So I'v been hanging around a little while now And I have noticed that there are very few non golf questions. I can only remember three. I asked one (Irrational Number). One has been closed. Now admittedly It had scoring issues but golf has scoring isues look at New Code-Golf metric: Atomic-Code-Golf and J and GolfScript suck all the enjoyment out of Code Golf . So I decided to do something about it, I read low scoring questions to see what they did wrong, I read high scoring problems to see what they did right, I golfed a couple questions to get a feel for how that worked, I read meta to see what other problems people were having I tried a code golf question (It appears to have hit the rep cap today), and after careful thought I proposed a less golfish question. It had definite rules, clear scoring, and added guidelines to ensure clarity, while leaving room for creativity.

I got a great effort, a sarcastic rules lawyer, a pessimistic moderator, and a bunch of close votes. Now I realize that Iszi was trying to be helpful, but his comments were all negative, "that won't work," instead of helpful, like "have you considered . . ."

Does this community want anything other than code golf?

If we think code golf is the only future of this site we should change the title as soon as possible to prevent confusion in our effort to move out of beta.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I guess that the problem of not-too-much code golfing was fixed now. :) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 28, 2013 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


It had definite rules, clear scoring, and added guidelines to ensure clarity, while leaving room for creativity.

I think the comments on the question itself make clear that this is a rose-tinted view. If nothing else, the fact that the only person to answer had no idea what they scored should send you an unmistakable message that the scoring is not clear.

I got ... a sarcastic rules lawyer ...

I don't see any sarcasm. Rules lawyering is par for the course on this site: that's part of the reason for writing a solid spec, and partly why we have a sandbox.

... a pessimistic moderator ...

I think that you and whoever that is are the only people who know what you're talking about here.

... and a bunch of close votes.

Close votes aren't a kiss of death. Fix the problems with the question (if possible) and you can try to get some reopen votes. Although I must say that in my opinion there's one unfixable problem: even if you specify the scoring properly and tighten the restrictions on what constitutes a suitable speech, and even if you rule out things like Whitespace answers which break your scoring system, your current definition of "obfuscation" is so permissive that it's not an interesting challenge.

Does this community want anything other than code golf?

I don't speak for the community, and judging by the number of upvotes some questions which I think are dreadful get my opinions on what makes a good question are not shared by everyone. But what I want from questions are

  • Clear statement of task. I do requirements gathering at work, and I understand that non-programmers think in terms of their primary use cases and not in terms of corner cases, but if you're participating in a programming-for-fun site than that doesn't apply to you. I expect people who submit a question to this site to be able to look at a spec they've just written and spot ambiguities. It's fine for a question to have some flexibility, but that flexibility should be explained (e.g. "You can take input from stdin, via command line arguments, or via a GUI"; "Write a program or a function that ..."; etc. rather than "Write some code which takes input and ...").
  • Clear statement of winning criteria. Ideally I should be able to write a computer program which implements the criteria exactly. (Note that I am anti-).
  • Winning criteria which actually distinguish entries. E.g. a challenge which is judged on big-O complexity and which has a standard solution that is provably optimal is going to result in an n-way tie, which is pretty pointless.
  • An interesting problem. This doesn't mean that it has to take me a couple of hours of background reading to understand how to tackle it, but if there is a correct solution in less than 10 characters (and you'd be surprised how often people submit questions which have 0- or 1-character solutions) then where's the fun? (On a related note: near-duplicates are unlikely to meet this criterion. If I were you, I would have held off on posting Mirror quine for a couple of months because two quine questions in one day is a bit light on variety).

I'm not against non-code-golf problems. However, I can't think of very many good ones that have been asked. Asking a good question is hard work; asking a good question with a good non-code-golf winning criterion is even harder.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "Note that I am anti-popularity-contest)." Lets start a club. We can have a slogan. Some like Die, [popularity-contest]! Die!" \$\endgroup\$ Dec 20, 2013 at 21:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I have nothing against good popularity-contests (e.g. the snowman contest got some great answers), but this is rare. I believe a good popularity contest has great answers. But that means that a popularity contest becomes legitimate by it's answers. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 21, 2013 at 13:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .