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A nice, honest and relevant review and wake-up call

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link

In the above link, Bohdan Pryshchenko (I_love_Tanya_Romanova) answers the question why Codechef is less popular than other sites like Topcoder and Codeforces.

I believe that it is a very honest and relevant answer. It is sad to hear that coders from all over the world have such viewpoint about Indian platforms and Indians. But most of the points he has mentioned are nothing less than the bitter but sheer truth.

I trust that Codechef should take this as a kind of wake-up call and take necessary steps to improve the contests' and Discuss quality.

Everyone here is aware that Codechef has had its share of low-quality questions and test cases. There have been countless server issues. Every week or two there is a new post on Discuss, complaining about a contest, or plagiarism, or weak test cases. Discuss is usually filled with irrelevant posts and unchecked drama.

I hope that this comes to the immediate attention of the @admin .

I would also like to hear your views, especially those of @vijju123 and @meooow . Any viewpoint, whatever be the nature, is greatly welcomed.

Here's hoping that Codechef will one day become the top Online Judge. Their efforts in promoting ICPC and IOI participation have not gone unnoticed.

asked 07 Oct '17, 01:22

akashbhalotia's gravatar image

4★akashbhalotia
68112
accept rate: 14%

edited 07 Oct '17, 13:25

3

come on, too many contests have had long waiting queues on codeforces recently. It's not that only codechef is at fault. And as far as i know, the aim of CodeChef Long contests is for us to learn new topics during the contest, so what's the problem if we learn new concepts and apply them to solve problems on our own?

(07 Oct '17, 03:11) swetankmodi ♦♦6★

and about the problems being googleable in another language, it's only because we participate here that we are introduced to those quality problems. Because anyway we wouldn't have solved those questions since they are in a different language, I don't find anything wrong in this? What's the problem until you're learning new concepts every month?

(07 Oct '17, 03:13) swetankmodi ♦♦6★
4

Thanks for your views @swetankmodi .

So, according to you, copying questions exactly from another author, who was creative and hardworking enough, and earning money for his creativity and hardwork, is all right? There may be a thin line, but there IS a line. Nothing justifies plagiarism, I repeat, nothing. The links to similar questions can always be given in editorials, but you can't just copy exact questions, not from SPOJ, not from CF, not from Russian judges, not from anywhere.

(07 Oct '17, 11:56) akashbhalotia4★

I salute your patience even i saw that question but the answer by bohdan was helllllll long so i decided not to read that :p. I know codechef has some issues but it is a Non-Profit organisation and as per this codechef is doing wonderful job just give it a thought they pay the winners of long contest a good amount they pay good amount to setters and editorialists inspite of being a NPO So as far as issues regarding plagariasm and other are concerned it must be taken care no doubt.

(07 Oct '17, 19:15) divik5444★

Just because they may not have taken strict action in the past against this, as Bohdan mentions, people now have this view that Codechef is happy in paying setters who have copied questions. This has made it to lose a lot of its credibility among the international community.

(07 Oct '17, 22:11) akashbhalotia4★
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@akashbhalotia , better example would be "thats more like saying JEE is cakewalk without even looking at the syllabus."

(Chem syllabus is enough for people to pee their pants :) )

(07 Oct '17, 22:27) vijju123 ♦♦5★
1

I didn't mean that, not every question here is copied. maybe one or two in a month!

(07 Oct '17, 23:31) swetankmodi ♦♦6★
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Hey @akashbhalotia, it was quite an interesting read.

First of all there are lots of points I do not agree with. In the very beginning Bohdan says that CodeChef, HackerRank and HackerEarth are often lumped together as one. That is obviously not correct, and there is no reason why any one site should be affected by the reputation of another. This is directly related to other points such as the claim that these sites host many hiring challenges. I don't know if there has been any on CodeChef, but I have never seen one. I'm not very regular on these other platforms too, so I cannot address Bohdan's points about them.

Then there are the points about many Indian people being somewhat annoying and some being cheaters. I don't know whether a less fraction of people elsewhere are annoying, but I have always assumed that the existence of annoying people is inevitable :P So all annoying people please don't be annoying? And cheaters too!

