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I recently revisited the following classic challenge: Showcase your language one vote at a time. The gist of the challenge is as follows:

  1. An answer is a set of program snippets, each with a unique length.
  2. The maximum length and maximum number of snippets are given by the answer's current vote total.
  3. As an answer gains votes, it earns to right to contain more/longer snippets.
  4. the highest voted answer will win

Also notably, there is no restriction on what the code does. You are allowed and encouraged to post "anything worth showcasing." Additionally, answers are not required to contain any code at all (and indeed, they aren't allowed to until the answer has an upvote).

I believe the Language Showcase, despite its popularity, is not within the current scope of this site, and thus it should be locked as historically significant. For reference, the historical significance lock reason is shown below:

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed.

In my opinion, if such a challenge were to be posted today, it would be closed. This challenge places a length restriction on code, yet does not provide any goal as to what the code should do, other than to be interesting.

Examples of similar challenges which have been closed

I'm referencing these early in the post because they are the basis for a lot of the existing meta literature.

  1. The Tweetable Mathematical Art [pop-con] challenge involved producing an interesting image with a code length restriction. Similar to the Language Showcase, the goal was simply to make an interesting image. There was little restriction on what made an image valid. This challenge has since been closed as too broad and locked as historically significant.
  2. Paint the Mona Lisa in 1kB of code [pop-con, deleted] involved producing an image with a limited amount of code. The goal was "visual resemblance of the output image to da Vinci's masterpiece." This is a stronger "goal" than either the Math Art or Language Showcase challenges, yet this challenge was closed as primarily opinion-based, and then deleted by a moderator.

Relevant meta posts

  1. Guidelines for posting and closing popularity contests (12 Jan 2016)

    This post was the first to introduce the term "objective validity criterion" as a requirement for all challenges. An objective validity criterion lays out the minimal requirements that each answer must meet. One important question is: does the Language Showcase have an acceptable validity criterion? I believe that the simple requirement, that snippets be of a certain length, would set the bar way too low as far as validity criteria are concerned. This opinion is backed up by this meta answer, which deals primarily with the Mona Lisa challenge. This answer argues that the Mona Lisa challenge does not have an objective validity criterion, and, even if you considered "output an image" as the criterion, then the challenge would still be considered too broad.

  2. The state of the popularity contest tag (30 Jan 2016)

    This this thread, the community decided to rewrite the pop-con tag description, leading to the meta post I describe below. The accepted answer points out the importance of updating the tag info given the recent evolution of site guidelines, particularly regarding validity. For reference, the Language Showcase challenge was asked an entire year prior to this meta thread, as evidence that site guidelines have changed significantly between then and now.

    The second-most-upvoted answer states that "the specification needs to define what makes something worth upvoting" and that "popularity-contest does not make your challenge exempt from the standard rules of what is on-topic here."

  3. Updating the [popularity-contest] tag info: suggestions (1 May 2016)

    This is the thread in which the community rewrote the pop-con tag description. A couple very relevant phrases are the following:

    Things that MUST be included in a popularity contest...

    A clear specification of the goal that must be achieved. Questions like "do (this) the most creative way" should be avoided. Creativity should be the tool, not the goal.

    ...Qualities which should be avoided in popularity contests...

    Asking to solve a vaguely defined task in any way that the entrant wants (this will probably make your question be closed as too broad).

  4. We need to take an official stance on code trolling (3 May 2014)

    Although code-trolling is just a subset of popularity-contests (a subset with its own, entirely unrelated issues), the accepted answer makes an important point that popular doesn't imply on-topic. I believe this is very relevant given the popularity of the Language Showcase, which currently sits at +419/-12.

    ...But just because it's popular that doesn't mean it's a good kind of question for this site. Even "because it may generate an amazing answer from time to time" doesn't mean it's a good kind of question for this site.

    "But this is a community-driven site! If it gets so many upvotes, the community wants it, and it should stay!" Or should it? The StackExchange network prides itself in its high-quality content. In any case quality over quantity...

