The idea of Programming Puzzles & Code Golf is excellent. Putting-out challenges, submitting your take on the solution, receiving feedback. But it seems to be mainly code golf, and this then just seems to be a 'race to the bottom' for all the 'golfing languages'. These languages are great, but lets try to think about things through the lens of the beginner programmer for a moment...

What's the biggest thing a beginner programmer is lacking?

  • Textbooks? No.
  • Feedback? No - Stack Exchange has this covered.
  • Tutorials? No. - The internet has this covered.
  • Practice? YES

Absolute beginners need practice. To quote the Code Kata site:

How do you get to be a great musician? It helps to know the theory, and to understand the mechanics of your instrument. It helps to have talent. But ultimately, greatness comes from practicing; applying the theory over and over again, using feedback to get better every time.

Languages like Java, or C++ are daunting for beginners. Especially 'self-taughts' who won't have the benefit of being thrown in at the deep end at a software company. Code golf isn't going to help - all those golfing languages? Fish? BrainF*ck? Eh? But code kata WILL help.

People can submit challenges, give them a [beginner|intermediate|advanced|whatever] rating. Then people can work away at them in their own time, submit their answers, share, discuss, receive constructive feedback...

How do we implement this into Programming Puzzles & Code Golf? Change the title to Code Kata, Puzzles & Golf?

I think PP&CG could be an excellent platform for beginners. I think this is the niche that desperately needs to be filled right now!

I have never commented on META before, so if there's anyone here that can help promote this (or however this works), I'd be grateful.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you had a look at Code Review? They review code for quality rather than quantity, being in some ways our opposite. For beginners in a language it's a great way to get feedback on practice coding. That feedback is the one thing you can't get by just practising alone. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2016 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should be fine to comment over here now. I assumed you already had a PP&CG user, which you didn't, causing this issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oded
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Oded thanks, but I thought I was a PP&CG user too!!! \$\endgroup\$
    – jdurston
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax I am a user on Code Review. Yes, its good, but it does not propose challenges for people to work-on. \$\endgroup\$
    – jdurston
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnADurston ah - I should have checked that before commenting... Would Code Review Meta welcome a post on Kata suggestions, similar to their contest posts? It seems a perfect fit there, and hard to fit here. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2016 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could propose a new challenge type/winning criterion. Fastest-code works well here. Smallest memory footprint could work but might be harder to measure. What you are proposing might be implemented as a winning criterion along the lines of "has fewest improvement suggestions when posted to Code Review" but I'm not sure how either site would respond to that... \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2016 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @trichoplax Thats a good idea! Thanks for your help so far. And thanks for helping a new member feel a little less presumptuous! \$\endgroup\$
    – jdurston
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're welcome. If an idea doesn't work out, it can still be a useful way of figuring out how this site works. I'd recommend browsing the sandbox to see the kind of feedback other ideas are getting. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2016 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


Code Katas are a great idea in general, but I don't see how they fit into this community. The main requirement for every challenge posted here is that it has to have an objective winning criterion. Code Katas are looking for good solutions, whatever that means in the language you're currently using. But that's something you can't really quantify. Whether any piece of code's style is good is entirely subjective.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Its a shame. But code kata is too good a thing not to try to make it work. \$\endgroup\$
    – jdurston
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnADurston You could make a proposal on Area 51. \$\endgroup\$
    – xnor
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xnor I'd rather not create a new site. But I think PP&CG should become Code Kata, Puzzles & Golf. How do we ask for that? \$\endgroup\$
    – jdurston
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnADurston You already have and so far there doesn't seem to be a lot of support for it. No offence but proposing a change of scope and name of a community without even being a member of that community seems a bit presumptuous. If you can think of a way to fit code katas into PPCG's current guide-lines with an objective way to quantify the quality of a code kata solution, I'd be very happy to hear it, but I don't see how it's possible. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2016 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinBüttner Sorry, I was just trying to be positive. I did originally ask the question on Stack Overflow Meta, or maybe it does belong on Area 51? \$\endgroup\$
    – jdurston
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnADurston Yes, proposals for new SE sites belong to Area 51. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dennis
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:49

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