I'm still fairly new to code golf, but I've run into this problem quite a bit already (in part because I'm new, I imagine). I'll find a challenge I think I can tackle and work up a solution. When I go to submit it, I find not only has the language I selected already been used, but the current submission in it is less bytes than my answer.

By the general rule/consensus I read somewhere (can't seem to find it now): if your language has already been used, you should only post your answer if it's a significantly different process or a better score. I understand this, but the community edit/suggestion process has been my primary way of improving my golfing.

So now I'm stuck with not-so-great answers score-wise. Sometimes they use roughly the same logic as an answer in the same language; other times I can't sufficiently understand the much better scoring answer to determine if what I wrote is just a poorly golfed version of it or not.

I'm aware of the various posts which have helped quite a bit, but these obviously can't contain every bit of useful info for my specific answer.

What should I do with poor-scoring answers in languages that have already been used that I want help golfing?

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    \$\begingroup\$ While some people would like that languages should only receive another answer if the new answer is better, that isn't exactly "consensus". Of course, if you approach is exactly the same, only less golfed, then you probably won't get more help from posting than from looking at the existing answer. If your approach is different though, then I'd say go for it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 22, 2016 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think your post, and indeed most answers in the 100+ byte range for Python, add something even if not first/shorter. It's the answers that don't show effort (or, as Martin said, are simply the shorter answer ungolfed) that I don't value. \$\endgroup\$
    – lirtosiast
    Jan 22, 2016 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ If your solution uses a different approach than the existing answer(s), then you should post it. This seems to happen a lot with Pyth/CJam answers. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 23, 2016 at 4:20

1 Answer 1


If we have a rule that says you shouldn't post a longer answer in a language that has already been used, then I think we should get rid of it. I haven't heard of a rule like that.

I do know that someone was concerned about downvotes in this situation. Just write in your explanation "I know that my answer is longer than this other answer, but I tried a different approach." As long as you at least attempted to golf your answer, I doubt anyone will downvote you after reading that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it was an official rule. Can't find the meta post that brought it up though (though the one Martin linked on the question discusses the same idea). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 22, 2016 at 15:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SnoringFrog I took the approach of "If it's a rule, then we should get rid of it." That saves me the trouble of having to look it up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rainbolt
    Jan 22, 2016 at 15:38

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