    ...There are both list-type and fun questions on StackOverflow which are massively popular and have amazing (and even useful) answers. Nevertheless, they are strongly discouraged and new similar questions will be violently closed and deleted.


Need for broader action?

This thread deals mainly with the Language Showcase challenge, although there are potentially several other challenges which fall into the same category. A large number of existing pop-cons predate the above meta conversations by a year or more. There does not appear to be much consistency in which challenges are open and which are closed. For several of the same reasons outlined above, I believe many of these challenges are long-overdue for their closure.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that it would be considered off-topic if posted today, and deserves to be closed. The one problem I see is that there is practically nowhere else to post these showcases that comes close to what we have currently; and, IMHO, we would lose a lot by not having an common place to post little featurettes explaining new languages. One solution, I suppose, would be to add a page to your language's repo on GitHub. I personally prefer the showcase because 1) it's currently a very common place to post these things, and 2) the format is mostly constant. Could I please get some other opinions? \$\endgroup\$ – ETHproductions Oct 30 '16 at 2:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ETHproductions I agree that the Language Showcase fills an important niche (enabling people to advocate for a language), and that it might be worth discussing other ways to fill that niche. In my opinion, the Showcase, as it stands, is not the best way to fill that niche. For example, it is probably not best to limit the length/number of snippets by vote totals, particularly since new answers cannot hope to gain enough votes to demonstrate anything more complex than the most basic language snippets. \$\endgroup\$ – PhiNotPi Oct 30 '16 at 2:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with you about the restrictions on the length of snippets, and that the Showcase is not the best possible option. The problem is simply that we don't have anything better, at least nothing that I know of. I'll expand my concerns into an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – ETHproductions Oct 30 '16 at 2:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think before we can even answer this question, we need solid consensus on what constitutes an on-topic pop-con. \$\endgroup\$ – AdmBorkBork Oct 31 '16 at 13:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a reminder, please don't downvote discussions unless you think that the topic they bring up isn't even worth discussing. A positive score is vital to give the thread visibility, which is vital to get the necessary feedback from the community. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Oct 31 '16 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's pretty identical to a rosetta-code so it's on scope \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Roh Mar 18 '17 at 5:41
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Problems I see with locking the Showcase

  • We have practically nowhere else to post what we can post on the showcase. You can always put them in the language's readme on GitHub, but I prefer the showcase because it's a ubiquitous place to post interesting snippets and tutorials. You can find a snippet about pretty much every language there, rather than having to look at the repo or google to find a tutorial for each language you want to learn about.

  • We would lose a lot by not having a common place to explain and advocate for new languages. The showcase currently serves as a place to really introduce languages in a very interesting way, revealing one feature at a time, and also to receive feedback on the language. An alternative to this would be to post a tutorial in the language's repo and make it easy to find; I believe this should always be done anyway.

I guess the bottom line is:

The showcase is not an optimal solution, but it's the best we have for now.

I feel like the showcase currently stands at an awkward half-ground between what you could put in a readme and what's on-topic here in PPCG. But until we have a better solution for showcasing languages, I think it is best that we don't lock the showcase; it would cut off the best option we currently have.

This is only my opinion; it is by no means definitive. Feel free to comment with your own opinion. Also, I'm writing this while tired, so please don't mind if it isn't very high quality.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Additional question: If we were to carve an exception to the rules, specifically so that the language showcase can fill this particular niche, what additional changes should be made to the showcase so that it can better fulfill its role? \$\endgroup\$ – PhiNotPi Oct 30 '16 at 3:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PhiNotPi Great question. I think that the showcase currently stands at an awkward half-ground between what you could put in a readme and what's on-topic here. I'm not sure if there's anything we can really do about this without drastically changing the challenge itself. I think it needs to be discussed, and I'll put some more thought into it myself and reply again tomorrow. To anyone else: feel free to post your input on this question. \$\endgroup\$ – ETHproductions Oct 30 '16 at 3:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's Advocate languages to golfing in. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Oct 30 '16 at 7:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ This argument sounds like "it's not on topic but we need it". I agree it's great to have a place to showcase languages, but while this challenge is open there is little incentive to set up an alternative that would meet that requirement even better. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Oct 30 '16 at 12:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax That's a very good point. I completely agree that the alternative will happen faster if we cut off the existing solution. \$\endgroup\$ – ETHproductions Oct 30 '16 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xnor Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I was away when that was posted and had no idea it existed. \$\endgroup\$ – ETHproductions Oct 30 '16 at 14:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ If we were going to move the showcase to a better format, we should do so in a way that all content for it is preserved and preferably in a way that the original authors can still get rep/edit/be shown as owner \$\endgroup\$ – Blue Oct 31 '16 at 8:41
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The showcase is part of a unique category of pop-cons that should be on topic.

