Certain languages can do things with fewer characters/functions than others. How does this factor into the code golf process?

Isn't this a bit too subjective when measuring how quickly a problem is solved? Perhaps run time on pre-defined hardware set or big O notation is a better measurement.



2 Answers 2


It makes it easier to win code golf in terse languages.

That's life.

Those other metrics are perfectly reasonable, and might make good games, but they are different games. My sense had been that they were going to be allowed: just tag them and say what you mean.


I think an entry should be judged on a number of factors:

  • Conciseness - number of characters is a useful rough metric but I would give some allowance for the language (e.g. I'd definitely count 100 characters of Java as a win over 80 characters of Perl)
  • Conceptual beauty - is it a beautiful and clever approach to solving the problem?
  • Surprise factor - did I learn something new and enlightening about the langugae in question? did the author impress me with some amazing ingenuity?

All of these are subjective. But so what? This is not yet an olympic sport :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ So ice-skating and gymnastics, both olympic sports, aren't subjective? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 11:14

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