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It was recently suggested in a comment to point at our standard loopholes (and potentially other implicit community rules) next to the Answer text area (similar to the How to ask? sidebar when writing a question):

Wouldn't there be a way to customize the "answer" box so that there is a warning about standard loopholes?

While there is no sidebar like the one for questions, new and anonymous users will see this overlay while writing an answer:

enter image description here
(The link leads to /help/how-to-answer.)

That body of text doesn't make a lot of sense for PPCG. But it turns out that it can be customised for each site. This is the perfect place to point to loopholes and similar things, so let's rewrite this.

I have drafted a new version here, which is probably still far from perfect.

Your Answer

Thanks for contributing an answer to Programming Puzzles & Code Golf Stack Exchange!

If this is an answer to a challenge:

  • Please be sure to follow the challenge specification.
  • Include a short header which indicates the language(s) of your code and the score as defined by the challenge.
  • Explanations of your answer are very much encouraged.
  • All answers should show some effort towards reaching a better score. For instance, answers to code golf challenges should try to be as short as possible (within the constraints of the chosen language). You can always include a readable version of the code in addition to the competitive one.
  • Don't try to answer a challenge by exploiting loopholes in the specification. Answers abusing any of the standard loopholes are considered invalid.

If this is an answer to a question about code golf:

  • Please make sure to answer the question and provide sufficient detail.

In either case, avoid ...

  • Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers.

This is quite long, so please help me edit it down a bit. Post feedback (corrections, additions etc.) in the comments and answers.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @DLosc I'm personally not a fan of any sort of loophole abuse, and I think the community is generally moving away from appreciating rule-lawyering (but I may be wrong... might be worth a separate meta post). If you think you've found an exceptionally clever way to work around a significant part of the challenge, you should probably ask the OP whether they intentionally left this option open. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Sep 28 '15 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do those discussions usually evolve? will this be turned into a feature-request or something? what is the next step? Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – coredump Oct 15 '15 at 22:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @coredump I had already pinged a dev, but retagging it sounds like a good idea. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Oct 16 '15 at 6:15
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This was recently changed to the text proposed by coredump. New users who enter the Your Answer box will see:

enter image description here

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess this would make many spam answers by unknowing users non-existent. I guess now it's "How to Ask"'s time to include that this site is for programming puzzles and code golf competitions, not general programming questions (and the necessary link to SO). \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Feb 9 '17 at 16:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks so much! I'm really glad to see this \$\endgroup\$ – cat Feb 9 '17 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it's not too late to suggest changes, I like all of this except "Please make sure to answer the question and provide sufficient detail". I don't see how either applies except for the rare Q&A tips question. If "answer the question" means to obey the spec, the first point covers that. \$\endgroup\$ – xnor Feb 10 '17 at 5:38
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I am evidently sold on the idea. Here is a modified version in order to bring more thoughts on this.

If this is an answer to a challenge

  • Be sure to follow the challenge specification. However, please refrain from exploiting obvious loopholes. Answers abusing any of the standard loopholes are considered invalid. If you think a specification is unclear or underspecified, comment on the question instead.

  • Try to optimize your score. For instance, answers to challenges should attempt to be as short as possible. You can always include a readable version of the code in addition to the competitive one. Explanations of your answer make it more interesting to read and are very much encouraged.

  • Include a short header which indicates the language(s) of your code and its score, as defined by the challenge.

More generally

  • Please make sure to answer the question and provide sufficient detail.

  • Avoid asking for help, clarification or responding to other answers (use comments instead).

\$\endgroup\$
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Please don't recommend that everyone include an <h1> in their answer. It's bad style to have more than one of those per page. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Sep 28 '15 at 22:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor I removed that part. But I am curious: doesn't everybody already use # to format headers? \$\endgroup\$ – coredump Sep 29 '15 at 4:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ No. I'm not the only one who uses ##. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Sep 29 '15 at 7:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ All answers should show some effort towards reaching a better score. This could read as If you can't get a better score than others, don't bother especially to non-native speakers. Not sure if there's a better way to formulate it. \$\endgroup\$ – Sanchises Oct 1 '15 at 8:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sanchises I disagree. The next sentence makes it clear. \$\endgroup\$ – mbomb007 Oct 1 '15 at 16:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mbomb007 If sanchises finds the the sentence confusing, maybe others will be confused too. What about "Answers should attempt to optimize their score". Also a little shorter. \$\endgroup\$ – coredump Oct 1 '15 at 19:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ ‘Also a little shorter’ — I love how you’re trying to golf the ‘How to Answer’ text =D \$\endgroup\$ – Jan Oct 7 '15 at 23:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jan Too bad whitespace is significant :-) \$\endgroup\$ – coredump Oct 8 '15 at 9:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your suggestion has been implemented. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Feb 9 '17 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinEnder Thanks for telling me. That's great. \$\endgroup\$ – coredump Feb 15 '17 at 7:05
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\$\begingroup\$

Here's a sightly condensed version. Using nested lists takes up less space, and the title can be merged with the first paragraph.

Thanks for contributing to Programming Puzzles & Code Golf Stack Exchange!

  • If this is an answer to a challenge:
    • Please be sure to follow the challenge specification.
    • Add a header indicating the language(s) of your code and the score as defined by the challenge.
    • Explanations of your answer are very much encouraged.
    • All answers should show some effort towards reaching a better score. For instance, answers to code golf challenges should try to be as short as possible (within the constraints of the chosen language). You can always include a readable version of the code in addition to the competitive one.
    • Don't try to answer a challenge by exploiting loopholes in the specification. Answers abusing any of the standard loopholes are considered invalid.
  • If this is an answer to a question about code golf:
    • Please make sure to answer the question and provide sufficient detail.
  • In either case, avoid...
    • Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers.

enter image description here

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe we can't modify the "Your Answer" headline. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Sep 28 '15 at 15:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ This still seems a long one, I'm not sure many people will read all of it. \$\endgroup\$ – Mhmd Sep 28 '15 at 16:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mhmd Admittedly true, but also sad. It's not like it takes long to read, and it provides useful information. It's like seeing a player in a game that skipped the tutorial, and so they're forever a noob because they missed a helpful tip that most people know. The game has no chat, so I can't even rid them of their ignorance. \$\endgroup\$ – mbomb007 Oct 1 '15 at 22:03
0
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What about changing it depending on how it is tagged (, , etc.)

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  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that's going to happen. That would require custom code, whereas the standard text can simply be configured. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Oct 22 '15 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinBüttner Just like how they added LaTeX for the math community, they could add a little bit more CSS to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – noɥʇʎԀʎzɐɹƆ Oct 22 '15 at 20:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ The MathJax support is also a configuration that can simply be turned on for individual sites. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Oct 22 '15 at 20:26

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