Before I explain this, consider for a second why we banished , and now are considering eliminating : site quality. During the great code trolling apocalypse, Doorknob and Martin made excellent arguments against it that more or less resolved around "even though it's popular it spawns very low quality content."

Since then, I feel a lot of issues resolving around popularity contests is the fear that poor popularity contests will spawn poor loop-holey answers that nobody likes but nobody can really argue against. Although our standard loopholes have cut down a lot of the dumb answers like pulling things from the Internet, when you have subjective contests it's inevitable that people will post answers that don't actually do what the challenge author intended but can squeak by on technicalities and subjective arguments.

Consider the Mona Lisa question. Here's a screenshot if you can't see deleted questions:

Per our rules on valid answers, an answer that does not demonstrate sufficient effort to solve the challenge is invalid. In the case of , this is usually pretty easy. But let's take a look at the Mona Lisa spec and consider how one would categorize an answer as involving sufficient effort:

  • Is under 1KB
  • Doesn't violate any of our site meta rules
  • Looks like Mona Lisa

The last rule is obviously the problematic one -- we have no objective way of saying whether something is similar to the Mona Lisa, and therefore no objective way of ruling whether an answer is invalid. When the Mona Lisa question was first proposed, I argued that I could post an answer that outputs an apple and spend all day arguing that an apple is exactly the same as the Mona Lisa and we all live in the Matrix. Obviously this isn't desirable -- indeed, this is exactly what we want to avoid.

Now let's take a look at the showcase. Although there are currently some wording issues that make it seem more subjective than it is, this is all that is required to meet the spec sufficiently:

  • The language you choose meets our requirements for programming languages.
  • For every upvote you get, you must have a code snippet of length n in that language where n is the number of upvotes at the time of the upvote.

This is very minimalist but perfectly objective. The content of the snippet does not matter for whether an answer is valid, just that they're there. As a result, there isn't much room for bad answers: if they were posted, they could be swiftly deleted since they violate objective rules.

Granted, the showcase is an unusual challenge. But it is definitely not the only one that has this property:

Compare these popcons to ones with subjective validity criteria such as:

(Note that I'm only really considering challenges from 2013/2014 onward -- anything before that was back when we didn't have enough of an audience for it to really matter.)

The difference is very striking. The former have almost no such loop-holey answers, and most importantly any that were there were quickly deleted. The latter have lots of controversy and some answers that are pretty cheaty and just in general low quality. I could list a lot more sample questions but I think the point stands.

