So recently, a new user asked a well-meaning question, that was along the lines of "How did you learn all these things and at what point in your life/career did you make the decision to learn a golfing language." Although I don't think this precise wording fits on meta, it did strike me that we don't really have a single knowledge base of languages anywhere on meta/ppcg (besides the language showcase, which was allowed to stay open, but it was also determined that a new solution still needs to be found). Therefore, I'd propose coalescing the other questions about language usage and language scoring into a single wiki-esque question (very rough draft here).

So... thoughts? The way I see it, the proposed knowledge-base would serve as a sort of it intro point into PPCG, providing easy access to learning resources. In addition, the question itself could serve as a general welcome to PPCG, but probably not.

We do already have a few FAQs and introductory questions such as the scoring faq, the language showcase and the testing instructions thingy, and the idea would be to either link to those answers and/or include the decisions made in those answers in the answers to the proposed knowledge repository.

Some options I've thought of (but will refrain from posting as answers - feel free to post/polish these if you want):

  • Don't make the proposed question and rely on pre-existing meta posts
  • Make the knowledge base, but have it primarily focus on learning & discovering the many languages of PPCG, and perhaps link to a main language page, interpreter, and any potential page
  • Include as much detail (without going beyond introduction) as possible in each answer, as (roughly) described in this very rough draft

To sum up, should we have an introductory meta/ppcg post that lists languages, and resources for those languages, or should we rely on pre-existing posts and the all-powerful Esolangs wiki?


3 Answers 3


Leaving aside all other points and focusing on one sub-question:

Therefore, I'd propose coalescing the other questions about ... language scoring into a single wiki-esque question

where the proposed text includes

A description of the standard scoring method for the language

This has been done to death on meta over the past couple of months.

The length in bytes of a program is the number of bytes in its source file. End of. We do not need the complication of per-language exceptions. We do not need any kind of template or question which induces people to believe that per-language exceptions are normal.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But what about hardware solutions? Those have no concept of a "source file". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 1:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CalculatorFeline, this site is for programming puzzles and code golf: i.e. software. Although there have been a small number (I think small enough to count on the fingers of one hand) of questions which specifically asked for golfing logic gate networks, hardware answers to most questions are likely to be deleted as invalid. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 19:12

We already do, and it's the 2nd most upvoted question on the site

But it has room for improvement

I think the real question to ask here is how can we improve this question, and it's answers, as well as how we can make this question more accessible and visible to newcomers.

At the very least I think there should be an answer for every language on TIO, and we should probably come up with a more well-rounded format for answers, as well as perhaps CWing every answer. Edit: This is already the case

The stack snippet used on that question also needs to be improved, currently it simply hardcodes the answers. We have stack snippets around on PPCG these days that can not only fetch all answers, but even display challenge specific info related to the answers.

Edit: I didn't notice you'd already mentioned the language showcase, as you linked specifically to the Cheddar answer, so the link didn't display as visited for me. Regardless I believe my point still stands.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have to agree with you, but how do we approach re-formatting the showcase? There are 219 answers to the language showcase, most of which follow the old format... But some of those answers are stupendously detailed (e.g. Matematica). I wonder if it would be easier to generate a new post, rather than edit through all of the existing language showcase questions? I'm not really sure, hence this question... (Also, I didn't mean to link to the cheddar answer - I must have mis-copied something, I've edited the question) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 10:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I really don't see how the showcase can fulfil the purpose of being a learning resource for new users in the way the OP suggests. (Also side note, all the answers are already CW.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 11:08

We should not do this.

We have the tag and the Tips for golfing in <My Language Here> topics to deal with this.

We are part of a web-community centered around a Q&A format (although PPCG takes a very specific approach to that) and I believe we should definitely be able to answer questions about how to learn a language. However, the question "How do you guys know all these weird languages" is too broad. Instead, the asker should focus on a particular language and ask for for that language.

The Showcase-thread shows that putting all this information in one thread is not manageable. Separating the information per language in one (or more) question(s) each conforms with the site's format better, I believe.

And if the existing Q&A in the tag is not specific enough, or doesn't provide much in the way of a learning entry, perhaps questions like Tips wanted: How do I accomplish <this task> in <esolang> should be considered on-topic in the tag.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "How do I do task in language?" is already on topic on Stack Overflow. People can ask it there and post a link in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor I feel this should be ontopic here too, for golf- and eso langs. \$\endgroup\$
    – steenbergh
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 12:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @steenbergh It could be, if formatted like a challenge. You could set a bounty for a solution in the language that you are looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – JAD
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 13:22

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