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Well, 2021's come to an end, and so that means: Best of 2021!

In this thread, we'll consolidate the categories for our Best Posts of 2021, and eventually we'll vote on which posts will win for each category. In this thread, we are looking for two things:

  • Categories to classify exceptional posts from 2021 (e.g. Best Mathematical Insight or Rookie of the Year)
  • Bounties offered to reward the winners in those categories

As answers below, please nominate categories. 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 previous years, 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. Last year was slightly complicated, but we've usually gone with between 5 and 15 in previous years.

Feel free to resubmit categories from last year, or previous years regardless of whether they were among the final selected categories or not.

Voting on categories should last around 2 weeks, but this is by no means a hard limit, and we'll be happy to extend it further if new category nominations are still incoming.


Offered bounties

Last year, we offered bounties to the winners. If you want to offer a bounty, please edit your name and the amount in below, or leave a comment and I'll edit it in.

  • Redwolf Programs (+500)
  • caird coinheringaahing (+1000 minimum, probably more)
  • Razetime (+1500)
  • Luis Mendo (+500)
  • alephalpha (+1000)
  • pxeger (+500)
  • DLosc (+1000)
  • emanresu A (+1000)
  • Wezl (+500)
  • JoKing (+1500)
  • G.B (+1000)
  • hyper-neutrino (+5000 guaranteed, willing to potentially go higher if necessary)
  • ...
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23 Answers 23

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Slowest Gun in the East

Too often, late answers are overlooked, and end up with fewer upvotes than answers posted immediately after the challenge is posted. This category is aimed to reward impressive answers posted a while after the challenge was originally posted and that went unappreciated, compared to the FGITW answers.

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Best mathematical insight

Repost of 2020, 2019, 2018.

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).

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13
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Best non- challenge

Repost from 2020

Best challenge with a winning criteria other than .

While is our bread and butter, we have some very interesting others with , , , (some) s, etc.

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Rookie of the Year - Challenges

Repost of 2020, 2019, 2018.

For the best challenge written by someone who has not written a challenge prior to 2021

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Shouldn't it be "prior to 2021"? \$\endgroup\$
    – tjjfvi
    Jan 9 at 23:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tjjfvi That's what I get for copy-pasting from last year \$\endgroup\$ Jan 9 at 23:11
12
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Most involvement in an answer/answers

Repost of 2020

For an answer or multiple answers where multiple people were involved. This could be multiple people helping out a user on a single answer, or a back-and-forth between two or more answers trying to outgolf each other.

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12
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Wrong tool for the job

Repost from 2018

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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Best Explanation

Repost from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016

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.

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Rookie of the Year - Answers

Repost from 2020 and other years.

For the best answer written by a new user in 2021. This doesn't have to be a user who created their account in 2021 - rather, this is for any answer posted by a user in 2021 where that answer was that user's first answer on the site.

SEDE query modified from the 2020 one

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Best Tip

Repost from 2020

For the best answer to a question tagged with , because this site isn't just about competing with one another, but also about helping each other improve our golfing skills

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Most Underappreciated Challenge

Repost from 2020

For the best challenge that didn't really get noticed. Sometimes a challenge, especially one that's tough or not vanilla code golf, only gets a few votes, maybe an answer, then disappears.

Solving a difficult challenge is rewarding; there's no reason we shouldn't reward the difficult challenges (that don't get noticed)!

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10
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Most Interesting King of the Hill Submission

For the best answer to a KotH challenge. Specifically, the one with the most interesting or complex strategy.

We had 14 KotHs this year, with a total of 179 answers, so it's quite likely there's some really great ones that should be recognized. I think it's especially important to recognize good answers to KotH challenges, because complicated strategies take time to write, and thus don't get as many votes from the challenge hitting the HNQs.

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10
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Most significant impact via Meta

Meta is an important yet often overlooked portion of this site, where significant rules changes are decided, and the site becomes the most democratic. It allows people to present their visions of the site, and for others to show their agreement or disagreement, and contributions can be just as important - if not more - than posts on Main.

This category is to reward Meta posts that have had a non-trivial or significant impact on the site in some way, and the users who proposed them.

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10
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The most unexpected outcome

An answer that you didn’t expected it to work, or do something else, but unexpectedly did some weird behavior and made the answer valid.

This could involve some interpreter bug, or obscure feature that wasn’t documented nor known by many people.

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Wild card

Repost of 2020.

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

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Best trickiest challenge

Similar to a category from 2020 (but slightly reworded to reward not purely hard, but also fun, challenges).

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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  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ "Best trickiest" sounds really unnatural to me, would "best tricky challenge" work? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 2 at 5:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RedwolfPrograms I know it's not really correct, but I want to communicate that both aspects are equally important. It needs to be both among the trickiest and among the best. \$\endgroup\$
    – pxeger
    Jan 2 at 5:03
8
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Most helpful Sandbox commenter

The Sandbox is a very useful tool to help improve people's challenges, and functions best when users provide helpful advice and feedback on the drafts.

This category should reward the users who helped the most in the Sandbox during 2021

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Most helpful commenter

Repost of 2020 2018

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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Most improved answer

This category is to reward the continued work users put into answers long after they have been posted. After the FGITW effect has dissipated there stops being so much incentive to work on an old answer, but some users put in the effort and really make it shine. The ideal answer here would be one that demonstrates a significant commitment to improvement regardless of the quality of the initial answer. This could be improving the score, or the explanation or both.

Answers in this category don't have to have been initially posted in 2021 but the improvements have to have been made over the course of the year.

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5
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Kansas City Shuffle

Reposted from 2018

Too often, someone devises a particularly golfy method of solving a challenge, which 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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5
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Breaking The Mold (Most Original Challenge)

Reposted from 2018

It's really easy to come up with normal 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.

Some justification for why the challenge is original is necessary with nominations - 99% of challenges posted on the site shouldn't qualify for this.

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3
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Most complex answer

For the answer so complex that few people or even no people can understand, yet it work beautifully while remain golfed.

Those answer could be creative and long(but are not generated or repeat same code) the logic inside the code can't be understand by us mortals, but it works anyway.

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1
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Off the Charts

For an answer that has been proven to work correctly but can't realistically be run, for example because it would take an enourmous amount of time to execute.

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0
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Best/Most Underappreciated "Janitor"

There is a lot that goes on "behind the scenes" here, including reviewing, cleaning up tags, and moderating (both main and chat). Some users spend a lot of time on these sorts of chores, and I think that should be rewarded.

This category is for the user that's contributed the most in these less visible areas of the site. This can include anything from a new user consistently reviewing sandbox posts, up to a moderator who's done an exceptional job in 2021.

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