The infallible method to become POTD and POTW

The infallible method to become POTD and POTW

Page Type Page Type: Article


I dedicate the present article to the stunning POTD/POTW of Mont-Blanc, Trango Towers, arches, mushrooms, foxes, butterflies and garden flowers that every day inspired me to climb the office stairs instead of taking the lift.

Footnote (on the top)

This article is pure fiction. Any resemblance to events or individuals having existed is purely coincidental.

I hope that this article will not hurt anybody’s feeling. I think that we should just be able to laugh about ourselves once in a while. And, most important, please keep voting on my pictures, as I would also have a chance to savour the incomparable taste of being POTW once in my life… Here my latest submission:

Introduction: the quest for the Holy Grail

Each SP member has been dreaming about reaching the immortality by accessing to the exclusive club of the POTD award winners

Regularly, heated forum threads have sprung up like mushrooms after the rain. Just to mention three amongst the main challengers, Ganesh, the Hindu God of wisdom, almost lost his temper in several occasions; Dalton (Joe), the famous irascible brother in the Lucky Luck comics, shot his last bullets instead of shooting pictures, and Dow (Jones), the famous Big Wall (Street) climber, made a nasty fall while free-soloing the dangerous “Contestation route”.

But these complaints usually vanish a few days later after the wise intervention of Archangel Gabriele. For the people attacked, one simple strategy: let pass the storm, and return soon to the sacred mission of accumulating POTD for the posterity…

However, these photographic disputes have left deep wounds in the heart of many SPers, with accusations of voting clans, vote begging and system manipulation still floating in the thin atmosphere of the high altitude. Some disappointed members left, other tried to adapt and swapped their ice axes for a mushroom basket (if you can’t beat them, join them…), while other have literally drown their sorrow.

All these allegations are clearly wrong. A detailed analysis of the last 525 POTD clearly show that there are no such things like manipulation or voting clans. Still, some kind of... climbing aid is required: the harder the route to POTD (means the lower the quality of your picture), the more aid climbing you will need. Every photo has the potential to become the next POTD, it is just a question of confidence and strategy!

STRATEGY! Do you really think that John Hunt, leader of the first successful Everest expedition, just asked Tenzing and Hillary in a Kathmandu café to climb that snowy hill and bring back a summit picture so that he could also become POTD? No, an elaborated strategy is the key to every mountaineering success!

Take the last example of SP Picture of the Decade: though almost unanimously praised by the SP community as the best photographic work ever posted in SP (or even in the whole web), it miserably failed in the POTD race due to a clear lack of strategy.

SP Picture of the Decade:
a masterwork which miserably failed to become POTD due to a lack of strategy

The present article will unveil the ultimate strategy to guaranty 100% success in accessing the crown of mountaineering achievement, compared to which the 14 8000ers represents a beginners’ challenge, I mean: the quest for the POTD award!

A statistical analysis

After years of intensive research, the (in)famous website is publishing in exclusivity in this article the results of their statistical analysis.

First, compiled a comparative list of attempts and summiteers for Everest, K2, Nanga Parbat and SP POTD. For POTD, all 11’841 members who logged in between 23 August 2007 and 7 February 2009 have been considered as attempts, as it is well known that the sole purpose of SP is the POTD contest. Multiple attempts and summiteers have been counted only once.

Mountain Summiteers Attempts Success rate
Nanga Parbat
1% also evaluated the fatality rate, including drop out and suicide amongst SPer who failed. Some uncertainty remains regarding the overall members' drop out (some estimation goes up to several thousands…), but it is sure that the fatality rate for POTD is well above 100%, making it the most dangerous endeavour in contemporary mountaineering!

Between 23 August 2007 and 5 February 2009, a total of 137’815 photo have been posted over a period of 533 days (258.6 pictures per day), which means that 533 POTD have been awarded. The crude probability to become POTD is therefore 0.39%.

A detailed analysis was made on the 525 POTD (out of 533) which could be traced using the most sophisticated computer software. In total, 120 SPers have reached POTD at least once: as mentioned above, this is only 1% of the members who have logged in during the period.

