Earlier I noticed that the challenge 'We are Number One, But...' has been given the tag .

We've had a few lyric questions in the past, but the most significant was the challenge to print the lyrics to 'Never Gonna Give you Up'. Although that challenge has 200+ upvotes, new lyric challenges are frowned upon because most of the answers are the same: taking the compressed string, uncompressing it, and printing it.

Having the tag suggests that we want more challenge along this line - but most proposed lyric challenges get closed at duplicates of the Rick Astley one, because the answers will all be the same: string compression. Therefore, I ask, do we really need this tag, or should it be deleted?

Arguments for:

  • Different songs have different lyrics, whose patterns can be exploited differently, such as 99 bottles of beer
  • The lyrics tag allows people who enjoyed the challenge to find similar challenges

Arguments against:

  • Challenges involving printing lyrics often all use the same, uninteresting tactics. Having the lyric tag suggests we want more like this.
  • We already have the tag for producing constant output.


As the 'NO' answer had 15 upvotes, and there was no answer suggesting we should keep it, I've removed the tag from the challenge it was put on.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 22, 2016 at 16:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well done, I think the tag encouraged more lyric challenges, when we didn't want more. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 25, 2016 at 9:24

1 Answer 1



Let's delete the tag once and for all

First of all, as stated in the question:

Challenges involving printing lyrics often all use the same, uninteresting tactics. Having the lyric tag suggests we want more like this.

Most often, the tactics in the answers include converting the lyrics into another base and then decoding it (boring!). In We're no strangers to code golf, you know the rules, and so do I, all of the answers use base-conversion. Some other times there are answers with storing a part of the string and duplicating it, performing replacement, blah blah blah. This does not bring out amazing golfs and new tactics most of the times. If all we are going to see are the same questions (that take little to no effort at all to make) with the same type of answers (just written in different languages), I don't see why this should be encouraged.

Keeping this tag will only encourage users (especially newer users since these challenges take the least effort) to post more of these challenges. That is why it should be deleted right away.


The tag is now deleted. Let's rejoice!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Base conversion is actually banned on the Rick Astley challenge (lots of people still used it anyway), but on this challenge where it wasn't banned, every single answer uses it \$\endgroup\$
    – FlipTack
    Dec 22, 2016 at 16:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Flp.Tkc Yes, that's why most of the top voted answers of the Risk Astley challenge just used string replacement (replacing parts of the string with the most common phrases in the lyrics). We are still seeing the same pattern of answers over and over again. \$\endgroup\$
    – user41805
    Dec 22, 2016 at 16:38
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the conclusion, but I think the argument is badly put. The phrasing suggests that the rickroll answers only use base conversion: actually many of them use base conversion as part of their toolset, but also do a grammar expansion. It's the combination which is really the thing which new kolmogorov-complexity have to work around. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 22, 2016 at 21:16

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