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This question already has an answer here:

Last year we voted for the best posts of 2017 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 15 again (last year, we went with 13 categories).

Feel free to resubmit proposals from last year regardless of whether they were among the final 13 or not.

Voting will probably last for about two weeks, but this period can be extended if needed.


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, feel free to edit your name into this list or leave a comment to indicate that you're willing.

Ten 500 rep bounties offered by

One 500 rep bounty offered by

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marked as duplicate by Mr. Xcoder, Community Feb 7 at 13:41

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've offered up one bounty, but I'll also cover any additional needed bounties if we don't have enough, or if someone who offered is unable to award their bounty. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Jan 25 at 2:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've offered up ten bounties, but I'll also cover up to ten additional needed bounties if we don't have enough, or if someone who offered is unable to award their bounty. \$\endgroup\$ – Adám Jan 25 at 7:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ We've got a lot of bounties offered. I don't think we'll have enough categories to cover them all. What about offering second place bounties in each category? (250? 300?) \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Jan 25 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DJMcMayhem I definitely concur. That's a great idea! \$\endgroup\$ – Mr. Xcoder Jan 25 at 17:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I'm happy to split my bounty if necessary. \$\endgroup\$ – Shaggy Jan 27 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was off PPCG for like two weeks...I'm happy to offer 500 or 1000 rep to help make up anything else. Save some of Adám's rep for another time. \$\endgroup\$ – Giuseppe Feb 22 at 15:27

16 Answers 16

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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 2016 category nominations, initial proposer Mego.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I really like this one and think that more answerers should strive to include useful explanations. It makes general perusal of the website more pleasurable since you're not just looking at a bunch of code blocks on a page. \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 29 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I definitely agree and would prioritise this one above all others. I'm also much more likely to upvote answers on main if the explanation is good. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Feb 3 at 18:37
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Wrong tool for the job

This category is for an answers that use the worst possible language to accomplish a task, while still making an effort to optimize the score. For example, writing a non-trivial program while using an extremely minimalist language like 7, or an inconvenient language like lost, or even a normal language that's missing some crucial capability like internet connectivity or image processing.

Answers for this category should consider both the difficulty of the task and the unsuitable-ness of the language.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 from me. Someone had this idea last year ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 29 at 22:23
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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.

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Rookie of the Year - Answers

For the best answer by someone who hasn't submitted an answer prior to 2018 (i.e., not necessarily a new user, but just someone who's a new answer writer).

SEDE query

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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).

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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, Best of 2016 and Best of 2017.

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SGITW (Slowest Gun in the West)

For the best 2018 answer in a challenge which received no answers within 48 hours of posting. The challenge itself does not need to be from 2018 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 2018. 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.

This category originally created by Sp3000.

SEDE Query, with the delays in days

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Rookie of the Year - Challenges

For the best challenge written by someone who has not written a challenge prior to 2018 (i.e., not necessarily a new user, just a new challenge writer).

SEDE query

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Most elegant spec

Writing an interesting challenge is tough, not just in thinking up a good idea, but in specifying it clearly enough without taking pages of text. This category is for challenges whose specification is a pleasure to read, summing up exactly what is required succinctly and unambiguously.

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Breaking The Mold (Most Original Challenge)

It's really easy to come up with normal code-golf and , or challenge, etc. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with these challenges. They're the meat of the challenges on our site. However, they're not the most imaginative.

This category is for a challenge that re-invents the wheel, and explores new ideas that we haven't really used on the site.

  • Maybe this challenge inspired a new tag, or category of challenges?

  • Maybe it's a with a unique and very well balanced scoring formula?

Or maybe it's even a challenge about a novel task. This category is for rewarding users who came up with interesting ideas that keep the site fresh.

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Most helpful commenter

One of the things that stands out about this community is that although it's highly competitive, there is nearly always someone on hand to offer advice both on improving challenges and improving answer scores. It's part of what made this site seem so welcoming to me.

