There's a tag which is currently being used three times. All three questions were asking for help with solving a programming challenge found elsewhere. We usually consider that to be off-topic. Two of the questions were sort of salvaged and turned into challenges (the third one is still closed), but at that point they are no longer about algorithm advice, but about people competing for the winning criterion. So I think they shouldn't even have the tag any more.

A rather strong indicator that there's a correlation between the tag and bad/off-topic questions is that on top of those three remaining questions, there are 15 deleted ones with the tag.

If we really don't want algorithm advice questions, we should probably burninate the tag, because having it suggests that these questions are perfectly valid. Alternatively, we could sort out in which cases algorithm advice questions could be on topic here and outline that in the tag wiki.


  • \$\begingroup\$ We recently had a debate about algorithm competitions in general. That is whether all questions should ask for code. I think this is relevant to this question. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9206
    Aug 9, 2015 at 7:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would any of these questions be acceptable if posted with the tips tag, or is that for language-specific golfing tips only? IOW what's the difference between asking for advice and asking for tips? \$\endgroup\$
    – samgak
    Aug 9, 2015 at 8:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @samgak In principle tips could be about other challenge types as well, but "algorithm advice" is so general that it's basically a "general programming question", and those generally belong on Stack Overflow. It also attracts "do my homework for me" type of questions. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2015 at 8:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ And one of those three questions which haven't been deleted is closed. Get rid of the tag, advice doesn't belong here unless it's golfing advice. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2015 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, tactics on how to shorten your code are on topic, but the algorithm you use is your whole strategy. Giving algorithm advice generally means solving the whole problem for someone, which is not what you do in a challenge, it's what you do when you answer a homework question.

I suggest we get rid of this tag.

Important Sidenote:

Of course there are fastest-code (and least memory) challenges where refining minor details of the algorithm may help, but I don't believe we have any legitimate tips questions on that subject. So the tag is not useful. If there were any such question, it could go under the tips tag.

In any case, code that is fast and economical with memory is a common goal in industry and there is a wealth of information about this on other sites, computer science courses, etc. These days, unless you are programming a microcontroller, writing the shortest possible code is strictly an entertainment, which makes the golfing tips questions on this site a pretty unique resource.


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