I think that we should tag puzzles (or whatever) with an estimated difficulty tag. That way people who want a real challenge can find it and those who are just starting out can find ones they might be more able to solve.

For example consider: https://codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/154/distance-between-hands-on-clock

vs: Shortest path in a graph

The former requires the application of some basic trigonometry and so I consider it a beginner problem (especially since it's not a golf), the latter requires solving what would seem to me a very significant file parsing puzzle even though the title issue is rather basic.

I've started tagging my puzzles in this manner. It might serve to discuss what terms to use though.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea if we can pull it off, but the questioner might not always have the best idea of question difficulty. \$\endgroup\$ – marcog Jan 28 '11 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @marcog: If this grows a bit, I guess there will be enough active users that do have such an idea and change/add difficulty tags easily. \$\endgroup\$ – Joey Jan 29 '11 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related discussion on codereview's meta: meta.codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/173/… \$\endgroup\$ – marcog Feb 1 '11 at 13:50

Sorry, I don't like this idea. It's too subjective.
One man knows geometry, but didn't ever heard about graphs. (like me after school)
Another man can solve graphs, but don't know, what Sinus is. (like some part of IT students with too temporary abilities of memory)
So it's impossible to objectively measure difficulty, and I even don't see purpose – any person can look at task and see is it hard for him.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 That's basically the same point I was trying to make in my comment, but you said it well. \$\endgroup\$ – marcog Jan 28 '11 at 22:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Impossible to objectively measure difficulty, yes. However, a little common sense can help with the process of defining it's difficulty. Also, @gnibbler's is a fair one. \$\endgroup\$ – Kyle Rozendo Feb 4 '11 at 7:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ We can't do it perfectly, so we shouldn't try. Is that really the reasoning we should use? We use tags, not because it's difficult to see what type a question is, but because it may be difficult to find a certain kind of question. \$\endgroup\$ – aaaaaaaaaaaa Feb 6 '11 at 21:37

The language you're trying to solve a particular challenge in also affects how difficult it will be. Solving a regex-related challenge in Retina might be easy, but solving the same challenge with brainfuck might be incredibly difficult. Solving pretty much any challenge in Seed is difficult.

So, not only is difficulty user-subjective, it's also language-subjective.


It is very subjective, but perhaps it can be managed by the community

Someone tags a problem as "hard"

Someone comments "I think it's really medium difficulty"

If that comment gets a bunch of votes the tag should change

If there are multiple such comments, the one with the most votes wins.


It's definitely subjective, but I still think it's a good (if optional) idea. For example, a newbie might like to go through a list of questions marked when first visiting (if this were implemented right now, I can tell you I'd probably spend more time on "easy" ones right now, since I'm new to code challenges). Those people who consider themselves experts might want to concentrate primarily on questions marked . And so on.


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