I think, it needs a discussion.

Accordingly to https://stackoverflow.com/tags/code-golf/info and Acceptable level of code golf questions?:

  1. have built-in-to-some-languages solutions excluded
    • but Golfsript code is in fact a couple of built-in functions, and more: they are shaped for codegolf!
  2. not be optimized for one language or one class of languages
    • what about reverse: language optimized for a task?
  3. The language you use should not be invented just for solving this code golf.
    • ...

I can't find a question on SO, which I read a month ago, but it was about, for what is the Godegolf at all. The main, which I remember from answers and with which I fully agree is that "Golfing helps us to know our language (which we, programmers/coders/SO-audience, need for profession) better, to find new methods/functions, to increase our useful proffesional potential".

I think, that Golfscript is unuseful, and it's not a language at all. It's a kind of Ruby library (proof - http://www.golfscript.com/golfscript/golfscript.rb), and its main and the only purpose is to cheat in Codegolf. Nobody would use it, if Codegolf dissapear.

I suggest to oficially never to count it as a winner.

  • 1
    You think it's important to discuss the use of a specific code library, in code golf competitions, on a Q&A site that barely tolerates them as an amusing diversion? You have way too much time on your hands.
    – Aarobot
    Oct 8, 2010 at 17:45
  • @Aarobot, I don'twant to discuss a library. Why Meta's people read questions so uncarefully... Question is to count a Golfscript a library or language? But all answers here are of form "I don't want to talk about your question", so why are you answering? Weird...
    – Nakilon
    Oct 8, 2010 at 18:55
  • 3
    Why do you assume that people haven't read your question? I'm quite certain that they all read it and all have the same message: It's a tempest in a teapot, and you should get over it.
    – Aarobot
    Oct 8, 2010 at 19:06
  • 1
    Why the hate against ruby? Something can't be a language because it's implemented in ruby? Come on. Not only are the properties of a language completely independent of how and using what language the language is implemented, but the implication that implementing a language in ruby makes it somehow inferior or less of a language than a language implemented in C, is just plain insulting to ruby programmers.
    – sepp2k
    Oct 8, 2010 at 21:05
  • @sepp Touché. What makes this even more pointless is that one could easily write a GolfScript interpreter in C. How is the language in which another language is implemented relevant? This is a total non-argument. Oct 8, 2010 at 22:02

5 Answers 5


This is by far one of the most inane posts I have ever seen on MSO. What a pointless question this is. Broken English aside...

  1. Calling GolfScript a "library" is fallacious. GolfScript is an esoteric stack-based programming language. You could write a GolfScript interpreter that runs natively on a machine (ie: not through ruby). By this logic, Groovy is also a "library" written in Java, or stretching it a bit more - Python, is a "library" written in C.

  2. What is "GolfScript is not official" supposed to mean? Golfscript is not any more or less "official" than Ruby itself, or Python, or PHP, etc, etc.

  3. GolfScript is not optimized for one particular task or problem. I am not sure if it's Turing complete, but it can pretty much do anything other program languages can.

  4. The language is compact, because it was designed to be that way. Is that a crime? Why won't you complain about Ruby's succinctness compared to a language like, say, Java?

On top of all this, code-golf questions are community-wiki so no reputation is gained, GolfScript or not.
So I don't see the big deal here. It's truly a tempest in a teapot.

Get over it.


I don't think Golfscript or other esoteric and/or unconventional languages should be banned or referred to as "cheating", for the following reasons:

  1. The choice of language implementation is irrelevant. The fact that the Golfscript interpreter happens to be implemented as a Ruby module is irrelevant, just as it is irrelevant that the interpreters/compilers for all other languages are written in their corresponding choice of language & environment.
  2. We're all mature enough to decide when a solution is dumbed down enough for it to be nothing more of a joke. Sure, Jon Skeet did it once, it was fun, but now it's not only old but also ridiculous.
  3. Golfscript, like many other languages, is designed and implemented for a niche. By the same train of thought, [Perl|Ruby|insert language here] should be excluded from text-processing-heavy-golf for making string manipulation easy and less verbose.
  4. Stack-based languages are not code-golf specific (examples: Forth, PostScript, dc). I'll argue that even if Golfscript is intentionally less verbose, the same is true for any sufficiently high level language. Ruby is a good example of this.
  5. Libraries are generally not banned from code-golf. Specific functions that accomplish the exact same task like the code-golf problem are generally banned on a case basis, so this relies on the discretion of whoever's posting the golf in the first place.
  6. There's a deeper use of code-golf than "winning", in a community wiki question no less. Coming up with innovative ways to use existing tools shouldn't be shunned upon like this.

