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Every year, during December, our cousin site, Advent of Code goes live, hosting a coding challenge every day from the 1st of December to the 24th of December. There have been various attempts for members of this site to do a similar thing, but it almost always results in a single user trying to post a challenge a day for 24 days, which usually fails partway through the month. Even normally, this is difficult (unless you're Bubbler), but this is made even harder by trying to make them Christmas themed.

Last year, I had an idea:

Ooh, here's an idea: find 25 challenges in the Sandbox that have been abandoned, touch them up to site quality and use them

At the time, I abandoned the idea because (in October) "it might be a bit difficult to do in a month", a valid concern.


However, the idea of a CGCC "Advent of Code" event has stuck in my mind since, and I'm opening the floor to feedback and suggestions. Namely, would people be interested in:

  • Some kind of Christmas coding event, likely one challenge a day over most of the month of December?
  • Competing in such an event, either "part-time" or "full-time"?
  • Contributing challenges to the event, either one-off or regularly?
  • Revamping abandoned Sandbox challenges as part of this event?
  • Some other ideas for such an event?

Feel free to leave suggestions in the answers below.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You could always halve the workload by going with '12 Days of Christmas' instead :p \$\endgroup\$
    – Dingus
    Nov 9 at 5:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ For intervals, one every two or three days would also work. Both can start on 1st of December and end on Christmas. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bubbler
    Nov 9 at 5:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bubbler Ideally, I would like it to be a daily event, similar to advent calendars. That said, this is much more of a "should we have a a Christmas event?" post, so any suggestion is ok \$\endgroup\$ Nov 9 at 7:35
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This could totally work

The sandbox has thousands of challenges, many of which are good, and many of which will never see the light of day. Cleaning up 25 of these and adding some winter theming on top shouldn't take too much work, especially since we can work on the later ones throughout early december. We still have nearly two weeks until the first, which is plenty of time to get a couple of sandbox posts cleaned up.

Bubbler's already planning to do something relating to the actual AoC, but the sandbox revamp is an awesome idea, and feels more like Advent of Code Golf instead of Advent of Code Golf.

We could even compete in it, and tally up the byte counts at the end like one big challenge. This could be a pretty fun event, and it'd guarantee us lots of consistently posted challenges for a month, which could also help to introduce users to the site since they wouldn't have to wait some unknown amount of time for challenges to compete in.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Cleaning up 25 of these and adding some winter theming on top shouldn't take too much work I disagree. Inventing a story takes much more time and effort than you think. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bubbler
    Nov 20 at 0:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bubbler There doesn't need to be a story does there? I was just thinking more along the lines of like an advent calender where you get one thing each day, in this case challenges. There'd be a consistent winter theme, but we don't need lore :p \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20 at 0:36
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I'm fully in support of such an event, but...

... maybe it's too late to build such an event for this year, I guess?

The main issue is about coming up with the challenges in the first place, obviously. Eric Wastl, the host of AoC, is known to spend the whole year to prepare for the 25*2-1 challenges. Probably we're in better situation (we're a bunch of people, not 1 person, and we don't need everything to fit in a single Christmas-themed story), but 1 month (more like 3 weeks as of writing this) is way too short to prepare 25 challenges, especially when we want all of them to be of good quality.

Sandbox revamp is great, but we have a process for that:

  • If a challenge proposal was not edited or commented on for a month, you can leave a comment that you would like take over the challenge, get it ready for main and post it.
  • If the OP does not reply within two weeks, telling you that they still intend to post the challenge themselves, you are free to proceed with the challenge as you see fit.

And it takes time and effort to dig the sandbox for hidden gems, so it's again too late for this year.

One thing that might work this year is: what if we post some modified versions of previous AoC challenges? I think Eric has given explicit permission on posting those to CGCC (or other sites in general? I don't remember the details).

I don't think anything else (participation of answerers, ...) will be a problem, given that we've seen multiple successful one-user-hosted events before.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Meanwhile, I just skimmed through one year of AoC, and got like five different challenge ideas already lol (currently in my private list of ideas). This actually might work pretty well... \$\endgroup\$
    – Bubbler
    Nov 11 at 10:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ The explicit permission you are looking for is twitter.com/ericwastl/status/699455417768923137 \$\endgroup\$ Nov 13 at 4:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I gathered 25 different challenge ideas from previous AoC events. I guess I'll write up those into concrete challenges under a separate meta post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bubbler
    Nov 19 at 7:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ the post Bubbler mentioned \$\endgroup\$
    – pxeger
    Nov 19 at 8:19

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