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I'm asking in general, but in my specific case I was working on an answer for Programming a Pristine World and got $><<"%c"*5%%w(w o r l d). The fatal flaw here is that #<< accepts an array, so if "%c"*5% is removed, $><<%w(w o r l d) is a valid program. I'd still like to post this for two reasons:

  • It took effort, and I don't want it to be a complete waste
  • Somebody may be able to find a way to make it work, and then make it a valid answer.

Can I still post this as an answer? Should it perhaps be a comment?

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I can see how it can be frustrating not to be able to share an almost working solution, but I think if we allowed them, we'd be opening a much bigger can of worms. Just how valid does a solution need to be to be allowed as an answer? So please refrain from posting it anyway, because that would send the wrong message about our quality standards. I also don't think that making an answer community wiki should free an answer from those quality standards - after all it can still accumulate votes that would let it bubble up beyond some valid answers.

There are other channels where you can show your (almost working) solution:

  • Leave a comment on the question. If the (non-)solution is too long for a comment, link to it in a pastebin or so. (Note however that comments aren't guaranteed to remain forever. While I don't think any of the mods would remove such a comment on sight, it might vanish in a general comment purge when other comments become too chatty in the same thread.)
  • If applicable, leave a comment on a similar answer in the same language.
  • Post it in chat.
  • If you do have a (different) valid answer, include it as a note in that answer.

Usually one of these will be quite appropriate for the two goals you want to achieve.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1; Many answers have alongside a valid solution an interesting fact about the golfing process; this can certainly include an almost-correct solution. As long as there is a solution in every answer, an additional almost-solution, if interesting, can certainly add to the site. \$\endgroup\$ – lirtosiast Nov 12 '15 at 0:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe that if one does decide to add a non-conform answer, that it's still fine as long it's clearly noted in the header. For example by adding : (Non competing). And by explaining a bit why it's not valid. \$\endgroup\$ – LukStorms Nov 12 '15 at 12:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LukStorms I'd downvote that comment if I could. Apart from languages created without the challenge in mind but after the challenge was posted, I don't like to see non-competing answers cluttering the list. I very much enjoy the structureless many-threaded meandering of Code Golf Chat, but on the main site I prefer things to be focused and respect the rules set by the question author. \$\endgroup\$ – trichoplax Nov 13 '15 at 12:34
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The very fact that there's so many possibilities where you're almost "pristine" but not quite, and so many fewer where you actually are 100% "pristine" is exactly the point of the challenge.

So sorry, but your solution isn't a solution to the challenge and should not be posted.

It wasn't a waste though, you undoubtedly learned and bettered yourself in the process of the challenge. But if everyone that got "close" posted their non-answer on that challenge then sifting through to find the actual answers would be quite difficult. It is my opinion that only true answers to the challenge should be posted. You simply get the self-satisfaction of having at least made a neat attempt.

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