Status quo

We currently have seventy-four questions tagged , but most of them contain a twist. As I see it, there are only two challenges about the basic palindrome string .

While the first one is a basic decision problem challenge, it excludes punctuation, whitespace, control characters and letter case such that palindromic sentences are considered palindromes. To me, those are very human language specific exclusion and I do not feel like this challenge captures the core property of palindromic strings.
Furthermore, it only asks for a "method bod[y]" -- not conforming to our current standard method of determining byte count.

While the second challenge linked to above actually defines palindromes as reading byte-for-byte the same from both directions, it is also a challenge -- which, to my eyes -- seems to be the far greater task.

There is one other challenge with a palindromic theme I found -- which is not tagged --,

which also is a restricted source challenge. Furthermore, this challenge focuses more on two-dimensional matrices rather than string palindromes (even though the tag description could be interpreted as also covering this challenge).

A new challenge

Based upon all of the above, I think it would be appropriate to have a new challenge which simply asks to decide whether or not a given ASCII string is a true palindrome, as in being byte-for-byte invariant under horizontal reflection.

It would be about nothing more, nothing less -- no restrictions on the source or other interpretations of what a palindrome is. It would also comply with our current byte count and I/O standards.

While this challenge will be trivially answerable in a lot of languages, there are definitely (especially esoteric) languages in which palindrome decision is no simple task.
A pure palindrome decision program in such languages, however, is -- as I see it -- currently not a valid answer to any question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What's the question here? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanMerrill it seems to be more of a proposal than a question. Specifically, it seems to be a proposal for a "basic palindrome recognition" code-golf challenge along the lines of Add two numbers or Hello World. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ If this is a proposal, then isn't the spot for this the sandbox? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanMerrill Since the proposed challenge is rather basic and challenges on the same topic exist (linked to above), I wanted to ask if a challenge rewrite would be welcome before writing a sandbox proposal. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ We already have some trivial questions, only challenging for esoteric languages. Do we need more? The only problem here is that it will be "spammed" with answers in normal languages, and that's not interesting. Which usually comes with some downvotes as well. \$\endgroup\$
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 7:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unless there is an argument for not having trivial challenges at all, I can't see how there can be an argument for not having more. If a new trivial challenge is not a duplicate of an existing one, then it will provide a challenge to someone, in some language, which is the main purpose of the site. I agree lots of trivial answers from languages where it's easy will be uninteresting, but I don't see a way around that as interesting is subjective with no clear dividing line. I don't see trivial answers as a reason to avoid posting a challenge though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


I'd divide this into two questions:

Would the proposed challenge be acceptable according to our rules?

Keeping to our rules means the challenge must be on topic, with an objective winning criterion, and not a duplicate. It is certainly on topic, has as a winning criterion (the most objective of all winning criteria), and there seems to be no suggestion that it is a duplicate. If anyone is aware of an existing challenge that has competitive answers that could be trivially migrated to be competitive answers to this new challenge, please let us know.

Would the proposed challenge be welcomed here?

This is a mystery. I would guess that it would get a mixture of upvotes and downvotes, and cause a flurry of discussion which would then calm down, but that can only be a guess.

Personally, I'm strongly in favour of not excluding potential challenges without good reason. I don't see "Too easy in my language" as a good reason. I understand that some people are dismayed at the impression of our site that is created by trivial challenges getting into the Hot Network Questions, but other challenges get into HNQ too, and I think having a range of different challenges there is a good thing. I don't think people who come to the site for a "Hello World" challenge should be less welcome, or are likely to make less contribution long term.

I arrived here through HNQ, and I didn't come for code golf at all, but for contests. I've still ended up contributing some golf challenges along the way.

I see no reason that this challenge shouldn't be sandboxed, fine tuned, and then posted. The only question that remains is whether you want to be the one to do that. There will be a certain amount of discussion as always happens with simple challenges. If you're happy with that, please go ahead...


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