This question:

How do I retrieve only the needed line from terminal output?

I am kind of shocked by it. Basically they are asking:

How to print Nth line?

Surely this has been asked before? But, instead of:

  • downvotes
  • closing
  • holding
  • deleting

This question has flourished?:

  • 7 answers
  • 1 favorite
  • combined 34 upvotes for answers

What is more disturbing is 2 of the answerers have dupe hammer:

What is going on here? Instead of doing The Right Thing and closing what I assume is an obvious dupliate, people are just hungry for points?

  • 7
    "Surely this has been asked before?" is that just your opinion? or do you have a question to dupe it as? Just saying you think it should be a dupe is useless, provide proof. Perhaps it was overlooked? You seem to have a grudge here, did you have a question closed as a dupe?
    – Mark Kirby
    Jun 14, 2016 at 23:55
  • @MarkKirby I can do without the armchair commenting. If you even checked the question you would see linked duplicates
    – user544875
    Jun 15, 2016 at 16:26
  • 5
    Those linked questions are bad, both -2 and no up voted answers, they cannot be used as dupes. In fact those two linked questions were closed as a duplicate of the one you were complaining about. I don't know what armchair commenting is but I asked you a genuine question. You seem annoyed this question was not closed, why?
    – Mark Kirby
    Jun 15, 2016 at 17:03
  • 2
    @MarkKirby if those are bad the one Sierra is talking about is terrybad. Is a freaking simple problem which has hundred of results on any search engine. I really don't like these questions.
    – Braiam
    Jun 17, 2016 at 17:41

2 Answers 2


That does rather highlight this problem on Stack Exchange sites:

The easier a question is, the easier, faster and more rewarding it is to answer than it is to sift through a dozen similar questions looking for an exact match.

A lot of the higher-rep users (including me) earned a lot of their reputation from questions like this. They're fun little problems that ultimately directly help somebody. They also teach people things. I've learned a huge amount from others' answers and pushing myself to write better ones too. That's the sort of thing little exercises like this really excel at.

So yes. Lazy questions. Fastest-trigger answers. Duplication everywhere. All bad things... But there are soft and social benefits too.

And ultimately this is a problem with the system. When closing things brings nearly the same level of reward as just answering them, perhaps your way, The Right Thing, will stand a chance.

  • 1
    +1. I've often thought it seems not quite right that the easiest questions are the ones that earn the most rep. I've gotten far more rep off 30 second answers than off numerous answers that I spent hours pouring over.
    – anonymous2
    Jun 15, 2016 at 14:19

Ultimately, every system will break down somewhere. The SE system is not faultless, and one of the faults is that easy questions and answers get easy points.

SE has tried to eliminate some of that by firstly allowing answers to be marked as duplicates, secondly by giving equal opportunities to high-rep and low-rep users, and thirdly, by the fact of being a community, that is, not a whole lot of independent individuals, but a group of accountable users, each one accountable to the moderators and one another.

As I said, however, every system breaks down at some point. In the SE system, unless you can show that the answer is definitely a duplicate of a previous question, it stays there. Is this a default? Yes. Will people make use of it? Yes. But at some point, you have to ask where else you would draw the line. Should we be able to close this question because it is similar to other questions? Should we be able to close it because the information is elsewhere on the web? How hard should a person have to search both on AU and elsewhere before posting AU? These are questions that the moderators struggle with.

I haven't succeeded in finding an exact duplicate of this particular question. Hence, in the SE system as it stands presently, we cannot simply close it on the pretence that it would be easy enough to find the information elsewhere.

The goal of AU is to provide good questions and answers. When questions like the one you referred to are asked, while it does give an individual user a reputation boost, it does serve the greater good of the site by providing more answers, giving a greater search engine awareness, and consequently drawing in more users to produce good questions and answers.

  • "The goal of AU is to provide good questions" sigh... I haven't found any of those lately, have you?
    – Braiam
    Jul 6, 2016 at 0:44

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