Currently, all questions on the main site are Community Wiki. Furthermore, there are not many other non-challenge questions on the main site. These types of questions are generally supressed on PPCG.

This should change.

The first point I'm going to attack is the fact that questions are CW. This is wrong!

  • Community Wiki is meant for posts that are created and maintained by the community, wiki-style. (Hence the name.) From this blog post about community wiki:

    Community wiki is for that rare gem of a post that needs true community collaboration. That’s when community wiki shines.

    The CW checkbox on questions was removed for a reason - it's being misused. questions are not wiki-type articles! Each answer has one tip, and that tip is "owned" by its original author. The question is still "owned" by the asker of the question.

  • From this Meta SE post on what the purpose of CW is:

    To allow anyone to collaboratively edit a question or answer.

    That's not what questions are! The question is still the OP's own question, and the answers are still the answerers' own ideas and tips. Since each answer has one tip, there's no need to enable collaborative editing.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about other -like questions.

Why do challenges have to be the only thing ever posted on PPCG? Can't there be questions too? Can there not be questions...

  • about tips about golfing (which we have already)?
  • about creating golfing languages (not a specific one, but in general, i.e. how to handle I/O, how to create a generic string/array slicing method, etc.)?
  • about how to make something [more obfuscated/shorter/...] (i.e. how to make shuffling an array shorter)?
  • about making specific constructs shorter (i.e. long strings and compressing them, nested loops, etc.)?
  • about strategies to solve a specific type of programming puzzle?
  • about the history of golfing (I know, sounds boring, but some people might be interested)?

Etc., etc., etc.?

This would a.) Increase the question volume, which we direly need, and b.) Draw a bigger audience into the site (the audience that doesn't know how to golf or solve programming puzzles, and wants to learn more).

The advantages far outweight the (nonexistent) disadvantages. So why not?

This meta post is related, but it's asking about a question not really about the process of golfing, but about character counting which only happens to be used in golfing. (Also it's from 3 years ago.)

(Please don't get me started on posting these on meta. Meta is for discussion about the SE site PPCG, not discussion about programming puzzles / golfing. Just... no.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not yet sure where I stand on some of the specifics presented here, but I do like point (b) about drawing in an audience and teaching them to solve puzzles / golf. I can name other code-challenge related sites, but they're all competitions. I don't know of one off-hand that tries to teach (discounting one-off blog entries here and there). \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 1:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what you mean by some of your points. What's the distinction you're drawing between "how to make something shorter (e.g. shuffling an array)" and "making specific constructs shorter"? What do you mean by "strategies to solve a specific type of programming puzzle" - things like dynamic programming? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 11:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Geobits Regarding code-challenge related sites that tries to teach, a certain tag on a StackExchange site near you comes to mind \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SimonAndréForsberg After a quick review of the tag wiki and newest questions for that tag, I'm not sure if that really covers the same territory. It's definitely useful for learning, but they seem to be quite a different type of challenge. Specifically, I'd expect most code there to at least try to adhere to best practices, style guides, naming conventions, etc. Here... might be teaching more of how to abuse code, for a specific purpose. \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Geobits Yes, absolutely. Code Review and Code Golf are two entirely different things. I read your comment about code-challenge related sites as being about more code challenges than just golfing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SimonAndréForsberg This site is about more than golfing also, but even on the non-golf challenges... some of the code posted might make a Code Reviewer curse at someone. I know I'd hesitate to post some of my submissions on Code Review without glancing over them a few more times. It is good to know that tag exists, though, so I thank you for the mention :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ to accept that type of questions we would have to first change the rules on what's on topic and what's not (unless we go for the "subjetive exception" in dont-ask). else, they should be probably posted on other specialized sites and we could just link to those answers in pcg meta \$\endgroup\$
    – Einacio
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Meta is for discussion about PPCG, not discussion about golfing." What does the 'G' in PPCG stand for again? \$\endgroup\$
    – Rainbolt
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 13:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rusher Meta is for discussion about the site, not for discussion about the topic of the site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Doorknob Well, I disagree, and you should qualify your statement with "in my opinion". For me, meta is the place for questions about the topic of the site. I come here to discuss what is on-topic, off-topic, introduce new topics, destroy topics I don't like anymore, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rainbolt
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rusher That is true. That is discussion about the site, namely what is on/off-topic for it. I worded that badly - meta is for discussion about the Programming Puzzles and Code Golf site (including what its topic is), not for discussion about programming puzzles and code golf. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Furthermore, the moment the CW rules is lifted for tips questions, a greedy user could go create a thousand tips questions in a single month, and the community would be to blame for making it ok. If they were on meta like they should be, it wouldn't be a problem. There are only a thousand flashing arrows pointing to the fact that these tips questions belong on meta, but the community continues to ignore me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rainbolt
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rusher And what's wrong with that? Just don't upvote them if you don't think they're interesting, and close then if they're too broad like "tips for golfing with languages made before 1990." \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Doorknob At the very least, the tips questions should remain CW and the ANSWERS should be unwiki'd. The answers took effort. The tips questions are boilerplate. They don't deserve rep. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rainbolt
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rusher This is not an opinion. Discussions about the Stack Exchange site PPCG belong on meta. Questions about programming puzzles and code golf (not about this site specifically) go on main. I fail to see how this argument doesn't also imply that questions about cooking should go on Cooking meta, or that questions about bicycles should go on its meta. Meta has a specific, objective purpose. Feel free to post a question on Meta SE about this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:47

3 Answers 3


Hm, the existing answers kind of focus on allowing non-list tips questions or allowing tips-question at all, with some peripheral notes about community wiki. Furthermore, the general question of what sort of non-challenge questions we want has been determined in detail in the meantime. So that's sort of off the table.