With minimalist objective validity, leaving the subjectivity for the voting, it's clear that we can have fun high-quality pop-cons with high-quality answers and an objective way to cull the low-quality answers. Since this is the only concern with pop-cons in the first place, it makes little sense to nuke these questions. If our rules don't allow us to have high-quality popcons like this, then something is wrong with the rules because they are hindering us, not helping us.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You are most definitely wrong in claiming that there are no objective ways of determining if something is similar to the Mona Lisa. Those metrics exist, and the question was reposted with one such objective measure. \$\endgroup\$ – orlp Oct 31 '16 at 10:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know that you're against the on-topic-ness of the Tweetable Math Art challenge, but I feel like it would justifiably fall into the category that you've described here. The only requirements for sufficient effort were that the code fit into the allotted space and output a properly-sized image. Just as there were no strings attached in voting for interesting snippets, there were no strings attached in voting for interesting code / image output. No answers have negative vote totals, and the only deleted answers are (1) an answer that objectively broke the code size requirement, (2) an... \$\endgroup\$ – PhiNotPi Oct 31 '16 at 16:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ ...answer in which the code did not generate the claimed image, (3) a self-deleted answer with no downvotes. While it's true that there's no way to determine if an image is artsy, there is also no way to determine if a snippet it worth showcasing. That is okay though, since nether challenge ever used those subjective criteria as requirements for answers. It appears that Math Art meets the conditions of "minimalist objective validity, leaving the subjectivity for the voting." So my question is, how is it distinguished from the challenges you've named as being in this special category? \$\endgroup\$ – PhiNotPi Oct 31 '16 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ My impression of this discussion about the showcase was that the problem isn't that the showcase is off-topic but that it's way too broad. "Do whatever you want in N bytes" is basically the definition of too broad. Tweetable Maths was also closed because it was too broad and there at least there was a specific kind of output that was generated within those N bytes. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Oct 31 '16 at 17:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @orlp The Mona Lisa question specifically wanted it to be human-evaluated. I will clarify my wording in that section in a bit. \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Oct 31 '16 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinEnder I agree that this is a potential concern but I was under the impression that this discussion was specifically focusing on whether it not it belongs in the site scope/topic. \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Oct 31 '16 at 19:53
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Closing this challenge is pointless even if out-of-scope

This challenge is still opened and…

…it still receives interesting answers showcasing new languages. I still receive upvotes semi-often on that challenge suggesting that people are still interested in seeing languages snippets and explanations.

What closing this challenge would do:

Absolutely nothing beside stopping new languages from being showcased. I haven't seen any recent new answers of very low quality to that challenge (though I'm sure there are some at times).

The only thing closing this challenge would do is satisfy the few people who feel like this challenge is out-of-scope.

But as Mego said in a comment, there is nothing wrong with having out-of-scope challenges kept open if they are liked, attract answers that still interest people of the site, and don't attract much low quality content, like this challenge.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So if someone asks a question about "Post some cat pictures please?" and it gets a hundred upvotes, then we shouldn't delete it, because although it's out-of scope, it's well-liked? Is our site about cats, or about random programming language examples, or is it really about code golf? \$\endgroup\$ – Anko Nov 11 '16 at 18:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ None of the three. This site is not only for code-golf. The best definition I have for this site is "Recreative programming", and with that definition I see that challenge as in-scope \$\endgroup\$ – Fatalize Nov 11 '16 at 18:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ The same argument, if valid, would apply to other closed challenges like tweetable mathematical art. I was still getting upvotes on answers there a year and a half later when it was closed. While this gives me a personal incentive to want it open, I can't expect that to be an objective reason. I agree that it's off topic, whether it's still active or not. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Nov 21 '16 at 23:35
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No, don't close it, don't lock it

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Unless there are severe quality issues, don't let bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo get in the way of a challenge that many people are clearly entertained by on a site that (I believe) is, at-the-core, about entertainment — about enjoying programming.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Historical locks seem made for exactly this. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Oct 31 '16 at 2:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not that there are any kind of quality issues with it; in fact, I personally enjoyed it and think you did a great service to the community by making it. It certainly has provided a lot of traffic and enthusiasm for our site. However, it doesn't really fit into the content rules of the site as they stand. As has been noted here, it's a textbook example of "too broad." I'll be sad to see it go if it does get closed and locked, but I think the arguments in favor of doing so are spot-on. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex A. Nov 3 '16 at 23:30
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The showcase is too broad

As I've said in chat yesterday, I like the showcase, but it is too broad for our site:

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format.

Both apply here.

  • Without any tangible goal – apart from showing off what the language can do – the answers can do literally anything. The only restriction is that the byte count is limited by the answer's score, but that doesn't really restrict what can be done in an answer, only when it can be done. Like with Make the most useful program within 100 characters, which was closed in 2014 for the exact same reason, there are simply too many possible answers.

