First World Cup experience: blah!

I hope you don’t see this as a complaint. That’s not my intention. I very much enjoy CodinGame. I want to let you know about my bad experience with There is no Spoon, so that hopefully you can improve in the future. There are two points I want to touch on:

  1. I didn’t know what to expect, and I admittedly didn’t read up on the contest ahead of time. I logged in this afternoon just to take a look at the contest, with the intent of working on it this evening after the kids were in bed. I started reading the problem description and then noticed the timer counting down in the top-left of the screen. Oh crap!

  2. I accidentally submitted my code long before I was done. I unintentionally clicked the “Submit” button, and then it asked me something along the lines of “Are you sure you want to submit?” I’m pretty confident that I clicked the “Cancel” button, but even so, I was taken to the leaderboard page, and my first World Cup was prematurely finished.

My recommendations:

  • Check on the Cancel after Submit functionality. I really think that I pressed Cancel, though I guess I might have done the wrong thing by accident. I’m using Chrome 42.0.2311.90 (64-bit) on an Ubuntu 14.10 machine, in case that’s helpful.

  • Before starting the contest, try to make it abundantly clear that it is a timed competition, can only be attempted once, and that you will need to block out an extended period of time (2+ hours) in order to meaningfully participate. I apologize if this was made clear and I just breezed past the appropriate screen without reading. A final question like “Are you sure you want to start now, or do you want to try later?” might be helpful. If I had seen that, I might have paused to think a bit before jumping in.

Thank you again for your hard work and your very enjoyable site.

  • dan

In addition to the excellent points that Dan made above, I’d like to add: 12:00 PM did not mean 12:00 PM where I am (EST). It was unclear to me when to log in; I tried several times today and somehow missed the window where I could have participated.

I checked the Submit Popup statement during the contest, to see if it’s written that we can submit only once, then I cancelled and it’s works for me.

I agree with you on the 2nd point : " clear that it is a timed competition"

Thanks for your feedback anyways.

The timestamp is written in the right Panel :
Ex, Code of the Rings :
When ? Saturday, June 27, 2015 at 4 p.m. UTC (12 p.m. EST). Check your local time here.

Sorry for your inconvenience

That doesn’t make any difference, clock is ticking whether you clicked on start or waited. If you decide to start later, then you’ll have less time to finish and an handicap for final ranking (the duration is actually how long after the contest’s start you submit).


Hmm… Well I wasn’t expecting that at all. Now as I already admitted, I didn’t spend too much time researching the rules ahead of time, but I just did a cursory look for contest rules, and I don’t see too much documented on the site. It seems to be a lot of figure it out as you go and word of mouth. I received an email in February when I registered, one yesterday saying “it’s tomorrow” and one today saying “starting now”.

All of these emails were perfect opportunities to spell out the nature of the contest. None of them did. My only prior contest experience was The Great Escape, which could be joined at any point within an approximately 2-week window, and could be modified multiple times during that time period. I (admittedly somewhat naively) expected that this contest would be similar, and had not noticed any obvious information to the contrary. Now I know better.

I understand the goals of a simultaneous competition, but I’m wondering if the community might be better served by a timed competition that could be started at any point within a 24-hour window. Yes, there are drawbacks, but I think that the benefits outweigh them.

Thanks for the explanations. I continue to enjoy the challenges.

  • dan

This is a pretty standard way of doing programming contests. It’s not a good idea to allow people to start at any time. It’s too easy to cheat this way, and there is money involved.

I agree that the rules have to be spelled out clearly. They have this page: , but it’s also incomplete and has a lot of unimportant details. The fact that it is a timed competition is stated when you register, but it’s easy to miss and is not repeated afterwards.

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You’re right. I didn’t think my response out too thoroughly. Thanks for taking the time to spell it out to me.

In addition to reinforcing my request to provide more information in various stages of pre-competition communications, I’d also recommend that you consider changing up the time period occasionally. Noon on a Saturday is not likely to ever be a convenient time for me in the foreseeable future, and I’m sure there are others in the same boat, especially when considering the time globally. It might be nice to have some of the future competitions scheduled at a time offset by several hours.

  • dan
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