The final thing that I don't agree with is the point about poor stories in problem statements. Of course interestingly framed statements are always appreciated. But as long as the task itself can be understood, the rest actually doesn't matter. I wouldn't not enjoy a problem just because the story is not good. In fact they can even be unintentionally funny. Can you imagine someone actually getting an array as a birthday present? :P I remember there was once an ICPC question about a theater... where all the seats were in a row... and the number of seats could be 1018. We all laughed at that, so it's really upto us to enjoy a problem statement :D

Coming to the most important points: bad contest preparation, weak contestants and judge issues. I suppose these are accurate since Bohdan speaks from his own experience, and so I agree with him. However he also says that things have improved, and personally in the recent months I have quite enjoyed solving the problems of the long challenges, both during the contest and after.

From his whole answer I get the gist that top programmers value two things the most: good problems and good competition. If the first is maintained I imagine the second will follow.
Here's to hoping that more awesome programmers frequent CodeChef contests and Discuss :)

link

answered 07 Oct '17, 12:55

meooow's gravatar image

6★meooow ♦
7.1k718
accept rate: 48%

edited 08 Oct '17, 02:00

2

@meooow I felt TOTALLY the same way about the above points. 'Problems have poor stories' was one of the weirdest points. After reading that point, I was like,"What?". "You are seriously going to mention THAT as a reason why top programmers don't come to Codechef??" Top programmers don't care that much about the story...

The starting few paragraphs and points in his answer felt highly relevant,but towards the end, I personally felt that he tried to go out of his way to insult Indians in the answer...

(07 Oct '17, 13:14) akashbhalotia4★

Overall his answer did bring out many relevant points and the purpose of this post was to bring to our attention and to understand and work on those points. Many of his points may ACTUALLY be how people from other countries feel about us, who knows? So, that's not good...

(07 Oct '17, 13:16) akashbhalotia4★

He says in the beginning that not all of these are his own views, so it's not right to say he went out of this way to insult people. But this also means that maybe those are the generally conceived ideas about Indian programmers. And you're right, that is sad.

(08 Oct '17, 02:04) meooow ♦6★

Some of his points were genuine, although put in a harsh way.

Regarding codechef, does the interface even open now?

Well, true, its one of the biggest annoyance I face. Interface, server glitches, technical difficulties, they are really a mood spoiler. But as long as those guys are working hard to correct them, I think we should co-operate. Everyone is a human and we arent in their shoes to exactly judge how they are doing.

Regarding his point of "low quality problems in contests".

I understand his concern. Yes, he is right when he claims that problems from research paper are boring, since most of the times the mathematics they need are way higher than what any CS student will ever need/require in his life. If asked mathematics is TOO high, then solving the question doesnt depend on how smart/logical you are, it depends on if you have a MSc Math degree or if you have some great googling skills.

His point, to put in other words, was -

"Just because its a 10 day contest does NOT mean that throwing any random question from research paper is acceptable."

And its very much right. Hard questions should have some beauty, some concepts. When it boils down to who can google this stuff out then the beauty is lost. Check EXPTREE , you will get the point.

Also, I feel that easy problems are being made TOO easy so that more people get the gratification of solving them. I am honestly very much against this kind of spoon-feeding. Look at questions asked in snackdown (from pre-eli rounds), they were really nice. Look at this question from yesterday's CF round. It is also cakewalk, but its DAMN BEAUTIFUL. Those who saw through the concept were able to get higher points than those who blindly brute forced, since if you realize the concept, then its just a 1 line code.

What I mean to say is, easy Q decide a BIG fun factor of your contest. Ask anybody "Why do you like competitive coding?" and 90% of time he will say "Thats because I love thinking, solving these algorithmic puzzles, and the joy of an AC is inexpressible!"

The easy problems are being reduced to, just brute force, or apply some repetitive concept again and again. I am not complaining, and its OK to have cakewalk problem a brute force. But what I am really missing in contest is, the problem which makes me think my wits off. See Palindromic Game from August long. Isnt it a nice puzzle, especially for newbies, where you HAVE to think and observe. Where your logical thinking is tested along with some coding skills? Look at Beautiful Array question. So beautiful, you HAVE to think. I prefer these type of questions any day over some question like "If frequency of any element A in array is equal to frequency of any other element B, print "Good Array" else print "Bad Array" ". Think for a moment, this question is also "Easy/Simple", but its not beautiful. It needs a bit more moulding, shaping to be made a good engaging question.

