The Bitcoin source is easy to fork, and people can make their own altcoins with relative ease. This site regularly sees questions from people who are having trouble with their custom coins, such as https://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/21731/my-scrypt-altcoin-has-no-mainnet-hashrate.

My feeling is that such questions should be closed, as they are effectively asking the community to debug code that they can't see. I don't see how anyone could answer except to make wild guesses about what might be wrong, or to just say "Fire up gdb". But I'd like to see if there's a community consensus on this. If so, this meta question could become the canonical place to point posters of such questions, to explain why their question is being closed.

Edit: If nothing else, I propose a tag for such questions. Perhaps ?

  • What exactly do you mean by community consensus? I agree with you and Tim Post, but this question received 12 views (and that includes me and you two) in 9 days. Trying to reach to a community consensus on a hardly active meta seems impossible, especially because there are lots of active people not participating in the meta. – Jori Apr 20 '14 at 8:39
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    You have enough rep to make the tag. Find a question or two like this, then edit them for the retag. There are badge rewards for this too. It is encouraged. I think that is a perfect suggestion, by the way. – fredsbend May 22 '14 at 20:56

These are a bit like the finance questions, professional accountants are probably not going to understand the currency sufficiently to be of use. I say that in most cases, because you can go out of your way to make the ramifications of your question clear, without the reader needing deep knowledge of how crypto currencies work. Analogies are great for this, but I digress.

I closed the question you linked as unclear, because it is. There's not nearly enough information there to answer it. Any time debuggers / lints / segfaults / etc come in to play, one might immediately think of Stack Overflow but .. like accountants, do experts there understand the currency enough to sufficiently answer a well asked programming question?

I'd say, if answerable, and obvious that a deep understanding of the currency sets the stage for the kind of expert that could answer it, they're probably okay here. But I think that would be rare - 'go find your debugger' is a strong indication of a poor question both here and on Stack Overflow.


To expand on what Tim said, building an altcurrency and debugging the code is a very big part of this new industry called cryptocurrency. Therefore, the questions about the code itself are certainly on topic.

However, there should be rules.

  1. A question about code should indicate the asker's effort at resolving the issue before posting here. "It's broke, fix it, please," is not a good or future useful question.

  2. A question about code should include excerpts of the code that the asker thinks might be the problem. There exceptions, but mostly, I think not.

  3. Answers on questions about code should be more than "I fixed it, here you go." They should explain why it was broken and why what they did fixed it.

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