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Based on discussion in my earlier meta question and in the best-of specific chat room, it is clear that the community agrees that having a single "Best Puzzle of 2016" thread doesn't hold much value as 1) it's hard to compare wildly different puzzles in any meaningful way, and 2) it would be nice to be able recognise a broader selection of content from across the year. However, it is also clear that there is some differing opinion on how to break things down into appropriate categories...


Nominating and Voting on Categories

So, I'm posting this (hopefully) final meta thread with the aim of arriving at a definitive list of categories for the PSE annual "best of" recognition threads (I'm avoiding the word "awards" deliberately, see below).

All you need to do is look through the answers provided, and:

  • Upvote the categories you would like to see included in the "Best of Puzzling, 2016" threads
  • Downvote categories you don't want to see included, for whatever reason
  • Add additional categories, if you feel they have value (I've already pre-populated a series of answers, which are the ones that received nominations/stars in the chat room, but that doesn't mean other new nominations aren't also valid/welcome)

If you have a particularly strong argument one way or another for any given category, it may be worth also adding a comment to the post to plead your case to others.


What Comes Next?

Once there's a clear list of community favoured categories, I'll create a meta-thread per category (exact cut-off criteria will be determined after we see how the voting falls, but I won't post anything without relatively strong community consensus). Each thread will then be run in a similar fashion to the current quarterly threads, except with the obvious difference that these threads will be restricted to their respective "category" and would be open to content across the entirety of 2016.

Also, as stated further up, I have moved away from using the term "award" as the general opinion of people seems to be that we shouldn't award a "tick" to any individual in these threads, and they should just remain as open/living posts with the natural vote-based sort order providing a rough approximation of "best" (again, similarly to the quarterlies).


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

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  • $\begingroup$ A little late to chime in but why not separate categories for solutions as well as puzzles? $\endgroup$ – humn Jan 13 '17 at 7:53
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    $\begingroup$ @humn - I (personally) think people would struggle to think of that many individual standout answers to warrant multiple answer categories, but possibly a single best answer category might work...? Feel free to post something and see how the voting goes. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jan 13 '17 at 8:07
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    $\begingroup$ @All - to be clear, none of the "tag oriented" categories listed below include a complete, definitive tag list, and should be considered indicative only, with other related tags included in the relevant category of best fit (e.g. rhyme would fit under "language based", and probability would fit under "mathematical"). I think the ones listed will safely cover all tags/puzzles (except maybe enigmatic, but they'll inevitably have another "main" tag). $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jan 13 '17 at 8:19
  • $\begingroup$ Important note: if you upvote too many of Alconja's answers here in quick succession, the serial-voting algorithm will reverse your votes. Do remember to space it out. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 13 '17 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor - huh, hadn't thought about that. Would it help if I make them community wikis? $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jan 13 '17 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja Probably not, no. I don't know exactly how the serial vote algorithm works, but I suspect it cares more about serial votes changing the score of a post than the rep of a user (even if the rep is usually the motive for people to do serial voting). $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 13 '17 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ Are we going to start a proposal post with these subjects now? $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jan 26 '17 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil - At this stage, I'm not sure there is enough community enthusiasm to warrant it (~2 weeks featured, and still very few view/votes)... And if there's this much apathy for the category suggestion thread, then there's likely going to be very few actual nominations for each category. So at this stage I'm more inclined to just leave it be and let the quarterlies (collectively) be the annual stand-ins. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jan 27 '17 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja ok, it just seems a shame after the chat room, and this post was all set up $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jan 27 '17 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil - it does, but it is what it is. Better for it to be shelved at this stage than to plough on and have a bunch of sad, ghost town nomination threads. Maybe it'll have more legs next year (the quarterly threads seem to getter a better response each time). Unless you have any other ideas... $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jan 27 '17 at 7:46

15 Answers 15

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Master Designer

For the puzzle which took the most effort to create.

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12
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Best Mathematical Puzzle

For puzzles which are primarily mathematical in nature, covering puzzles using tags like , , , , etc.

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9
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Most Interesting Puzzle

For puzzles that are unique or interesting. Perhaps they offer a puzzle like nothing you've seen before or spin a classic puzzle in a new way.