  • Good answers to a popularity contest are the popular ones (I assume), which right now stand at 355, 164, 155, 139, and 121 votes for the top five. All these answers are allowed to contain more than one hundred snippets, pressing against the 30,000 character limit that applies to all answers on Stack Exchange. The format explicitly encourages adding more and more snippets to the same post, so yes, good answers are too long for our format.

That makes discussing whether the showcase fits our evolving vision for popularity contests and the associated and controversial hurdles (e.g., objective validity criteria) rather pointless, since it doesn't make the showcase any less broad.

Showcases are list questions

We're not the first site that ran into this specific problem: we've created a resource that, while certain useful and appreciated by many, doesn't really fit into what we do here. The showcase asks what can your language do in x or less bytes, making it a list question (yes, the have their own tag on Mother Meta) and not really a programming contest.

While not really fitting for the site, it would make no sense to destroy these resources. One kind of list question that (mostly) survived on Stack Overflow is the The Definitive X Book Guide and List family, which have a wiki lock:

This question's answers are a collaborative effort: if you see something that can be improved, just edit the answer to improve it! No additional answers can be added here

While sending a clear message that this is not a typical thread and preventing the addition of comments, answers, and close/delete votes, the answers can still be edited and voted on.

Sadly, that doesn't solve anything in this case, since the current answers are already too long. I'm also not sure if that would automatically make the question and its answers community wiki (which would be the only sensible option if we went this way).

The showcase should be locked

This is a textbook case for a historical lock:

  1. The post is Off-Topic or Not Constructive, and
  2. The post is stellar, in spite of its off-topic nature, and
  3. There are a large number of views, upvotes and inbound links on the post, and
  4. The post is contentious; e.g., it has been closed and reopened at least once, or deleted and undeleted at least once

Check, check, check, and check.

I like the showcase, I really do, and many of its answers are educational and entertaining, but making it a programming contest doesn't quite work and doesn't really benefit the showcase.

  • The one vote at a time gamification means I can't add snippets when I want to, which will result in less snippets being added in the long run. In addition, answers in verbose and non-popular languages may never get the required votes to start showing off interesting language features.

  • The specification discourages creating more than one answer in the same language, while the showcase, as reading material, would benefit from all users contributing to all languages they can contribute to.

  • There's no way to view a single answer at a time, and the answers are huge; the first page alone weighs over five megabytes. Just trying to scroll past the accepted answer is painful on some devices.

  • The 30,000 character limit effectively prevents achieving the goal of showcasing as many language features as possible. While none of the answers seems to have hit the character limit yet, four of the top five also haven't been updated in the last 20 months.

TL;DR

The showcase is not a good fit for PPCG, and PPCG is not a good fit for the showcase. Let's lock the thread as historically significant and explore alternative ways of showcasing languages.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is an excellent answer. It goes beyond "doesn't fit our rules, end of story," which inevitably brings rebuttals of "it's close enough" or "can't we make an exception?" Instead, you make a (pretty persuasive) case to us showcase-lovers that the showcase itself suffers from being presented as a PPCG challenge. \$\endgroup\$ – DLosc Nov 2 '16 at 4:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ sigh You've brought me to your side. Curse you and your well-thought-out arguments! \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Nov 5 '16 at 7:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how an alternative showcase could ever exist. If you want somebody to "show off" a language, you need to provide them with freedom of what to "show off". However, by that nature, it fits the first bullet point: "Without any tangible goal". We are never going to have a showcase that is on-topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Nov 21 '16 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanMerrill I had assumed that alternative ways meant ways off site. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Nov 21 '16 at 23:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax If there's a way to keep it on PPCG while addressing all the issues I mentioned, I'm all for it, but I do think a proper wiki would suit it better. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 21 '16 at 23:40
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No, Unlock and Reopen, but…

As @Calvin's Hobbies and others state, this community isn't about strict rules and bureaucracy, but about fun as long it is good content. However, we do not want (or at least I think we do not want) more questions of this nature posted. I think the solution is to unlock and reopen, but post a mod message on the question saying something similar to the historical lock dialog. This way, we can have our cake and eat it too!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's essentially what I'm proposing here, with a few modifications to the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 25 '16 at 15:28
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Showcasing languages is not on-topic

Here is Martin Ender's now very-highly voted Mathematica post in its entirety as of when it was posted.

