I'm pretty sure I've seen a rule against new languages, especially for code golf, somewhere on this site - probably in the Help Center. However, I'm having a hard time finding it.

Does this rule actually exist? If so, where is the exact page we can reference when citing it?

I believe I saw some verbiage like "languages used must pre-date the challenge" and "it's an old joke".

  • \$\begingroup\$ meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/a/10/7209 \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2014 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JanDvorak Thanks for the link. However, that's not quite what I was looking for and is arguably not on an authoritative page. (At the very least, the verbiage does not match the one I particularly mentioned.) I suppose my real question is "Has this actually been added to the Help Center yet?". \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Feb 3, 2014 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Iszi In that case, no, it's not officially stipulated on any official site pages. Would you like it to be? It would be codifying much of the same thing as that link. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2014 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisJester-Young As Jan points out, it's already stipulated on the code-golf tag wiki. I'm not sure whether or not an extra line in the Help Center would help. It may, but who can be bothered to RTFFAQ these days anyway? \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Feb 3, 2014 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Iszi I don't have the ability to edit the help center, nor I want to do so before hearing others' opinions. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2014 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


"languages used must pre-date the challenge"

This has been codified in an old meta question asking "What programming language should we consider for the code-golf solution?, where the (by far) top-voted answer simply states, in its entirety:

I think that as long as a compiler was released before the question was asked, it is a valid language. This removes stupid answers such as "I created language X with this command Y that solves this in one character".

No such rule is present in the tag wiki (it probably should be added), but another clause is already present:

"it's an old joke"

This originates in the code-golf tag wiki, where the heading "Things to note" contains this point:

  • The language you use should not be invented just for solving this particular code golf. It's been done, trust us, and the joke is old hat.

Does this rule actually exist [in the Help Center]?

The only page that is site-specific in the help center is /on-topic. It has a heading for answering and even a heading for code golf in particular, but currently does not specify the language choice criteria anywhere. The points for golfing just include a shortened version of the tag wiki and basically say "strip whitespace and use one-character identifiers * adding an ungolfed version is nice * be sure to include the character count".

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Meta answer seems to leave open an interesting side-case: What if the challenge is to write a compiler, like here? \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Feb 3, 2014 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Iszi then the compiler for the language the compiler was written in must predate the question. Want a T diagram? :-) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2014 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ The other question - whether a (different) compiler for the language the compiler compiles must predate the question - seems to be negative. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2014 at 18:59

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