Let's say I've worked for eons over an issue and finally figured out my problem (on verge of posting a SO question). What if i want to "challenge" other SO users to find the same or a different, better solution to the problem, as well as possibly reward the best answer. BUT, i already know the answer. Should i just post this as a question and award a bounty if i'm feeling generous? Or would this make for a new feature? If the latter, there would need to be a reputation cap, for sure (we wouldn't want new users "challenging" experienced users to print something to the screen or something stupidly easy like that).

EDIT: Also, if it were a new feature, perhaps the "reward" feature would not necessarily take away from a user's reputation. On the other hand, due to the rep cap, a user posting a challenge would have rep to spare. Then again, more advanced users could perhaps set the "difficulty" of the challenge and give out large sums that go beyond a reasonably sacrificial amount of their rep.

These are all ideas. I'm thinking aloud, and my brain is a mess. :)

  • 4
    That is very common in the code golf site May 21, 2011 at 1:54
  • @Wether "code golf site"...whazzat? May 21, 2011 at 1:57
  • @Wether nvmind, I see it :) ...that looks cool. it just seems like it'd be nice to incorporate it into SO. May 21, 2011 at 1:59
  • 3
    "seems like it'd be nice to incorporate it into SO" It was carefully removed from Stack Overflow because it is a different kind of thing. May 21, 2011 at 18:23
  • I was so happy it was removed, I had trouble keeping my ignore list current enough.
    – user7116
    May 22, 2011 at 1:45

3 Answers 3


Firstly, I don't think it't gonna fly, but even so:

I don't really think it is a good idea, it is a Q&A about about programming, challenges might make the site lose it's focus.

As @Wether says, code golf covers it, but partially it, it should be a challenge, not a problem.

I don't agree with @Phil that it is for Programmers.

I think depending of the nature of the problem, it could go on StackOverflow, you could ask a question, that says this is my approach is this effiient, correct etc?

If the codee is more finished and working and you want other programmers opinion you might want to check out code review.

And if you think that solving the problem might be fun, "puzzle like" problem, maybe you could try CodeGolf.

  • Thanks! thorough answer, addressing the issues. thanks. May 21, 2011 at 2:49
  • @ThomasShields: No problem, glad it helped!!
    – Trufa
    May 21, 2011 at 2:57
  • I've been mis-understood here. My point was not that it should go on programmers, just that SE is definitely wrong, and programmers might be more appropriate
    – Phil Lello
    May 22, 2011 at 3:39

As a moderator at CodeGolf.SE, I would encourage you to post there if your challenge has a more-or-less objective metric for understanding who "wins".

But before doing that you might consider discussing your proposal in the meta sandbox or on the puzzle lab chat, because even experienced posters usual have a few ambiguities in their specification the first time around. So it never hurts to get some feedback before your puzzle goes "live" on the main site.

Please note that with the new question-downvotes-don't-cost-the-caster regime they (downvotes on questions) have become more common, and some people may be casting them to express displeasure with ill-specified or overly-simply challanges.


I think the bounty system covers this already; a post-a-challenge system would be too different, and de-value SO as a source of specific answers to specific questions.

That said, it's an interesting idea, any I'd feel more supportive if it was targeted at programmers.SE

  • 6
    I don't think it's any more suitable for Programmers.SE. There's generally little place there for coding questions, especially code challenges when Code Golf and Code Review exist.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    May 21, 2011 at 2:35
  • you make a good point, but honestly, i think it would improve the value as specific challenges would provide a specific and useful question that would probably target several users. May 21, 2011 at 2:48
  • I've been mis-understood here. My point was not that it should go on programmers, just that SE is definitely wrong, and programmers might be more appropriate
    – Phil Lello
    May 22, 2011 at 3:40

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