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We have a programming question for a language (Circom 2) that's tailor-made for a cryptographic task: construction of zk-SNARKs.

Should we accept such questions? Shall we create a tag, and which? Any better name than circom for that?

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  • $\begingroup$ It's a niche, but I wonder if we have knowledge about such language, and what kind of questions we're going to allow. I'm not entirely sure either which kind of languages would fit, e.g. when it comes to SAT solvers: do we allow those? It's tricky, because I'm not sure if SO can give a good answer either (and there are certainly users here that question SO in this regard anyway). $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes Mod
    Jul 29, 2022 at 9:23
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    $\begingroup$ The big horror would come if we'd also allow questions about online tools that are specific to cryptography. We certainly don't want to allow that to happen, I think. Whatever happens, we want to explicitly exclude those. $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes Mod
    Jul 29, 2022 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ I'm also a bit worried about the current question, as it seems to have little to do with SHA-256 by itself, it seems some kind of language SNAFU or configuration issue. $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes Mod
    Jul 29, 2022 at 9:53

2 Answers 2

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I believe that we should adjust our programming close reason so it makes an exception for languages designed specifically and exclusively for cryptographers working on cryptographic problems (thus it should exclude languages that are merely used by cryptographers, like Sage). We can then create a tag, and have the tag description highlight that it is only to be used for questions about such on-topic languages. There is no need to have a different tag for each language.

Remember, our goal is not to gate keep arbitrary rules, but to ensure that the site stays on-topic and is not bogged down by pointless questions asking how to compile OpenSSL or why their browser is giving them a security warning. Unless there's a risk that allowing (some) programming questions in limited scope will devolve the site into Stack Overflow: Cryptography Edition, I think they are fine.

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Some relaxation of the off-topic rule is deserved I believe.

SO is a high-volume site. If we migrate all programming questions to there, question may get drown in the noise; in contrast, Crypto.SE attracts at least some programmers with experties in cryptography. Also, SO lack some tags that help find questions in relevant sub-field in cryptography, so allow them here may help users find them quicker.

I suggest that, if we cannot yet formulate objective rules for evaluating whether to migrate a programming question, we do it on a case-by-case basis.

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