The statistics showed that one single member reached the POTD summit no less than 133 times (25% of all summits), including dozens of winter ascents. The brave second reached a respectable total of 62 POTD, largely ahead of the third with only 22 summits. Speed climber Number 5 reached his current ranking in just 3 months (16 POTD between 29 November 2008 and 3rd February 2009), an incredible achievement!

The Top 5 members remarkably achieved 48% of all POTD!!!

Here below the detailed statistics:

No of POTD No of members Total POTD % of all POTD Total POTD
% of all POTD
>100 POTD
50-99 POTD
16-49 POTD
10-15 POTD
5-9 POTD
2-4 POTD
Total 120 525 100% 525 100%

Then, the research team decided to analyse the voting behaviour of the members, and discovered some remarkable patterns, as shown in the table below:

Number of POTD Voted by the “Top 5”
on submission day
Voted by the “Top 5”
after nomination as POTD
POTD by the Top 5
254 (48%)
85.9% (4 votes)
94.3% (4 votes)
POTD by the Rest of the World
266 (52%)
11.3% (5 votes)
27.6% (5 votes)

Note: The “Top 5” is a simplified concept for statistical purposed. Some additional partnerships have been observed in the analysis.

The team contacted mountain psychologist Prof. Reinhold Messner and confronted him with a clear question: why do the Top 5 vote systematically for the pictures submitted by their peers? Is this due to an aristocratic reflex amongst top mountaineers?

The answer given by Prof. Messner was extremely clear: Top mountaineers are genetically doted with super-human faculties, and are more able to evaluate the extraordinary achievements of their peers”. According to Prof. Messner, the Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons members should acknowledge the superior artistic taste of the Alphas, and SP programming code should be modified in order to give voting rights only to the Alphas. The current system with as many as 1588 members having voting weight over 40% will inexorably lead SP to the decadence.

However, Prof. Messner outlined that with sufficient mental training and an appropriate strategy, every SP member may reach POTD.
Mushroom climbing
With an appropriate strategy, every picture may become POTD
(Photo from the album: Mushrooms of the Californian Streets)

How to become POTD – Step by step guideline

By following strictly the instructions below, it is guaranteed that you will harvest at least of dozen POTD within the next two years.

  1. Join a C.L.A.N. (Common Love for Amazing Nature). Unfortunately, the acronym C.L.A.N. may lead some evil spirit to the conclusion that this is a voting clan, but we saw above that this is not true.

  2. As a member of the C.L.A.N., you need to vote systematically for every photo posted by another member of the C.L.A.N., whatever the quality of the submission. Glacier pool, butterfly, or a blurred picture of El Capitan, doesn’t matter.

  3. If you haven’t yet a camera, you need to buy a digital one with a lot of memory cards. Don’t forget the batteries.

  4. Drive to a hill or mountain area. Getting out of the car is not absolutely necessary, but it is recommended to lower the window (even in winter) in order to get glint-free pictures. Other recommended options are Karakoram treks, “Les Aiguilles du Midi” cable car , Yosemite, Utah and Central European Forests.

  5. You don’t need great photographic skills (some members of the C.L.A.N. are excellent photographers, but it in not a condition to join the club). However, remember that the photos must be outdoor-related: mountains, tree, canyon, hills, butterfly, arch, goat, lake, flowers, mushrooms and of course kittens are all welcome. There is debate whether climbers (and 4WD cars) belong or not to SP, and the current trend is that such pictures should rather be avoided, unless the climber is naked.

  6. Shoot as many pictures as you have space in your memory cards. A few hundred pictures for a day trip is a minimum, and will ensure you several months of posting.

  7. Post 2-3 pictures per day between midnight and 2am. A detailed statistical survey of the last 50 POTD (18 December – 6 February) has shown that 98% were posted in the morning hours, with a median posting time at 1:39am. The only POTD posted in the afternoon was the most recent one (6 February 2:39pm), a probable consequence of the recent discussion threads…

  8. Don’t forget to insert a description such as wonderful sunset or amazing landscape. You don’t need to bother inserting the Lat/Long coordinates, this is just a loss of time, as only climbers need some beta, and this site is not primarily for climber, or is it?

