Often, I have proposed a question to the sandbox and I never got any feedback on it; sometimes, I never got feedback until I had already posted the question. I want a way to fix this. I want Sandbox questions to get more recognition and more feedback so that we can have better end-result questions on the main site. The question is, how could we do that?
These are just some ideas I've been collecting over the past couple days. I make no promises about their efficacy, but I do hope they will help. These are all individual actions that I believe we can take to make our challenges better received: they are not meant to be policies or anything like that.
Contribute to the sandbox yourself
By reviewing other challenges you will accomplish at least two things: you will have given someone else meaningful feedback on their challenge, and you will have increased your experience in reading challenges. In my experience, reading and understanding challenge structure, content, and language benefits you when writing future challenges.
Less definitely, you also promote a culture of contribution to the sandbox. This will, in my opinion, encourage other users to take the time to go through the sandbox. This will increase the amount of feedback you receive on your own challenges in the long run.
Write concise challenges
This plays into some of the weaknesses of the sandbox. Long and elaborate challenges are very difficult to review. Often, I find that a long challenge has so many issues that I forget half of them by the time I finish reading it! This leads to me scrolling up and down trying to write a comprehensive comment, but inevitably missing some details.
The best way to write your challenges is with as little content as possible that still leaves the challenge totally clear. Making it easier for people to review your challenge will make it more likely that they provide feedback at all.
Write solutions to your own challenge
This is a bit similar to the above point. While not necessary by any stretch, if you write a program that solves your challenge you will yourself be able to catch many of the potential problems the challenge may have. This will lower the amount of work that reviewers have to do and increase the chance that they provide useful feedback.
Rubber duck your challenge
This is similar to the above point (again) but instead of focusing on the programming side, this focuses on the communications side. Try to make sure your wording makes sense before you post to the sandbox. If you can, explain the problem to someone else either verbally or in chat or whatever. Make sure that the way you explain the problem and its motivation are clear and concise.
Make sure your challenge is visible
Often, I see people suggesting that only a day or two in the sandbox is not long enough. This is all well and good, except that then sometimes people will note that they sandboxed a post for weeks and got no feedback, but got feedback in minutes on main.
I consider myself one of the more active users of the sandbox, at least at times, and I have never reviewed anything past the first page of posts, sorted by active. I rarely go beyond the top ten active posts. While I am not saying to aggressively bump your challenge to the top, I am saying to make sure it spends enough time reasonably high up. Time spent on the second page is essentially wasted, in my opinion.
Another way to increase visibility is to link to your post in chat. Obviously, follow general chat etiquette: don't spam your answer, and don't interrupt other conversations. Otherwise this should easily be an on-topic discussion in The Nineteenth Byte, our general chat room.
Courtesy suggestion for challenge authors
If you have time to write a draft, then you have time for giving feedback. If you have the necessary talent to write a clear challenge on the first try, then you probably have the eye to spot problems with someone else's draft.
In light of this, from now on I will adopt a new courtesy in the Sandbox, and encourage others to do the same: every time I need to delete a draft, whether it was published, scuttled, or poorly received, I will wait for activity in the Sandbox. The next two drafts I see with new activity I will read completely and give my best feedback.
In essence, this is a way I can make a habit of giving feedback without forcing it when I have other things to do. I acknowledge that it would be infeasible to get everyone to do this, but my hope is to get at least the most active and experienced challenge authors into this.