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For perspective, I'm thinking about giving up on the site, but feel it's better to voice my concerns first, maybe there's something that we can do?

The core problem that I see is that there's no puzzling experts around. It feels a bit like the site is dominated by a couple of kids asking each other questions they're comfortable with answering, and trying to close everything they don't understand.

As a test, is anyone here aware that the USPC is taking place today?

I came here as someone reasonably experienced in solving and constructing pencil puzzles, hoping for this site to be a useful resource for discussing such topics. Right now, I don't feel it is, since:

  • I don't particularly care about concrete puzzles or pencil games.
  • Half of the interesting puzzle questions (usually about Sudoku) result in an uninformed amateur-level discussion where I'd be better of just doing a quick web search myself.
  • The other half get closed, e.g. about puzzle creation tools, puzzle writing.

Maybe things will work out in the long run, though I currently don't see it. As is, I wouldn't feel good inviting any experienced puzzlers to the site.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, we're currently in private beta, which makes it pretty hard for experts to find and join the site. You should probably wait until a few weeks in public beta before you bring this up. $\endgroup$ – Doorknob May 17 '14 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ For your examples of closed questions, do you really think those were good questions? (Honestly asking.) Puzzle creation tools and puzzle writing should totally be on-topic; I think we all agree on that (?). Those were just not very well-written questions with much effort put into them, I don't think. Very "gimme teh codez". And I agree with @Doorknob that experts will come in public beta; you say you don't want to invite people, but inviting them is what will generate Q/A that is at the level you want. We can't have the content without the people, you know? :) $\endgroup$ – WendiKidd May 17 '14 at 23:00
  • $\begingroup$ Basically: I think the way to make the site attractive to a lot of experts is to get a hold of a few experts. And they'll start generating content more experts want to see, and we can go from there. But we need to get a hold of them first (and realize that some of the content will also be beginner- and intermediate-level.) $\endgroup$ – WendiKidd May 17 '14 at 23:01
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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to see if I can post on the Twisty Puzzles Forum once we enter public beta - there are quite a high volume of mathematics and puzzling experts there who might be interested in a strict Q&A format. I've already asked a moderator there, and they said it's fine. $\endgroup$ – Aza May 18 '14 at 3:46
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Attracting experts is a bit of a catch-22 for every site. Experts don't want to come unless there are already experts there. It sounds like you know where to find experts, so the best way to get experts on this site is to convince a few to come and contribute expert-level questions and answers. As for your particular points:

  • I don't particularly care about concrete puzzles or pencil games.

That's fine, everyone on every site has topics they don't care about. Just ignore the questions, or if even seeing them irritates you, ignore the tags.

  • Half of the interesting puzzle questions (usually about Sudoku) result in an uninformed amateur-level discussion where I'd be better of just doing a quick web search myself.

If you don't like the amateur-level answers, write up an expert-level one. If you can get a better answer googling, turn the results of that search into a well-written answer for it and you'll get a good bit of rep while helping the site to achieve the level you hope for.

  • The other half get closed, e.g. about puzzle creation tools, puzzle writing.

The two questions you linked are bad examples. The first is a recommendation question, which is off-topic everywhere on the network except Software Recommendations. The second is way too broad. Questions about puzzle creation are great as long as they are properly scoped. "How do I write a puzzle" is not properly scoped. A properly scoped question is more along the lines of "I'm making this puzzle. It's almost done but I'm stuck trying to do [specific task/goal]. How can I do that?"

The site isn't going to fix itself, that's up to the users, including you. Since you're discontent, especially you. If you want the site to have more experts, you need to convince experts to come to the site. Get a couple experts willing to give good answers to the questions that are here. Ask some expert-level questions yourself and get the experts here to answer. The way to make the site attractive to experts is to get some experts here to start with.

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  • $\begingroup$ The statement “recommendation question, which is off-topic everywhere on the network except Software Recommendations” is wrong. There is a wide gamut of recommendation questions, going from Super User and Stack Overflow's wide prohibition to “so what?” on sites like Theoretical Computer Science. Software Recommendations doesn't change the rules of Stack Exchange — we insist on answerable, well-scoped questions, we have the same close reasons as elsewhere; the difference between SR and, say, SU, is that SU has a blanket ban whereas SR has actual moderation. $\endgroup$ – Gilles May 19 '14 at 3:03

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