[Haskell-cafe] haskellwiki and Project Euler

Cale Gibbard cgibbard at gmail.com
Sun Feb 24 05:37:55 EST 2008


It seems that I'm getting sucked into this argument solely due to my
unwillingness to allow people to damage useful content that has been
added to the Haskell wiki.

This started a couple of weeks ago when a user by the name Marypoppins
decided to arbitrarily remove all the Euler Problems solutions from
the wiki. I treated this as vandalism and immediately reverted all the

I'd like to state up front that I otherwise have no personal stake in
this, since the solutions pages are not ones that I've made
significant contributions to, nor have I even spent a significant
amount of time working on Project Euler problems. (They have not
enough universal quantifiers in them for my tastes.)

I do however, think it's important to not allow valid contributions to
the wiki to be damaged by people without good reason.

On 23/02/2008, Daniel Fischer <daniel.is.fischer at web.de> wrote:
> Hi all,
>  I try not to be too rude, although I'm rather disgusted.
>  I know there are several sites out on the web where solutions to PE problems
>  are given. That is of course absolutely against the sporting spirit of
>  Project Euler, but hey, not all people are sporting.
>  I've found http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Euler_problems irritating for a
>  while, but wasn't overly annoyed by it while it only contained code for
>  solving a few dozen problems.
>  Today I learnt that it now contains code for all problems.
>  Really bad!

Why is this even the least bit bad? If you publish a bunch of
problems, expect people to publish a bunch of solutions to them. They
will do this regardless of what you demand, since there's educational
value to others in doing so.

If you're running a contest and you don't want people to be able to
look up all the solutions, then simply produce a bunch of problems to
which nobody has the solution, and make them available all at once,
with a time limit on solving them. If you want to see how this is done
correctly, have a look at what the ICFP does.

If Project Euler is instead, not a contest, as people on the Talk
pages on the wiki have claimed, then nobody should have any problem
with publishing solutions, as the only person one could possibly cheat
by looking up the solution is oneself. However, if one had already
given up on solving said problem, then there would likely be
significant educational value in reading a solution to it.

>  On top of that, the code for many problems isn't even Haskell, but C, WTF!

This indeed is a problem, as it is the Haskell wiki after all.
However, I feel that it's more valuable to keep such solutions until
such time as their Haskell counterparts are made available.

>  Other code was submitted without consent of the author, copied from the PE
>  fora, which are restricted access and so, even if perhaps not legally, but in
>  spirit, do not fall under the legitimate resources for haskellwiki:
>  "You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a
>  public domain or similar free resource. DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK

This is a legitimate concern. If the copyright of the original authors
can be proved, said solutions should indeed be removed. However, any
claim that the content as a whole, or the list of numeric solutions
violates the copyright of PE is clearly ridiculous. The problem
statements do not appear on the wiki, and the exact solutions, even if
PE were to publish them (that list doesn't appear to be anywhere on
the PE site), clearly qualifies as fair use.

>  To make matters worse still, there was a page containing nothing but the
>  answers. That was changed, but Cale chose to reintroduce that crap.
>  I just removed it again. Your turn, Cale.

I will not tolerate people coming along and arbitrarily blanking pages
for inappropriate reasons like this. Sorry. Such a list of solutions
would be useful to someone working on the problems, as a fast way to
check their solutions, for instance. It doesn't harm people wanting to
solve the problems on their own, as they can simply avoid looking at

>  I call on the Haskell community to vote for immediate removal of these pages
>  from the wiki!
>  Show that you're a sporting bunch.

I call for the opposite. Sorry.

 - Cale

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