I've got an idea for a new type of question, but would like some feedback on it. I've tentatively called it Packed Program - but I'm willing to take any suggestions.

The idea is that you have a byte size limit (say 255), and have to put as many solutions in as many different languages as possible within that amount of total bytes. You get 1 point for each language you solve it in.

So - for instance, if it was Bottles of beer Program Packed 255 bytes - 1 byte of HQ9+, 20 in GolfScript, 50 in C, 70 in Python, 65 in BASIC, and 40 in Fish. The total is 246 - so under 255 bytes. Score is 6, because they fit 6 programs, in different languages in the limit.

I kinda would like to say that if a program compiles in multiple languages, you get multiple points, but I fear that it would start arguments over when you have a different language (C v C++ for instance).

I was also keen on the programs being necessarily run in the order that the person answers, or being able to access a file of the whole source code - meaning, that they could solve it using the shortest languages, and then refer to those answers via file access in the longer ones. Or something. But I think that this ends up being a little less interesting.

Would this be interesting? Or lame?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree about the polyglots, but maybe these problems should be required to list the allowed languages. \$\endgroup\$
    – Justin
    Jan 20, 2014 at 7:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ For a name, how about multilingual-contest? \$\endgroup\$
    – Justin
    Jan 20, 2014 at 7:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ One issue you haven't raised is that questions which ask for solutions in as many languages as possible run into issues around what is acceptable reuse of someone else's answer. This is also an issue to some extent with single-answer questions, but there's a qualitative difference when there's potential benefit to copying an entire program unmodified. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 20, 2014 at 10:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Adding to @PeterTaylor's comment - it might be that it happens not only on purpose but also because people run out of short solutions and/or languages if each one provides multiple solutions. In order to have a chance to golf in many languages the problems might be of the more basic form and then compact codes might not differ that much anyways. \$\endgroup\$
    – Howard
    Jan 21, 2014 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for feedback. The idea's dropped until I (or somebody) figures out a way to make it work. \$\endgroup\$
    – lochok
    Jan 29, 2014 at 4:23


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