`$|=-1;`is the same as `$|=1;` or `++$|;`
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I think Rudif was pointing out that `$|++` and `$|=1` are interchangable, unless the value of $| is already -1. In that (rather rare) case, the two behave quite differently.
-Blake
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It turns out that the value of $| *can't* be -1. This variable has special magic that only allows its value to be 0 or 1. Any true value assigned to $| becomes 1, and any false value becomes 0. So, $|++ and $|=1 really are interchangeable.
Interestingly, $|-- and $|=0 are not interchangeable. If $| is 1, $|-- will of course set it to 0, but if $| is 0, $|-- will set it to 1!
Similar magic can be found, for example, in the $. variable, which can only hold an integer.
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