Just gave it a whirl. Kinda interesting. I personally don't like a lot of these X vs Y minigames, and instead just like to look at eye candy. Anyway, here's my thoughts:
Understood. I think for this to work I'd have to actually make a game out of the X vs Y minigame since it does need a pretty constant feedback loop to work.
I'm wondering if IOTD could be less "formal" kind of like #screenshotsaturday, where users post screenshots of what they're working on with a very minimal explanation. Then GameDev.net cycles through this posting "feed" on the front page. With today's IOTD, all I really want is to look at the screenshots, and if they interest me enough (along with maybe a very small explanation), provide me with a link to a blog post/video/whatever where I can read more about what the images are about.
Do you think it's a bad idea to get behind that twitter feed? It does serve the same purpose and is pretty established. One of the other things I'm doing is that if you link your twitter account here with your profile it will automatically associate each image you post with your Gamedev.net account.
Then bump up the "formal"-ness of Your Announcements, so it's kinda like IOTD is now (but not really based around screenshots). That is, make it so Your Announcements isn't just a forum where you make a normal thread (that typically ends up being dry, a wall of text, or just overlooked), but where things are kind of a bigger deal.
I'm not sure I'm following you on this one.
On a side note I have modified the showdown so that you get +1 participation points for every 5 Showdown matches you complete.