Congratulations to Polynomial for the most visited codegolf.SE question ever!
I think it would be interesting to take a look at how the votes went there. We want votes and answer quality to match, so why not see how they do?

Here are the current numbers:

  1. 69 votes for walpen: A joke answer. Pretty funny and well executed, but can't compete for code length.

  2. 43 votes for ugoren (that's me): Not complaining. It was the best answer for a while, and is still one of the best.

  3. 23 votes for tkazec: One of the best answers.

  4. 21 votes for user4557: Seemingly the shortest, but doesn't work. It would run till hell freezes over, and then print a wrong answer.


13 . 5 votes for Ed H.: The best answer, by a nice margin.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ As we previously saw when using the code-golf tag on SO, most programmers simply cannot comprehend the advanced concept of shortest or how it might relate to golf \$\endgroup\$
    – gnibbler
    Jun 6, 2012 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gnibbler, It took me a while to catch. But I doubt if the golf metaphor is at the root of this behavior. \$\endgroup\$
    – ugoren
    Jun 6, 2012 at 12:10

1 Answer 1


A question which gets that much attention and that many answers will have a lot of drive-by visitors who look at the first few, upvote one or more, and don't follow down to the bottom. And because of the way that question got attention many of them are probably StackOverflow users who have enough rep with the bonus 100 but have no idea of what this stack is about (and no intention of reading the FAQ).

In addition, even for we regulars, identifying the best answer among so many is hard work. I've skimmed it, but I haven't gone through and voted on new answers since it went crazy. So there's some first mover advantage there.

I don't think there's much we can do about drive-by voting. The most effective solution is for the person who asked the question to be very alert and adjust the accepted answer promptly when a better one is posted. But if they're asleep, working, or otherwise unable to respond, we can't really blame them for their question being unexpectedly successful!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In this case, no answer has been accepted yet. Do you think the person who asked keep accepting and unaccepting as things change? It would have helped here somewhat, that's sure. \$\endgroup\$
    – ugoren
    Jun 6, 2012 at 12:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ugoren, yes. It's the best tool to bring an outstanding post to the attention of drive-by users. Normally I wouldn't think it worth changing the accepted answer more than once a week, but this is a special case. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 6, 2012 at 12:28

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