In celebration of reaching the 50,000 point milestone on Mathematica.StackExchange thanks to your generous voting: I would like to announce an initiative to give something back to the community.

I have observed that time and again certain excellent answers or fascinating questions do not receive the attention or reward (points) that I believe they deserve. Therefore:

  • Please find valuable questions and answers that you feel have been under-recognized
  • Submit an answer for each post with a link and the reasons that it is outstanding
  • Vote up or down on the posts submitted by others

I shall return every* point I gain in the next ten days as Bounties on these posts.

I shall have final prerogative over which posts to Bounty and by what amount but all the points shall be awarded.

If I am on my game I anticipate at least a thousand points to contribute, but as there are many worthy Q&A's I encourage other users to consider applying bounties as well if they wish.

Should anyone choose to join me in placing bounties please spread these out over a length of time so that the site will not be flooded by bounties and the effect of them be diluted. (It is my primary intention for these Bounties to draw attention to these posts. Of course the "points" would not be diluted but if all the bounties appear in the same week and disappear just as quickly it will not serve this purpose.) Perhaps as a guide-line if there are already five active bounties do not place another until some have been awarded.

*except for any bounties I should personally receive in that period

Phase Two

Ten days have elapsed and I have 1450 points to distribute as Bounties.

You may continue to submit posts for consideration as you find them.

  • A little note: You (or any user) can only place 3 bounties at a time. – rm -rf Feb 28 '13 at 15:35
  • @rm-rf Yes, but the system would allow more than three total active bounties, correct? I am suggesting that there should never be more than five or there will not be enough attention on each. – Mr.Wizard Feb 28 '13 at 20:47
  • Yes, there can be a total of how many ever for the site (i.e. from all users). – rm -rf Feb 28 '13 at 21:01
  • 3
    I humbly submit all my 417 answers for consideration. Let the bounties begin. NOW! :D :D – rm -rf Feb 28 '13 at 21:03
  • @rm-rf per the rules you have to submit 417 separate answers to this post -- better get busy! (Or not, you scalawag. ;-) – Mr.Wizard Feb 28 '13 at 21:05
  • 6
    @Mr.Wizard congratulations for yours 50k!! I have learn a lot with your answers. :) – Murta Feb 28 '13 at 21:14
  • @Murta Thanks. :D – Mr.Wizard Feb 28 '13 at 21:32
  • I, too, congratulate @Mr.Wizard on reaching the imposing height of 50k. What's the view like from up there? I also express my admiration for his new avatar. – m_goldberg Mar 1 '13 at 0:38
  • @m_goldberg Thanks. I know you review a lot of posts which should put you in good position to recommend some of them for bounties. Please select a few. – Mr.Wizard Mar 1 '13 at 6:51
  • 2
    I Don't believe I'm your man. I work mostly on posts by new comers with poor English. Not a reservoir of overlooked gems IMO. – m_goldberg Mar 1 '13 at 7:44
  • @m_goldberg Okay; I figured you looked at lots of posts, not just the shaky ones. :-) – Mr.Wizard Mar 1 '13 at 7:50
  • @Mr.Wizard There are still no satisfactory answers to my (so far only 2) questions. I am about to add an answer on Prime function but since I've been a bit busy recentely I'm not sure I'll do it in the next 10 days. – Artes Mar 1 '13 at 21:27
  • 1450 points in 10 days - looks like you've definitely been on your game :-) – Simon Woods Mar 10 '13 at 21:15

18 Answers 18


+50 Bounty awarded

Another way to find hidden gems is to go through answers of people with 500–3000 reputation. Then the redistribution will be more, um, redistributive. I've also found some things I missed and never upvoted the first time.

From this I would also propose Thies Heidecke's beautifully patient and helpful answer to this newbie question. It went beyond the question and described some deep programming style issues. It is a good exemplar for the kinds of answers we were trying to achieve in the new-users community wiki question.