In recognition of this, nominees should be people who have helped others improve and made them feel welcome, whether by direct comments on challenges and answers, or in comments in chat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 from me. Was thinking of something similar myself, just couldn't figure out the best way to define it and word it. \$\endgroup\$ – Shaggy Jan 25 at 23:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe there are two sub-categories here: Most drastically byte-reducing advice and most insightful advice. \$\endgroup\$ – Adám Jan 27 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or it could possibly be split into answer improving and challenge improving. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 27 at 18:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe even a 3rd for a member who went above & beyond in welcoming a new member and helping them get to grips with things around here? \$\endgroup\$ – Shaggy Jan 27 at 21:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ How to address the problem that comments are transient and the best candidates for this award might already have been deleted? \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Jan 28 at 8:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good point. I guess this will need to depend on the memory of the nominators if this category is accepted. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 28 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is an interesting one since it will be awarded to a person rather than to a specific question, answer, or comment. I imagine voters will just have to know the nominee to some extent. This is a good award idea but it isn't noob-friendly which could be considered ironic. +0 from me \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 29 at 22:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Poke that's a good point, but I'd argue that rewarding people who make the site welcoming helps newcomers indirectly... \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 30 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ (and I'm sure not all of our super helpful members have joined more than 12 months ago) \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 30 at 21:48
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The student becomes the master

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

  • It is an answer to a code-golf challenge
  • 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.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like this could be expanded to more than just code golf... but +1 from me. \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 29 at 22:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ (In layman's terms: outgolfing the language's creator.) \$\endgroup\$ – Lynn Feb 5 at 1:47
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Best (unusual) Tool for the Job

The strong golfing languages usually supply the shortest solutions (in their domain), but occasionally someone finds a very rarely used language that excels at exactly the task at hand. This prize doesn't go as much for the effort of writing a solution (it is probably trivial), as it does for finding that obscure tool.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This gets a -1 from me. I think it promotes more answers like this one which are not bad answers but they're not particularly good either \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 29 at 21:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Poke although I agree that example is awful, I'd still like to see this category present to find more interesting examples. I'd expect the more surprising ones to end up with more votes so the winner is unlikely to be something like that zero byte answer \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 30 at 21:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this category can work, it just needs to exclude silly things like default behavior of empty programs or one-byte built-ins. (H has something like 30 ways of printing Hello World) \$\endgroup\$ – Draco18s Feb 4 at 2:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Draco18s Remember that people have to vote for who they think deserves the prize. \$\endgroup\$ – Adám Feb 4 at 10:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh I know. The nomination process might be difficult as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Draco18s Feb 4 at 14:19
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Most useful Meta answer

For answers posted on Meta that made a significant difference, bringing new clarity to the site or an important change in perspective.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How would this be rewarded? Bounties can't be placed on meta. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Jan 28 at 8:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe some of last year's bounties went to posts other than the nominated one (for example, rewarding a challenge author by placing a bounty on an answer of theirs to a different challenge). \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Jan 28 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ As I see it this is relatively close to "Most helpful commenter" except that this can be one particular instance rather than repeated helpfulness. That being said, +1 from me. \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 29 at 22:19
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Most useful Meta question

For questions posted on Meta that made a significant difference, bringing new clarity to the site or an important change in perspective.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This gets a -1 from me. When a meta question is going to make a significant difference it's usually because it has been discussed at least once before in comments, in chat, etc. When that type of situation happens we generally just collectively ask someone who happens to be in chat to write up a meta post. They are more or less community wiki at that point. The answers are where the creativity/platforms are. \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 29 at 22:21
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Most Ideal Answer

For answers that are not only impressive in terms of score (whether that be low byte-count or a different scoring mechanism), but are also a useful / elegant real-world way to perform the task at hand.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think I get the gist of what you're saying but I think you phrased it poorly. If I'm correct then an answer that considers time complexity in a code golf challenge would qualify for this award. You want to see something other than the classic brute force solution since it's short and easy to write but not necessarily usable in real life. If this is the case, please try to reword and you'll get a +1 from me. \$\endgroup\$ – Poke Jan 29 at 22:13

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