# Is my challenge too difficult? How do I get people to answer it?

My first question, Find all integer pairs that produce a given Loeschian number, received 20 upvotes and 14 answers. I currently have one complicated challenge sandboxed, and I recently posted a third challenge, Flatten a parabola keeping the distances between points along the curve constant. At the time of writing, this challenge has 3 upvotes, 114 views and is unanswered after a week.

Is there a way to get people to answer my third challenge? I'm worried that it might be too hard, should this be a concern when posting challenges?

• I've done some editing to clear up the question, feel free to revert/change anything you dislike :) Aug 5 at 0:50
• @Dudecoinheringaahing looks great, thanks!
– uhoh
Aug 5 at 0:51

...and there's no tried and true way of telling what will happen for any given question$$\{}^*\$$. For example, I have 2 unanswered questions, one of which is almost 4 years old.

That said, it is true that easier challenges get more answers, and more answers will drive a question to the Hot Network Questions, allowing it to get more votes. Harder challenges often miss out on these votes as, by the time someone answers them, they're too old for the HNQ.

There are fortunately a number of ways you can increase activity on your challenge:

• Start a bounty, which any user with 75 reputation or more can do. One of the bounty reasons we have is Draw more attention, and starting the bounty bumps it to the top of the front page. Unfortunately, 50 reputation (the minimum) is a lot when you only have a few hundred, and it might not even result in answers or votes.

• Mention it in chat. Any user with 20 reputation or more across the network can chat, and bringing up your challenge is entirely on topic, and will draw some attention to it.

• Bump it by editing it. Editing a post will move it to the top of the front page. I will sometimes reread my less active challenges and make minor tweaks to wordings, add in a new test case, etc. which will improve the challenge, and move it to the front page.

Note that your edits should be somewhat substantive and improve the challenge. Just adding in a blank line, or an HTML comment, is necro-bumping, and we don't really like that

Additionally, don't worry about challenges being "too hard". In my personal opinion, we need more good, difficult challenges and fewer low-hanging fruit challenges, so I often upvote harder challenges. We also have a few users around who seem to hate unanswered questions, no matter how hard they are, and will often post crazy answers to them.

$$\{}^*\$$: Although the more challenges you see and post, the more you'll start to notice patterns. Easy challenges almost always get a flood of answers which push the to the HNQ where they attract more votes and answers. Harder challenges often take longer to be answered and so get fewer votes.

• I'd naively imagined that mine was the first question to go five days without a single answer.
– uhoh
Aug 5 at 0:48
• @uhoh Tetris in GoL, the highest upvoted challenge on the site went ~3 years without an answer. Additionally, there is a tab for unanswered challenges on the questions page with close to 80 at the moment :) Aug 5 at 0:52

# Hard challenges can go unanswered for a very long time, but...

There are some ways to make your challenge more approachable.

1. Include sufficient background, and include some formula(s) that can be used to solve the challenge if possible. Adding some links to necessary knowledge (usually Wikipedia or Mathworld for mathematical concepts) also helps.
2. Include some test cases. It makes an answerer easier to get confidence that their answer works (and therefore actually post it as an answer).

Also a minor note: contrary to common knowledge, our site is more active on weekdays than on weekends.

• The first one is something which I was about to comment on, I'm sure a lot of the golfers here would rather figure out how to implement something than track down what to implement :p Aug 5 at 0:50