Since the question about community wikis was your first point, I thought I'd make an answer for this, so people can vote on it to show their opinion specifically about this.

Tips questions should not be community wikis

Essentially, because of the arguments given in the question itself: answers to tips questions aren't usually maintained collaboratively. Since a good tips answer will only contain a single tip and not a list (to allow more useful tips to bubble up through votes), it's also quite unlikely that we'll see massive collaborative editing of these in the future. The people who come up with these and write them up deserve the rep for that. In fact, now that we do allow single-purpose tips questions ("How can I shorten this snippet in language X?"), nobody has any objections to people answering those getting rep.

Rainbolt's suggestion of making the questions CW but the answers not seems very reasonable from a rep perspective (people will upvote the question because they found the list useful, but there's really no effort on the side of the question asker, since they all use the same boilerplate). However, I think this is simply impractical, because answers to CW questions are automatically CW, so a mod would have to monitor them and un-CW every new answer manually. Giving the question asker a little extra rep seems like the much better alternative, and it doesn't exactly do any harm. As Doorknob said in a comment, if you don't want them to get rep for it, don't upvote the question.


I might want to use the main site to ask questions like, "Why do some method calls in Ruby need parentheses?", or, "Which languages win most often at code golf?" These would be .

I would probably use meta for questions about the rules for code challenges. Questions like, "My program doesn't allow \0 in strings," or, "How to count invalid characters in UTF-8?"

Putting "tips for language X" in community wiki seems useful. For example, in tips for golfing in Ruby:

  • I expanded the tip about Kernel#p though I am not the person who created the answer.
  • I edited the tip about $_ for the difference between Ruby 1.8 and 1.9.

I am not sure whether other questions in (that are not "tips for language X") should be community wiki. If "tips for language X" was no longer community wiki, I would stop editing answers and start adding comments.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure the specific example of "Why do some method calls in Ruby need parentheses?" fits that well on PPCG... it seems more like a question for SO. (I get your point and agree in general, though.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 12:40

How to answer all challenges is site level, not challenge level.

This abstraction is the one that my brain told me was the way to organize things, but it appears to be lost in a tangled web of lawyery phrases by others.

I understand that you can word it differently and get a different result. For example, "Questions about golfing are not questions about the site." This has been beaten to death in chat, so let's agree to disagree here.

The author does not deserve rep for tips questions.

This is community consensus, and not just my opinion. Tips questions are boilerplate, copy and paste tasks that require no ingenuity from the author. On main, enforcing this requires additional restrictions, and moderator intervention if not followed. It was even abused earlier today by an alternate account of a currently active user in order to gain free rep.

The answers are a different story. They worked hard to generate their tips. I feel like they deserve a reward for the efforts, but then again I feel like everyone who makes great points on meta also deserves rep.

It looks like a polling question.

In this regard, it doesn't belong anywhere. However, it can be transformed into something that is not a polling question. If the question begged a single answer, edited by the community, that contains all tips for that language. This it would be a true community wiki both in spirit and in reality.

In summary, I'd like to see things marked Community Wiki actually be a community answer or question. I'd like to see rep abuses be made impossible (that means downvoting non CW tips questions if they are to remain on main). Finally, I have no qualms with tips questions remaining where they are (on Main), but I do take issue with those who claim that their view is the only view. Don't use your diamond or your 20k rep to tell me that my view is just wrong.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Have a look here.. CW questions without CW answers do not exist, and that probably won't change. Also, even if the user had wanted to make the post CW, he couldn't have because that requires mods these days. And I don't think tips are polling questions in the sense that is discouraged on SE: "Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion." Tips are not subjective. A tip is a tip if it reduces the amount of characters needed to accomplish something. There is no discussion whether one tip is "best". \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2014 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments on individual paragraphs: "How to answer..." Does that imply this is the only code golf site in existence? These questions are about golfing in general, not about this specific PPCG site. "This abstraction..." No comment. "I understand..." Why would we agree to disagree when the only arguments presented are for one side of the argument? "The author..." Then don't upvote them. "This is community..." See previous comment. If you don't like them, nobody's forcing you to upvote them. And I'm not just referring to the typical [tips] posts - read the second list in my post for more. (cont.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The answers..." No comment. "It looks..." Sure, most of our typical [tips] questions do, but again, I'm not referring to only what we have now. "In this regard..." This is an entirely different discussion. Too much more to comment here about; we can talk about the idea of this another day. However, that's not what my post is about. "In summary..." Agree with the first sentence. Feel free to use your votes however you'd like. The view that tips belong on main is "the only view" (if you want to put it that way) because meta has a single, objective propose. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 18:30

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