Mathematica

Factoid

Mathematica can perform symbolic manipulation, so variables don't need values to work with them.

Note that it contains no code, as required by the rule "Since all answers start off with 0 votes, answers will initially contain 0 code snippets." I wonder if it would have stayed that way if not for Martin's reputation with Mathematica preceding him, the language being well-known, and its being posted in the first 15 minutes. To get off the ground and allow interesting snippets, an answer must be voted on based on basically no content. This is a popularity contest in the pejorative sense of the word.

More than being a do-anything-creative pop con, what makes the challenge out of scope is that it showcases languages, not programming. Many of the snippets are standard features of the language, used exactly as intended. Some are just a built-in. The poster is not finding clever and unexpected uses, but simply listing cool things the language has to offer.

A popular, many-featured, or unusual language will get more votes. Yes, a knowledgeable writer can do better with interesting snippets, but it's still not their coding skills that are being judged. The challenge doesn't require snippets to be golfed. Some are, to fit in the character limit, but others don't even bother cutting spaces once they have enough votes.

PPCG is about programming contests. People compete to write code that performs a task as efficiently or effectively as possible. Describing why languages are cool is not within the purpose of the site1. It's out of scope not (just) due policies about pop cons and objectivity, but for the same reason that an SE about bicycles wouldn't take a question about cars. Or, more closely, a site hosting video game speedruns wouldn't take a Let's Play.

The whole spirit of "Here's something I find cool! What do you find cool?" feels out of place, like something out of a discussion forum thread. Keeping the showcase open wouldn't just require changing policies for pop cons, but fundamentally shifting what the site is about.

1We have a place to explain why a language is interesting to golf in that I posted, but it's on meta and specifically about golfing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The main two points of your answer is on initial state of the answer being just the factoid without any answer, and how you think it's out of the scope. The first is, in my opinion, a massive nitpick, since the question could be easily modified to ask for a more comprehensive piece of code instead of the factoid or just to start at the length 1 snippet. The second, while potentially true, is not really backed up by your reasoning or your examples. This is about golfing snippets, not writing ungolfed code. And PPCG's scope is definitely not all golfing either. \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Oct 30 '16 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sidenote: Even ignoring this argument, I think the existing rules about be-creative pop-cons mean the showcase challenge should be closed, and would require arguments to make an special exception to be overwhelmingly convincing, which I do not. But, I think this is worth arguing separately because I find it a more fundamental non-policy-based reason to close such questions. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Oct 30 '16 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Keeping the showcase open wouldn't just require changing policies for pop cons, but fundamentally shifting what the site is about." No. You could just put a note at the top that says "This challenge is no longer considered on-topic but has been kept open because the community considers it a valuable resource. Feel free to add new answers." \$\endgroup\$ – Calvin's Hobbies Oct 31 '16 at 1:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HelkaHomba Do you think Advocate languages to golf in cannot serve as that resource? \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Oct 31 '16 at 1:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HelkaHomba What you're suggesting is much more radical than shifting site scope, but changing the meta-policy that out-of-scope questions are closed. I'm not aware of any instances on what you're suggesting anywhere on SE, though I've seen little and would like to see examples. Historical locks seems to be designed to avoid exactly this. To accommodate a single question as an exception to an SE-wide rule, I'd want to see overwhelming evidence that this question uniquely and exceptionally warrants it, and there is absolutely no other way this purpose can be served. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Oct 31 '16 at 1:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, it cannot. No offense but the meta post will never receive the same number of view or answers or updates as the main challenge. It's hard to find, rarely mentioned, there's no rep incentive, there's no competitive aspect, all unlike the main challenge. \$\endgroup\$ – Calvin's Hobbies Oct 31 '16 at 1:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HelkaHomba I agree, but I consider the lack of rep incentive and competitive aspects a positive. I'd rather see answerers who just want to share their excitement about the language over those driven by rep or winning. Votes too -- I find them more useful if they come from the community, rather than HNQ and the FGITW effect as such explosively popular challenges are prone to. Visibility and activity, I grant will suffer. But, I find "it won't be as popular elsewhere" too weak a reason make an exception. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Oct 31 '16 at 1:54
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It's not a grey area, it's off topic

