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A popularity-contest is a competition where the answer with the highest vote tally (upvotes minus downvotes) wins. As these are frequently closed, read the tag info and post your challenge to the sandbox first.

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 received.

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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