This is not a complete answer, it's just offering my perspective. It leans towards suggesting action, but I'd rather let other people speak before we are done here. I'm putting it here to not clutter up the post.
In my experience as moderator, of the non-serious contenders (which were flagged as such) there are broadly three categories:
- Answers that are very high effort but not going towards the Scoring Criterion. These are commonly answers that choose a difficult or complex language or algorithm to tackle a problem. Sometimes they are the first answer to a long unanswered challenge.
Now I'd really prefer these to be golfed, and I probably won't upvote them until they do. An answer that solves the challenge in \$O(\log(n))\$ using a special algorithm and is well golfed considering is worth an upvote from me.
However at the same time I recognize that when you've spent hours working on something and it finally works, you just want to post it. Maybe take a nap and come back to it later, maybe someone will even spot an error before you start golfing it. And not everything that you plan on coming back to later always gets done.
As a moderator when I'm asked to delete these answers it pains me. Usually these languish in the inbox for a couple of days because none of us wants to delete something that clearly took hours of time. Only a small percentage of the answers we delete are ever undeleted. I don't feel like this motivates anyone to golf.
The second category is pretty similar to the first
- Answers that are either clever, jokes or both. They were never really about golfing, and golfing would sort of defeat the point.
To be clear some jokes actually fall IMO into the first category as a joke can sometimes just be a strange restriction. For example writing an answer that when read aloud forms a limerick. It's a joke sure, but it's also a restriction just like choosing a funny esolang is. So to these what I've said in the first one applies, I'd like to see an effort put into the SC in addition to the effort put towards making it funny, but I'm loath to delete answers that don't.
With that aside this is probably actually the smallest category. However these answers get the most attention so I think they have an outsized influence. I don't really like being the fun police coming and telling people they are having fun wrong, but these answers are pretty rare so it's not a big issue for me.
The last type of answer is one I'm pretty apathetic about:
- Answers made by new users who just don't seem to know what code-golf is and just solve the problem.
I just don't care about these answers, they can be deleted or kept. Doesn't matter to me. At most I think it's a little hostile to newcomers to delete their posts like this, but they don't seem to be interested in what our site is about anyway.
So these answers aren't great, I'm probably not upvoting any of them. However my view is that this isn't really enough to justify deleting them. I don't see them as a blight that needs to be excised, they're just not great, and I wonder if deleting them is doing more harm than good.
One last thought
king-of-the-hill and answer-chaining challenges are a little different from other types of challenges. In a normal code-golf challenge if someone posts a bad answer, at worst you have to look at it. But when someone posts an answer that scores poorly you are still forced to interact with it.
It is my impression that for certain KotHs there are sometimes answers that don't score very well but are designed to just mess with the game. My perspective here is that if this is possible that's probably indicative of a flaw in the challenge design. Other than answers specifically made to boost another answer KotHs should be resistant to some amount of stupidity.
However I get it can be annoying, and maybe we ought to have different rules specifically for challenges with inter-player interaction.
- This standard loophole on suicidal submissions
- ME's comment:
I find that joke submissions in general are very important to get many KotHs going. For instance, if people had only ever posted serious submissions to RPSLV, there would have been no game, since nothing can beat a uniformly random strategy with anything but luck. Furthermore, KotHs need many submissions to be fun, and a bunch of less serious submissions in the beginning help a lot to explore the strategy space and gather some popularity.