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On stackoverflow a 'code golf' started, where people had questions like 'write this program in the shortest lines of code' or whatever. After getting an answer to my question:

Name this church in Moscow, please?

and tagging it treasure-hunt, it occured to me we could have some fun ones on here too, if the other moderators were keen to indulge.

Something like 'name this place on google maps?', or 'find the city with the most churches' and tag it treasure-hunt - one of the most fun tags for travel for me ;)

Also questions like 'how many countries have you been to?' could be tagged wiki and made into some fun to get to know the members as well as encourage discussion in a single spot. I'd also like a 'Carmen Sandiego' tag (maybe there's a better name) - for games like 'name any unnamed countries that you've been to' in order to find if there's any country that nobody on this site has been to, or 'what's the most unusual country you've been to?'.

I dunno, I thought it'd be a fun way to engage the community, and maybe I'm just blowing hot air, but thoughts?

  • If you like geographical treasure-hunts, GeoGuessr picks a random point in the world in Google Maps and you have to explore and figure out where it is. – smci Jul 30 '16 at 19:30
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I have to admit I enjoyed searching for the name of the church. Part of it was the challenge, but a big part of it was that I was helping someone else out. I've been on trips before and don't remember what the pictures were of so I could relate. If it were just a 'code-golf' challenge, I wouldn't have been interested in answering. And more importantly, I don't want to participate in a site full of these types of questions. My interest is in travel, not Internet scavenger hunts.

What would actually be more helpful to the community would be detailing how to track down the source of a photo. That would empower others to resolve this common issue of forgetting what you take pictures of when you get back from a trip. In fact I might go back and edit my answer when I get a chance. It's the whole teach a man to fish philosophy.

Last point, I do think we need to encourage more 'community' on this site. Meta hasn't seen much activity and there are some worrying stats on area 51. Perhaps a topic for a other question, but I don't think scavenger hunt games are the way to do it.

  • +1 for encouraging more community. There is also little traffic on the chat room which is great for community. – hippietrail Aug 10 '11 at 18:36
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I think the "treasure hunt" style of question is a fun idea and could really become one of the signatures of this community.

But I also think code golf is it's own kind of question. The idea behind Code Golf is to provide an elegant, optimized solution to a clearly-stated problem. To be code golf it should be a problem that has multiple potential solutions. A problem that has one solution (the treasure hunt type of question) is more of a trivia question than code golf.

Here's an example of what I would imagine a "Travel Golf" question to be:

"I am a big fan of Greek and Roman ruins, and have learned that Turkey has a large collection of them. Given one week of travel, flying in and out of Ataturk airport in Istanbul on Sunday Mar 15 and Sunday Mar 22, what's an optimal travel plan for me to see as many Greco-Roman sites as possible? Bonus for hitting sites of exceptional historical significance (e.g. Troy) or those that are exceptionally well preserved (e.g. Ephesus)."

Then it's a question of optimization and logistics more than it is a question of "just knowing". It becomes a game that multiple people can play: do you send the traveler to Ephesus first? Do you avoid Troy because even though it's hugely significant there's really very little to see? Do you send him on the dolmus all the way or use a flight as part of the trip? etc.

If we do have a "travel golf" category, though, we'd probably have to name it something else to avoid confusing destination golf resort travelers. expedition-expert, maybe?

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    Not bad, but that gets tricky with how long to allow at each site, for example. You'll also need the travel schedule. Possible with flights tho, for example. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Dec 19 '11 at 22:08
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    I also once designed a trip from London where with timings of RyanAir flights and a tight connection to the train station in Oslo, it was possible to fly from London, switch to train in Oslo, train up to Bodø in northern Norway, spend a few hours there, and train back, just in time for the Sunday evening flight back to London. So that would be an amusing example I suppose that fits your design-an-expedition. But remember, we need an objective answer, so there'd need to be a clear definition of what was the best answer. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Dec 19 '11 at 22:09
  • Yeah, framing the question in a way that can be objectively judged is the rub. Quoting from the Code Golf site FAQ: "These questions are surprisingly hard to write well." – Jonathan Van Matre Dec 19 '11 at 22:27
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Fixed the link - it was broken, and what is why I didn't see that question.
I think this question is good, but I think we should start with something easier than small church in Moscow.

Do you have something else in your pocket?

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