UPDATE: We got some good suggestions. Thanks to all of you for putting in your time and effort. The ones that we think we should consider and a few that we found interesting are:
- Start the long contest on the first Friday of every month and let it be a 10 day contest without changing the duration - m1sterzer0
- Give away goodies to top 6 Indian and top 3 Global participants for the best challenge score outside the top 20 and top 10 respectively - anton_lunyov
- Allow the ability to create virtual contests for the users - mukulgupta
- pypy support on SPOJ to make Python more competitive - m1sterzer0
- Host two contests per month - A few people suggested the same.
- Have two testers to test each long contest - iscsi
We are considering implementing 1 and 2. We like 3 and will consider adding it to our priority log. We will check the feasibility of 4 with SPOJ and try and get it done. 5 requires a lot more commitment and effort from our side and at the moment we cannot take it up as we have so much else to do. We will surely consider this for future. 6 is a good suggestion too but then we need to work on the modalities of the same and may consider this in future.
There are a few suggestions made here:
Let the contest run for full 2 weeks instead of 10 days, that way we are guaranteed to have two weekends to devote to the contest irrespective of the month. Meanwhile, weekend is not Saturday and Sunday in every country. For example in Holland it is some other days which are weekdays in our country. It could be different at more places also. CodeChef is a global platform, and when a contest is not in multiple of 7 days, that amounts to variable amount of free time among various participants.
The 9 binary problems should get locked 3 days before the contest gets over. That is, they move to practice section and editorials are up, but challenge problem remains open in contest arena. This will increase the response rate to challenge problem. Otherwise most of the time we are in a dilemma whether to increase our score by a fraction or try to solve some unsolved problem and get a full point. Most of the time I end up ignoring the Challenge problem for the greed of a full point. Challenge problems are very interesting and require different skills than exact solution type problems. Having a separate window of time for challenge problems will increase participation for this problem and we will have a greater diversity of ideas coming up for this problem. I would personally want to devote more time to this problem but the reward currently is not so large for it, only some decimal points.
We introduce some prize for the best challenge problem submission over and above other prizes awarded. After all, this type of problem format is very different from other problems and forms a category of its own. Though we are mixing the two type of problems in Long contest for Tie Break etc we could keep its importance high by having an additional prize for best challenge problem solution submission.
We (at CodeChef) like the suggestions and our response to the same has been mentioned here. What we have proposed is to accept points numbered 1 and 3 above.
We do not believe that we should lock all the problems and force people to solve only challenge problems for a particular time frame. We think that mostly people who will actually fight for a fraction of a point will be those who are at point 8 or 9, who are competing for the top honors. If I am at point 5 or point 6 or lesser, I would rather spend those extra 3 days for solving another problem (or possibly more) - which seems only fair. This can potentially fetch me more than 1 point but more important than that I can invest that amount of time in learning some concept to solve another problem. We do not want to restrict this choice of the participants and force them to solve a particular problem.
We believe that we must extend the duration of the contest to 15 days (starting on the 1st and ending on the 16th of every month). This will ensure the addition of two weekends irrespective of which country one lives in. The flip side to this is that now people have to wait longer for the editorials.
We are also considering some additional recognition in the form of some reward for the best submissions for the Challenge problem as mentioned. This may make contestants give more attention to the Challenge problem.
However, we want you all be included in this discussion and hence we want you to share your thoughts here. Please add your options as an answer and vote up for those options that you want to be implemented. Once we have a consensus, we will try and implement this at the earliest.