+200 Bounty awarded

In my opinion, Todd Allen surely deserves a bounty for his diligent efforts to make David Wagner's Power Programming with Mathematica available to our community, especially considering that the question and its answers (all of which have Community Wiki status) have been strongly upvoted.

Also deserving is Matariki, for the same reasons--he being the one who performed the actual work of scanning the book after Todd had received permission from McGraw-Hill to distribute it via this site.


+100 Bounty awarded

Simon Woods' answer to How to Derive Tuples Without Replacement caused me to understand how one can still use Orderless in situations where setting that attribute in advance of definitions will cause failure. (Set it after those definitions; like many great ideas it is simple once you see it.)

This understanding was crucial in writing my answer to How to select minimal subsets?, one of my top rated answers on Mathematica.SE.

  • Thanks very much Mr. Wizard! Your generosity is much appreciated. – Simon Woods Mar 10 '13 at 21:14
  • @Simon are there any of your own answer that you put a lot of work into, and/or are proud of, that got only a handful of votes or less? (You might look back through your own answer history if you don't recall.) I know you've post a number of interesting answers, some of them well recognized (like the domain coloring plot), but I imagine there are some you thought were clever or spent a lot of time on that weren't. – Mr.Wizard Mar 10 '13 at 21:19
  • Wizard, I had a look but I think the voting has been pretty fair for me. When I've put a lot of effort in it's been well rewarded. All my low voted answers are either ones where my answer is clearly inferior, or on very narrow questions where the answer helps the OP but has no wider applicability. – Simon Woods Mar 11 '13 at 14:23

+100 Bounty awarded

This answer to my question Is there a shortcut to select all cells above the current cursor position? by Rolf Mertig continues to be incredibly useful when dealing with larger notebooks.

Not only does it get rid of a lot of horrible scrolling and mouse fiddling, it even provides a convenient way to install the presented shortcuts... all in all a prime target for some more attention and reward.


+50 Bounty awarded

Am I allowed to nominate two answers? If so, then I will also put forward this one from Guillochon on constructing cartograms. Clearly a lot of effort went into it, and I thought the result was very good. It surprised me that the answer received only half the number of votes that the question did.

  • You're "allowed" to nominate as many as you like, though please refrain from nominating all of your own answers. ;-) – Mr.Wizard Mar 5 '13 at 16:44
  • @Mr.Wizard, well I did feel that my xkcd answer went a bit unnoticed ;-) – Simon Woods Mar 5 '13 at 17:13
  • Don't tempt me to delete that whole question. :-> – Mr.Wizard Mar 5 '13 at 22:25
  • "Don't tempt me, Frodo!" -Gandalf, The @Mr.Wizard – Ghersic Jul 31 '13 at 3:24
  • @Ghersic lol :-) – Mr.Wizard Jul 31 '13 at 9:47

+100 Bounty awarded

This answer from librik covers advanced functionality and behavior of Read et al. that is often unknown or misunderstood, based on other questions and answers I've seen on the site. (I know I learned from it.) As such I think it deserves additional attention.


I would like to suggest this answer by Oleksandr. It provides a very nice solution to a common problem, all neatly packaged and ready to use. The answer also includes several useful examples showing how to use the package.

  • Thank you for the nomination, but personally I think this answer has received an appropriate number of votes (partly due to your mentioning it here, in fact) and doesn't need a bounty as well. My motivation for posting is really to help someone solve their problem rather than to gain points. (I like to see it when people favorite the question, though of course this doesn't confer any points.) I would rather the bounties are used to reward and encourage newer members who may need the points in order to contribute more effectively, although of course the final decision is Mr. Wizard's. – Oleksandr R. Mar 15 '13 at 13:14
  • @Oleksandr Please, I if you will: nominate a post (your own not) that you feel is worthy of more attention. – Mr.Wizard Mar 17 '13 at 7:16

+50 Bounty awarded

Rojo's question Get the current iteration count is fundamentally very simple yet profound.

