Noticing the the September 2015 Community Challenge has just started (10 days ago), a few things came up in chat (that concerned me):


@EBrown Community Challenges never die out, they just take a break every now and then. Personally there are many challenges already that I would like to implement but I just can't keep up with them.


@EBrown they are indeed a nice touch, as long as there's enough interest in them. People need to participate. I was a bit disappointed that I was the only one that implemented the Election challenge.

Which begs the question, do we have too many Community Challenges out there now?

Should we change the schedule? Instead of Monthly should we have ____?

We seem to have an abundance of challenges, but not a lot of participation (presumably due to the fact that a large number of persons on this site have jobs, school, etc.), so should we do them less frequently?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any way that previous ones could be highlighted rather than making new ones? Having an array of different challenge suggestions that aren't time based might come off as less pressured and daunting. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Part of this is due to how this whole thing started. They were "weekend challenges" at first - small projects to be implemented and put up for review within a weekend's time. The idea behind them is really just to make a reason for reviewers to post questions and get their own code peer reviewed. Now they're more or less of a pool of ideas for things one might want to implement for fun, and put up for review. For the longest time, the trigger for the CC meta was someone in chat saying "hey, it seems it's been a while since the last CC, should we do it again?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 15:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Next community challenge: determine how much time should pass before another community challenge starts \$\endgroup\$
    – Pops
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe a May 2016 challenge \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 15:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Raystafarian It's far too late (I think) to get a May challenge in, but we can definitely get started on ideas for a June challenge. See: meta.codereview.stackexchange.com/questions/6740/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 17:10

3 Answers 3


Challenges should happen with the frequency and timing that is suitable for the community as a whole.

There are some seasonal aspects to things too - winterbash (with hats) is a whole month of distraction, and perhaps it's a bad time for a challenge.

On the other hand, perhaps a hat requires questions of a certain type, and having a community challenge may actually help!

Challenges are a response to many things, including just general discussion, or community events. One challenge was inspired by the site elections, other challenges inspired by general chat in the 2nd monitor. Challenges because stack snippets were made available, or Data Explorer had beta-site data.

Making a formal timetable for challenges, of any type, would be wrong. They are a mostly spontaneous thing.


Personally, I am curious if "Quarterly Community Challenges" wouldn't be a better idea.

Instead of each month, we can do them every three months. (January - March, April - June, July - September, October - December)

This would also allow more participation for each one, before a new one is decided. (And allow more people to chime in on the decision for a new one as well.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I personally must admit to time not being the constraining factor for my lacking participation in community challenges. What actually is the constraining factor is ... laziness mostly \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 22:52

We may want to establish a system that determines this for us.

We could have one protocol that counts the number of entries per week or another that checks for a threshold in total entries, perhaps something that implements several indicators, since interest is also a contributing factor(Hey, this could be a challenge! A meta challenge!)

But one good thing about these challenges is that I personally never really perceived them to have a time limit. I completed Ultimate Tic Tac Toe due to the community challenge but I hadn't even begun using the site till a year after it was posted.

A challenge is ideally: interesting, feasible for those interested, have nuance that makes it actually challenging, and also depth that make several entries personal.

The biggest reason I find to increase or decrease the frequency of these challenges is probably just the time to choose them in the first place. Some things are very field-specific and not a good choice for an entire community.

I see merit in challenges that can be simple to start, but optionally have depth.

Learn a new language.

Is it interesting, widely feasible, personal and challenging?

  • Anyone curious about X language, just got an excuse to delve inwards.
  • Tons of tutorials available for most languages.
  • Challenge inherent in learning something new.
  • Different languages learned and no specific end-result means it's definitely personal.

Implement X - x being something general like a 'game' (there's a reason these are popular). User will definitely pick a method that is feasible, yet challenging enough to be worth writing, of course it'll be something interesting to them, and all entries would inherently be personal.

Again, anything simple with a variety of optional improvements is good.

  • Simplicity means more contributions.
  • Optional depth means they will be personalized and relatively challenging.

Then the only task we'd worry about is making sure it's something of interest -- of course there's no requirement to fulfill all the points, but I'd say that lately some of these propositions have assumed interest by virtue of being a community challenge, which definitely isn't the case when they become monthly.


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