In order to better define the scope for the site, we'll have to answer these three questions at some point. Our definitions don't have to be globally canonical, just canonical for our site's organization.

There are a lot of reasons we would want to give definitions to these. First, if we want to restrict/disallow riddles, we need to have a clear idea of what is and isn't a riddle. Second, if we want to organize tags and make helpful tag wikis, we need to have a better idea of what logic puzzles and brain teasers actually are, and what makes them distinct.

So, to reiterate, I'm asking for the most helpful definitions:

  • What are riddles?
  • What are logic puzzles?
  • What are brain teasers?

1 Answer 1



  • deduction: reasoning from one or more premises to reach a valid conclusion
  • induction: finding strong evidence for the conclusion, but not proving it outright


  • A riddle is a question or statement with a hidden meaning, typically via wordplay/double meanings. It typically requires induction rather than deduction.
  • A logic puzzle is a puzzle that requires deduction rather than induction. It is typically solved with a pencil and paper or with a proof.
  • A brain teaser is a puzzle that involves thinking in unconventional ways, or one that involves disregarding what seems obvious. It typically requires induction rather than deduction.

However, the point is not what a riddle/logic puzzle/brain teaser is; the point is what is on-topic.

If an answer cannot be shown to be correct, the question is off-topic.

That's the main point -- we don't want the OP to have to come back and say "Oh yeah, that one was the right answer. That one works but it wasn't what I was thinking of."

  • $\begingroup$ Are we defining what is on-topic using answers, or using questions, though? Do you mean to say that when a question is asked, there must be a way to show that an answer, if provided can be shown to be correct? I would agree with that. This being the case, if there's any doubt, should the first step to be to ask the OP to show how an answer would be tested, then? $\endgroup$
    – jimsug
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 20:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If that's your definition of brainteaser, I feel like it should be a synonym, or at least closely related, to the lateral-thinking tag. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ. Well, the Wikipedia entry for "brain teaser" does say "A brain teaser is a form of puzzle that requires thought to solve. It often requires thinking in unconventional ways with given constraints in mind; sometimes it also involves lateral thinking." $\endgroup$
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ I think I agree with the intent of your bolded statement, but perhaps not exactly as it's written. For example, I think the blender question is definitely off-topic. All it basically asks is "What crazy convoluted idea can you come up with to make this happen?" That's not a real puzzle. But some puzzles can have more than one legitimate reasonable answer (ex. I think there's multiple ways to solve some of the river crossing puzzles, right?). So I think sometimes you can have multiple right answers :) $\endgroup$
    – WendiKidd
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 22:40

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