This is not a reopen request, I want to discuss my view on those duplicates.

Why does an exe file not appear as ones and zeros in a text editor such as Notepad? is a theoretical question. OP doesn't ask how to repair something or fix some problem, where we can post different answers to propose various solutions. It's a question that has only one correct answer. It may be very broad or expressed in many ways, but all those answers are attempts to explain the same thing.

Now look at Why can't we understand the content of a binary file after compiled?, the question that the former one is allegedly a duplicate of. It's a theoretical question too, but answers are completely different (except for the one by Binary Butter, but that one has a score of 0, so I guess it doesn't answer that question that well).

So we know that:

  1. Theoretical questions have only one proper answer
  2. #693440 and #401148 are theoretical questions
  3. 693440 and #401148 have completely different answers

From these three facts we can presume that #693440 and #401148 are not duplicates. They may look similiar, but what OPs wanted to know was different. What do you think guys?

If you agree, I think the same reasoning applies to Why do some downloading files not know their own size?

If you don't, then I think we should reverse the duplicate.

  • 1
    Fixed the duplicate to point to an identical question.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


The questions aren't the same. They are indeed related, but one asks why we don't see assembly instructions in plain text and another asks why we don't see zeros and ones when opening a file in text mode.

In my view, they do have one proper answer (albeit I don't think it's theoretical, but rather practical in principle), but it's hard to write an answer that would encompass all possible reasons.

This being said, you can answer with a "yes" and you can answer with a "yes, because...". As everyone can explain things differently, with positive effects, a so-called theoretical question can allow for more than one true right answer.

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