This Programming Push has ended ::sigh:: But we may do another in a few weeks or months, and your high quality contributions are always welcome.


  • The site has suffered from low traffic for weeks
  • We've been in beta for 86 days and our numbers are marginal
  • Too many recent question have been both too easy and poorly specified
  • Users are complaining of lack of motivation due to a low voting rate

we are seeking users willing to commit to improving the site.

Your mission

should you chose to accept it—is

  1. To write one (1) really good programming puzzle of any kind and post it to the site sometime in the next two (2) weeks.
  2. To answer at least two of these puzzles within one (1) week of their posting with a completely compliant, well written answer.
  3. To vote (up or down) on at least four (4) of these questions, and if voting down to truthfully and tactfully explain why.
  4. To vote (up or down) on at least eight (8) answers to these questions, and if voting down to truthfully and tactfully explain why.

In addition to the existing puzzle lab chat and the meta sandbox for questions, the answers to this post can serve as a place for vetting proposed questions and coordinating activities related to The Push.

Per Joey's suggestion, puzzles submitted as part of this event may (should?) be marked "1P5" if they have been discussed in the above places to insure high quality.

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Applaudable goal. Count me in :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Joey
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 22:12
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm signing the programmers at Stack Exchange, Inc. up for this too :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 9:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ hey dmckee we are trying to email you about meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/318/… .. sorry to bug you but just wanted to make sure you saw it and advised us on how to proceed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 9, 2011 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


Herein a list of vague ideas which anyone could try to develop into a proper puzzle.

  • Implement the classic "Animals" question--answer game.

  • Write a minimal implementation of make (1) in which the only language construct accepted is <target> ":" <dependency>* "\n" ["\t" <command> "\n"]* with the usual meaning (if any dependency is older than target run all the commands). No variable, no automatic rules, no anything except temporal dependencies. But it should sort out the dependency graph so that nothing is run out of order.

  • I've posted a suggestion for two new contest types: and . If these are accepted by the community here their very newness might provoke interest.

  • Polygon optimization. Input is a list of points. Output a grouping of those points into one or more closed (possibly convex) polygons such that [the perimeter is minimized|other condition].

  • Constructive planar geometry. With axis-aligned rectangles as a or more generally as a longer challenge.

  • Watersheds. Input is a height map and a test point. Output is indicative of which direction the rain went. You'll need some way of distinguishing "oceans" in the input. How to handle test points on ridges, saddles, and hilltops, and how to handle local minima?

Feel free to list additional ideas that seem promising, but you don't have the time to develop.


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