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  • $\begingroup$ Some example contestants would be found in the puzzles from the tag-fusion challenge. Personally, I'm fond of questions like this and this $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Jan 19 '17 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting is subjective IMO. Maybe, we could think of a better word which doesn't take away the heart of your proposal. $\endgroup$ – Sid Jan 20 '17 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid I agree, but I think most of the suggested awards are subjective. What makes one [insert any tag] puzzle "best"? I figured that is why users would suggest puzzles and others would vote on the options. $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Jan 20 '17 at 19:33
9
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Most Puzzle Per Pound

For puzzles with the shortest statements that nonetheless are complete and clear while requiring a lot of thought but do not require computer-assisted solving in order to be solved successfully and completely.

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8
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Best Cryptographic Puzzle

For puzzles that are primarily cryptographic, as indicated by tags such as , , etc.

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8
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Best Logic Puzzle

For puzzles that are broadly logic focussed. I.e. puzzles whose primary tag is things like , , , , but also other, related tags such as , , etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think we could add grid deduction to it as well. $\endgroup$ – Sid Jan 13 '17 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid - absolutely. None of my tag lists are definitive, and would include other closely related tags too (though I've added grid deduction explicitly now too). $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jan 13 '17 at 8:11
7
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Best Language Based Puzzle

For puzzles that are largely language based. I.e. those whose main tags are things like , , , , , etc.

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7
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Best Visual Puzzle

For puzzles that are primarily visual, as indicated by tags such as , , , etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ imgur-maze is a very interesting tag. When was it created? I think some of the questions were created earlier than the tag, but I'm asking about the tag itself. And I'm wondering, what about hosts other than imgur that still have some letter or number combination in their urls? $\endgroup$ – Buffer Over Read Jan 30 '17 at 0:14
7
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Best Community Wiki Solution

For community wiki solutions that represent extraordinary collaboration and writeup. These rarely get acknowledged otherwise but are especially valuable as examples of multifaceted approaches and, perhaps even more, in fostering cooperation above competition.

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6
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Community Builder

For users who have helped support the PSE community, such as (but not necessarily limited to) helping newcomers, frequenting chat/comments, active in review queues/meta, contributing to community "events" like fortnightly challenges, etc.

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5
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Master Solver

For users who are prolific solvers of puzzles, not only solving challenging puzzles, but also producing clean/clear answer write ups and assisting others via comments/chat, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Can we rename this the Gareth award? $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Feb 3 '17 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ @DanRussell That award, if it happens, would go down to the wire between Gareth and Rubio. They are always on a roll while solving puzzles. :-) $\endgroup$ – Sid Feb 5 '17 at 20:24
2
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Simplest puzzles

Puzzles with astonishingly simple answer, and question is not hard to go-through; yet may be hard to come into solution.

Questions with tag may include this category (but not necessarily, such as this-one just for an example)

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2
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Most intuitive puzzle

Puzzles that are not primarily dependent upon jugglery but dependent upon intuition or insight.

May require some theoretical knowledge of or or or or or ; or may not.

It may even be so straight-forward that any lateral thinking may not require. Still, the only thing required is insight. As example, Carroll's Monkey on a Rope problem.

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2
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Best Non-Enigmatic Puzzle

I'm not sure that's the right name, so please help! There are many many puzzles here that rely on some amount of guess-what-the-setter-was-thinking or have one moment of insight for many failed attempts (for example, the Word Property puzzles). Instead, I tend to like puzzles where the rules and goal are clear, and you have to do the figuring out part yourself (crosswords and sudoku are examples).

So this would be for the best puzzle with clear rules and path of attack, but that is still fun and requires moments of insight.

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-1
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MVP (Most Valued Puzzler)

For users, who are prolific creators of consistently high quality puzzles.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've downvoted this answer (nothing personal!) because I just don't want anyone to leave feeling rubbed the wrong way. I realize this concern might not be shared by others, and that's totally fair, but it worries me a little, personally. $\endgroup$ – Aza Jan 13 '17 at 6:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Emrakul - don't apologise, I'm not convinced by this one either given the recipients are likely to be nominated in other categories naturally anyway (unlike the other user oriented ones above). I added it for completeness and because other people indicated a preference for a "best user" type category. $\endgroup$ – Alconja Jan 13 '17 at 7:02
  • $\begingroup$ This seems like a potentially too broad category. $\endgroup$ – Buffer Over Read Jan 30 '17 at 0:11

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