Note: Let me be really clear here, I expect people to disagree with me (especially here :P ), but wanted to lay out this thought none the less.

Programmers love to exploit rules, fair is fair, even I myself (used to) love it. However, despite my newness to codegolf.SE, I was surprised how this behaviour seems to be universally accepted here. It just seems odd, in "real life" this is normally not an issue as rules are interpreted to the best of ones ability the way they were intended and searching for loopholes is generally frowned upon. If there is a park with grass and signs "do not walk on the grass" it is perfectly ok to walk on the grass if a gush of wind pulled your umbrella from your hands onto the grass. And with laws (depending on the country) there even is a system in place (judges & lawsuits) to interpret rules sometimes (not going to get into when now, as this depends a lot on the country) not to the letter, but to the intention.

So, the thing I wished to propose for consideration was whether it wouldn't be far nicer to set the default interpretation of rules from a mechanical one to a (for lack of better term) human one. In cases where there is any dispute the GM concept can be called upon, which means the one who wrote the rules and the challenge down knew it's intention and thus can make all final calls. Indeed it might be surprising to consider that such a system is possible, especially when bound to a system like the current one, but humans are quite capable of functioning in such a system and have for thousands of years. And for underhanded questions rule exploitation could still be allowed, but why allow users by default to search for loopholes?

To just finish of, how sad is it that a question like Books full of nonsense: Identify limericks has to explicitly add rules like the one which states that hardcoding for the test cases isn't allowed when the clear intention of the question is the identification of limericks, not test cases. Personally I organize 'challenges' of a very different sort in real life often, and for the type of people who try to exploit rules there is always rule number 1: the GM is always right. You 'punish' people once or twice for searching for loopholes and from that point onward life becomes a lot easier and more fun for all the participants and if they are unsure they can always ask. (And cheeky loophole answers could still be community wiki'd, but those should be 'just for laughs')

(Either way, it's just a thought and I am the first to acknowledge that I have a terrible track record in this area, having spoiled 'quite' a lot of 'games' in the past by finding loopholes, and when I was really young I wouldn't have walked on that grass even if my life dependent on it... so yeah, that's the kind of background this comes from and all I can say is that non-machinal rule interpretation has been quite a nice revelation at least to me :) )

(And one more thing, I am very explicitly not going to engage in any discussion on this page, I just wanted to lay this out there, if you agree vote it up, if you disagree prove me wrong in an answer and have that answer get far more votes, I am fine with anything :) )

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ You say: "I am very explicitly not going to engage in any discussion on this page, I just wanted to lay this out there, if you agree vote it up, if you disagree prove me wrong in an answer and have that answer get far more votes." This is not a good way to go, because it will generate more heat than light. If you're putting an idea out there, you should be willing to discuss it, not "I'll just leave this landmine here and let you lot sort it out". \$\endgroup\$ Mar 23, 2014 at 2:02

2 Answers 2



No way. That would ruin the whole idea of Stack Exchange.

Stack Exchange is run by the community. If the poster of the question had the ability to overrule any decision and invalidate any answer, the whole site would collapse.

A multitude of other problems would emerge:

  • What if the community disagrees with the OP? If the community upvoted a loophole answer (as often occurs), the OP has no way to interfere.
  • What if the OP makes drastic decisions with seemingly no reason?
  • What if the OP invalidates an answer just because he/she dislikes the programming language, or dislikes the user who posted it, or dislikes the algorithm, or dislikes the formatting, or.... (Basically, any subjective reason)
  • What if there are far too many answers to judge them all, or the OP does not want to respond to all the answers for some other reason (old question, disinterest in question, etc.)
  • What if the OP just doesn't respond? Like you:

    And one more thing, I am very explicitly not going to engage in any discussion on this page

In conclusion, it's just not right to have one single person making all the decisions on a post.


I disagree with your proposal, for two reasons:

  1. We already have a policy on boundary-pushing that deals with the really egregious cases.
  2. Since anybody can post a question, and certainly not all the question posters are "gamemaster material", I wouldn't entrust an arbiter role to the OP. Especially not on Stack Exchange, where the operational model is voting based on whether the answer is correct or not.

    This is why, especially in the early days of this site, I've been very gung-ho about wanting questions to have objective criteria. Then people can vote on questions without having to worry what the OP thinks, since the rules are all that matter.


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