If a challenge is tagged with or , do you really have to say that that is the winning criteria in the question? It seems pretty obvious, just by looking at the tags, right? After all, we don't say "this is a discussion" on questions tagged with , do we?

However (just playing devil's advocate here), if you don't explicitly state how to chose a winner, people may not notice, leading to a whole lot of confusion as to why someone's post has been closed and did people not actually notice this and so on and so forth.

If a question looks something like this

Easy Prime Question

Write a program that outputs a prime number.

Does the obligatory "Shortest code wins" really have to be included, along with the code golf tag?


2 Answers 2


Yes, the winning criterion needs to be specified in the challenge

First, tags like where the winning criterion is obvious in theory. You're right that it's probably not entirely necessary, but especially with newer users it's often not clear whether they just picked a suggested tag without even being aware of the concept of winning criteria. To avoid that doubt, and so that people don't have to scan the tags to get the full specification of the challenge, the winning criterion should be mentioned in the challenge.

Regardless of obvious winning criteria like , something like absolutely needs the winning criterion specified in the challenge. For the latter it's not clear just from the tag how exactly the challenge will be scored. Timing on a given test input? Largest test input that can be done within a given time? Who is going to measure the submissions how? Etc...

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Remember, as well, that the winning criteria of code-golf is only obvious to those already familiar with the term, which new visitors to the site may well not be so, without the criteria in the challenge body, those visitors need to resort to the tag wiki to figure out what it is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shaggy
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 17:25

No, as long as the winning criterion is already clear from the tags

Most challenges on PPCG are . A lot of distraction, duplication, and possibly inconsistency is caused by having to re-explain in each of them what means. On the other hand, the probability and the cost of a new user mistakenly using the tag are small, as that is usually caught quickly and then the user learns and doesn't repeat the mistake (assuming good intentions).

Due to the nature of , it does require an explanation of how performance will be measured.

In practice we don't have this problem with other tags, such as or . They are rare and authors tend to explain the winning criterion well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that any question may be the first question a new user sees, and that most people do not know what "code golf" means. \$\endgroup\$
    – isaacg
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @isaacg I've tackled that argument in my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – ngn
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is that what you meant by "mistakenly using the tag"? I thought you were talking about a new questioner, not a new answerer. \$\endgroup\$
    – isaacg
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @isaacg oh... I see what you mean. Still, I think it's better to have that explained in one place, not everywhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – ngn
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .