The infallible method to become POTD and POTW

The infallible method to become POTD and POTW

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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: 21-40 of 83
Vid Pogachnik

Vid Pogachnik - Feb 8, 2009 10:19 am - Voted 10/10

This is a good one :)

Really enjoyed reading it.


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

Re: This is a good one :)

Thanks Vid! I hope this article will just remain something to enjoy, nothing more…

Vid Pogachnik

Vid Pogachnik - Feb 9, 2009 4:17 am - Voted 10/10

Re: This is a good one :)

But there's one additional, also important fact. You collect votes for POTD till a certain hour, when the system switches to the "next day" and nominates the POTD. If you upload a picture immediately after that, you will have 24 hours to collect votes from the whole globe. If you upload a picture 2 hours before, or immediately before, you will have only 2 hours, or even none. That's why Americans are having an advantage, being awakened at that point of time. But this is too serious, it can not be a part of your joke story. Your points are more worth mentioning :)



Bruno - Feb 9, 2009 4:57 am - Hasn't voted

Re: This is a good one :)

Hi Vid,
Actually I was thinking this point was implicit in my article, as I spoke about the importance of posting time (see also below my answer to Mockba and my suggestion)

Basically the server is using North American Eastern Time Zone (UTC-5), which means that people in Asia and Europe are more likely to post in the morning (if they wake up early enough) than people on the US Western Coast. For example, you should post at 6:00am from Slovenia (UTC+1) to get 24 hours time to reach the Holy Grail. California is UTC-8: this means that people there should either go to bed very late or wake up in the middle of the night… which I guess some are doing… :-)

Actually, my article contains a real statistics about posting time, and the median for the last 50POTD was really at 1:39am!!! (means 4:39am in California, 1:39am in New York, 7:39am in Slovenia, and later morning/early afteroon in Asia). So you still have a chance, if you wake up early enough!

edit: Slovenia/Slovakia


Bruno - Feb 9, 2009 5:43 am - Hasn't voted

Re: This is a good one :)

Ooops sorry for the lapsus... and thanks for pointing it out!
It's like confusing Switzerland and Swaziland... I'll edit my previous comment.

Vid Pogachnik

Vid Pogachnik - Feb 9, 2009 12:36 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: This is a good one :)

Hi Bruno,
Only a couple of hours ago I thought how stupid I was! Of course, we in Europe are in the best position. Wanted to post it immediately here and then saw your explanation.
All the best to you!


silversummit - Feb 8, 2009 11:12 am - Voted 10/10

What a hoot to read!

Loved the statistics mixed in with the funny stuff and gems of truth.


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 11:45 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: What a hoot to read!

I guess there is some truth about almost each of us amongst regular SPers… But nothing so bad, as long as we all love the mountains!

Dmitry Pruss

Dmitry Pruss - Feb 8, 2009 11:55 am - Voted 10/10

Stats rulz

If would dismiss the paper as a combination of non-scientific anecdotal evidence and obvious truths, but stats make it tick. Are they the real stats though? You say that everything is fiction, does it mean that the numbers are made up too? Please clarify :)

Dmitry Pruss

Dmitry Pruss - Feb 8, 2009 12:09 pm - Voted 10/10


BTW I think you got some important part about clans and cliques backwards. You see a mortal struggle to cheat members of POTD where I see just a normal human nature of appreciating nice words of encouragement. Of course when others leave good comments and votes for my stuff, it makes me interested in their SP life, and it's no wonder that I follow their submissions with greater interest. It is also natural that I would comment more often about their stuff, because, gee, I care. Not about their votes, Bruno. But about them.

I don't look nearly as much at your stuff, Bruno, because don't know much about Tibet - and also don't know much about you. The latter point comes from the lack of communication though comments and questions etc. Kind of like, most of the time you don't notice my stuff, I don't notice yours, we remain polite strangers. No POTD conspiracy here.

The only "best picture" stuff which I find slightly unfair, beyond the human nature kind of general lack of 100% fairness, is the 1am rule. I think this site can use sliding 24-hour window to redefine what's the best. But in the end, it isn't terribly important.


lcarreau - Feb 8, 2009 5:24 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: PS

Since becoming a member one-1/2 years ago, I think I was up
after midnight and logged onto SP two times.

In those two times, I was shocked and utterly amazed at the number of folks who were up that late; possibly posting photos.

Let's admit it, some of these folks have a pure OBSESSION for votes! And be it right or wrong, it's definately the truth.


Bruno - Feb 8, 2009 11:49 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Stats rulz

Dear Mockba,

Thewhole article should be taken as a satire, as suggested above by another comment. As in every satire, some features are clearly exaggerated: for example I am describing Dan Dalton (who I don’t know at all) as a cowboy shooting at everything, while he only started one thread on this topic quite a long time ago…

The article is not only attacking a single group of member, but I guess is addressing most of us in the way we are sometimes behaving. I am mocking as much at Reinhold Messner for his usual pompous statements, as at myself for sometimes just looking at my own profile page…

I agree with you that we often “care” more for other members who we might know either personally or just through a few comments posted by this member. I do behave the same, and I am very often voting some stuff just because I clicked on the profile page of someone who dropped me a comment. This is very human. I also probably voted 90% of Corax pages, just because his pages are in the geographic area I’m interested in. Again, nothing bad with this.

I personally think that page scores are not relevant, as the research tool is very efficient. If I am looking for mountains in a given country or area, I’ll find it regardless of the score and votes. I guess voting is more about adding a bit of “spice” in SP, and getting more hits for the site owner. I also don’t see a big problem with this.