The answer to this question, whether it be a solution or an explanation of the impossibility of a solution, would surely be informative regarding an important aspect of the internal function of Mathematica and what is or isn't user accessible.


I went through the questions I had favorited and found most of them were already highly voted. You might want to consider kguler's thorough and clear answer to this question about a particular use of Dynamic, where he not only answered the question but gave clear explanations about some more general features of the language.


My own answer to Notebook formatting - easier descriptions for equations and results? is, IMHO, both a useful utility and a simple yet powerful example of the possibilities of $PreRead and $PrePrint for customizing input/output behavior.

(I cannot Bounty my own answer but I still think it is worth another look. If someone wants to put a Bounty on it that's nice too, but hardly necessary.)


Here is another of my own answers. (Don't be shy to nominate your own posts; just not all of them.)

My solution to Elegant manipulation of the variables list does I believe live up to the name. I hope that it concisely uses and demonstrates:

  • The power of UpValues
  • Handling expressions with Unevalauted
  • A behavior of Part.

Michael E2's answer to my question at Modular arithmetic - efficiently calculating the remainders of factorials deserves a mention because it was about 4 orders of magnitude faster than my original code.


After being encouraged to nominate some of my answers, I still find it hard to pick. Plato, whose mention might be out of place here, said the person who gives birth to an idea cannot properly judge it. So I respect the upvote process on SE.

My explanation of the performance issues with using None as a control type versus Module and DynamicModule to declare local variables in a Manipulate got 10 upvotes, enough for a "Nice Answer" badge, but perhaps is worth a little more.

  • Of course I just edited it, so it might get more now. – Michael E2 May 12 '13 at 13:53

+100 Bounty awarded by rcollyer (thanks!)

I am nominating another of Mr. Wizard's answers: Prepend Information to Warning Messages. This comes in handy more often then I care to admit in finding the source of bugs in my code. I have even used it alongside Read to find parts of data files that were mangled. All around, this is an extremely useful utility.

  • Thanks, Robert. Believing that I am genuinely helping people is the primary reason I continue to participate so I really appreciate your letting me know. :-) – Mr.Wizard May 18 '13 at 3:08
  • @Mr.Wizard the most recent use of this was to find three stray & in my code. They blended in, even with Halirutan's syntax highlighter. Without this, it would have taken me much longer to find. So, you are welcome. This has will find a nice home in my utility drawer. – rcollyer May 18 '13 at 3:32
  • 1
    They say charity begins at home, but unfortunately per SE rules, Mr.Wizard won't be able to bounty himself (and it wouldn't make sense or have any effect anyway)... However, if it came in handy as often as you say it did and saved you time, then perhaps you could place a bounty ;) :D – rm -rf May 18 '13 at 13:58
  • @rm-rf thought about it ... – rcollyer May 18 '13 at 15:11
  • @Mr.Wizard incidentally, I've left the bounty open, so that the answer will garner more attention. – rcollyer May 22 '13 at 20:02
  • @rcollyer Thanks; that matches my intention in this "fund" as it's not so much about rewarding (though, thanks again) as it is about drawing attention to overlooked posts. – Mr.Wizard May 23 '13 at 0:54

user0501's answer to Linking FORTRAN with Librarylink shows how to link fortran code to mathematica use LibraryLink, more over it shows how to create an interface to Lapack using LibraryLink.


+100 Bounty awarded

ssch's answer to How does one adjust ColorFunction quality independently of surface quality? shows a very useful method for producing a high-quality color map on a 3D plot that does not require Texture and is therefore compatible with Version 7.


WReach provided a very handy syntax extension for assigning the same value to multiple Symbols. It has not gotten the recognition it deserves.


+50 Bounty awarded

This answer from rm -rf illustrates a simple yet flexible framework to implement object properties in the manner of SparseArray[...]["NonzeroPositions"] etc. Illustration:

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