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You have chosen the categories for PPCG's "Best of 2019". We're going with 16 categories this year. Since all you amazing people have offered up a collective total of 16,000 rep in bounties, we can include all categories with a positive score.

So here is what we'll do: I will post one community wiki answer for each of the 16 categories. Nominations should be edited into these answers in any order (e.g. feel free to add late nominations to the top so that they're more visible). They should include a prominent link to the nominated post, the corresponding user, as well as a bit of text about why the post was nominated and would deserve the award. Self-nominations are welcome.

In a week, we will turn this post into the actual vote by adding comments to each answer which correspond to the different nominees. If needed, this period may be extended.

Especially during the first few hours of the nomination process, I would recommend writing up a nomination elsewhere and just copying it into the post in one go, because there will probably be quite frequent edits, and SE has no way of merging conflicting edits.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a reason why we have to start accepting nominations as early as possible: I can't remember any of the impressive posts made back in 2019. \$\endgroup\$ – Bubbler Mar 19 at 2:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bubbler you are absolutely right... And I just realized I nominated someone for a 2020 post :p \$\endgroup\$ – RGS Mar 20 at 0:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mind if I added one that wasn't in the categories post? There's definitely one user that doesn't post much but leaves great comments. \$\endgroup\$ – S.S. Anne Mar 22 at 16:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @S.S.Anne That would fit in "Wild card", and I see you already figured that out \$\endgroup\$ – user41805 Mar 23 at 9:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wanted to nominate a "Most helpful Sandbox commenter", but I can't remember and my sandbox post is deleted so I can't check. What a shame... The user was really helpful, almost like a personal trainer. \$\endgroup\$ – user2652379 Mar 26 at 2:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user2652379 I think you can view and search your own deleted content. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Mar 28 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xnor I forgot to mention that it deleted more than 60 days ago. I check "Recently Deleted Answers" to find my draft and comments, but it says "This page shows answers you posted that were deleted in the last 60 days. This includes answers to questions that were deleted." \$\endgroup\$ – user2652379 Mar 29 at 14:19

16 Answers 16

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Wild card

For a deserving challenge, answer or user that isn't a good fit for any of the other categories.

  • I (@KevinCruijssen) nominate all @stasoid's answers for the Add a language to a polyglot challenge. This challenge was created in 2016, but @stasoid has been adding new languages every few weeks for the past 2+ years. It's insane to think that this single program can run in 280+ different programming languages, of which 139 of those languages (so roughly halve) were added by @stasoid alone.
  • I (@S.S. Anne) nominate ceilingcat for his helpful and constructive comments. Although he doesn't often post answers, he does post many comments that have helped improve countless solutions. I wouldn't be as good of a code-golfer as I am now without @ceilingcat.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ @KevinCruijssen I think the nomination would be a good fit for "Best Above-and-Beyond Answer" \$\endgroup\$ – Λ̸̸ Mar 20 at 8:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, you're correct. Somehow missed that one when looking for a suitable category. I'll move it. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Cruijssen Mar 20 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @S.S.Anne I think your nomination is a good fit for "Most helpful Sandbox commenter". \$\endgroup\$ – Λ̸̸ Mar 23 at 0:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @a'_' Not a Sandbox commenter. The key word there is "solutions", or, in other words, "answers". \$\endgroup\$ – S.S. Anne Mar 23 at 0:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @S.S.Anne Ah, so ceilingcat doesn't just post golfs for my Java answers. ;) I think he looked at close to all of my past answers, and found at least something to golf in most of them. :D \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Cruijssen Mar 23 at 7:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KevinCruijssen He does the same for my answers. I thought it was a shame I couldn't do anything for him but then I realized I could. \$\endgroup\$ – S.S. Anne Mar 23 at 14:26
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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).