Much as I love the challenge, it doesn't meet our current definition of on topic. I also loved the tweetable mathematical art challenge (and got most of my rep from my 6 answers there...) but it's not on topic so it was closed. Similarly to that challenge, I think the language showcase should be preserved, but closed. One way to do this is with a historical lock. This seems easier than transferring the information elsewhere.

Once closed, there will be an incentive to set up an alternative

There is clearly demand for a place to show off a language as the challenge is still active, so once this way is removed the community can focus on coming up with new, better suited ways to host showcases.

Demand to keep it open would require a scope change

If there is community support for changing what is on topic and redefining our scope, then it could be possible to make this on topic. Personally I think that would be changing scope for the wrong reason, and I can't think of a way of changing the scope that would permit this challenge without also permitting lots of challenges we wouldn't want here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with the statement that keeping it open would require redefining our scope. There's nothing wrong with having a small number of community-accepted exceptions to our usual scope. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Oct 30 '16 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ That sounds like a reason to make the scope better specified. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Oct 30 '16 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm baffled by the contortions people are putting themselves through to try to claim this blatantly off-topic question is on-topic, just because it's popular. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Oct 30 '16 at 20:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @xnor This is a website run by humans for human consumption, not a pure mathematical system of rules. A few exceptions to rules are ok. \$\endgroup\$ – Calvin's Hobbies Oct 30 '16 at 20:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HelkaHomba I'm not objecting here to the argument of "yes, it's off-topic but let's make an exception", but to the twisted arguments that it does in fact follow the rules, like this chat message, that would not be argued for other challenges. Though, I separately object to this particular challenge being made an exception, for reasons I'm writing up. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Oct 30 '16 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xnor Actually I would argue that for other challenges; see my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Oct 30 '16 at 21:33
-12
\$\begingroup\$

While the debate regarding the showcase's ontopicness is still open, the majority of the community seems to agree – as do we moderators – that it is too broad for our scope. As a result, I have closed and locked the challenge in question.

Unfortunately, that means that we do not have a place for showcasing languages right now, and we should seek one as soon as possible. Leaving the challenge open would only slow this process down and – as I have said in my previous answer – the showcase itself will benefit from a more suitable format.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 12
    \$\begingroup\$ "the majority of the community seems to agree – as do we moderators – that it is too broad for our scope" Really? The two highest voted answers to this meta question indicate that the Showcase should remain open for now, despite broadness. \$\endgroup\$ – Calvin's Hobbies Nov 20 '16 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't say that the majority agrees that the showcase should be closed, just that it is too broad. My other answer was at +18/-9 at that point. Closure is simply the logical consequence. The two highest voted answers do not address broadness at all. ETHProductions' just says there are issues with locking it, but doesn't propose a course of action. In the comments, he agrees that the alternative will happen faster if we cut off the existing solution. quartata's answer says that it is on topic, but he agrees in the comments that it is too broad. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 20 '16 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dennis That was in regards to Tweetable Mathematical Art, which Phi had asked for my opinion on in a previous comment. I do not agree that the showcase is too broad in that there exist too many possible answers to be able to produce one answer (the point of too broad). \$\endgroup\$ – a spaghetto Nov 20 '16 at 19:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I have no issue with the showcase being locked, I disagree with the rest of the answer. We have a place to showcase languages: Advocate languages to golf in. Moreover, we should not "seek one as soon as possible", but take all the time needed to draft a new question that works within the site scope and avoids the pitfalls of the original, especially given how contentious this issue is. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Nov 20 '16 at 23:34

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