Honestly, I feel even top coders will love the contest if easy problems are thought provoking and engaging instead of just implementing brute force in a clever way. Easy problems being too easy is the cause why people complain about "Difficulty gaps".

Aside from that, we do get to see some REAL GOOD problems as well, and I am thankful to those setters who spend their time thinking over and over for such problems. Really, hats off to them!!

Regarding last point of indians. Boy, it triggered me.

Whether you people LIKE IT OR NOT, he HAS a point.

So many people mail me asking for hints, (they stopped now since I started giving 10 day suspension + disqualification to all of them). Whats worse is, so many people would want to connect to you just for their own selfish reasons. I dont accept most people's friend request. Why? Because they treat me as "Now I can contact him anytime I like and get my doubts clarified". Already blocked those guys tbh.

When I accept someone's request, I expect that this guy is interested in being friend with me, someone with whom I can make some nice conversations, share my insecurities, soothe my lonliness, vent out my sadness/frustration. Somebody who I will remember with a smile.

Apparently no, people are here just to use you, harsh fact, but true. And leave that aside, saying a basic thank you is also missing in many people. Yeah, only get back to me if that didnt help, dont bother thanking me, I am a fricking machine whose gonna help you anyway, right?

Sorry, I stopped helping such people long back either. My time is way more precious than that. But I am happy that at least I got to know some great guys, whom I can gladly count in on friends. Thats the only reason why I am still open, perhaps I will get to meet more such awesome people. Dont mean to offend anyone, but one gets really sad when he realizes that people will message him only when they are stuck, and treat him as invisible otherwise.

And regarding community, I am sorry for saying this, but Indian community has many, MANY things wrong. Just take discuss community for an example.

You people complain this is wrong, that is wrong, but do you know why its wrong in first place? Besides some inactivity from admin, the root reason is because YOU ENCOURAGED IT.

For God's sake! DISCUSS IS A PROFESSIONAL FORUM WHERE PEOPLE COME TO ASK DOUBTS OR MUTUALLY INCREASE THEIR CODING SKILLS. KEEP IT FREE FROM YOUR SOAP-OPERA DRAMA!!

Do you know whats really wrong with your thinking?

You feel taht one guy throwing mud at IIT_Bombay, or anyone giving sarcastic comments against them deserve 10+ upvotes while its OK for some genuine contributor not even getting a thank you, leave aside his deserved karma, for helping him figure out a missing test case or bug.

To all the 24 people who brainlessly threw upvotes at the question, let me ask one thing, "Why do you think him creating a question and throwing mud at some institute is a "Contribution" which deserves to be rewarded?"

He could have mailed the mods or @admin as well. I can understand if this happened earlier and one said "Admins take too much time to reply." True, they do. OK. But now we are here, or and atleast I have given out my email for you guys to reach to me.

I am not going to entertain any justification on why that thread should be at discuss henceforth. You guys can always reach out to me.

Back to the question, yeah, tell me, "Why do you think he deserves to be in top contributor for pointing out something which everyone else knew as well?" (Especially when all he did was mud throwing and defamation?)

Does a PROFESSIONAL forum need this type things?

Mails were already sent to @admin, and sooner or later action would be taken. And the REAL reason why a faster action happened was because the mods saw it and reported to @admin, NOT because that thread was on discuss. So that argument is ruled out. Reporting to mods would have been much appreciated.

DO YOU REALIZE HOW DIFFICULT YOUR HABITS MAKE IT TO KEEP THINGS FAIR?

We CANNOT count the karma gained in such way for top contributor list as well. We are already on talks with @admin to cancel/null-out all karma gained in that thread, at least the ones gained from posting sarcastic one liners and mud throwing. We do NOT encourage existence of such things at discuss. So yeah, if you see your karma suddenly down by 150 or 200, know the reason well in advance. :) .

This unfairness and bias of discuss community (which is primarily indian) the reason why not many good 7 star coders are present to answer advanced doubts. Your malpractice (yes, I will count this throwing away upvotes at undeserving things malpractice) is the root cause that discuss isnt growing at the rate it should.

At this point, I frankly dont even care if it seems harsh, because I am now going to tell you the truth.

That question and those sarcastic answers got upvotes because they created DRAMA. Many of LoC questions were also a rip-off of past codechef contest, and IIT bombay's contest was not the first one to have so many plagiarized problems. Many other contests before that had it as well, and some even at a greater %.