  • I (@KevinCruijssen) nominate @Grimmy with this 05AB1E answer. After a pretty lengthy and impressive challenge description, they showed this to-the-point 4-byter which literally all other answers (except for one) ported since it's the shortest approach. To quote the top two comments: "Hmm, that doesn't bode well for this challenge if it can be simplified that easily" and "You have approximately 1 byte of code for 800 bytes of challenge explanation. :p".
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kevin This could go under "Most unexpected approach" too. \$\endgroup\$ – S.S. Anne Mar 23 at 0:35
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Best Non-Code-Golf Challenge

Best challenge whose winning criteria did not include any code-golfing. King of the Hill, Fastest Code, etc. would be eligible. Proof Golf, atomic-code-golf, etc. are also included. Anything that's not the standard "shortest code length" is eligible.

  • I (@Bubbler) nominate Construct a pentagon avoiding compass use, asked by @Ad Hoc Garf Hunter. As far as I know, this was the first (and is still the only) challenge asking about compass-and-straightedge construction, and it is a very well designed one, at least in my opinion. This challenge also established a good ruleset for possible future challenges of the kind.

  • I (@Bubbler) nominate Biggest Irreducible Hello World by @Mason. This was the first proper challenge that allowed arbitrarily high scores while not allowing trivial solutions. The challenge was a huge success, getting a few answers with impressive scores.

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Best Above-and-Beyond Answer

Repost of last year's

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


I (@KevinCruijssen) nominate @KrzysztofSzewczyk's Malbolge answer here. To quote the Malbolge docs themselves:

The day that someone writes, in Malbolge, a program that simply copies its input to it's output, is the day my hair spontaneously turns green. It's the day that elephants are purple and camels fly, and a cow can fit through a needle's eye.

And what @KrzysztofSzewczyk does in the DDoouubbllee ssppeeaakk!! challenge is at least double (pun intended) as impressive and insane, thus worthy of being nominated here.


I nominate Deadcode's ECMAScript regex (+ molecular lookahead) answer to the divide input by the square root of 2 challenge. Quoting the first line of the submission,

Regex was never designed to do mathematics. It has no concept of arithmetic.


I (@Lyxal) nominate another one of @KrzysztofSzewczyk's Malbolge answers here. Even though it may seem like it was written in Polish ("When I opened your program, Chrome attempted to translate it from Polish" -- quote from a comment on the answer), this 362MB answer has stuck with me all year as one of my favourites. I've known right from when I saw it that I would nominate it for a best of CGCC category.

Sure, it's over 20 million times longer than the winning Jelly answer, but for such a volatile language such as Malbolge competing in such a task as theoretically diving numbers by 0, I'd say it deserves a nomination.

To quote the last line in the answer:

It's working!


I (@a'_') nominate one of @KrzysztofSzewczyk's Seed answers here. A comment has once been posted in "Tips for golfing in Seed" along the lines of

... There are only two people who know how to golf in Seed, and both of them decided to not share their tips ...

Krzysztof knowing how to golf in Seed is unique and supernatural, with no one else other than feersum knowing how to golf in it, since it involves reverse-engineering the Merseene twister; thus the answer is worthy of being nominated here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While being able to program in Seed is awesome, the Mersenne twister is absolutely not the safest RNG, it is actually fairly terrible at unpredictability (compared to other RNGs)... \$\endgroup\$ – my pronoun is monicareinstate Mar 25 at 5:44
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Best Explained Answer

Awarded to a user who explains a complex solution in the best way.

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3
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Most helpful Sandbox commenter

Rewards a kind soul who took the time and effort to read through challenges in the Sandbox and give helpful feedback.

(I guess a bounty here would be awarded to one of the winner's questions or answers of their choosing.)

Nominations

  • I nominate Adám for this award, as he is always willing to read through challenges and highlight parts which are unclear. He is also willing to check sandboxed posts on demand, so to speak, if asked in TNB, which is why I'm nominating him.
  • I nominate Bubbler for this award, as they are always reading through the sandboxed challenges and provides helpful comments for challenges. They will be commenting on the challenge whenever the challenge is mentioned in TNB. Also they are very helpful and would mention everything in the challenge that is unclear or needs improvement.
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Most Unconventional Non-esoteric Language

Goes to a user who uses a language not normally associated with programming challenges.

