There has been a well-established meta consensus that people should try not to upvote trivial answers, but it is difficult to post reminders of it if it is not included in the OP.

The most effective way to alert the viewers would be to directly comment under those posts, but it doesn't really make sense unless it is posted under every single trivial responses. (and posting the comment on one post might lead to the answerer feeling targeted such as in this answer).

How should we remind users to try not to upvote trivial solutions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Commenting every single trivial answer won't work because there is no objective definition of what is trivial and what isn't. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steadybox
    Dec 8, 2017 at 21:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Steadybox I believe we can apply the example here. i.e. something on the lines of a 3-byte solution in a golfing language with a built-in that nearly solves the problem \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2017 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is a trivial answer? I've done a few of the puzzles on the site but I've only just joined this particular stack exchange and I don't fully understand what I shouldn't be posting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Disgusting
    Dec 14, 2017 at 15:20

3 Answers 3


Don't urge others not to vote, but do some upvoting yourself!

I conjecture without proof that most upvotes to trivial solutions come from HNQ (hot network questions), who will be simply amazed at how short and concise golfing languages can be. The rest will be from people who never learned a golfing language, to whom the art of golfing languages seems worthy of an upvote.

Neither of these groups are put off by any banner (like the one I put in Community ads last year), comment (which can come off as hostile; since when is upvoting wrong?!), or line tucked somewhere in the challenge.

The SE model promises that through voting, good answers 'bubble to the top'. So, go out and vote! Specifically, upvote any answer you find fun and/or nontrivial (note the or, because sometimes, I find it amazing how trivially one can solve a task that by description seems extremely nontrivial).

Note: anyone looking at my profile will see that I am not living by my own words, as I vote very little. This is because I'm just a hobby programmer, and don't readily distinguish between trivial and nontrivial solutions, and possibly because I'm pathologically lazy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Talking about upvoting good solutions, +1. Better idea than mine. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2017 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Again, only work if everyone do this. \$\endgroup\$
    Dec 12, 2017 at 10:02

Make it semi-mandatory to include the line

It's a well-established practice to include the line "this is code-golf, so the shortest answer wins."

Therefore, it should be possible to make it a common practice for challenge posters to also include "try to avoid upvoting trivial solutions."

Then, the answers who would likely want to gain reputation points would be encouraged to post non-trivial, interesting answers, instead of a simple builtin. This would make challenges more interesting and solve the "no upvoting trivial solutions" issue at the same time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "It's a well-established practice to include the line" Only for part of the questions, those tagged code-golf. The other questions have no such practice AFAIK. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast
    Dec 12, 2017 at 5:51

Post a comment

I have seen this done many times, and don't think it's too big of an issue to simply post a comment saying something along the lines of

As a reminder to voters, please avoid upvoting uninteresting trivial answers. You may vote as you choose, but please keep that in mind. This applies to all trivial answers, not just this one.

The main issue is making sure that the OP of the answer doesn't feel attacked, but this doesn't happen enough that a simple

This is simply a reminder for voters, and applies to every answer, not just yours. It'd be more disruptive to post this on every answer, so it should stay on just one.

shouldn't be able to fix, if the first comment didn't make any difference.

As Mego suggested, for challenges which are inherently trivial, such as Add two numbers, it is a better idea to post the comment under the question, rather than a specific answer.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I see that under the question I linked, there are 5 upvotes to the comment arguing that there should be a comment for every trivial answers. I'd presume it was the phrasing of the first comment? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2017 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I support this, but I also suggest posting the comment on the challenge, not an answer, to avoid unintentionally singling out a single answer. For challenges that have the potential to attract lots of trivial answers (like Add Two Numbers), the comment can be posted pre-emptively, before trivial answers start pouring in (like so). \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego commenting under the main questions would be effective only when the question is relatively new (because votes get locked), so in that case, there would not be a difference between having the line in the main question and having the line under a comment. Actually, including it in the post would be more effective because the line would be under the Rules section. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2017 at 21:08

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