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We've reached consensus!

We'll make an exception and unlock and reopen the Showcase of Languages thread. In this (hopefully final) meta posts, we have to decide what this exception will cover, i.e., what changes we should make to the question before unlocking it, and what changes the community should make to the answers after it has been unlocked.

Below, there are a few answers that represent the different parts of my own proposed changes, which became the highest voted answer to the previous discussion. Because the community members might have cast their votes (or refrained from casting them) because they agreed with certain proposed changes but not with others, here you have the chance to vote for them separately.

In case there are other changes you'd like to see happen, just add an additional answer. Please don't post "negative answers" that propose something should not be changed; just downvote the answers you disagree with, post comments explaining your downvotes, and/or discuss the specific changes in this chat room.

Once the scores have stabilized, a moderator will alter the question based on those scores and unlock and reopen the thread.

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Automate the catalog

We should replace the manually curated answer list with a Stack Snippet.

I hope nobody will actually object to this, but this should at the very least serve as a to-do list.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is me. Since voting for too many proposals of a single user will cause the votes to get reversed, I'm using my fuzzy foot warmer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 28 '16 at 20:02
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Make it a non-challenge question

We do allow these, and the showcase is by far more similar to questions than to our usual programming contests. This should encompass unaccepting the answer with the highest vote count, removing the tag, and adding a dedicated tag which makes clear that this will be the only question of its kind, at least without a preceding meta discussion.

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Use Stack Snippets to fold answers

Everything except the language name and a factoid could be folding by wrapping it into a stack snippet. That would condense each page into 30 stubs, which can be expanded with just two clicks. This serves multiple purposes:

  • You don't have to load images of answers you're not interested in reading or have already read. This is a huge deal on small screens or limited data plans.

  • Stack Snippets can be expanded to take up the entire screen, making long answers substantially easier to read.

  • Stack Snippets can contain more than just Markdown. An animated GIF is no longer the only way to show an animation, snippets could be fiddled with inline, etc.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is me. Since voting for too many proposals of a single user will cause the votes to get reversed, I'm using my fuzzy foot warmer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 28 '16 at 20:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is one of the most important ones. Right now there's no point to reading most of the showcase because there's just way too much information to digest/scroll by. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Nov 28 '16 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, a Stack Snippet could decompress and display a compressed string, allowing the 30k character limit to be bypassed. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Nov 29 '16 at 1:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego That's an interesting idea. Even if we want to keep the answers self-contained, a golfed version of LZString's decompression is less than 500 bytes long. Since it is a 30,000 character limit, we could take advantage of a big range of Unicode characters. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 29 '16 at 2:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ What about leaving the most recent/interesting code snippet out of the stack snippet along with the factoid? That way, people would get some idea of what sort of stuff is contained within. \$\endgroup\$ – El'endia Starman Nov 29 '16 at 3:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with Elendia. We should have answerers select their favorite code snippet to keep out of the stack snippet. We're doing this to make the post easier to browse and read, but if we don't leave interesting content on the page itself, then we've just made it harder to read and browse. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Nov 30 '16 at 15:18
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Make it a community wiki

This is a perfect fit.

Questions should be manually converted to community wiki when they are marginal fits or 'list of X' questions that contain enough value to avoid deletion.

The showcase should obviously not be deleted, but it is a 'list of X' question, and considered too broad or even off topic by some members of the community.

Converting the entire thread to community wiki means that all answers will cease to be the "property" of a single member of the community; all users that cross the required threshold are free to add snippets of their own, or modify and/or remove low-quality contributions of other users.

In case you're worried, this will not affect the reputation you have already earned.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My main misgiving with this is that it removes a reward for contributing to the Showcase (those shiny green points) and contributions aren't attributed as strongly. On the other hand, making it CW significantly shifts the emphasis and focus from individual contributions to communal collaboration. Ultimately, though I don't strongly prefer either option, I lean towards making the Showcase into something that is crowd-sourced. I think this will benefit the Showcase in the end, hence this proposal gets my upvote. \$\endgroup\$ – El'endia Starman Nov 29 '16 at 3:24
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Combine answers in the same language (whenever possible)

Ideally, we would have one page per language, but there's no way to make that happen using PPCG's Q&A format.

Consolidating multiple answers in a single language into a single post should be done whenever possible, both to make finding and reading about your language of interest easier and to avoid multiple near-duplicate snippets.

One issue with this idea is the 30,000 character limit imposed on answers. We could request the limit to be raised; this would also benefit answers in exceptionally verbose languages which tend to not fit into an answer even for the simplest challenges.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What if two people do the same language? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Nov 28 '16 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The answers will be combined and one will be deleted. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 28 '16 at 20:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I don't generally agree with that idea. I believe that the person who creates the snippets should have the ownership of them. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Nov 28 '16 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ How does this work with the votes = byte length rule (which I don't see a suggestion to change)? There would surely be conflicts, \$\endgroup\$ – Calvin's Hobbies Nov 28 '16 at 20:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ErikGolfer I'm also proposing to make the question community wiki. There will be no owners, just contributors. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 28 '16 at 21:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Calvin'sHobbies I overlooked that proposal at first. Yes, this proposal would pretty much require the community wiki and one vote at a time proposals to function as intended. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 28 '16 at 22:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dennis Then I'd suggest also including the CW and one-vote-at-a-time removal proposals in this answer too. As it is right now, it seems independent from the others. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Nov 29 '16 at 11:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ErikGolfer They are independent. Most of the changes I've proposed will work better combined with others, and hopefully voters will take that into account. I can't/won't change an answer after 16 members of the community have voted on it. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 29 '16 at 14:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the rest of the proposals, but I'm not a fan of this one, as it often misrepresents voting. We want interesting answers to naturally float to the top, but if we just edit in new content then that new content is given free votes, regardless of its interestingness. This is a showcase, not a catalog. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Nov 30 '16 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanMerrill The current format has the same issue. Just because voters liked the first X snippets you posted than guarantee they'll like the next X snippets too. The only way to make votes really meaningful in this situation would be to limit posts to a single snippet (or a fixed amount of them), but that creates a whole ton of other issues. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Dec 1 '16 at 0:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ True. I've actually mentioned this elsewhere: I'd prefer the showcase to be one question per language, and one answer per snippet, but that's an entirely different issue \$\endgroup\$ – Nathan Merrill Dec 1 '16 at 0:20
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Keep searching for better alternatives

As before, I still believe that the showcase deserves to be a proper wiki, quite possibly outside PPCG, free from restrictions on character count, size, Markdown, JavaScript, pagination, etc.

While there are existing alternatives – e.g., Esolang could showcase the recreational programming languages – the community doesn't seem to consider it a sufficient replacement. But once we find one, we could still revisit locking the showcase.

Downvote this if you think the exception to keep the showcase on PPCG is optimal or at least good enough, upvote if you think we should try finding a better solution.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is me. Since voting for too many proposals of a single user will cause the votes to get reversed, I'm using my fuzzy foot warmer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Nov 28 '16 at 20:07
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Remove the one vote at a time rule

Additional snippets could be added at will and would not be restricted to one snippet per character count. I don't think character count should be a limiting factor at all; it hinders showcasing intentionally verbose languages.

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