Here's our to-do list for the project:
- Close all existing code-trolling questions (or maybe re-tag those three I mentioned).
- status-declined - if locked or deleted, closing might not matter, so we may or may not close them all first
- Lock all the more popular ones (>20 answers or >20 upvotes, say). Put the "kept around for historical significance" message on them. That's the key really.
- Do delete the rest (although I personally wouldn't even mind if we just leave them all as signposts).
- status-completed - here's our plan:
- if the question has more than 50% "keep" votes on the spreadsheet, lock it
- if the question has more than 75% "delete" votes, kill it with fire
- otherwise, decide manually, taking into consideration votes (especially posts with 25+ votes), answer count, and community input in chat
- status-completed - here's our plan:
- Change the code-trolling tag wiki to read "This tag is kept around for historical reasons. Questions of this type are not considered a good fit for this site, so rethink your challenge if you wanted to use this tag."
- status-completed - someone appears to have already done this
- Strongly discourage all future code-trolling posts by closing (and subsequently deleting) them with reference to the tag wiki or this meta discussion.
- If an interesting/good code troll does come up, figure out why it's good, build on that - and sort it into another appropriate tag (most likely some variant of popularity contest). Because most likely, the good thing about will not be something inherent to code trolling.
- N/A - we will do this for all code-trolling posts in the future
I've noticed a very troubling pattern going on with code trolling.
"No, really?" you say sarcastically, but I've noticed something... different, something that has some potential to be fixed.
First, let me present the obvious problem with code trolling:
People are upvoting them.
I'm not saying I can tell people how they can and can not use their votes, but these questions are way way way way way way too broad.
Let's take a look at them. The first one boils down to "make something related to square roots." The second basically says "do something with complex numbers." They're both essentially saying this:
Write some code. Any code. Don't worry about what it does. Just put (square roots / complex numbers) somewhere in there and you'll be fine.
That is completely utterly absolutely positively undoubtedly too broad.
This is a huge problem. It's a vicious circle. Some people within PPCG upvote them. (Here's the problem. They upvote and answer instead of voting to close like they should.) Mountains of answers pile up. Then these questions shoot up through the Hot Network Questions list. They get piles of upvotes and answers on and on and then new users jump in and think these are good challenges.
If we're going to say these are good, then I might as well just go and post this:
Your challenge is to write some code. The only restriction is that it must contain at least three multiplications. Good luck!
So, could we please close and delete these, instead of pushing the quality bar lower and lower?
Anyway, now that we've established this, these are the bad code trolling posts. This does not mean to close all code trolling posts. "Good" code trolling posts may or may not exist. This is where our community is divided. So, after all this rambling, here's the point of this post.
What do we think about code trolling?
Here are our options:
- we do not want any code-trolling posts outright. They are all bad because foo and bar. (Please provide examples.) Kill them. With FIRE.
- there exist some good code-trolling posts. (Example foo, example bar.) To make a good code trolling post, it should have foo and bar.
- code-trolling is good because foo and bar. We should leave it as is, but maybe just have a few more rules for it (like foo and bar).
Can we finally figure this out?