I like the quarterly "best of" threads, it's a great way to surface and celebrate awesome content... However, I'm not convinced the equivalent "puzzle of year" threads (2014, 2015) have been as successful. As ghosts_in_the_code's top rated "answer" suggests, a single "best" puzzle is not particularly meaningful given the breadth of content we see in a year.

So, before we get to the end of the year, I thought it might be worth discussing options of how to handle the PSE "puzzle of the year" awards...


  1. Don't bother with annual awards, they're redundant given the quarterlies
  2. Leave it be, and just do the same single "puzzle of the year" post again
  3. Have multiple awards split into broad, tag oriented, categories (where you'd have a single post for each category, such that you could have many nominations under each), for example:
  4. Use multiple, less tag-oriented awards for both puzzles and users that help to differentiate from the quarterly awards (again, a post per award, each with many nominations), such as:
    • Short and Sweet (for puzzles presented with very little text/imagery)
    • Rabbit Hole (for the best multi-layer, deep/complex puzzle)
    • Stop the Presses (for puzzles that you could imagine finding in a newspaper/magazine - i.e. simple, highly polished and solvable/engaging for a wide audience)
    • Puzzles as Art (for beautiful/artistic/well written puzzles)
    • Most Surprising (for puzzles that looked mediocre, but turned out great)
    • Best Fortnightly Submission (best of puzzles in the fortnightly challenges)
    • MVP(uzzler) (for prolific creators of puzzles)
    • Master Solver (for prolific solvers of puzzles)
    • Best Newcomer (for users who only joined this year)
    • Community Builder (for users who have helped drive community oriented stuff)
    • ...could also include deterministic awards such as Most Prolific User (user with most Qs and/or As), Most Consistent User (user with best average Q or A post score), Highest Scored/Most Viewed Puzzle, Highest Vote/View Ratio, etc
    • ...could also include some "novelty" awards like (funniest puzzle, chattiest user, raspberry award, etc)
  5. A single free for all annual awards thread, where people can nominate whatever (or whoever) they feel like for whatever made up awards they care to create

So, my (initial) question is, which of the above options do people prefer?

To be clear, my specific examples under 3 & 4 are just that; examples. For now, just vote on the general structure, and if either 3 or 4 are the preferred route, then we can create a chat room to discuss the specifics in more detail and/or create a meta post to nominate/vote on categories.

Note: I deliberately didn't tag this since this is meta-best-of and I don't want to pollute the tag search.

  • $\begingroup$ I think we should have both puzzle of he year (for different tags) but also PUZZLER of the year. An award to the person who has posted the highest voted puzzles consistently throughout the year. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 8:03

3 Answers 3


I think we could (not should) still award the "Puzzle of the year" award, but I agree that we need to incorporate other awards. Options 3 and 4 are viable to me and we can see that ghosts_in_the_code's answer reflects this.

As someone who already ran some kind of awards ceremony (not a big deal though, just a contest at school), I can tell you that people really enjoy this kind of event, especially if there are multiple awards. And even if we're on a website, we can still do something enjoyable for every user here.

I think we can remove option 1: in my opinion, the puzzle of the year is different from a quarterly puzzle, even if it can be one of the quarterlies. Also, we need to change the way we reward the puzzle of the year, hence: option 2.

Option 5 feels a bit too broad for me: we will end with too many suggestions each time. I think that what we need to do is...

Endorse option 3 and option 4

Unlike option 5, we need to define what awards are to be given at the end of the year.

How do we choose the categories?

A meta post by option, with all the suggestions of awards to be given, each user voting for the suggestions they like. You already gave good ideas for categories, so I won't add any here. Of course, we can also open a room specifically for this.

We start with option 3...
A first meta post which will allow us to vote on tag-oriented awards. You suggest to assemble tags like , , , etc or , , . Very good idea! "Puzzle of the year" is too broad; we need to refine this one in categories, and after having given all the awards, this award can be given: it will only be "la cerise sur le gâteau" (pardon my French). Plus, we can gather many tags in one category, and we certainly can agree that some tags come back more than others, so the number of categories will be a bit limited.

So, first: tag-oriented categories.

... then we continue with option 4
A second meta post which will allow us to vote on users/puzzles-oriented awards. There will definitely have more answers than on the first post, but at least everybody can let his imagination speak. You already gave good ones, so I won't add any.

Then: users/puzzles-oriented categories.

At the end of the week, we will take 4-8 suggestions for tag-oriented categories, and 8-16 for users/puzzles-oriented categories (because these categories will definitely generate more answers, and, well, they are more enjoyable for everyone). The categories are now defined once and for all (or are they?1).

And the winner is...

Disclaimer: this is just a quick idea for the awards "ceremony".

Now that we have all our categories, people need to choose! And you said it: a post per award, each with many nominations.
Though there will 12-24 new posts on Meta, I hope it won't a problem (I don't know if it's a problem to have so many posts at once , to be frank).

We'll post the awards for each category, and people will vote, it's that simple! Maybe we'll need to give voters more time, let's say 2 weeks. At the end, we just need to pick the most voted answers on each post.

I also told you I think that we can keep the "Puzzle of the year" award: it could either be the most nominated (or awarded) puzzle, or we could add another post to vote for it (as is done currently).

Eventually, the last post will be the award giving. A nice and well-written post redacted by our moderators talking about the year that has passed, and then giving the awards for each category.

1: Maybe we can vote each year for each category, but I think it would be best to vote just one time. This way, we just have to vote for the nominations.

Well, here's my point of view on the Puzzling awards. I really think we can do something enjoyable together, with funny categories for the option 4.

Feedback is welcome!

  • $\begingroup$ You mean, something like a mod election except this time we are voting for puzzles and not the puzzlers? $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 15:43

I think it would be best if we ditched the annual award. It is incredibly difficult to say that a puzzle is better than another if they are completely different types.

Based on this I say we should go with Option 3 or 4.

Option 3 would probably be the best, as we can award different types of puzzle dependent on the type so we don't have to judge two very different types.

Aside from puzzle of the year, why not also have puzzler of the year? The one who has consistently posted the best and highest voted puzzles throughout the year.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Puzzler of the year is a good idea indeed! $\endgroup$
    – IAmInPLS
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 11:29

As others have said, I think both options 3 and 4 sound good (they could be combined).

A few other notes, though:

  • This is a lot of work for someone to write up all the meta posts for each award. Alconja didn't really say whether they would be willing to do that work, but someone would have to volunteer.
  • I wonder if it would make sense to have the posts up at the beginning (middle?) of the year? The point being that there might be an excellent puzzle posted in January, but come December, how many people will remember it, and nominate it?
    Conversely, if we nominate puzzles as they are posted, they will naturally garner upvotes as the year progresses, so a puzzle from January would probably be much more likely to win than a puzzle from December. (Maybe not?)
    • I wonder if there's a way to allow posting, but lock voting, so that the posts could accrue over the course of the year, but voting would only begin come December (or whenever we decide)... Probably not.
  • It would make sense to have a "master" meta post that simply links to all the others. This "master" post could be given the tag, to make it more visible to the community.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ RE: •• and ••.•; you could ask the local friendly CM to pretty please implement something akin to moderator elections. The code's already mostly there; I'm sure that it wouldn't take much tweaking to make it work for this use. (famous last words...) $\endgroup$
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 21:40

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