Ok, so another wacky promotion idea I had. I would like to add I had it before somebody else launched theirs!

Anyway, here is the concept:


As discussed in chat, I suggested we run some challenge examples our more experienced members can set those who want to learn. The idea is simple - learn crypto by trying to solve not-entirely-impossible puzzles.

In order for this to work, what we need are a few volunteers prepared to design a challenge or two. Thomas has provided us one example already (I know, I will look at it, I promise!). So, who would like to volunteer their services? Challenges should be:

  • Challenging!
  • Not so challenging "the life of the universe and then some" is the minimum known time bound to break your problem.
  • Possibly highlighting a point made in one of our questions, or a point nobody has asked about yet.

In order that we can have a space to design these challenges I have acquired a super special dispensation from Stack Exchange. We have a private room called the challenge construction room for this purpose! So, if you want to come along we can invite you in. However, before you volunteer please make note of the following:

  • Obviously, if you have access to the room that disqualifies you from entering. Clearly, as yet there's nothing to win from these challenges but... who knows? SE have run competitions in the past. So having access to this room would disqualify you. Moderators are obviously disqualified as we have access already; it is customary for moderators to be disqualified in all official SE competitions, so if this ever becomes official that will be the case then, so should be now.
  • You clearly agree you're not going to give the game away elsewhere on the internet.
  • ABSOLUTELY NO MODERATION-RELATED DISCUSSION bold face CAPITAL LETTERS underlined exclamation mark! will take place in this room. That means if you have access you may not discuss question closure, retagging, how much you hate people called Ninefingers or whatever else site related or otherwise you may wish to discuss that is not the crypto challenges. As I said, we have been given special permission to create this room by SE for this purpose and I had to send an email and everything to get it. So, you agree that if you enter you will not use the room for any kind of moderation of any sort, or any other discussion not directly related to the crypto challenges. This room has a very strict scope and the rules will be strictly enforced. (Most of such forbidden discussions can take place in the public chat room or here in meta instead.)
  • At points during its life, the room may be frozen. For example, if we are between challenges, the room will not be left unlocked for idle discussion. Similarly, the room will undergo some kind of locking if we decide we no longer need it.

So, there it is! If you want to sign up and come along, find our (public) chat room and ping me, Paŭlo or Thomas and we'll let you in.

Undecided items:

  • Where we host these challenges - we noted that blogs would be ideal; we might ask security.se nicely about using their blog, perhaps.
  • How frequent the challenges are - depends on the quantity and toughness of the material.
  • Prizes, if any. We need actual challenges first!
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The "absolutely no moderation" paragraph means that this room will not be used for moderation purposes (like the examples mentioned), not that the room might not be moderated if you do ugly things. (Just to clarify.) $\endgroup$ Dec 5 '11 at 23:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good point - edited to fix that. The room will be heavily moderated, especially if you do ugly things, the list of ugly things being everything but discussing crypto challenges. $\endgroup$
    – user46
    Dec 5 '11 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ Does this still exist? $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Dec 1 '12 at 13:56

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