Bruno - Feb 9, 2009 12:02 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Stats rulz

Now I come to the serious points you raised in you comment, and will give the requested clarifications (though I put a “disclaimer” that This article is pure fiction. Any resemblance to events or individuals having existed is purely coincidental):

1) Regarding clans, cliques and conspiration:
I only use the acronym C.L.A.N. for Common Love for Amazing Nature, but not the word clan as such, though I strongly suggest some behaviour amongst certain members that goes far beyond usual “friendship”…

Like you, I don’t believe in a “conspiracy” theory where certain persons would make “formal and organised voting groups”. I do believe that these kinds of alliances came up spontaneously, but in the end, the voting pattern is just like if there was an organised voting group, with a few core members extremely loyal to the group, and some other more loosely attached. As a result, at around 5-6am, most of their pictures are already rated between 87 and 88, and appear in the first page of the “Best new stuff”, and gain automatically more exposure. Furthermore, other “good” pictures (I take as a criteria for “good” the number of votes at the end of the day) which may be a serious competitor for POTD are systematically ignored by these otherwise very active voters (or voted only on a later stage). Though I have no connection with these other members who get their pictures ignored, I find this behaviour a bit childish and unfair.

2) About statistics
I actually made the statistics before staring to write the article, and I really invested a lot of time to have statistics as accurate as possible. All numbers given in the article are rigorously exact (at least I hope), except for two tables where it was not possible to get exact numbers:
a) numbers of attempts for Everest, K2 and Nanga Parbat. To my knowledge, no data exist to compare number of summiteers with the number of attempts. How do we define attempts? We can draw statistics for expeditions (percentage of expedition with at least one member on the top), but not for persons. For example, it would be absurd to say that the 1953 Everest expedition has a success rate of 20% because only 2 out of 10 members reached the top… So I just made up numbers, which I guess was quite evident (I inserted the altitude of Everest and years of first ascent for K2 and Nanga Parbat)
b) Voting pattern for the Top 5. As I explained below the table, this concept of Top 5 should not be interpreted strictly as a closed group of five members. I noticed in my analysis that number 4 was much less active over the past few months, while number 5 only entered in the game a few months ago. So I couldn’t analyse all 525 POTD for the same five members, as one is a new member. So what I did was to check around 20 recent POTD between December and January. The numbers may not be fully accurate in this table, but the pattern was extremely clear.

3) About posting time .
I also think the current system is not fair. Take my example: I am living in Asia, and am posting mostly on weekends (when I’m too lazy to go to the mountains) or occasionally during the lunch break. This means that my submissions are almost systematically posted in early morning hours considering the server is somewhere in the USA, so I indirectly receive more exposure. Interestingly, the regular POTD winners are from three different continents, but posting time is almost the same for all. I guess it would not be so difficult to change the programming code and consider the votes received during the first 24 hours for each picture (e.g. pictures posted on 8 February would be featured as POTD on 10 February), but maybe more simple is to cancel the POTD as some members suggest…

OK, so far for the serious answer. But again, this article was written for fun!!!

Edit: formatting

Dmitry Pruss

Dmitry Pruss - Feb 9, 2009 12:29 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Stats rulz

Thanks Bruno, I appreciated the provocative /sociological aspect of the article, and I sure appreciate it even more when I see what's behind the stats. Fun read too, sorry for my dour tone, it was just a surpise from reading a pretty good description of many of my own behavioral quirks on SP ... but all linked to a very alien idea of rigging the POTD contest. Thus a great surprise. Such a great observation power on your part, but the power to see the patterns of behavior contrasts with the apparent lack of power to see the cause-and-effect relations.

I have one POTD BTW, overrated because of its exposure on the front page, but a good picture nonetheless. I was curious to see what propelled it & I don't see much special. It was posted after 4 pm, never had a flurry of comments, but somehow got a dozen votes in its first hour, some from people I follow closely on SP but mostly from members who I really don't know at all. I guess then, all the statistical patterns have exeptions too? :)


ClimberMan420 - Feb 8, 2009 10:12 pm - Hasn't voted


Its funny how some photos really arent very good and they get great votes and then some are excellent and go on neglected. It seems that there is a complex criteria to appease summitposters. What can you do?


Bruno - Feb 9, 2009 12:16 am - Hasn't voted

Re: summitposting

What can we do? Laughing! This is not real life! As long as the mountain pages provide good information, the main purpose of SP is safeguarded. The only danger is that some members may lose motivation to post quality articles because of this problem.


PellucidWombat - Mar 1, 2009 12:22 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: summitposting

"As long as the mountain pages provide good information, the main purpose of SP is safeguarded."

Here here! IMHO I think that voting should be more to inform someone of the relative quality of their submissions to help maintain quality submissions (a hint to drop a photo on a crowded page, or put more work into a mountain page!)

I admit to being annoyed by the lack of sense in photo ratings, but only because the photos of mine that get the most attention are not the ones that I am most eager to share! Some are just plain boring. Perhaps the best spirit if you really care about such things is to make an album of your own Top 10.


klwagar - Feb 9, 2009 2:42 am - Voted 10/10


there's always truth in kidding. :)
Great commentary although now I feel guilty replying to this. But wait I also posted a 10, yikes also a flower - no butterflies or kitties tho. Can't help it - I love the mutual appreciation club of photos whatever they may be. I'm doomed!!


Bruno - Feb 9, 2009 3:17 am - Hasn't voted

Re: oops

Oops sorry, though I searched in dictionary (even slang dictionary), I'am not sure that I got the full meaning (my English is still shaky).
BTW, I also like butterflies a lot, and do believe that they have their place here in SP. I've actually a lot of yaks, flowers and "Children of the Mountains" photos thas I would like to post one day... But after such an article, I shall maybe better wait a bit...


klwagar - Feb 9, 2009 3:37 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: oops

Hi Bruno
Oops is something you say when you slip.
I loved the commentary. You were right on.

Viewing: 21-40 of 83