My meta-question is inspired by this question, which obviously asks for example sourcecode:

Example sage code would be perfect, source code in any language would work as well.

This got me thinking… are sourcecode requests on-topic at all?

I mean, it could be on-topic if I would categorize it as some kind of “reference request”… on the other hand, these kind of questions would be off-topic at other sites (like StackOverflow) and I'm not sure if Crypto.SE is the right place to start accepting such requests. After all, they can be pretty broad and some software requests might even result in opinion-based discussions about which sourcecode is better than another one, most probably combined with a popularity-voting frenzy.

So, there are two sides of a coin… question is, which one is preferred at Crypto.SE?

How do we handle such sourcecode requests?


1 Answer 1


I'm for using notation instead of code. But we have a track record of using the OP's notation in the answers, and source code is a form of notation.

There's a difference between using five or six lines to show something and writing a complete program. That said I would accept source code as long as it's

  • Short and clear
  • Doesn't rely on language-specific functions or constructs
  • Can be understood by a non-programmer (ie. is more of a parseable pseudocode)
  • Is followed by a good explanation (possibly in mathematical notation)

As long as the above can be met when answering, I don't have a problem with it.

This isn't Code Golf or SO so I don't think we'd go into voting frenzy for the "neatest" solution by typical coding standards.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As long as we don't end up in something called “Crypto Golf”… ;) Anyway, just wanted to cross-check if there's some specific consensus at Crypto.SE about where “a few lines of code” stops, and where “a complete program” starts. Your answer surely provides some good orientation. Thanks… $\endgroup$
    – e-sushi
    Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with this. At the end of the day source code is just a form of pseudo-code, so as long as the algorithm is one worth describing then its not unreasonable to use the authors choice of pseudo-code (/language). $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 9:39

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