The reason IIT Bombay's issue grew out of proportion was, because its an esteemed institute, you guys got something to throw mud on, and I feel this is what you people love the most. DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA. IDK but your insatiable drama needs are really something I dont understand.

Are you guys so much drama deprived that you derive JOY/SATISFACTION when you see this type of mud throwing? Well, good news! The new season of Big Boss is already live, please, go watch it and satisfy such needs. KEEP DISCUSS PROFESSIONAL.

People posted multiple one liners, as many as 4 answers, and same people upvoted all 4 because of "Lol. Nice sarcasm." If we start sending mails and ask for justification of those upvotes, I dont think we'd get any satisfactory response.

On one hand, you people are TOO frugal in giving upvotes. I dont think even 2 out of those 24 people will upvote some guy answer somebody else's query by giving test cases and explanation because "I already did that Q", or "Not my problem.". But yeah, sarcastic reply will get 12+, 24+ upvotes.

When I saw the thread with 10+ upvotes, I was asking myself, "How much further can the community disappoint me?" And well, limits are crossed.

IF YOU PEOPLE WANT TO IMPROVE DISCUSS, WANT IT TO BE FREE FROM DRAMA, THEN FRICKIN CONTRIBUTE TO IT BY DISCOURAGING PEOPLE WHO CAUSE DRAMA INSTEAD OF UPVOTING THEM.

The hypocrisy of community is the real reason why half of my interest in contributing anywhere is already gone. And KNOW, that other people are framing opinion about you, your nation by seeing witnessing such things. At least show that much of decency! Please!

link

answered 07 Oct '17, 14:23

vijju123's gravatar image

5★vijju123 ♦♦
15.4k12066
accept rate: 18%

edited 07 Oct '17, 14:31

2

Well if they upvoted me for my sarcasm ,I can't help it . I will be happy if you cancel out those karma points if you wish . I was before and still helping people after that . I repeat again , I am not here for karma here and I didn't knew my one comment will blow out of proportion .

And I am observing a lot of karma farming activities in recent days . Please look into them . I don't want to specifically point out anyone and you know them too :)

(07 Oct '17, 14:44) trashmaster2★

The post is more directed to people upvoting and encouraging such posts. Yes, you are right when you say that you didnt know it will blow out of proportion. But still, I think you get my PoV as well. More or less, the karma from it will have to be nullified. We have to keep the list fair, thats a priority.

And as I said, please mail me if you are observing activities. I am not omnipresent lol. I need help from people in terms of bringing issues to my notice.

PS: You werent the only one, the entire thread is filled with such sarcastic responses. Dont feel pin-pointed out.

(07 Oct '17, 14:50) vijju123 ♦♦5★
1

Great answer @vijju123 . Upvotes for sarcasm and humor will always be there. You can see that it is the case for CF and other platforms too. You can't and shouldn't stop that. But yeah, irrelevant, nonsensical and dramatic posts should be discouraged. I hope that international coders too come and contribute on CC. I hope that the homepage also shows recent questions, so that relevant and genuine doubts don't go unanswered.

(07 Oct '17, 14:58) akashbhalotia4★
1

Point is, if we encourage such things to this deal, then people will be more focused on making sarcastic posts rather than genuine contribution. We must make sure that genuine reward is the only thing getting highest recognition. Else, malpractice will creep in.

CF and CC's voting system cannot be compared, since one is casual while other has a reward system.

I am not ALL against them, but I will say "Things within limits are OK, but when they cross the limits, we must control them".

(07 Oct '17, 15:02) vijju123 ♦♦5★

And I want to point out that there are some questions floating now on discuss where you can get an upvote by the question poster just by commenting any random thing like I agree with you . There is a practice going on for give and take .

(07 Oct '17, 15:06) trashmaster2★

Please report the issue to me in detail @trashmaster , in mail.

(07 Oct '17, 15:09) vijju123 ♦♦5★

@vijju123 you really like to write!! (ಥـْـِـِـِـْಥ)

(08 Oct '17, 04:00) kunnu1202★

Nah, but I like writing fanfictions :3

(08 Oct '17, 10:18) vijju123 ♦♦5★
showing 5 of 8 show all

Hi, I was going to make another question about this but I see you already did it for me, so I will just keep my views here. First, I would like to address @swetankmodi : Hey, Bohdan made it clear that now that isn't the case but it used to be that way sometime ago, also you have done the IITB's contest, you must gotten it, there was no "learning" in that. C'mon, we can be better why cherrypick something he said and make excuses, the overall picture given by him is so on point.

