A few weeks ago I posted this answer on a challenge. Yesterday it was deleted because "it isn't a serious contender for the winning criteria" despite getting the second best score in the challenge. Seeing as I had faced some criticism when I posted the answer I must not understand the policy. Why is a second-place answer considered to be uncompetitive? Why are other answers with much worse scores not removed (examples: 1 2)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that the answer is as serious a contender as any other, and the comparison to the Lua answer is fair, but I think it's compounding injustice to specifically mention the arithmetic encoding answer. That answer's score is penalised for a flaw in the question rather than in the answer; the reason your answer is a serious contender despite making very little effort is the same flaw in the question. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2017 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor I don't mean to question the methodology of that answer. Clearly it took a lot more work than my deleted answer, due to the restrictions of the question. That being said, my answer was not deleted because it was low-effort, it was deleted for being non-competitive. If it was deleted for being low-effort I would not have drawn the same comparison. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2017 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ My point is that it's obvious a priori that your answer is more competitive than the Lua one because regardless of the test data it beats the Lua answer. However, the question of whether your answer or the arithmetic encoding answer is more competitive depends strongly on the test data. If it's unfair to delete your answer on the a priori assumption that since it makes little effort it cannot be competitive, it's also unfair to argue that another answer is just as deserving of deletion on the a posteriori basis that the test case turned out to be even worse than might have been expected. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2017 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor I'm not saying that those other answers are deserving of deletion, I'm saying that since they are not worthy of deletion then my answer is not worthy of deletion. I also don't think that an answer with a 348 byte overhead would be good for that challenge based on the past test cases, but it was impossible to know until yesterday. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2017 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


I deleted the answer because it made no effort whatsoever to compress its input.

Now that the test case has been revealed, it turns out that trying to compress the input is rather pointless, as even the answers with the most sophisticated algorithms can shave off only a handful of bytes, if any.

I didn't anticipate that, so my bad. I've undeleted your answer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's a shame that the question author ignored the comment from Moogie, who did anticipate it. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2017 at 17:02

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