Last year we voted for the best posts of 2016 and rewarded them with bounties and challenges. I think it's a great way to reward and draw attention to some of the best content the community has created throughout the year, so let's do that again. (And hopefully, this year, we'll be able to sort everything out before half a year has passed.)

First off, we'll need categories again, which you can nominate here. Each answer should contain a category for a challenge or answer to be rewarded. The top-voted categories will then receive separate nomination posts to find the actual winners. Like last year, I'm not going to state a fixed number of categories that will make it, but it's probably going to be between 5 and 10 again (last year, we went with 10 categories).

Feel free to resubmit proposals from last year regardless of whether they were among the final 10 or not.

Voting will last for two weeks, so that we can start nominating posts in the top categories right when the new year starts ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Offered Bounties

As a further note, we'll need reputation rewards again, so if you're willing to spend some of your reputation on a bounty for one of the winners, edit your name into this list to indicate that you're willing.

Four 500 rep bounties offered by

Two 500 rep bounties offered by

One 500 rep bounty offered by

  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ I wonder what should be done about GoL Tetris, to prevent it from dominating the winners and sweeping the categories. Maybe that's what we want? \$\endgroup\$ – AdmBorkBork Jan 2 '18 at 16:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AdmBorkBork Maybe it should just get its own category/post in the final vote, so that it's adequately represented but doesn't push out other interesting answers from all the categories. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Jan 2 '18 at 16:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinEnder That seems like a fair compromise. \$\endgroup\$ – AdmBorkBork Jan 2 '18 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinEnder Or have it so only each answer can only win once, (gol tetris counts as 1 answer) \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Jan 10 '18 at 2:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ cc @AdmBorkBork \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Jan 10 '18 at 2:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added myself to the bounties list, please let me know how/when I am supposed to commit the points to whomever. \$\endgroup\$ – Magic Octopus Urn Jan 24 '18 at 20:51

14 Answers 14


Best Explanation

This category is for the answer with the best explanation accompanying it. Ideally, the winner will be an answer with a very detailed explanation that is accessible to anyone, regardless of the amount of relevant knowledge already possessed.

Taken from the last year's category nominations, initial proposer Mego.


Best use of the wrong language for the job

This category is for an exemplary answer written in a language that was not adequately equipped to solve the challenge.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "Suited in an Unsuitable Language" is my re-title request for this award. \$\endgroup\$ – Magic Octopus Urn Jan 10 '18 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Right Tool, Wrong Problem"? \$\endgroup\$ – user77406 Jan 15 '18 at 12:51

Rookie of the Year - Answers

For the best answer by someone who hasn't submitted an answer prior to 2017 (i.e., not necessarily a new user, but just someone who's a new answer writer).

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is "best" subjective here? Or is it based on votes? \$\endgroup\$ – totallyhuman Jan 3 '18 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ We nominate answers after establishing the categories so I imagine it's some of column A some of column B \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 4 '18 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Modified version of last year's query. \$\endgroup\$ – totallyhuman Jan 5 '18 at 15:16

Best mathematical insight

On this site we often see answers in languages specifically designed for short code, or designed to be fast. Sometimes, a nice golfing trick or speed-up technique surprises us with its ingenuity, beyond the standard use of that language.

And occasionally an answer shows up that uses an unexpected approach to greatly simplify the problem, and makes us wonder how the author could ever think of that. This usually involves some far-from-obvious mathematical equivalence, or a particularly simple approach to the problem that was not evident at all (once revealed, other answers often follow the same approach).

This category is for the answer with the best mathematical insight or unexpected approach that led to greatly simplifying the problem, in any challenge type (code golf, fastest code, or others). The insight should have led to a significant improvement according to the challenge's metric (code length, run time, or whatever applicable).

Initially posted in 2016 by Luis Mendo.


The student becomes the master ()

This category aims to reward an answer that fulfils the following conditions:

  • The poster is not the creator of the language, and the code has byte count N.

  • The creator of the language already submitted an answer, with byte count M.

  • And finally N < M, but the restriction is that no language features used have been added in the meantime.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh huh this seems to have been posted in 2016 too, but I didn't see it before :/ \$\endgroup\$ – Mr. Xcoder Jan 2 '18 at 16:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ A better name might be The student becomes the master \$\endgroup\$ – Wheat Wizard Jan 2 '18 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WheatWizard Happy? :P \$\endgroup\$ – Mr. Xcoder Jan 2 '18 at 22:45

Rookie of the Year - Challenges

For the best challenge written by someone who has not written a challenge prior to 2017 (i.e., not necessarily a new user, just a new challenge writer).