..and others, but I've gone on long enough.

  • Thanks for wide answer. The only one argumented here at this time. 1. What if I write my own language, solving each golf task in 10 chars? It's not too hard, but why nobody will count it to be winner? Because it will be toooo short, but GolfScript is short, but only in 1.5-2 times than Ruby/Perl. It's just a good, nice fake, which works fine on people, which just don't know, what is the Golfscript. This fake cheats them, makes them plus it, answer as a winner, give a bounty, etc. 2. As I already said, not all can objectively decide, is Golfscript a cheat or not - it's too truly looking fake.
    – Nakilon
    Oct 8, 2010 at 19:04
  • 3. Golfscript is not a language because... Because it's Ruby! Because you launch ruby(.exe) to run Golfscript. And if it's a Ruby, then the Golfscript is a custom library, which is not official, and as I said above, it's the same as to write a library, which solves all tasks in one char and just cheat everybody saing that "it's a language", but in fact it is not. 5. Default libraries, "core" and "stl", not custom, that "I wrote last night to solve these tasks from golfcontest". 6. It's not innovative. Innovations in sport is when sprinter invent new technology of running, not drugs for it.
    – Nakilon
    Oct 8, 2010 at 19:10
  • What makes for an "official" language, in your opinion? Oct 8, 2010 at 20:19
  • 2
    "What if I write my own language, solving each golf task in 10 chars?" As long as you don't write one "language" for each golf question, go ahead and do it. Oct 8, 2010 at 20:32
  • @NullUserException, Sprinter-A: you eat drugs to run faster! Strinter-B: make your own drugs in laboratory or shut up.
    – Nakilon
    Oct 8, 2010 at 21:39
  • 3
    @Nakilon What a ridiculous analogy. Seems like I am talking to a wall. I give up. Oct 8, 2010 at 22:00


I don't bother with it because I only use languages that I would use in "real life", but it doesn't bother me. I don't care about winning in any absolute sense, and only a little in comparison with people using similar languages.

I mean, [code-golf] is a diversion on SO. There's not supposed to be any rep from it.



It's all for fun anyway. Live with it. It's not a big deal. Anyway, there are other languages such as J that do similar things. And a lot of languages have built in features too.

And those rules are just to prevent people from making there own custom language to get the answer in one char.

  • Golfscript and J are different things, like bread and beer. Golfscript is not a language at all, but only Ruby's library, invented to get answer in several chars. But libraries are denied (see 1.)
    – Nakilon
    Oct 8, 2010 at 4:23
  • 4
    @Nakilon: That like saying the since <iostream> is a library us C++ programmers can't use it.
    – thyrgle
    Oct 8, 2010 at 4:54
  • iostrem is a default and official, developed by different companies/communities library. Golfscript is an amateur library of some guy, who want to cheat and break a rule of built-ins and including custom function code size to result.
    – Nakilon
    Oct 8, 2010 at 17:12
  • @Nakilon What a nonsensical comment. As I see, you don't know nothing [sic] about subject [sic] of his comment. By this train of thought, I could argue that Ruby is an "amateur language of some guy [sic], who want [sic] ..." Absolutely inane and clueless comment. Oct 8, 2010 at 18:15

I suggest to oficially never to count it as a winner.

There is no "official winner" -- code golf questions are usually CW and (I think) generally don't even have accepted answers. Code golf questions are allowed on SO because... I have no idea, I think it was just too much effort to try and stop people, but you're going to have a hard time getting people on meta to care about them

Personally I think using Golfscript is seriously weak, it's like being asked in an interview to write itoa and saying "look, I did it in Java: String itoa(int n) {return "" + n;}"

  • "you're going to have a hard time getting people on meta to care about them" Oh, sorry that i disturb you... but I thought that Meta is the only correct place to discuss it. Where else I should go to speak about rules of asking/answering about specific tag topics? P.S.: A lot of golf questions have accepted answers and even a bounties.
    – Nakilon
    Oct 8, 2010 at 4:39
  • @Nakilon I see; the ones I've looked at haven't had accepted answers, but (as you may have guessed) I'm not really active in those questions. I didn't mean to imply you shouldn't ask here, this is probably the right place, but code golf questions are right on the border of off-topicness, so most people aren't going to be concerned with trying to police them; I personally think they should be on the programmers SE, and indeed code golf is specifically listed as on-topic in their FAQ Oct 8, 2010 at 4:48
  • [code-golf] is allowed by public demand Oct 8, 2010 at 16:17

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