After observing and participating in some discussions between @KRyan and other posters, I've come to believe that the Stackexchange format is superb for hosting constests whose winners are resolved democratically. Homebrew is a wonderful part of the RPG community, and homebrew contests can help generate some wonderful content in addition to giving 'brewers access to critique and practice that can help sharpen their skills. To this end, I would like to propose that rpg.stackexchange host a prestige class contest monthly or bi-monthly. Here is the outline of my initial idea:
At the beginning of the contest, a moderator will post a question containing the themes (see below) and any additional restrictions (such as "five-level" or "no spellcasting"). The themes in question will be quotes or ideas provided by the moderation staff, such as snippets of classical verse or a picture.
Participants will have a period of two to four weeks (to be determined by discussion here, hopefully) to create their prestige class following at least one of the offered themes and all of the other restrictions. These classes must be complete, possessing fully-fledged flavor and mechanics, and hopefully a table if .stackexchange's programming will let us make them. During this time period participants are permitted and encouraged to seek critique on their work to edit and improve it. By the end of the submission period all legal entries must be posted as answers to the original question
At the end of the submission period will be a one-two week voting period wherein anyone can upvote the class(es) they find to be quality works. Leaving comments explaining one's vote is encouraged, as is discussing the content on chat if they want to question, praise, or critique the creator's work. At the end of the voting period, the class with the most votes wins the overall contest.
After the voting period, the moderation staff will award other prizes, with examples including "Best fluff," "Best mechanics," "Most creative ability" and/or others. I'm open to proposals.
Great thanks to @KRyan for originally proposing this and for uncovering precedent of contests hosted on .stackexchange sites. The proposal above is very bare-bones but I'm hoping we can flesh it out.
[ADDENDUM by BESW based on CONVERSATIONS with LORD_GARETH] Naturally, the idea can be adopted by anyone who wants to initiate a contest for a system dear to their heart. This particular proposal here is the germ of a broader concept, scoped narrowly (3.5 prestige classes) so as to be practical and achievable. There is no intention of limiting the potential of the concept. In practice this particular contest can be expected to expand (beyond prestige classes?) and the idea will hopefully be adapted to other systems (FATE extras, anyone?) if the experiment proposed above is successful.