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This answer on MSO contains a list of rules that code golf challenges on Stackoverflow should follow. I think it would be a good idea to discuss which of those rules we want to adopt for this site. Obviously the bits about frequencies and new users don't apply here, but others seem sensible.

For example one of the rules is that the problem as well as the "winning condition" should be clearly specified. I think that one should be pretty uncontroversial.

Another rule is that challenges should not be language-specific. Given that the first question on this site already breaks this rule, this is clearly a bit more controversial. On the one hand I rather like that rule. On the other hand the scope of this site is a lot wider than those of code golfs on Stackoverflow, so maybe that rule is not necessary / too restrictive.

So, discuss: Which rules should we adopt for this site?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ About first question already breaking this rule I think, that we need either some tag for TRUE-codegolf (fully accepted by rules), or just all true golf questions have to have more, than one tag (like rosetta stone, lang agnostic and codegolf on SO), and that another perl hack just will not have rosetta stone. BTW, I don't like both tags (rosetta and agnostic). \$\endgroup\$ – Nakilon Jan 27 '11 at 22:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Bonus points" are appearing on quite a few questions, and I feel this breaks the objectivity of code-golf questions. I think you could offer a discount to encourage people to attempt the bonus, eg "smallest number of characters to do X. 10% discount on the character count if it also does Y. 25% discount if the answer only uses symbols (no alphanumerics)" \$\endgroup\$ – gnibbler Feb 9 '11 at 3:44
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Don't ask trivial code-golfs and then complain when people give you trivial answers.

There are several "languages" that can print "Hello World" with one character, so why do we keep seeing questions asking for it. Instead of trying to develop rules to exclude those languages just pick a different phrase

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This is more of a meta answer, but hopefully still useful. Here are some ideas I have:

  • Add rules to the faq.
  • Have one general set of rules, but allow questioners to specify adaptations to the rules. Maybe a set of standard categories, where the questioner can tag his/her choice? Maybe use tag wikis for this.
  • I don't see what's wrong restricting to one language. Sometimes it's fun doing a vim-golf or java-golf, etc. Otherwise it will be the same small set of languages always winning.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice idea! Tags: ruby-golf, perl-golf, rosetta-golf... \$\endgroup\$ – Nakilon Jan 27 '11 at 22:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nakilon Interesting idea. Not sure if [code-golf] (again, assuming we widen scope) + [ruby] / [perl] / [language-agnostic] would be better. \$\endgroup\$ – marcog Jan 27 '11 at 22:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Add rules to the faq. # golf rules should be in code-golf tag wiki; and in main FAQ should be links to code-golf wiki and to some place (maybe question in meta) with rules of tagging. \$\endgroup\$ – Nakilon Jan 28 '11 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if people will take advantage of a language specific golf to farm rep? For example for every golfquestion just add a 'ruby-golf', 'perl-golf'... etc. \$\endgroup\$ – snmcdonald Feb 2 '11 at 4:33
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The original Perlgolf rules could be of interest.

It might be easier to adopt some of these tried-and-tested rules instead of reinventing the square wheel yet another time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ We have our own, language-agnostic, rules from Stack Overflow. And that's a perfectly good triangular wheel. \$\endgroup\$ – dmckee Feb 7 '11 at 20:27
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I do agree with generally trying to be language-agnostic. (Say I, who created the tag on SO!)

I also think questions need to have (some shade of) objective criteria for deciding which entry is "best". It absolutely can't simply be "whatever the OP likes best" or even "whatever the voters like best", because then it's just a popularity contest, which is not what Stack Exchange is designed for.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps there should be a set of default, community set rules, and each OP can add other rules. Of course all the rules have to be objective. \$\endgroup\$ – Juan Jan 27 '11 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Juan: Yes, I agree with your suggested approach. +1 \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Jester-Young Jan 27 '11 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ You, who created tag ..) tell me what is the difference between it and rosetta-stone? \$\endgroup\$ – Nakilon Jan 27 '11 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nakilon: language-agnostic means "this question applies to most any language". rosetta-stone means "submit solutions in as many languages as you please". \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Jester-Young Jan 27 '11 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ good to know, thanks, we should include this explanations in tags' wiki if use them on this site. \$\endgroup\$ – Nakilon Jan 27 '11 at 22:38
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I think the title 'Code Golf' is too narrow for this branch of stackexchanche. 'Recreational Programming' or 'Coding for Fun' or something similar would suit it better.

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