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The current tag info of the is outdated and needs to be replaced/improved as we now have much clearer notions of what a pop-con is compared to the time of creation. From the recent discussions (links below) we can conclude that

  • a pop-con needs an objective validity criterion
  • the tag-info currently does not sufficiently communicate what a good pop-con should (not) be
  • popularity contest should produce answers that people like (as this is what people vote on) therefore voting guidelines are for the most part useless

Please submit your drafts for a new tag description that do consider these points.

The mentioned discussions:

Guidelines for posting and closing popularity contests

Proposing new winning criterion tag: Voter-judged

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm skeptical about "should produce answers that people like ... therefore voting guidelines are ... useless". For example, for the dithering challenge I would want to upvote a solution with excellent performance on the standard example image before a solution with an arbitrary image chosen that happens to be cute (even if compliant). \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax May 9 '16 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Although voting guidelines cannot be enforced, I think they are very useful in guiding voters, so that the votes are more meaningful and relevant, and also very useful to the solution writers so they know where to focus their efforts. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax May 9 '16 at 13:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax In this example people do like what is considered as good answers by the challenge itself (which is the optimal case). I think people would have voted the same regardless of the explicit voting guidelines. The problem arises when people like some submissions more that are of less quality (by what the OP was asking for). I agree that useless is perhaps not the right word. I should have said that the goal should be set that way, that people instinctively vote for the good submissions. I'm probably going to add that in my suggestion. \$\endgroup\$ – flawr May 9 '16 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah I see what you mean. Yes the ideal case would be a challenge worded such that people vote for solutions that match it without having to be told to. I wonder if the level of extra voting advice a challenge needs is a good (inverse) measure of how well it will work. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax May 9 '16 at 19:52
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Notes:

  • If you find any grammar mistakes or formulations that are clumsy, feel free to directly edit. For other suggestions please use the comments.

  • Should certains points be linked to the relevant discussions on meta?

  • I think this might be too long.

  • Feel free use this as a base for an own draft.

  • I did use parts of the current version of the tag description.

  • Would linking to good (and bad?) examples be beneficial?


A popularity-contest is a competition where the answer with the highest vote tally (upvotes minus downvotes) wins.

What is a popularity contest?

A popularity contest is a competition where the answer with the highest vote tally (upvotes minus downvotes) wins.

Qualities of good popularity contests

  • A challenge with clear specifications that still allow for creative problem solving.
  • A challenge where solutions that best solve the problem are also solutions that the voters are going to like.
  • Gives freedom to entrants to decide what to do in crucial parts and incentivizes them to use this freedom.
  • It is strongly suggested to submit the challenge to the Sandbox at least a few days before posting the challenge. That way the challenge can be reviewed and discussed in order to find any mistakes or inconsistencies, and it also serves for getting a first impression whether the challenge will be well recieved.

Things that MUST be included in a popularity contest

  • A popularity contest must always include an objective validity criterion, which is a set of rules that regulate what every answer must comply with. Answers that do not comply are invalid and will be removed.

  • A clear specification of the goal that must be achieved. Questions like "do (this) the most creative way" should be avoided. Creativity should be the tool, not the goal.

Qualities which should be avoided in popularity contests

  • Asking to solve a specific task in a very specific way, without room for creativity.

  • Asking to solve a vaguely defined task in any way that the entrant wants (this will probably make your question be closed as too broad).

  • Rules what people should consider when voting. In the past this has consistently never worked out. These sort of questions would be better off as a with specific winning criteria.

How popularity contests should be answered

  • Every answer must comply with the validity criterion given by the challenge. Answers that do not comply are invalid and will be removed.

  • Choose your language and solve the problem.

  • This is (usually) not code golf, so readability usually matters. Do not shrink your code to unreadable levels except if you think that this will either make it more popular or is a challenge requirement, but this is unlikely. If readers can understand your code, they are more likely to like it, and thus upvote it.

  • You can come back with more creative ideas and update your answer or create a new answer for distinct new ideas.

  • Think about nice, creative, interesting, innovative and smart ways to solve the problem. Sometimes (but not always) the simplest and most direct answer is boring and uninteresting, so work to make them pleasing to deserve upvotes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the "must be included" section should go before the "should/shouldn't be included" sections \$\endgroup\$ – Liam May 7 '16 at 1:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the feedback, I'm gonna do it as soon as I'm on my computer again. \$\endgroup\$ – flawr May 7 '16 at 16:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ A challenge where favourable answers are also answers that the readers are going to like - it might be worth making "favourable" explicit. For example, something like: "A challenge where solutions that best solve the problem are also solutions that the voters are going to like". \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax May 9 '16 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ A clear specification of the goal that should be ideally achieved. Questions like "do (this) the most creative way" should be avoided - I strongly agree with this. Creativity should be the tool, not the goal (the same as for any other type of challenge). \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax May 9 '16 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this, but am not a fan of A clear specification of the goal that should be ideally achieved Keyword ideally. That makes it sound like the validity criteria is a recommended feature, not a mandatory one. (relevant: meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/a/8066/31716) I feel like a stronger wording would be good. Maybe: A clear specification of the goal that must be achieved. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem May 11 '16 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax I included your suggestion, and also your sentence in the second comment, as it really emphasizes that. (I hope that's ok?) \$\endgroup\$ – flawr May 11 '16 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DrGreenEggsandHamDJ Thank you, I included this now! \$\endgroup\$ – flawr May 11 '16 at 18:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @flawr of course that's OK! I'm glad it helped :) \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax May 11 '16 at 20:34

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