I'm very glad that there is still all this interest on what started to be an idea to get us all out there taking pictures and comparing results - and hopefully, learning from each other.
Originally, the objective was to focus the difficulty - for lack of a better term - on that instant when you're holding the camera in front of your subject. That's it, that's a real life situation: you're in the field, about to press the shutter release, alone with your gear.
You have to make it happen with what you've got. That is to say, you have to have the technique and the appropriate equipment to deliver the result as you intended it. But most of the time, you will neither have such detailed technical knowledge, nor the expensive equipment to do that - you make the best of what you have at the moment and learn from it. You will improve. Next time, you will
This was and still is, in my mind, a test to the person who is holding the camera, not to the camera itself and not to the editing software.
Because it's the photographer that counts.
While we do want as many participants as possible, we can't please all the people all of the time, so some sort of compromise is needed.
There are very few times when a photo comes out just the way we want it straight out of the camera. So some light editing is required. This doesn't change the essence of the photo, it merely masks some of the mistakes that we made or some of the limitations of our equipment.
If I was to list what editing I'd think is fair, this was what I'd write down:
adjust colour saturation
adjust colour balance
apply black and white or sepia filter or other filter
No area editing / selective masking should be applied. That is to say, each effect should affect the entire photo.
Of course, depending on which parameter you change, there is a limit to what is "light editing", so use your own sense.
Participants who want to do heavy photoshopping still can, of course. I would suggest a "light edit" version, posted on the forum thread (so that that's their assignment entry) and a "final edit", available via link, to show how they intend that photo to look after processing. This in itself can act as a learning experience for all, as it showcases what photoshop can do.
We could try this approach and see how it goes. Again, not all people can be pleased all the time.
This is all, of course, just my personal opinion.