We have a list of standard loopholes which are forbidden by default.

This is pretty good, it does good for the site. But it's also 8 years old, and it is showing its age.

We occasionally inaugurate new loopholes with 5-20 votes, while answers posted very early on have score in the triple digits with 100-400 votes. It makes me wonder how many of these are simply riding on inertia vs. how many of these actually have broad support from the active community.

I honestly think that this loophole would be a lot more contentious today than the votes show. We've talked extensively about this on meta and attitudes have pretty significantly changed.

To play devils advocate, one might say that we just got the important ones early on so of course they would have more votes. People don't vote as often on new loopholes because the are not as important and usually pretty niche.

However we still have a loophole for solutions to challenges, with over 200 score. challenges were banned two years after the loopholes, so an loophole that is completely irrelevant has sat there for 6 years without any significant reassessment. Now the moderators can delete it, and we did delete the other underhanded specific loophole back in 2020 (It also had over 200 votes at the time of deletion), but the point here is that the vote totals do not reflect modern community consensus.

The other thing that motivates this proposal is simply the opportunity provided by a retrospective. When we made the original post it was an experiment. We have the experience to propose more informed loopholes. Or even to tweak the rules around loopholes.


If there is a clear consensus to do this I will post a new loophole question as a community wiki. A notice will be added to the old loophole question directing users to the new question. The old loopholes will remain in effect for 2 weeks giving the new loopholes time to settle and then a moderator will lock the old post as "Obsolete" and the new loopholes will be in force.

As for the new loophole question, the rules will remain the same: +5 score and twice as many upvotes as downvotes deems a loophole unacceptable. I will ask that people not copy text from the old loopholes, and instead restate the loophole in their own words and provide their own argument in favor of it. This should hopefully discourage low effort poll-style answers and encourage people to only post loopholes they actually agree with.


This is a proposal to change some of the most basic rules of the site, and drastic changes are possible. Old loopholes could become legal and (although less likely) things previously legal could become loopholes. This is a risk, but the process is democratic, so if there is some drastic change 2/3 of the active community wants it might paradoxically make this risk a necessity.

Additionally it's possible it might take more than the 2 weeks I've allotted for the new thread to settle into a consensus. This would require us to either extend this period or move forward into uncertainty.


For discussion here I think we need to cover if the community wants this at all. But I would also like to get feedback and suggestions on the details. Do we want to change the rules for loopholes while we are doing this? Do we want a 2 week grace period? Are there any other things the community wants to tweak?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Suggestion: Separate loophole threads for separate types of challenges \$\endgroup\$
    – mousetail
    Oct 3, 2022 at 17:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ What's wrong with people posting loopholes that they don't agree with? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2022 at 18:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @ If a loophole is going to get passed at all it needs at least one supporter, so there's no reason to post anything that noone supports. If you post a loophole you don't agree with then either you are posting a loophole noone agrees with which is entirely pointless, or you are posting something that could better be posted by someone who actually agrees with it. People who support a proposal can explain why they support it, while people who don't risk poisoning the well. It's just better for good-faith functioning discussion, when people don't say things they don't believe. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wheat Wizard Mod
    Oct 3, 2022 at 18:54

2 Answers 2



  • The current loophole prohibitions are working well for us.
  • They were established when the site (and especially Meta) was much more active, and included some legendary users that are not around any more (and some of the posts are a tribute to their legacy). I fear that we'll not get the same kind of participation in establishing overhauled rules.
  • Starting over is unnecessary work for everyone.
  • The obsolete ones are harmless.
  • There are a great number of comment links to existing rules, and these cannot (easily) be updated.
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, hmm good point! The only downside of not doing so is that new loopholes get fewer votes and little attention, but it seems you mentioned the advantages far outweigh this, so I'm upvoting! :3 \$\endgroup\$
    – DialFrost
    Oct 7, 2022 at 6:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DialFrost We have a feed for new loopholes in TNB \$\endgroup\$
    – emanresu A
    Oct 7, 2022 at 7:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the point about legacy is incredibly silly. The post will not go away, it will still be there. In fact a question lock will leave it very well preserved. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wheat Wizard Mod
    Oct 7, 2022 at 14:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As for the obsolete ones, I don't think they are harmless, but they can easily be removed. The important part is they are indicative of the fact that old answers are not being flushed properly. As you point out meta used to be more active, and our site has changed since then. It's not clear if votes represent the current state of the community or some bygone state. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wheat Wizard Mod
    Oct 7, 2022 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WheatWizard I didn't realise we'd keep the old posts around, so I've now removed that part about legacy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adám
    Oct 7, 2022 at 14:57


I agree with this. The post is quite old, and I think it's a good idea to refresh and restart. Of course we would have to transfer over many, but I think the main reason of doing so, is to especially incorporate new illegal loopholes that have low votes, which I agree with.

I also think the risk should be manageable. We should have a grace period for a few weeks for users to follow the old post before starting to follow the new post.

That post was created 8 years ago, surely it requires a reboot? :3

Suggestion: Separate loophole threads for separate types of challenges - @mousetail

To briefly answer this I don't think this is really viable as it would be quite messy with so many posts to consider and it might be better to leave them all in 1 post to ensure better readability for new users especially.

That said, I'll be glad to help out with creating the answers and possibly the question itself.


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