  9. As mentioned above, vote with a lot of discipline for every photo posted by another member of the C.L.A.N.

  10. Overload the server with nice comments on your peers’ submission (great composition, thank for sharing, amazing shot or magic mushroom); this will give an additional exposure to the picture in the “What’s new” section. Don't forget to reply to all comments posted on your pictures with great modesty.

  11. Don’t vote on non-C.L.A.N. members pictures in the morning hours, especially if the picture is nice, in order to avoid unnecessary competition with C.L.A.N. members submissions. Wait until the late evening (or the day after), as you can vote once they don’t represent any danger anymore. Notable exception, you should vote systematically on new members’ submissions. Don’t forget to post a nice welcome comment, so that the new member will always remember you.

  12. Just observe how your pictures' score grows steadily. Don’t feel discouraged if POTD is won by another C.L.A.N. member: just repeat steps 7 to 11, until you also become POTD. Congratulations!

Example of a picture with great POTD potential
Butter-flies are much appreciated within the SP community.
A well-known trick used by professional photographers
to have a sharper caption is to put the butter-fly a few minutes in the freezer,
and then delicately put it back on a flower. POTD guaranteed!

Additional recommendations

  • Never, never vote any page lower than 10/10. This is the biggest offence on SP, and the victim of a low vote, if not the whole community, will remember your crime.

  • Occasionally, some irascible self-proclaimed “climbers” will express their anger by shooting at every flying butterflies or crashing your nice mushroom with their dirty hiking boots. Some may even criticize your 10th POTD of the same mountain on the same day from the same location, under the pretext that you never climbed it... Just ignore them, they are jealous.

  • Regarding the comments: post a lot of comments, tons of comments, even on non-C.L.A.N. members. This has a triple purpose:
    a) it will drag attention on your name in the ‘What’s new” section
    b) the receiver will feel flattered and will instinctively click your profile, and hopefully on your new pictures.
    c) Posting comments will give you some extra power points. The more voting weight, the more appreciated you will be in your C.L.A.N., the more POTD you will get.

  • If you venture to PnP forum, be careful to be nice with everybody and do not post any controversial comment. Do not take position about the ultra-sensitive issues such as global warming, religion, intelligent design versus evolution, liberals versus conservatives. You may post in the moderate PnP threads, this is harmless.

  • Don’t look at range, mountain or route pages, this is not the purpose of Folks who spend time in this section are anyway antisocial elements jealous of your success in POTD.

  • If one of your photos becomes POTD, wait a couple of weeks before submitting again the same picture. There is no limit in the number of repetitions, as long as you change slightly the angle, zoom, or crop the picture.

  • For the ones who do not succeed in getting POTD despite following the above instructions, join Submit again the same picture of your kitten: even it is posted at 11:30pm and receives no vote, you will probably still make the POTD trophy as the sole contributor.

Future evolution of SummitPost

If too many people put in practice these guidelines, there is an important risk that the server will be overloaded between midnight and 1am. Could the site owner (if I understood well, his name is Josh Lewis) consider the purchase of a last generation supercomputer?

Alternatively, the programming codes could be modified in order to create a personal Front Page for each member (recognised by your usual IP address), featuring automatically the member’s own pictures, mountains, routes, articles and trip reports.

Short summary

A. Join a C.L.A.N.
B. Post 2-3 pictures per day between midnight and 2am
C. Vote 10/10 on everything posted by other C.L.A.N. members
D. Be patient and you will be soon rewarded with your fist POTD

And another...


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-20 of 83

MoapaPk - Feb 7, 2009 8:47 pm - Voted 10/10

would have voted higher...

but I object to your usage for "literally". I'm also disappointed that you made no mention of the REI discount.


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 3:57 am - Hasn't voted

Re: would have voted higher...

When I made some research for this article in previous forum threads, I noticed that this term REI was often associated with POTD threads and vote begging accusations. But I still couldn’t find out the true meaning of REI… Something like “please Rate this Extraordinary Image”?

Thanks if you can enlighten me on this point!

