While I was writing this, it became to clear me, that I'm not even sure if CTF write-ups are off-topic or prohibited on the main site or if there was ever an agreement to post them here on Meta. If it's just the everyday behaviour; I say: let's change it.

In the past we had some really fun CTFs with some great write-ups! Unfortunately these write-ups always end up here on Meta and are therefore only viewed by a very small audience.
Each CTF post has between 100 and 500 views. My guess is, that there are seldomly cross-site views.

I wanted to start the following discussion: Let's allow CTF write-ups on the main site and soften the "how to ask" restrictions for them.

There are two reasons why I think this is beneficial:

  1. Bigger team roster

1.1 As of today the CTF team consists of around 5 to 6 active members.1 Promoting the team on the main site could help with recruiting new members. New members could help with more active participation in CTFs. More active participation leads to visibility for sec.se in a crowd of possible new, interested and interesting users. More CTF participation also means more write-ups.

  1. Cross-site visibility

2.1. Write-ups are interesting. IMO write-ups would be a great resource to have on the main site. All the CTF team members have done some outstanding work so far. Adding reputation as a bonus can help to keep the quality content coming. But not only might a good write-up get some upvotes on the main site, it maybe might also get some cross-site visibilty with becoming a Hot Network Question. A Meta Question on the other hand will never become Hot.

Why do the on-topic restrictions need to be softened? Why not formulate the challenges as questions and answer them yourself?

The challenges that are given in CTFs are very specific and so are their solutions. If the challenges have to be "bent" too much to fit into the style of a question the answer to that question would possibly not qualify as a good write-up anymore. That's why I'd like to get a ruling from the mods and community that says: "CTF write-ups need not comply with on-topic rules."
Write-ups will probably still comply with "What topics can I ask about here?" in most cases, but probably not with the "How do I ask a good question?"-guidelines. They will be only relevant to either other players of the same CTFs or CTFs with similar challenges. Also, askers will rarely be "open minded", because the question will always get an immediate answer. Although other users might propose other ways to solve the challenge, which might be interesting.

TL;DR: Let's allow CTF write-ups on the main site and let's not force the typical question/answer format on them.

Here are some examples of fantastic write-ups: one, two, three

A more organized approach per CTF could change participation numbers. As of now participation is maybe announced too late, so that other users can not plan well. We could/should look into that too.

  • 3
    No matter where they are, just wanted to say that I have enjoyed reading them.
    – Anders
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I'm a member of the sec.se CTF team.

In my opinion, write-ups aren't good questions, so we shouldn't post them on the main site. You can't easily turn them into good questions since the problem will be way too specific.

I don't think their place is on meta neither, but nobody uses the CTF announcement posts, so I guess posting them as answer there is fine.

However, while playing CTFs, we are confronted to specific challenges we need to solve. These challenges often involve interesting tricks that we research.

I think some of these specific tricks can be turned into good questions, suited to the main site, for example:

Just don't post them while the CTF is running since it could help a concurrent team. ;)

  • 1
    We also discussed this matter in chat and came up with some other methods of boosting visibility. For instance editing the title of CTF meta posts once write-ups are included so it is more obvious for the non-meta users, where to find them. Most of the times the CTF posts will end up in the "Hot Meta Posts" sections or will get promoted so they are at least very visible on the main site. So that's probably a good compromise. Thanks for your input @Benoit!
    – Tom K.
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 9:47

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