Nominations

  • I (@RGS) nominate Arnauld for his work with JavaScript. Arnauld consistently posts in JS and consistently posts very competitive answers, more often than not with some really interesting mathematical touches.
  • I nominate Galen Ivanov for his work in Red. He is currently the only active person using Red to answer challenges, often producing fairly competitive answers.
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Best Non-Code-Golf Answer

Best answer to a challenge whose winning criteria did not include any code-golfing. King of the Hill, Fastest Code, etc. would be eligible. Proof Golf, atomic-code-golf, etc. are also included. Anything that's not the standard "shortest code length" is eligible.

  • I (@Bubbler) nominate @Anders Kaseorg's answer to Construct a pentagon avoiding compass use. They achieved the optimal primary score (2 circles) with awesome secondary score (only 13 lines!) using some advanced concepts from projective geometry (which we'll hardly ever see on a recreational programming site here).
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Unique idea

Awarded to the first person that doesn't use the algorithm that all answerers up to that person of the challenge use in the challenge.

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Rookie of the Year - Challenges

Repost of 2018

For the best challenge written by someone who has not written a challenge prior to 2019 (i.e., not necessarily a new user, just a new challenge writer).

  • I (@KevinCruijssen) nominate @DiscreteGames' Would this string work as string? challenge. It was his/her first post, yet is the third most upvoted challenge of 2019. A clear spec right from the get-go, without people needing to comment all kind of questions and suggestions for spec-changes; additional test cases; or things that weren't clear, like we usually see with new users. And it's a fun challenge, with a variety of different approaches in the answers as well.

  • I (@Lyxal) nominate @IshaqKhan's Swapping "Good" and "Bad" challenge. I know that I use for planning esolangs, and, with 7k views, it was a breath of fresh air to see such a well-written and simple challenge.

  • I (@a'_') nominate @ouflak Check if a string is entirely made of the same substring. It's quite rare for a new user to post such a simple and interesting challenge. With 25 votes (very impressive for a first challenge), it was an impressive unique challenge.

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    \$\begingroup\$ We are still early into 2020, but when I grow up, I want to be nominated for this category :') \$\endgroup\$ – RGS Mar 19 at 20:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Finally, a category I'm eligible for! \$\endgroup\$ – Lyxal Mar 19 at 22:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let's don't seek for the future - that's a year away! Let's just find the mostly-upvoted first post and nominate that. \$\endgroup\$ – Λ̸̸ Mar 20 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I started writing up a nomination for @DiscreteGames' Would this string work as string? before noticing that KevinCruijssen beat me to it. I also want to add that their only other post here, posted the next day, was also a big hit: Make a Bowl of Alphabet Soup. And, to praise their stylish and witty logic-gate-based avatar. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Mar 25 at 7:06
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Most elegant spec

Repost of 2018

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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Most Collaborative Answer

goes to one that incorporates significant ideas from as many users as possible

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Most unexpected approach

Awarded to the author of the solution to a challenge that is completely different from the obvious approaches, especially if it beats all other answers.

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Trickiest Challenge

It should look simple and tempt you to start coding right away, but coming up with a good solution should be hard.

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Best tip

Best answer to a question.

Nominations

(Self-Nomination): My (@Lyxal) answer here to tips for golfing in Keg. It was the most upvoted tip on the question, and it is the second most upvoted answer to a "Tips for golfing in " question in 2019.

(Exclusive-Nomination): I nominate @Arnauld's answer here for is it possible to make a clamp function shorter than a ternary in JS?. It was the most upvoted answer to a tips question in 2019 with an impressive 23 upvotes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that "remember that brackets autocomplete" is an interesting tip at all, especially since it actually states that clearly in the README.md on the Github repository. \$\endgroup\$ – my pronoun is monicareinstate Mar 24 at 19:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ What was the first most upvoted then? \$\endgroup\$ – Jo King Mar 26 at 9:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JoKing This tip was the most upvoted. It is posted by a deleted user, and I guess that's why it isn't nominated. \$\endgroup\$ – Λ̸̸ Mar 26 at 10:06
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Most Clever Optimization

When an existing answer is optimized with a bizarre and surprising change.

An off-site real-world example would be the fast inverse square root hack.

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