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I was wondering if:

  1. it's OK to post these (properly tagged as 'puzzle's of course), knowing that it's not a 'real question' in the sense that the one who asks (usually) knows the answer?
  2. others would be interested?

Edit:

@Rob Cooper:

  • the 'puzzle' tag (or some other...) could be used just to identify these questions I guess, so that it would be clear to everyone;
  • is there really always a need to pick a 'best answer'? Note that lots of questions being asked are quite subjective in nature, and do not have any 'best answer'...
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 10 '09 at 23:37

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

11 Answers 11

I think this is OK if your question is an interesting programming related puzzle.

That is a very good way to get all of our brains to work.

Puzzles are fun too, and will make SO a better place.

One thing we should avoid is posting homework questions hoping that people will help you do your work.

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I believe it's ok, and would be interested myself.

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I think it is a great idea. Puzzles serve three important purposes to programmers.

  1. They can act as an introduction to the art programming for newer programmers.
  2. They exercise the mind, which is no bad thing.
  3. Occasionally the answers can give insight in how to solve real world problems.

So keep posting them I say.

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When I started learning python, I went to Project Euler for some exercises. I recommend it for anyone seeking challenges in programming (and math). Some of the exercises involve finding a winning poker hand, sudoko puzzles and path finding algorithms.

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I've been thinking about this, and upon thought, I really don't think it is right that puzzles are posted here, there are already great websites for that and I don't think Stack Overflow should be doing things that are away from its original "question/answer" concept. A lot of this purely because there should be an accepted answer for a question, and with this, there is just too much scope.

That said, if you have a question with regards to solving a puzzle, worded well, I see no issue.

I have redacted my previous comment..

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Good idea, too bad that lots of students would just tag their homework as "puzzle".

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I believe it's ok, and I just added 'puzzle' to my favourite tags.

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I posted a challenging puzzle (everybody failed first) today and got down-voted to -5.

Apparently puzzles sometimes are good, and sometimes bad? And i explicitly tagged it as puzzle. I don't know but one guy even tried to tag it with "homework". Heck...

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Yes.Definitely it is ok.There are tons of great puzzles in the world to be solved by programing.So I don't see a problem at all posting such questions.

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A good site for programming exercises is Programming Praxis. It's more programmer-oriented than Project Euler, which is more math-oriented.

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There is now a dedicated site for programming puzzles and code golf. Note that, as per its FAQ:

All questions on this site, whether a programming puzzle or a code golf, should have …

  • An objective primary winning criterion, so that it is possible to indisputably decide which entry should win.
  • A clear specification of what constitutes a correct submission. Test cases are highly encouraged.
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