There's a certain stigma against using languages designed for golfing in this community, and for good reason -- but I think it would be fun to turn the tables and make this form of "cheating" into a legitimate competition. This idea goes beyond the scope of a single question, so I'm posting it as its own question rather than in the Sandbox. Personally, I think it has great potential, but there are some issues that I need to iron out first, and I'd love to hear your feedback.
In the first "phase" of this challenge, users would create and post their own custom-built languages designed for golfing. The language can be as simple as a script that translates "golfed" text into an existing programming language and then executes that -- it needn't be too complex. The language itself would not need to be golfed, or fit any requirements other than that it must not depend on external resources for execution (i.e. no running code from an author-controlled server).
The goal here is to create the most general purpose, "jack-of-all-trades" golfing language possible, as the second phase of this challenge would involve these languages being pitted against one another in golfing challenges determined by a non-participating third party. The core idea here is that the golfing challenges are not revealed until after the users have created their languages. The language that consistently solves the given puzzles with the shortest source code is deemed the winner.
There are a few ways that this could be turned into an ongoing event. For example, users could be permitted to post their languages at any time, but they would only be allowed to enter challenges posted after their language was submitted. Also, perhaps anyone would be allowed to post a challenge, but they would not be allowed to participate in their own challenges. But this raises the issue of quality control (see below).
How would languages be submitted?
- Let's say they're posted in a dedicated thread. Should that thread be on the main site or here on meta?
- What happens if a user edits their language after a challenge has been posted? The challenge author would need to verify that submissions work with the language as it was originally posted.
Quality control for challenges?
- The ideal scenario is a diverse set of challenges with requirements that are difficult to anticipate, but the community won't always be in agreement on this.
- Only count challenges that reach a certain score threshold -- but scores can fluctuate over time, and this reduces incentive for early submissions. (What if your hard work goes for nothing because the question didn't get enough votes?)
- Could be mitigated by having a select group of challenge authors, or possibly a new "sandbox" where ideas for challenges could be deemed official.
- Basically, I definitely need feedback on this part.
How many people would actually put in the necessary effort in the first phase?
- I did my best to make it sound as non-scary as possible in the second paragraph, but creating a custom "language" is still a daunting task.
- Would you make up a language for this event? What would it take to get you to make one?
What should this be called?
- I'll humor myself and assume you all love this idea enough to put it into action. What would be a good tag name for this idea?
- Clearly the title of this thread is too verbose to be tweaked into a short and catchy name...
Feedback and criticism would be greatly appreciated. I've been bouncing this idea around in my head for weeks, and I think it's good enough to at least suggest by now.