The Code Golf FAQ says, "You should only ask practical, answerable questions". "Answerable" I get, but isn't code golf by its nature impractical, but fun? Aside from the impracticality of minimizing source code length, many of the puzzles that one can solve when golfing don't have practical applications. Are they off limits?

I wonder whether the "practical" blurb is Stack Exchange boilerplate text that accidentally got copied over.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yep. That's boilerplate that we've inherited from the rest of the stack exchange network. On graduated site moderators have some power to edit that kind of thing, but I don't see the magic button here and now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 17:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's no point asking for the shortest program which proves Goldbach's conjecture within 2 hours on a Raspberry Pi. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 19:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I added the bug tag so that this item gets tracked toward completion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/q/477/152 \$\endgroup\$
    – AShelly
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 18:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Gosh...I sure hope no one's asking a practical question...one they would actually use. Shudder. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 25, 2014 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am marking this as status-deferred because I don't think this is something we can change per-site yet, so will require more work. It doesn't apply to other sites really, so this is unlikely to be changed. \$\endgroup\$
    – hyper-neutrino Mod
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


You can learn a lot about a languages features by the very act of golfing. I feel that knowledge for knowledges' sake is actually beautiful just as Mathematics is. I don't think code that has no practical applications should be off limits. The sheer challenge alone is an art form to be admired.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, I've learned more about list comprehension from golf than I have from tutorials. Golf is all about making terse code, it takes it to extremes, but it is a beneficial exercise. \$\endgroup\$
    – user8777
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 6:51

That depends. Code golf questions usually tend to not require a huge amount of mathematical (or chemical, biological etc.) knowledge and therefore code golf is usually not about solving real world problems. Code golf is trickery. That's all it is, and that's the way it's supposed to be. It's like solving sudoku puzzle. It's hard, it's fun, it helps a little for real world stuff, but it's more hacking than solving.


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