Generally, the simplest solution is the correct one. I don't think it's a stretch to say that the simplest solution would also be the most readable, efficient or practical. Or at least close to it.
That's a gross oversimplification. The simplest possible solution to a real-world problem will often miss edge cases and lack expandability. In any case, the simplicity of a solution has absolutely no direct correlation to its correctness.
PHP is only one level above C, which is only one level above ASM. So I wouldn't consider that a massive handicap.
That's extremely misleading, and the assertion is (unfortunately) very much incorrect. PHP is implemented in C, yes; however, it does not expose nearly all of the constructs you'd have at your disposal were you writing C, nor does it come close to touching the power of other dynamic languages like Ruby and Python. Metaclasses, inner classes, closures, higher-order functions... these are things that can be exceptionally useful that don't (and aren't likely to ever) exist in PHP.
This is simply not true. Finding unique solutions to solving problems, without any constraints allows for very creative use of the language. Various different and creative methods for solving similar problems can be very educational for programmers who may not realize that X can even be done.
It's not nearly as useful as that in a general programming sense. PHP has its uses, but there are very good reasons you'll never see it in a serious computer science program. This is why I suggested relevant challenges: They're far more useful for people to whom PHP is
programming as well as diverse programmers who are currently using PHP.
I don't believe we are "actively avoiding doing anything useful". You are welcome to post your own challenge meeting your criteria. We certainly won't stop you.
That's exactly what the post I was replying said should avoid being done. I did, in fact, post a challenge idea that I consider practical, interesting, and useful in the context of PHP web programming.
And if you're afraid of people using your security-hole-ridden code...
That is cynical.
Once again... I was directly addressing the concerns of the poster I replied to. In his own words. I even made suggestions to avoid that situation; call it cynical if you want, but at least keep it in context, as it's also potentially helpful.
I don't remember seeing any unreadable, inefficient or impractical code being posted as a result of any challenges. I would argue that code which solves the intended problem is not impractical.
It hardly matters if the problem at hand doesn't address anything the language would reasonably be used for. Learning to implement something in PHP that you wouldn't use in that language does not necessarily help you implement it in any other language, where the available libraries and constructs are likely to be vastly different.
I think you are viewing this from the perspective that the challenges need to be "taken more seriously". If this was the case, I would doubt anyone would participate, so good luck with that.
That is presumptuous (and, hey, a little bit cynical).
My suggestion was meant to be taken at face value: A challenge in PHP could absolutely be a good thing, but is not nearly as helpful to the people doing it or the people reading about it if it's not oriented towards a problem that it'd be a rational choice for.
I stopped in asking for help... I kind of got it (which is to say I determined I couldn't do what I wanted to in PHP), so I hit a bunch of threads here to help other people out, and tried suggesting something to help the challenges improve their participants' practical skills (since that seems like a pretty reasonable objective given the nature of these forums).
Anyway, I'm not gonna harp on it any more. It's the difference between idle curiosity and active self-improvement.