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On this challenge, because of the way it is constructed, there aren't many ways to solve the question.

A bunch of answers have been called off as duplicate because they directly used a system call (for example, here here and here)

Although wrapping code in a system call is a trivial modification, the task itself is so trivial I don't think this notion still makes sense - all answers are trivial modifications of all other answers - just change the language and the specific library, the logic and structure stays the same.

On another note, if these answers are duplicate, how can any language which is not a command line language win? every answer is going to call some command line command at some level. I personally don't think prohibiting the natural approach to solving the challenge is a good idea.

So, should these answers be considered duplicate?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This would be a much better question if you removed the "Mego did X" bits and focused on the policy in question. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Mar 31 '16 at 6:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego I know, but I didn't want to remove the context. \$\endgroup\$ – proud haskeller Mar 31 '16 at 6:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Anyone can see the context by clicking the links. Right now it looks like a borderline personal attack - "what is the policy for X" is better than "why did user do X"? \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Mar 31 '16 at 6:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego you're right. I'll edit it. \$\endgroup\$ – proud haskeller Mar 31 '16 at 6:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for the answers I missed commenting on - I had other things to do than to comment on every obvious duplicate answer, such as eating dinner and going to a doctor. I hoped that common sense would prevail and that the obvious duplicate answers would stop being posted at some point. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Mar 31 '16 at 6:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ In my opinion, the problem is much more with the question than with the answers. If only one approach is both very obvious and also the only competitive one, the challenge probably wasn't worth posting. \$\endgroup\$ – FryAmTheEggman Mar 31 '16 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FryAmTheEggman And now, the question is dominating the top of the HNQ because of the sheer number of answers, bringing in traffic and telling new users we want simple challenges with no room for creativity. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Mar 31 '16 at 14:07
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Yes, they are duplicates

Taking a slightly different approach to Mego's answer ...

Suppose you have some Perl binaries installed. Maybe they're even included as part of the base operating system install, so they can be considered "default" utilities (I'm sure there's some package out there that has Perl included by default).

Taking an existing Perl answer (example), wrapping it with the underlying command-line argument, and calling it a Bash answer would be obviously frowned upon as a trivial modification of an existing answer. This is no different.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with this, but I don't see how this is substantially different from my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Apr 4 '16 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mego Irony of duplicate answers aside (which was humorously intentional), I was attempting to showcase a different way of thinking about it. I was concerned that simply posting as a comment would have it not be visible to people, since your answer is currently -4. \$\endgroup\$ – AdmBorkBork Apr 4 '16 at 17:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand. And the irony was not lost on me, either :P \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Apr 4 '16 at 17:00
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Yes, they are duplicates

Our policy on duplicate answers is that, if one of the answers can be trivially modified to form the other(s), then they are duplicates, and all but the first should be deleted. This is in line with our policy on duplicate questions.

The shortest Bash answer (so far) for the linked challenge is start www.ppcg.lol. Any answer that directly passes this code to the C API system call is just thinly wrapping the original answer in a different language, and thus is not sufficiently distinct to not be a duplicate.

In general, if you can take an answer whose code is A and do some_function("A") in your language, it's almost certainly too trivial of a modification to be worth a separate answer.

On another note, if these answers are duplicates, how can any language which is not a command line language win? Every answer is going to call some command line command at some level.

I edited the above quote for clarity and grammar, italicizing the edited portions. While it is true that every language is run by starting a process in some fashion, we don't concern ourselves with that part, except for specifying arguments and inputs. The main concern in this case is that the answers in question are literally running another answer as part of the code.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't believe I made these grammar mistakes. I blame my keyboard. \$\endgroup\$ – proud haskeller Mar 31 '16 at 7:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think this works out, because the answer is incredibly trivial. I'd say it isn't very easy to show that just because people posted after that they copied that answer. People very easily could have independently come up with those answers, so I don't think asking them to delete their answers is a good idea. Downvote boring answers to boring questions as much as you want, but I don't think they warrant deletion. \$\endgroup\$ – FryAmTheEggman Mar 31 '16 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FryAmTheEggman It's not about accusing people of copying answers. The problem is, the answers that run the shell command don't add anything after the first, and don't need to be there. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Mar 31 '16 at 14:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not adding anything isn't a valid reason for deletion, I believe (this page seems to indicate this anyway). The downvote button literally says "this answer is not useful", so I think the appropriate response to something that you don't think adds anything is to downvote. Deletion is for actively harmful things. \$\endgroup\$ – FryAmTheEggman Mar 31 '16 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FryAmTheEggman Considering how woefully inaccurate our help center is, that page isn't much to go by. However, even it states that "exact duplicates of other answers" are to be deleted, and I'd say wrapping another answer in a simple function call is close enough. \$\endgroup\$ – Mego Mar 31 '16 at 14:21

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