The objective is to create the code as fast as possible. How this could work is the questioner would first post a UTC time and date (in the near future, e.g. 24-48 hours), and possibly a topic. They would then write an edit to the post that would explain what the code should accomplish, and submit the edit at the specified time. The first answer/revision of an answer that satisfies all the requirements would be the winner.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This would be unfair because of different time zones: if I'm sleeping when someone posts a speed code challenge, I would never have an opportunity to win. \$\endgroup\$ – ProgramFOX Feb 2 '14 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ProgramFOX But then someone else might post a challenge that would start 12 hours later. Chances are you would be awake, but a lot of the people that participated in the previous challenge would be asleep. It's unfair, but it can be unfair in anyone's favor. \$\endgroup\$ – The Guy with The Hat Feb 2 '14 at 18:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ And then, someone discovers an insidious serious bug in the winner's answer, and the forerunner starts to complain. Or maybe the question had some hole that was abused by the first answerer. All of this would start an endless flamewar. Further, I might had a brillant very well-done answer, but I posted it five seconds later than a poorly-written one, which would be really deceptive. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor Stafusa Feb 3 '14 at 8:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ THe only way I can see this working is if the problem is actually really complex (like several hours long), such as a developer couldn't do it all in an evening. \$\endgroup\$ – Fabinout Feb 3 '14 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanCarlson The problem remains that, due to the extremely time-sensitive nature of these challenges, not everybody will have an equal opportunity to participate in every challenge. The only way to work around this would be to have multiple instances of the same challenge, and prohibit contenders from participating in more than one such instance. This is directly contrary to the StackExchange model, which encourages avoidance of duplicates. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 4 '14 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ This also creates a strong opportunity for collusion, and gives an unfair advantage to the person posting the challenge. They, the asker, could advise a friend regarding the details of the challenge out-of-band prior to the actual start time of the challenge. Thus, their friend may already have an answer prepared to be posted as soon as the challenge is updated with those details. Or, one could simply just self-answer the challenge immediately after the details have been posted and win. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 4 '14 at 18:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ In case of programming competitions (like google code jam) it is not uncommon, but I don't think it would be ideal for codegolf \$\endgroup\$ – SztupY Feb 13 '14 at 22:46

I think this idea can work on PPCG.SE, just not on the main site.

Here's how:

Do it in chat

Just as anyone who wants a game of basketball can go to the gym and find a pick up game, with a little more traffic you could do the same for a little impromptu speed-coding challenge in chat.

"A little more traffic" is key, because at present I don't think you'd find enough people who aren't busy at any given time. But that can change, especially if someone motivated to provoke that change does a little hustling to make it happen.

The cons of doing a challenge via chat:

  • No rep gain
  • No accepted answer

But, just like Whose Line Is It Anyway? the points don't really matter, right?

The pros:

  • Eminently fair. So what if someone sleeps through it, it's just a pick up game.
  • Easy to determine in advance that enough people will participate to make it a contest.
  • Drives traffic to chat, making people aware that it's there.
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This question was deleted by Community‚ô¶ and undeleted by a moderator, but to avoid that it gets deleted again, I will answer it now.

The first problem is, as I already said in my comment: it's not fair because of different time zones. I could be sleeping if someone posts a challenge about a topic I'm very interested in. I would never win.

It would be unfair if you have a great answer, but you post it 5 seconds after a bad answer, as Victor mentioned in his comment. Or even worse: you could have a great answer, and you are about to post it, but then you lose your Internet connection for some time. Or your browser crashes. Then you probably won't be the first one who answers the question.

Another problem: someone could easily abuse the 5 minutes editing grace period. Someone could post an answer that actually doesn't work, you post a working answer 2 minutes later, but then the previous answerer fixes his answer. Actually, you are the winner, but it will look like the previous answerer is the winner because he posted his answer first, without an "Edited at this time" link is shown.

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