Dmitry Pruss

Dmitry Pruss - Feb 9, 2009 12:32 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: REI, a popular chain of outdoor gear stores in the US. They sent "members" emails with discount offers quite often, and it's become a popular joke on SP that our members get SP "doscount points" for their contributions... supposedly that's why they try so hard to get votes LOL

az - Jul 19, 2010 6:47 am - Hasn't voted

Re: would have voted higher...

wow! pretty good post. keep it coming.

johnm - Feb 7, 2009 8:49 pm - Hasn't voted

I can't vote on your page in good conscience

You have failed to include a section on the benefits of Avatar voting


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 3:58 am - Hasn't voted

Re: I can't vote on your page in good conscience

You’re fully right!

But the elves deleted so many of them that I couldn’t make any statistical analysis anymore…
On the other side, I am too new in SP to understand the full story of that phenomenon. Maybe a more experienced member should once write a kind of Encyclopaedia on that topic…


lcarreau - Feb 7, 2009 9:54 pm - Voted 10/10

Pure genius ...

Guilty as charged! But, I know how to laugh at myself.

I can't help but wonder about all those "antisocial" CLAN members.
They're the real "control-freaks" in all of this , right???
I've heard the Lewis kid referred to as a so-called "cult hero."
I'm beginning to see the LIGHT. Thanks for creating this page.

Larry of AZ - (Hey, there's a butterfly!) ... : ))))


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 4:03 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Pure genius ...

Thanks Larry!

Ah Ah, I also had to laugh at myself while creating this article, as I have also been looking sometimes at my pages to see how the score was evolving…

And after posting this article, the first reactions came very quickly: -0.10 to -0.3 points on several pictures posted as long as in 2007. Guess who withdrew their votes!


lcarreau - Feb 8, 2009 9:36 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Pure genius ...

Geez, let me guess! It wasn't a person who forced me to withdraw a butterfly from one of my albums that I (since) deleted in fear of HARBORING butterflies, was it ???

I know this is all done in jest, but when you perceive something
like a CLAN actually EXISTS, then you have to EXPOSE their
perceived voting behavior, and laugh at it in the process.

Example: Pink Floyd's album "Dark Side of The Moon."
Millions of people got "suckered in" to buying that album, and
on the final cut a voice remarks:

"There is no dark side of the moon really; matter of fact it's
ALL dark."

Kind of like cyberspace voting, right ??? (Take care, man!)

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Feb 7, 2009 10:55 pm - Voted 10/10

Funniest ever...

I laughed so many times that I can't think of what to point out as my favorite. You get a cold beer on me if you ever drop by may way!


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 4:06 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Funniest ever...

That will be quite a long way for the beer (see my profile), but I take the offer! Thanks!

I had actually so much laugh with the Photo Of The Decade epic that I couldn't stop myself to add more on the topic...

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Feb 8, 2009 8:38 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Funniest ever...

Well, since we're too far away to enjoy a beer together, I'll do the next best thing-- I'll start a voting clan and invite you to join!


ganesh70 - Feb 8, 2009 3:42 am - Voted 10/10

Beautiful article!

But of course it's fiction, POD and POW are always the best pictures and this clan members are actually the best photographers of the national geographic undercovered, that joined SP only to teach us how to take good pictures in the mountains ( or in the garden ).


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 4:08 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Beautiful article!

The footnote says it all:
This article is pure fiction. Any resemblance to events or individuals having existed is purely coincidental.

Mark Doiron

Mark Doiron - Feb 8, 2009 4:47 am - Voted 10/10


You're right, Bruno: Sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves. --mark d.


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 11:42 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Brilliant!

Thank Mark, I’m glad you enjoyed it!


Boydie - Feb 8, 2009 10:00 am - Voted 10/10

Shit, that's funny

In fact your article is that good, I'm now going to reward you by going to your user page and voting all 168 photos 10/10.


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 11:43 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Shit, that's funny

Thanks Boydie, I guess my obscure mountain pages will never get so much attention… I was a bit shocked to see this article appear on the front page just a couple hours after posting it… :-)


MarkDidier - Feb 8, 2009 10:15 am - Voted 10/10


I love satire...was this satire?

Can't believe how much work you put into this. Nice job.



Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 11:44 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Hilarious!

Satire, or whatever we can call it. Yes, it took me quite a bit of time to prepare it, but that was just fun! I could also recognize myself in some behaviour and quotes…

Viewing: 1-20 of 83