So, yeah, I would say @admin does not have a lot to do with this. Codechef is doing a very good job considering that it is a non-profit organisation. Besides organising competitions, it also encourages other students to take part in contests, that's just so much. Even the codechef official contests never have googleable questions. The problem is on our part. A couple of months ago, I made this post. Whoa! 46 upvotes and so many people getting "motivated" wow! Did it actually change anyone? No. No one even got it. I said the only way to get better is to practice. In the post it motivated everyone given the context but after that when I answered to questions like "How to get better?", I got negative feedback. People want something more than just "practice". Even though it's on the web, my own post is there about it, people will still ask again because why not. They want to be more "motivated". They just get "motivated" and sleep. Where is the work? Where is the stuff that says that you practiced? I had to delete many of my answers where I asked people to practice and progressively solve problems and people just didn't like it. Example: link (Here, I did not delete because the author of the question liked my answer :) )

The 6th point in Bohdan's answer was so on point. Me being the very average programmer gets messages from people. Solve 6-7 problems in long and people already message with "I am not cheating but can you give hint please." I will not name them but this is just downright sad. Where is the "motivation"? You don't even want to do well on your own efforts! I get some messages asking for help in some topic and I ALWAYS help them out but people asking for solutions("hints") during contests?

I do disagree with Bohdan at some points though. It's okay to be an fb friend with other coders so that they can easily communicate...like...take me as an example, I added Bohdan because I found some ambiguity with one of the problems he set on hackerearth. Also, that "God/Gawd _/\_" thing is just satirical and just for gags, it's just a thing we do, we do not seriously consider those people gods(Except if it's Rajat or Sumeet, because how many reds are there from India?).

Last thing is about drama. Please stop it. It's been a thing about Indian coders and I noticed it since a long time. From accusation of malpractices during selection for IPC camp to accusation for karma farming, STOP ACCUSING. There must be a reason you did not get selected, just because someone has a friend who checked out his profile and liked his posts and upvoted doesn't mean he is karma farming. I addressed it as much as I can here. The guy who recently posted the issue with the IITB contest got so much karma, don't I deserve karma for helping out? Am I crying? Am I accusing him for karma farming? I don't find it now but I also helped out a guy @trashmaster I guess and he could not upvote my answer because of less karma and my reply was "Bottomline is you learnt something". Yes, that's what I care about and that's what everyone should care about to make discuss a good community. Most of the times my call for help is ignored. No one answered my query on centroid decomposition(But you might notice me still helping people out in the comments), okay, fine but at least help other people out. So many suggestions, feedbacks, etc. etc. but not people helping each other out, just a bunch of few guys helping out the community and getting called for karma farming. feedback and suggestions are good and help us out a lot but that was not the point of discuss in the first place, its a "Forum", its where people ask questions and get answered! The first requirement is not getting satisfied here.

Lastly, I would like to request people from discuss to please just practice, ask questions if they get stuck and stop the drama. This is indeed a wake up call for us, I hope this brings about some changes in our approach to competitive programming.

link

answered 07 Oct '17, 08:07

ista2000's gravatar image

4★ista2000 ♦
2.4k722
accept rate: 20%

1

well, I do agree on the 6th point though :P

(07 Oct '17, 10:10) swetankmodi ♦♦6★

Please share the link when you answered my question . I may be didn't have karma at that point of time but now I do and will be very glad to give a response to your help . Thanks for helping me out :)

(07 Oct '17, 13:45) trashmaster2★

@ista2000 Codechef's efforts in promoting IOI participation this time have been amazing!

(07 Oct '17, 13:47) akashbhalotia4★

@trashmaster I can't find it now, it maybe someone else. Don't worry, it doesn't matter to me much anyway.

(07 Oct '17, 15:00) ista2000 ♦4★
2

Thank you akash for upvoting. By the way nevermind @trashmaster. Sorry for my mistake, it was @striverlearner.

(07 Oct '17, 16:09) ista2000 ♦4★
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question asked: 07 Oct '17, 01:22

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last updated: 21 Oct '17, 14:01