So, we have this question

Work it harder, make it better

Put on hold as a duplicate of this question

We're no strangers to code golf, you know the rules, and so do I

Now there have been many song lyrics on here which I would agree do not add anything to the rickroll, but this latest question is an exception.

Looking around, there are a handful of songs that have scraped through:

12 Days of Christmas Lyrics (even though the numbers were required to be output in words)

Print the lyrics to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (music also required)

And some that haven't (much as I like the first of these, I have to agree that, in this case, it didnt add anything new)

What a wonderful world

Isn't It Ironic? A Little Too Ironic? (for some reason closed not as a duplicate of the rickroll, but of Write lines in detention )

So, once and for all, what kinds of song lyrics are / are not a duplicate of the rickroll?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Once someone told me that if answers from other questions can be slightly modified to work with another question, even if the input and output are incompatible, the question is a duplicate. See this meta: meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/q/3604/14732 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


There are many song lyrics questions that are indeed a duplicate of the rickroll (the recently deleted Australian national anthem is another example.) On the other hand there are some that aren't.

To me, songs that require numbers to be calculated / displayed in a different way to other questions are definitely not duplicates of the rickroll.

Also, this latest question "Work it harder, make it better" is not a duplicate of the rickroll, because the entire lyric is composed of the following paragraph, repeated with various omissions and, uniquely, rearrangements.

Work It Harder Make It Better
Do It Faster, Makes Us stronger
More Than Ever Hour After
Our Work Is Never Over

It was closed very rapidly as a duplicate of the rickroll, and, less than an hour later, has three reopen votes.

Before close voting I always read questions in their entirety, to be sure, and I suggest we should all do the same. Rather than close voting a song lyric question because it's "just a duplicate of the rickroll", in this case it makes more sense to upvote, precisely because the OP has found a song that isn't just a duplicate of the rickroll.

EDIT: I'm disappointed that many answers to "work it harder make it better" have followed similar techniques to the rickroll, instead of taking full advantage of the structure of this particular text. Nevertheless the opportunity was and is there, so I feel it should stay open. To illustrate this, my own answer in Ruby is currently in second place (behind Peter Taylor's Golfscript answer) as a result of taking advantage of the strong patterns applicable to this particular song.

I think we can draw a parallel with ASCII art, where it's important that there is some kind of pattern (not too simple, but not too random.) Compression of text without a pattern is not interesting, as it relies on standard techniques. But a text like "Work it harder, make it better" has sufficient pattern to it to benefit from non standard text-compression techniques. And this is the critera we should apply to similar questions.

So, just I would hate to see us closing ASCII art questions, I would hate to see us closing those text compression questions whose structure means they can benefit from non-standard text compression techniques. To be clear, if it's a straight text with no pattern I would agree with closing it. But let's keep an eye out for patterns before we close.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If answers are being adapted, it is a clear indication that it is duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 19:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsmaelMiguel it's disappointing that many of the answers used similar techniques to the rickroll, but that wasn't the best way to answer the question. Look at the length of the text that I copied above. Text compression was not the main thing here, there was a riffle and omissions, similar to ASCII art. There are 3 answers in Ruby, mine (303 bytes) using techniques specific to the question, and two others (486 and 643 bytes) using techniques from the rickroll. Copying those techniques was not the best way to do it. The numbers speak for themselves. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ According to one of our current moderators, that's enough to be a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 21:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsmaelMiguel By "one of our current moderators" I assume you mean Martin's answer to the meta question you linked in the OP above. I'm sorry your question got closed, and by my reading Martin agreed with this because he felt the heavy lifting would have been done by the user who answered the previous question (sorry I'm paraphrasing a little.) My point is that with the question discussed here, there was the opportunity to try new techniques, and you weren't going to get best in language by using the ones from the old question. Enough people agreed with me for this question to stay open. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 21:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel the same. The heavy lifting was done to the death. This question should be closed. I won't defend my question because it was severely hurt by someone's bad work. The point is: 2 questions in the same position. One by me, one by a "popular" user. One gets closed, one doesn't. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 9:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsmaelMiguel I don't think popularity is the issue. Your name is more familiar to me than the OP of the challenge this post is about. Both got closed (yours was closed by the author of the other answer of this post, and I've discussed the matter with him on his answer to the challenge.) This challenge got reopened largely as a result of this post and my casting the first reopen vote, because I saw something different in it. If it was your question I would have done the same. On the other hand I see quite a lot of similarities between your closed question and the one it is a "duplicate" of. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 10:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Similarities are limited to [] meaning the same, supporting {} for a quantity and * means 0 or mote times and ? means 1 or more times. Other than that, it's different. On the other challenge, something like [[] would be invalid, while on mine you can output [. But that isn't the point. The point is: 2 questions on the same situation are treated differently. One is glorified, the other is shot down. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 10:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsmaelMiguel If by "someone else's bad work" you mean Peter closing your question, I think that's quite out of place, and you're reading too much into it. Everyone here is doing what they think is best, though some of us (including myself) can be overly harsh at times. Having reviewed both challenges, I'm afraid I agree with the closing of yours (it's not personal.) I disagree with the closing of this one because, per my answer, the text is sufficiently regular that a specific compression technique (rather than a standard one) works best. I'm disappointed other answers didn't take advantage. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 10:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsmaelMiguel One is glorified, the other is shot down. I can't agree with that. Both were closed at first, but I made an effort to get this one open. And while it is true that the syntax in your question has only a few identical symbols, the task as a whole is quite similar. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 10:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ 99 bear of bottle isn't duplicate to this but it also already exist \$\endgroup\$
    – l4m2
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 16:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know I mistyped but I keep it \$\endgroup\$
    – l4m2
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 16:30

Being a song or not has nothing to do with it. Basic has been done to death, and new questions which just take an English text will just attract a bunch of answers using the same techniques as the existing ones.

To take the specific example mentioned, the "Work it better" lyric is ideally suited to the grammar-based techniques which were used in many of the answers to the rickroll. I don't see any evidence that it adds anything to the site.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, I agree with the closing of pretty much every song lyric (and similar "basic kolmogorov-complexity" question) but I think "work it harder, make it better" is different. It's composed of 16 lyrical tokens, the longest of which is More Than at 9 characters. It's more about the arrangement of those tokens, and the intervening punctuation, than the straight compression of text. And the riffle pattern in the song introduction is interesting and not something we have seen before. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 11:03

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