I feel like I have a cool idea for a challenge but I seriously lack the skill to host such a challenge, what should I do?

I could of course post it to the sandbox as suggested here, but what should I expect then? For someone to get interested in the challenge and take over by actually asking the question in the end or should I find someone to help me out with the technical side but still post the question myself?

The latter seems a bit rude and if I'm going for the former, I feel like I should take it somewhere other than the sandbox.

So, where should I go with my idea and what should I expect/hope for?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ You can try the chat, but I'd suggest doing that on weekdays, as it's pretty deserted on weekends. Otherwise, posting in the sandbox and specifically offering to hand the challenge over to someone who wants to realise it seems like a perfectly valid thing to do. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2014 at 13:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinBüttner The problem with the chat is that it doesn't seem suitable for transfering a lot of information, the problem with the sandbox is that if someone takes it off my hands, i'm still awkwardly left as the person who should manage the sandbox answer. Though I guess lending the person who takes it off my hands a hand would be the nice thing to do. \$\endgroup\$
    – overactor
    Jul 20, 2014 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well yes, I wouldn't put the entire challenge proposal in the chat. If you don't want it in the sandbox, you could just post a link to a GitHub gist or something like that in the chat. As for the sandbox post - once you have found someone, you could always delete your answer and have the other user repost it. Or if that user has enough rep he can just edit your answer anyway. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2014 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I decided to put a draft in the sandbox. Should I answer this question myself if this works out, or just leave this question for what it is? \$\endgroup\$
    – overactor
    Jul 20, 2014 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Leave the question for now. Seeing your three upvotes I think it's of general interest. I don't think this has happened a lot before, but it would be nice to get some community opinions on what to do in such a case. Regardless, feel free to answer it yourself once the challenge has been completed and posted, just to share your experience with the way you did it. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2014 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


There are a few things to note. First, this is your challenge idea. If somebody were to post this challenge on the main site without obvious consent from you, I would downvote, closevote, and flag it. Plenty of people are not sure how to run a challenge; this is okay. The sandbox is there to help you work it out.

However, it sounds like you have this idea for your challenge, but you don't have the programming skill to be able to write a controlling program for it.

I do not think that you should let somebody else post your challenge for you. It is your challenge. Instead, I encourage that you request help in composing the program. Yes this is a lot to ask for. But I'm sure that there are several users on this site who would help, including me.
(Note that you should definitely acknowledge anyone who helps to a greater extent than usual)

What I suggest is that you do what you can with the control program. Find some way to get people to help contribute to it. I think github may be able to do this.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think if the OP is willing to donate his challenge idea, as he'd rather see it realised by someone with the required skill than not realised at all, there's nothing wrong with that. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2014 at 7:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ If no one is interested in hosting this challenge (which seems very reasonable) I would consider giving it a shot myself. But as @MartinBüttner pointed out, I feel like I might not do it justice. \$\endgroup\$
    – overactor
    Jul 21, 2014 at 10:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @MartinBüttner Yes, there is nothing wrong with that, but I'd encourage the OP to get help and run it him/herself \$\endgroup\$
    – Justin
    Jul 22, 2014 at 21:27
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like the OP isn't worried about getting credit for the idea, and happy for someone else to get the upvotes on the finished question. I still second Quincunx' recommendation to keep hold of it though. What better way to gain the programming skill you perceive you lack than by working on a fun project with people keen on helping you learn? There's no time limit on sandbox questions - you can take as long as you like to get it just right before posting in the main site. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2014 at 15:40

Post it to the sandbox, put into words everything you can put into words and ask for help, the chat is also a great place to ask for quicker feedback, people there are generally very helpful.

If no one immediately takes the challenge off your hands (which is to be expected), you should start coding by it yourself. Any work you do, others don't have to and it's a great way to learn. If you never do anything yourself (or at least try), you'll never get better.

In the end, with a little (or a lot of) help form the friendly PPCG people, you'll have made a fun challenge you can be proud of. Even if it does turn out a bit different from what you originally envisioned.


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