the challenge start and end dates. If a user is participating in multiple challenges, they only need to enter their activity once on Zone4 and it will count towards all the challenges they have signed up for.

For now, there are four options to limit the types of activities that can be counted towards a challenge:

  • Only certain sports. The list of sports you can choose from here is the same as the list of sports that users can choose from when uploading an activity to Zone4. If your sport isn’t represented, please get in touch.
  • Only activities that meet a certain time threshold. This probably makes the most sense in a total activities challenge, so super-short activities don’t count.
  • Only activities that meet a distance threshold. This makes sense in an average speed challenge, since users could achieve a really high average speed by only completing very short activities
  • Only count activities that include a GPS record. These can be uploaded from GPX files, or synced from Strava. This is useful for any challenges where you’ll be giving awards, as it provides some assurance that people weren’t cheating.

We’re looking at adding some other criteria for which activities count, currently planned is:

  • regional restrictions – only count activities that were done inside a given set of GPS coordinates
  • maximum total time: after a participant has logged some amount of time, stop counting any future activities. this would allow for challenges counting something like the furthest you could ski in ten hours
  • maximum total distance: after a participant has logged some number of km, stop counting future activities. this would allow for challenges like a fastest time to 500km
  • maximum total activities: for example, if maximum activities was set to one, you could do a challenge for how far can you ski without stopping.

The challenge type, and all the eligibility criteria cannot be changed after creating the challenge. If you want to change what is eligible for your challenge, you’ll need to make a new challenge.

A note about using GPS for “proof”

GPS data is very easy to fake. Any sort of challenge where people compete on their own without supervision is going to be based mostly on the honour system. Requiring a GPS record of activities completed makes it slightly more difficult to cheat, but it’s still possible.

A GPS record on its own does not prevent cheating, but if a GPS record is provided it’s possible for an administrator to review the activities that were uploaded and make a judgement call on whether or not that route seems reasonable, if it seems like somebody left their watch running while they drove home, or if they just uploaded a completely fake file.

Updated on 2021-01-11

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