There are so many "make this number out of 2,0,1 and 8" questions right now. Can we just solve all of them? I am thinking of a list from 1 up to as high as we can get for different allowed operators.

  • $\begingroup$ Seems we had the same idea at almost the same time... $\endgroup$
    – Lolgast
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


The difficulty in making a single canonical puzzle which can be used as a dupe target for all the others is that it's very likely to be too broad. A puzzle like "make all natural numbers using only 2, 0, 1, 8, and all possible sets of allowable operations" would require an infinitely long answer, and should definitely be closed. Appealing as it sounds, a single 'canonical' dupe target probably isn't a workable idea here.

This is one of those cases where SE-wide guidance actually applies well to Puzzling too:

  1. Having one “perfect” form of a question that contains every possible answer to every slight variation of that question is a myth at best and actively harmful at worst.
  2. Having dozens and dozens of variations of the same question is clearly bad.
  3. What we want is on the order of 4 or 5 similar-but-not-quite-the-same duplicates to cover all possible search terms and common permutations of the question. It is also OK for these duplicates to have their own answers so people who find them don’t have to click yet again to get to a good answer.

It may still be possible to embed all these 2018 questions into a single post. I experimented with the same idea back in 2014 for alphabet-splitting puzzles, by posting this puzzle and opening it up for others to edit both question and answer with new variants and splitting techniques. The idea didn't catch on, and meta consensus was against it, but I mention it here just in case someone can see a way to make it work better now.

But on the whole, I think the best way to deal with this flood of similar 2018 questions is to be liberal with downvotes, close as duplicate if some questions are completely covered by others, and wait for it all to blow over. It will blow over, just as other such 'crazes' have in the past. See also my answer to the strongly related meta post Yet another 2018 puzzle.


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