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Proposal: Programming Language Design

What are common ways to optimise an interpreted language? has been closed, as not constructive.

After some discussion in chat, I think it would probably be best to discuss whether list/CGCC-style questions would be allowed. In this format, a somewhat broad question is asked, like "Tips for golfing in Python" on CGCC or "Common ways to optimize an interpreted language" on PLD, and each answer provides a single method, with the goal of collecting a large list of possible tricks as a reference.

So, should this be something our site will allow? And if so, what rules should exist around these?

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    Will be a good way to cheat our answers/question ratio /s
    – mousetail
    Dec 1 at 14:27

3 Answers 3

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I think some such questions would be valuable, and should be allowed; they are likely to be among the most popular Q&As on the site.

That said, there are a limited number of list questions which could be clearly scoped and useful enough to be suitable, and it's likely they would all be asked within a couple of years of the site going live. I would expect the site to reach a point where all the suitable list questions have already been asked. (I suspect Code Golf has already reached that point, for example.)

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I personally think that given the scope of the site, these kinds of questions will be almost unavoidable. There's generally not a single best way to implement things, and it's important to know what approaches previous languages have used and why they might be preferable. It might be a good idea, if list questions are allowed, to require them to be compared amongst themselves instead of just a simple listing.

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If any list questions are going to be allowed, they need follow Server Fault's "canonical" format (eg here), and should most likely also be forced to be Community Wiki (like this)

In general list-type questions are bad fits for SE

When they aren't, they're something that should be a growing-but-forever-and-always "authoritative resource" - which means they shouldn't allow the original poster to accrue karma over time just because the user happened to be the first to post it

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  • But a community wiki question can only have community wiki answers, discouraging good answers. Having "for-profit" tips questions works fine on CGCC, and those are basically list questions. I also disagree that list questions are a bad fit if done right; they fit perfectly with the existing voting and reputation systems, each indiviudal tip/idea goes in its own answer and can be individually voted on. Dec 1 at 14:20
  • @RedwolfPrograms - if you want to promote karma-farming, I guess that's fine: but having community wiki answers does not discourage good answers. It may discourage karma farmers from posting, but that's not the same as discouraging good answers. Inherent in such list questions is their canonical nature, and it seems off-putting to only reward early (likely beta) askers (or answerers) with disproportionate karma merely because they asked a question that needs to be maintained over time and is itself a list :)
    – warren
    Dec 2 at 15:50
  • I don't agree that list questions are inherently "canonical" or need to be maintained over time, at least not the sort we're talking about here. "Karma farming" isn't an issue, that's just more privileges for some early users, which will help with moderation tasks. Dec 2 at 15:56
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    @RedwolfPrograms - please explain how a list-type question wouldn't be canonical and/or need to be maintained over time
    – warren
    Dec 2 at 17:04
  • Because they're just normal questions, that happen to be a slightly different format? I think you're looking at this from way too site-specific of a viewpoint; Server Fault may do things one way, and may use "list question" to refer to a specific way of doing them, but that doesn't mean PLD will. I'm envisioning something more like CGCC's [tips] questions. Dec 2 at 17:06
  • @RedwolfPrograms - you charge me with "looking at this from way too site-specific of a viewpoint", then cite a "site-specific viewpoint" (cgcc) in support of thinking these type of questions are generally good? The entire SE network, insofar as I've seen since it started) frowns heavily upon list-type questions. Because you can find a couple exceptions to the general rule doesn't change the general rule :)
    – warren
    yesterday
  • I'm definitely not saying they're generally good, no, I'm saying they're good for CGCC, and probably PLD. yesterday

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