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I wonder... We want SO to be useful for programmers so we answer questions from others. But what if we come up with challenges? (With the Challenge tag) which wouldn't be just questions but small competitions between visitors to provide the best result, instead of just a single answer. Of course, those challenges would need to have some real world value but also have an educational value. They would not be wiki's since we want people to earn reputation with their good answers, with the best ones earning the most. Furthermore, they should require reasonable short answers and not long pieces of text or code.

A question would be e.g. asking on how we could filter away certain words from a long text in C#. It would be a challenge if we'd asked for the fastest way to filter away certain words from a long text in C#! Everyone could then supply a code snippet and others could comment about it, perhaps even improving the speed of the algorithm.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are a few questions out there like that. Just check the code-golf tag. But the system isnt well suited for that. There are better systems out there. Like project-euler and others.

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It's here! Since early 2011, "Code Golf & Programming Puzzles" is Area 51's Beta site. Looks pretty interesting. (Evidently since none of us were aware of it, their visibility sucks.)

However they need your participation to avoid closing, since it's been in beta for ~300 days, with low numbers. They also have their own Meta Code Golf site (bad choice of name) to discuss improvements.

It goes way beyond the code-golf category on SO itself. There are several other question categories, see this for quickly finding non-code-golf on that site. And see this interesting proposal towards a language-neutral metric for comparing code-golf entries (verbosity disfavors Java and C).

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It's worth mentioning that the site is called "Programming Puzzles & Code Golf", and that we accept other kinds of challenges/puzzles than just code golf. – hammar Jan 21 '12 at 7:41
@hammar, I just came back to independently post that clarification before I saw your comment. – smci Jan 21 '12 at 8:58
@hammar I also accidentally wrote 20011 and people missed that! – smci Jan 21 '12 at 9:20

I don't think SO is specifically the right forum for that. (I may be wrong, but the term might be "code golf," and we went through that phase some time ago.)

However, I think it's a nifty idea. The issues that arise are:

  • There really will be no "right" answer, so nothing useful can be accepted
  • In an SO world, anything like this would have to be community wiki or (possibly and these days!) it would get downvoted into oblivion

I think the right answer for something like this is an enterprising individual like yourself signing up for the StackExchange beta and creating it. I myself would love to see a ... :)

(See, I've even given you a name!)

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Do you really think could generate more than $129.00 per month? – raven Sep 5 '09 at 3:09
In advertisement revenue? Maybe, if there are enough viisitors. How many programmers would be interested in these kinds of challenges, just for fame and reputation? – Wim ten Brink Sep 5 '09 at 11:36
I'm not sure it'd make enough to justify the price based purely on ad revenue, but I do think that a lot of SO users would participate. It'd likely be one of those "labor of love" type of things. – John Rudy Sep 5 '09 at 18:16

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