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When it occurs once, it is __.

When it occurs twice, it probably is __.

When it occurs thrice, it is not __.

What is it?

Not a puzzle. Just a simple one.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by JMP, IAmInPLS, manshu, Beastly Gerbil, Mike Earnest Sep 2 '16 at 21:43

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this is a good question (since the answer is pretty much obvious, at least to me), but I also don't think it's primarily opinion-based, precisely because it has a single obvious solution ("mistake", as suggested by manshu, doesn't really work IMO). Voting to reopen. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 3 '16 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ There's a single obvious solution, but it isn't really a very satisfactory solution: plenty of things could occur 3x and still be _____, and not everything that occurs only once is ______. And (especially in view of the "... three times is enemy action" quotation) it's a bit too straightforward: here are some well known properties of X, now find X. I didn't VTC but I don't think I'll VTR either. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Sep 3 '16 at 19:04
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Perhaps nikamed is thinking of

chance

or

coincidence

or something of the kind? (I don't find either a super-convincing answer, I have to say, but somehow the question gives the impression that there may not be a super-convincing answer...)

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  • $\begingroup$ Here it is. Thanks for saving me from too broads. The coincidence was what I was thinking. $\endgroup$ – newzad Sep 2 '16 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ Good answer (+1), but I'd like to point out that things can happen by coincidence 3 times, and something that happens once isn't necessarily chance, so the question doesn't really work $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Sep 2 '16 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ That's why I don't find it super-convincing :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Sep 2 '16 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ Goldfinger: "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Sep 2 '16 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ @DanRussell Yes!! That was the one which I was trying to remember... $\endgroup$ – Sid Sep 2 '16 at 17:35
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The clear answer is a

Mistake

Because

Mistakes can happen once or twice but not every time.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not the answer I thought but +1 $\endgroup$ – newzad Sep 2 '16 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ @nikamed: This means your question is too broad. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Sep 2 '16 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi I totally agree. $\endgroup$ – manshu Sep 2 '16 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think a mistake can't happen three times... Therefore I'm not sure if this is a valid answer and if it is really too broad. $\endgroup$ – user14478 Sep 2 '16 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, it can ;) $\endgroup$ – ABcDexter Sep 3 '16 at 20:49

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