Daily Challenge Rules Update

At NightCafe, we're committed to promoting creativity and providing a level playing field for all challenge participants. That's why we're making some changes to the daily challenge rules, which we believe will help to achieve these goals.

First, we want to explain why we're making these changes.

One of our main goals with challenges is to make them fair. What we've found is that quite often, the creations that do best in challenges use a start image that wasn't created on NightCafe.

A few months ago, we introduced some automated checks to ensure that submitted images are significantly different to start images. Those changes helped for a while, but we're still finding that a lot of highly-rated challenge entries used a start image that doesn't look all that different to the submitted image.

There's also the issue of false positives when moderating start images. It's frustrating as a user to have your entry rejected by the automoderator or by one of our human moderators for being too close to the start image, when you know the start image was legitimate. Neither the automoderator  or our human moderators are perfect - both make mistakes. And it feels really bad to have something you spent a lot of time creating rejected by a moderator in error. The rules need to be less ambiguous and easier for us to enforce in moderation.

We want to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and showcase their creativity, regardless of their level of experience on NightCafe, or the AI Art generating tools they use. 

With that in mind, we're introducing new criteria for challenge submissions that will help to level the playing field and promote creativity, putting more focus on prompting rather than start images.

So what are the changes?

  • Entirely your own: You can't submit a creation that was a duplicate or evolution of another user's creation at any point in the chain of evolutions/duplications.
  • No start images: You can't submit a creation made from an image that wasn't originally created on NightCafe, regardless of whether the image belongs to you, is public domain, etc. The exception of course is evolutions - which use a previous creation as the start image. Evolutions are allowed as long as no external start image was used at any point in the evolve chain.
  • No Style Transfer creations: You can't submit a creation made using the Style Transfer Algorithm or that is descended from a style transfer creation.
  • No deleted creations: You can't submit a creation if the chain of evolutions/duplications contains a deleted creation. Once a creation is deleted, our moderators can't confirm that it followed all the above rules.

We believe that these changes will help to promote creativity and originality, while also leveling the playing field for all of our challenge participants and making the rules less ambiguous and easier to enforce. We know that change can be challenging, so we want to give you all the information you need to succeed.

We hope that these changes will encourage everyone to create something unique and original for our challenges. We're excited to see what you come up with!

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team via the Feedback/Support form here.


  • Unfortunately our blog software doesn’t seem to allow responding to comments, so I’m going to bulk-respond to some of them here.

    @rubblesby said “makes me think this ruling is designed to make me spend more credits rather than encourage creativity.”

    It’s not about that. We tried our best to continue to allow the legitimate use cases for start images with the previous rule updates, but it’s led to a lot of false positives (legitimate creations being rejected, which leaves a really bad taste in peoples’ mouths), false negatives (challenge winners where the creation looks a lot like the start image which was obviously created in Midjourney for example) and ambiguity in the rules which makes it hard for both users and moderators to know what’s allowed. These new rules are far less ambiguous and will be enforced on submission rather than midway through a challenge.

    @cnewby said

    “Why do I get this message on a Dall-E creation when start images aren’t allowed for Dall-E creations? The new rules are not yet in effect, so you can continue to use this creation for this challenge. Under the new challenge rules this entry would be BLOCKED Reason: Creations that descend from a creation that has been deleted are not allowed”

    DALL-E creations can still be duplicated or “published individually”, both of which count as “descending from” a previous creation. If any ancestors of the creation are deleted, we can’t confirm whether the creation follows or breaks the rules.

    @Wardy Ward said “So I cannot use my scan of an artwork I created in Acrylics as a start image? Please confirm or deny. Thanks.”

    That’s correct. We have no way to know whether the image belongs to you or not, and we can’t distinguish this (legitimate) use case from people uploading stolen images from Google, or Midjourney creations. You’re absolutely welcome to create things in this way, they just won’t be eligible as a challenge entry.

    @Brendan Jewell said “Hi….I probably have the most rejections off the record.It is still unclear to me what is acceptable? I have looked at a lot of top 5% winners and some are plain awful and predictable. Maybe I will skip it from now on!”

    This is one of the big reasons for the new rules. There’s far less ambiguity in the rules, and they can be enforced automatically before submission, rather than a mod having to review later.

    @Pandora said

    “This is very upsetting. There are many ways I create for challenges and this is going to greatly hinder that. There are better ways to make it “fair” without completely eliminating these options from being eligible for challenges. You can use a start image and evolve it so much that it’s so far removed from resembling it. And this kind of defeats the whole purpose of having open prompts. I want people to evolve my creations and if they use it to enter a challenge and it does well I’m happy for them. If I didn’t want that I would close my prompts. I’m sorry this is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous and is stifling creativity with the guise of fairness. I doubt I will continue with challenges after this which mean I probably don’t need to keep my PRO account. I’ll just purchase credits every so often when I need them."

    We’d prefer to be able to allow legitimate use-cases for start images, and the previous rules attempted to allow for these cases. Our automoderator even followed the whole evolve-chain and approved the creation if any link in the chain was “different enough” from the previous. But the “start image must be significantly different” rule has proven to be unclear, very difficult to enforce, and moderation has produced a lot of false positives (legitimate entries being rejected) AND false negatives (stolen images winning challenges).

    @Jacqueline Trump said “If I can’t use my photos I am sorry to say I will leave because I am mainly a photographer. I feel it is actually more my own work if I am not copying, especially, a contemporary artist … I feel hesitant to say it is my own work if the artist is still living and earning a living. I love this group, wishing you much success in the future.”

    To be clear, this rule only applies to challenge entries. You’re still totally welcome to create things based on your own photos and share them on NightCafe. The problem is, we have no way to know whether an uploaded photo is your own work, or copied from a Google image search, or created on Midjourney. So for challenges, which are intended to be as fair as possible, we just have to block them.

    Angus (NightCafe Founder)
  • The new rules say you can’t submit a creation that was a duplicate or evolution of another user’s creation at any point in the chain of evolutions/duplications. There are websites that have databases of 1000s AI prompts to help you create images. Can these be used?

  • Good decision!

  • I have been creating digital art for over 30 years and have a library of my own creations. I understand it is impossible for you to check whether I am using my own work, but being able to use an image I have made before to encourage the AI to lean toward a particular colouring or a shape made creating images on Night Cafe so much more engaging and fun, having some control over the outcome, that I think taking away that option and having to rely entirely on the AI with all its faults an perpensity for inaccuracies makes me think this ruling is designed to make me spend more credits rather than encourage creativity.

  • This is awesome but some of us are going to struggle with credits for example me, I rely on my daily 7 credit for my entry, yes I know the free one’s, but it is not a accurate as the credit one. This is why I am asking for more free credits for instance voting, for every 20 votes you received 1 credit and you can set up a limit up to 10 credits.


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