I've been getting a lot of grief lately about posting Python answers after other users have already posted a Python answer. Not only do I come up with these independently, they sometimes are shorter/different solutions. I'm getting really tired of this.



Remove all occurrences of the first letter of a string from the entire string

Create output twice the length of the code

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I know from experience that it can be a bad idea to post a same-language answer (Usually, Dennis just posts while I'm writing my post). I think as long as the process to accomplish the task is different as previous answers, then it should be fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – GamrCorps
    Oct 27, 2015 at 16:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the rules for Create output twice the length of the code specifically allow multiple answers per language, so you shouldn't be getting flak for that: "The shortest answer for each language wins for that language." In general, I think it's fine to post answers in the same language, although I will only do so if my approach is different from the existing answers. If I see a way to shorten an existing solution without significantly changing the algorithm, I usually just leave a comment instead of writing my own answer. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 6, 2015 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


You Can, Dogtor!

The only thing is, the public mightn't approve.

If they believe that adding your code after other, shorter, answers exist for the same language is pointless, then they'll downvote because they don't see a reason for the answer to be there in the first place. It is a competition, after all.

You absolutely can post your answer.

But others might not see why.

Note: a different method of finding an answer might be great, so post it anyway! It's just a question of whether people believe you should post to win in your language or post to show that there are other ways.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would also add an explanation of why the solution is different from already-posted ones in the answer. This site isn't just about finding the shortest code to accomplish a task - we also want to see different languages and approaches. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Oct 27, 2015 at 20:04

Because this site follows a Q/A model, all answers should add something new to the question. The answers you linked to don't.

A answer in the same language that's shorter than a previously posted one will often earn my upvote—especially in a popular language like Python. This indicates that the second poster found something that the first poster overlooked. It adds to the site because it's shorter, and that's what we're about.

An answer that is longer but uses a creative approach will sometimes earn my upvote. In my opinion, when posting a longer answer, it's polite to link to the shorter answer as I did here (actually, in that challenge my longer answer was first, but no matter).

However, an answer that is slower, longer, and straightforward to find should not be valued on PCG. Post it if you want to, but don't expect votes.

FGITW is defined here:

Each question's answers are sorted by descending score and then by descending time of posting. This means that if a person sits down and answers a question in a long, thorough way, going through every nook and cranny, once they post their answer, it will already be one of about seven different ones, some of which have already been upmodded. This wouldn't be a problem if those answers were as thorough as the one this guy's posting, but they usually aren't. Some of them are downright wrong, some aren't even answers to the question asked because their poster didn't bother to read the question all the way through.

FGITW is a problem when slower, better answers don't get the votes they deserve. In challenges, the quality of answers is based on their length, creativity, and (if necessary) explanation. Your answers were not shorter, and in my opinion they weren't creative; therefore, FGITW does not apply.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is essentially the right answer. I wonder why the are so many downvotes? (perhaps because it doesn't add much to the other answer? ;-)) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2015 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is not a helpful answer. Acknowledging the existence of FGITW and then essentially saying "sucks to be you" does not add anything. FGITW is a major issue with SO, so we should make sure our policies work given that consideration. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Oct 27, 2015 at 20:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ "they weren't creative" - just how different does an approach need to be to be "creative"? Admittedly the double-length-output was practically identical, but I see plenty of answers that are actually unique in their approach to solving the problem, but get downvoted because they're not the shortest answer for that language. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Oct 27, 2015 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ "this is a Q/A site" It is? \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Oct 27, 2015 at 21:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Post it if you want to, but don't expect votes" is fair enough, but in one of the cited examples you went as far as to "recommend deletion". That's definitely over the line: deletion is for "answers" which don't actually answer the question. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2015 at 23:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterTaylor After reading about when to delete answers on SO, I agree with you that it wasn't appropriate; I've deleted that comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – lirtosiast
    Oct 27, 2015 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Suggesting to delete THIS answer.It's wrong from the first sentence - this is not a Q/A site \$\endgroup\$
    – edc65
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ this site follows a Q/A model Well, interesting, I thought otherwise. -1 \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2016 at 17:15

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