Best Above-and-Beyond Answer

Every once in a while, an answer takes the challenge to the extreme. This prize will be awarded to an answer which went far beyond the expectations of the challenge. This could include

  • a code golf answer that brute-forced/proved the shortest program in some language
  • a graphical-output popcon answer of extreme size and quality
  • a KOTH answer of high complexity which absolutely dominated the competition

This category was featured in both Best of 2015 and Best of 2016.


Overall best challenge

This category is for a challenge that is exceptionally well written, is properly specified, and most of all, an interesting challenge.

Due to the "HNQ effect", easy, simple challenges often get more attention than more interesting, harder puzzles, and this award is intended to recognize effort in writing complex challenges.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 from me. I see a lot of challenges that are just doing something with some sequence which can be fun because languages often have a lot of little math tricks that are good to golf but I don't find them particularly interesting. There are definitely some challenges out there that either have real-world application or are just generally interesting \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 4 '18 at 16:40

SGITW (Slowest Gun in the West)

For the best 2017 answer in a challenge which received no answers within 48 hours of posting. The challenge itself does not need to be from 2017 and the nominated answer doesn't need to be the first answer to the challenge, but the first answer to the challenge does need to be from 2017. Tips questions are not counted for this category.

It's very easy to get drawn to the fast-rising HNQ-hitting questions with a plethora of answers, so I thought this would be a good way to bring attention to answers that really needed to earn their love.

SEDE query: https://data.stackexchange.com/codegolf/query/776856/48-hour-gap

This category originally created by Sp3000.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ well i have a chance if tetris doesn't take all of them :P \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Jan 5 '18 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shouldn't it be "SGITE"? (East) :P :P \$\endgroup\$ – HyperNeutrino Jan 8 '18 at 13:47

Best Alternative Method Kansas City Shuffle

Too often, once someone devises a generic golfy method of solving a challenge, most people will use that method for their answers. This award goes to those answers that utilize an alternative method as a better solution than the method that the majority of other answers use (prior to the posting of the rewarded answer).

  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean by "(prior to the posting of the rewarded answer)"? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Jan 5 '18 at 10:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Looks like duplicate of this, except that it doesn't require it to be mathematical. \$\endgroup\$ – RedClover Jan 5 '18 at 13:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Soaku the difference being I'm referring to an answer that denies the bandwagon effect, whereas the best mathematical insight refers to an answer that provides insight. The focus is different. \$\endgroup\$ – Conor O'Brien Jan 5 '18 at 17:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Petition to use last year's name for this: Kansas City Shuffle \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Jan 9 '18 at 12:27

Novel scoring mechanism

A challenge posted in 2017 that used a new approach to scoring that made for interesting competition.

This could be a with a defined score calculation, or a modification of an existing challenge type like , , or .

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Does proof-golf count? \$\endgroup\$ – totallyhuman Jan 13 '18 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @totallyhuman I don't see why not in principle, but that appears to have been introduced in 2016 \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 13 '18 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh, ok, it just wasn't identified as such then. \$\endgroup\$ – totallyhuman Jan 13 '18 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess it depends if the 2017 challenge was introducing something new (different from the 2016 challenge) \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 13 '18 at 18:57
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's a pity the category wasn't there to reward it last year \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 13 '18 at 18:58

Pro tip

Best answer to any general question. That is, candidates should be drawn from "Tips for golfing in X" questions (as opposed to specific "how do I shorten this piece of code" questions).

Some of the most useful content that we generate for other golfers is in our tips questions, so it would be nice to reward an exceptional golfing trick this way.

Candidates should be tips which show deep insight into the language, yet are applicable in wide range of situations. The exact amounts of bytes saved by the tip is not relevant.

Copied from Martin Ender's answer last year


Best Showcase of a New Language

(from @AdmBorkBork's proposal last year)

This is for new languages (golfing or otherwise) created in or after December 2016 (meaning, the first commit on GitHub or the like was from that date). The category is designed to highlight the answer that best shows the features, tricks, and benefits of using this new language. The author of the answer does not necessarily need to have been the author of the language.

Answers from "Showcase your language" or challenges are ineligible.

(If someone would like to compile a list of eligible languages here, please do so)


King of the King of the Hills

This category is for the best challenge in terms of detail where a lot of effort was put into creating it and it has resulted in an amazing challenge with many possibilities.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since this was +13/-1 last year I'm curious to hear any reasons for the downvotes this year (and for fewer upvotes). \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 13 '18 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ In case it's relevant: There were 15 KotHs in 2017, including one I'm very biased about since I made it... \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 13 '18 at 20:31

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