I'm assuming we're going to have challenges on this site:

Generally, on other challenge-related StackExchange sites, such as Programming Puzzzles and Code Golf, challenges are meant to be won. If we are going to post challenges, we will have to decide if and how challenges can be won. Therefore, I think we should have some tags describing the challenge type and scoring involved:

Types of challenges:

  • - A generic challenge that can have multiple answers.
  • - This is used when there are too many possible solutions for one to be right.
  • - There is only one possible solution to the challenge.
  • - Used when the OP doesn't know weather the challenge can be solved.
  • - In challenges with many parts, different members can work together on different parts.

Ways of scoring challenges:

  • - If there are multiple possible solutions, the shortest submission wins.
  • - The OP gets to choose an answer as the winner. Not very objective, but it can be applied to challenges that can't be scored another way.
  • - No one wins, this challenge was posted as an excersise and nothing more.
  • - The answer with the most upvotes by a set time wins.
  • - The first correct answer wins. This is highly unfair to people who live in different timezones, and therefore highly discouraged.
  • - Nobody would win these because everyone participates.

I want some community input on this.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 For what it's worth, I currently am unable to think of a reason why this is a bad idea, nor do I find the answers below to provide a solid explanation for why this format would only work on CodeGolf.SE's site. Oddly, you appear to agree it is a bad idea now. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    May 15 '14 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ @blunders several people, including a high-profile community mod, think they're a bad idea. I somewhat agree. $\endgroup$
    – TheDoctor
    May 15 '14 at 2:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Okay, so maybe I missed it, why does this work on CodeGolf.SE's site, but not here? Please explain. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    May 15 '14 at 2:28

Code Golf is... unique. I believe Jeff called it and Code Review, when it launched, something along the lines of "an odd duck and a trial balloon."

For both of these example questions, there is only one answer. It seems hard to think of a non-programming challenge that can have multiple answers. Most non-programming puzzles ask something like "what is the longest X" or "what is the first Y," and these can be proven to have one solution.

I don't think "challenges" or "contests" would work out so well on this site; therefore, we probably don't need these tags either. Everything can be a [first-submission] by default, just like Stack Overflow and almost every other SE site.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I agree that contests/challenges are unlikely (or will at least be uncommon enough to not require what is essentially a bunch of meta-tags). I think this is related to another discussion that was somewhere else on meta or A51... "If a puzzle is open-ended and can have lots of solutions, it's probably not a good fit for ??.SE in the first place." $\endgroup$
    – WendiKidd
    May 14 '14 at 22:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, to my knowledge, "everything can be a [first-submission] by default, just like Stack Overflow and almost every other SE site" does not apply on SO, or other SE sites by default. There are many SE sites where the first correct answer is not the best answer. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    May 15 '14 at 2:33

I think using this Q&A to host a variety of mini contests or challenges would be a really poor fit for this site. Code Golf was a unique experiment (and a site dedicated entirely to that purpose), but it's not an idea I would like to see propagated here.

The goal of a Stack Exchange site is to create a work of reference that more akin to a Wikipedia-style work than something you might see in a traditional discussion forum. This site should become The Go-To place about the subject of puzzling. But it's not a place to find the puzzle-of-the-day to solve.

If you you want to congregate with the folks this site will likely attract, host regular chat events. I'm sure the folks here will love to participate in some regularly-scheduled challenges to exercise their puzzling abilities… and a chance to show off a bit on occasion.

But I would not be a big supporter of adding puzzle challenges to the main Q&A.


I propose as the tag to be used for challenges set by a user to fellow users.


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