# Which answer to a code-golf question has the smallest score?

Find the smallest prime from a substring has the answer with the negative score -18 due to 50 points bonus for languages without prime-related functions.

A score is typically a length in bytes or Unicode codepoints.

Is there an answer that has smaller score (among all answers to all code-golf questions)?

• Ummm, why don't you just look at the other answers? I have no idea what you're asking here – Doorknob Mar 5 '14 at 21:12
• @Doorknob: I've updated the question. Is it more clear? There are many answers. I'm not talking about an answer to the single question. I mean all code-golf questions with all answers. An answer with smallest score might be famous. – jfs Mar 5 '14 at 21:20
• I couldn't find a lower score, even accounting for the -50 points. – user10766 Mar 5 '14 at 21:25
• Well this isn't a real code golf question if it has bonuses then, is it? – Doorknob Mar 5 '14 at 21:44
• @Doorknob: I don't know. Bonuses could make it more fun: it allows to compare the human skill instead of the language/library capabilities. If I am not mistaken that is why languages that are specifically designed to answer the code-golf question that being asked are banned. – jfs Mar 5 '14 at 21:47

This is a first stab at querying for that information via StackExchange Data Explorer.

It is not easy data to isolate, because some languages are named with a -[number] pattern in them (Befunge-93, Modula-2, etc.) and because many users will list their positive scores thusly:

So it's merely a start, a proof if you will that because the golf scores are part of the message body it is not a simple matter to decompose the data you seek.

Still, this should give you something to play with. You can probably zero in closer by restricting the query to only the code golf tag and tweaking the query with more NOT LIKE exceptions.

And if any of the Meta crowd can think of some genuinely useful things that the data might be able to tell us about the site, as the resident SQL nerd I am willing to build queries toward that end. As long as it doesn't depend on munging the post body into useful data, there's a lot that Data Explorer makes it possible to learn.

I think there's a good chance that it's an answer of mine which scores -93 points. I think this illustrates a flaw in your suggestion in a comment that bonuses allow comparing skill instead of language capabilities: the -100 bonus for not using a built-in sort is far more than enough to make it worthwhile implementing a sort in a golf-friendly language.

• +1 for the answer that has lower score than in my question. The "flaw" is easy to fix: don't provide bonuses for capabilities that are builtin in popular languages (such as sort()). – jfs Mar 5 '14 at 22:56
• I just recently posted an answer that scores -206 points. There's another answer to the same challenge with a score of -210, but it seems to have some bugs. But I agree; all it really indicates is that the challenge had excessive (and, in this case, way too vaguely defined) bonuses. – Ilmari Karonen Mar 6 '14 at 0:35