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Normally I wouldn't ask, I'd just kill it with fire. But this post is a bit... special.

Derpifying Images

It's an anti-post, a troll question... and yet, it's one we love to hate. From the question title down to every single comment in that code, everything in that post says "downvote me"... or "flag me".

And yet, it spawned gem answers:

This script is a total of 99 lines. Of that, 49 lines are insulting, annoying, and ironic self-congratulating comments.

and...

Your comments trolled me into giving that answer

Deleting it would remove 2 users' top-voted answer, but shouldn't affect rep scores (given the age of the posts).

Should we nuke this piece of folklore? If not, why should it stay?

This isn't real code and should have been nuked two and half years ago. – Malachi Aug 20 '14 at 15:39


Community decision: The post has been unlocked, and will not be nuked.

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Why? I don't even understand the lock.

I didn't get trolled into posting an answer. My answer was a serious post addressing a serious concern I had for the user's code. Importantly, I think the advice in my answer at least is applicable far beyond this post in itself. It's actually not all that common that Code Review answers can be applied outside of the specific question they answer.

My answer is full of helpful take aways:

In general, comments are good. They help any future maintainer (including yourself when it's been 6 months since the last time you looked at the script) to understand what the code does because programmer time is extraordinarily valuable. Programmer time should be spent fixing the code--not trying to understand it, and helpful comments go a long way toward cutting down on the "trying to understand it" part of the program.

As a note from someone who has plenty of experience dealing with users, your best bet is to program for the lowest common denominator. A "stupid" user is still a user, and if you're not capable of writing programs that "stupid" users can use, then perhaps it is you who has no hope as a programmer.

I'd also argue that including some instructions on how to install the missing library would probably be helpful in your echo statements.


Importantly, I still can't see any reason why the post even should be deleted. It's not even an off-topic post.

On what grounds is the post off-topic? Why is it even locked?

The only reason I can see for it being locked is that perhaps the comments got unwieldy? But surely those have died down at this point.

Even the downvotes on the question are unfair. People who would normally upvote a question of this quality are downvoting this one.

And let me clarify that...

  1. The code works.
  2. The asker is clearly seeking a review.

I don't remember why I originally downvoted it, but if I downvoted it today, it'd be because the plain-English part of the question does almost nothing for the question. It doesn't explain what the code does, nor does it point to any specific areas of concern. Neither of these things seem to be required for the question to be on-topic, but I tend to downvote questions with these problems.

Others, on Code Review, however, don't downvote for the reasons. And if the comments in the code didn't have such an attitude, this question would probably have a pile of upvotes.

This question should definitely not be deleted. There's nothing wrong with the question (or if there is a problem with the question, I have a pile of other questions that generated far less traffic and interest in the site that we can delete too).

This question probably shouldn't even be locked. I've never bothered mentioning it should be unlocked before because personally, I have nothing more to say about the code. The OP hasn't come to ask it to be unlocked, so perhaps he's not interested in further review. And arguably, unlocking it may just lead to a headache of comments that need to regularly be cleaned up.

But if we replaced the code in the question with any other code, this question would have at least 5 upvotes, and we wouldn't be having this discussion. So given the fact that the code in the question works, why are we even having this discussion? I don't get it.

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No. We shouldn't nuke it. Not only is it a piece of CR folklore at this point, but it's an on topic question.

Just wondering if there was someone out there that could offer help in optimizing my script.

The code may be obfuscated by OP's inane comments, but it is in fact, real working code and the question implies that OP is interested in improving the code.

Now, before you all hang me, yes, I know that OP was trolling, but he got exactly what he deserved. He got a serious review of his code that, hopefully, showed him the light. Minimally, it showed that this behavior would not be tolerated.

This post stands as a signpost that trolls will be dealt with and will not be tolerated. It is currently the most down voted question on the site and I believe we should leave this signpost hanging. Once upon a time, defenders of a city would leave their assailants' bodies hanging outside the gates as a warning to the next ambitious man foolish enough to try. This is equivalent IMO. Leave the corpse hanging.

What I would like to address while we're discussing this question is the current lock on it.

locked by Jamal♦ Aug 20 '14 at 15:46 This post has been locked while disputes about its content are being resolved. For more info visit meta.

Let's change it to the "Not a good fit for the site, but has historical significance blah blah blah" lock. It's a much more appropriate lock and it should remain locked, so that no one attempts to delete the question.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How is it "not a good fit for the site, but has historical significance"? Ignoring the fact the code might be a bit trolly (which the downvotes & answers address), what part about the question makes it a bad fit for the site? Why should it remain locked (versus say, protected)? \$\endgroup\$ – nhgrif Aug 1 '15 at 13:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's a bad fit for the site because OP was obviously trolling and probably not interested in actually getting an answer. It should remain locked so that no one tries to delete it. \$\endgroup\$ – RubberDuck Aug 1 '15 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I hadn't considered the idea that others would delete (which you're right, they probably would). The other half of your comment though requires making assumptions. I'm not comfortable with closing/deleting people's content based on assumptions. \$\endgroup\$ – nhgrif Aug 1 '15 at 13:12
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I think this post should be deleted.

First, this line makes it appear this isn't real code:

echo "> image derpification tool. \n";

Derp: foolishness or stupidity

Second, this code is clearly not ready for review, especially as shown with these comments:

$type = ( substr($file, -4, 1) !== '.' ) // Can you see?
    ? substr($file, -4) // Can you see my genius.
    : substr($file, -3) // It's shining...
    ; // oh so bright. What a marvelous function, I
      // couldn't have done it better myself. Oh, wait.

Third, if such as post was posted today, it would be closed immediately as not ready for review or unclear what they are asking.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see the point you're making with the snippet... \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Aug 9 '15 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Based on your first point, FizzBuzz questions are off-topic right? And what point are you making with the second snippet? \$\endgroup\$ – nhgrif Aug 9 '15 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, my first point would make FizzBuzz off topic. My second point is, he could write the code better himself: "I couldn't have done it better myself. Oh, wait." \$\endgroup\$ – Hosch250 Aug 9 '15 at 21:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ except that's not what the comment is saying. "oh, wait" in this context stands for "oh, wait - I did write it myself"... \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Aug 9 '15 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I guess the comment is unclear. \$\endgroup\$ – Hosch250 Aug 9 '15 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly why I suggested a historical lock. \$\endgroup\$ – RubberDuck Aug 10 '15 at 9:13

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