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I was thinking about writing a question along the lines of "What strategies are there for creating X?" where "X" would be a specific type of puzzle. The problem of course is that as is, that type of question is almost certainly too broad. To make it more suitable, I'd almost certainly have to narrow the scope of the question down.

Possibilities that come to mind:

  1. Narrow it down to "What strategies are there for creating X given restriction Y?".

    A good restriction can make this type of question much more manageable, but not all restrictions result in a suitable question. For example, while "What strategies should I use for creating checkmate puzzles" is narrower than "What strategies should I use for creating chess puzzles", the question itself is still too broad.

  2. Narrow down to "What strategies are there for <certain aspect> of creating X?"

    Probably more feasible, especially when you can break down the creation process into discrete parts. Like the former, I can see multiple different questions about X, each with a specific aspect, but that's probably a good thing.

The reason why I'm not currently satisfied with what I've come up with is that it could potentially become a question that's primarily opinion-based.

Is that just a line that I'm going to have to constantly watch, or is there an alternative way of presenting puzzle creation questions that doesn't have the same pitfalls?

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  • $\begingroup$ While I've done what I can to answer below, a specific question you have in mind would really help. $\endgroup$ – Aza Jun 20 '14 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ (Ended up talking with Emrakul in chat. Leaving the question as is for now in case it becomes useful as part of an FAQ or something) $\endgroup$ – Dennis Meng Jun 20 '14 at 2:39
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Consider the text of the "too broad" close reason:

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format.

If you'd like to ask a question but you think it's too broad, it's a good indicator that you may want to consider further research before asking a question. If you take any puzzle X, there's probably a guide out there on how to actually create X - but after reading such a guide, you may find yourself with a more specific question.

Without knowing the specific question you're talking about, I'd say it's unlikely you'll end up with an opinion-based question. Because it concerns puzzle creation, answers will need to be based in fact or expertise (there really isn't opinion in this regard), but there may be too many of them.

In essence, what this boils down to is: do a bit more research. This is the solution to 90% of the 'too broad' closures that I've seen.

If you're trying to ask a question about making Sudoku, it's too broad. If you research and then want to ask a question about making minimal Sudoku, it's a little better (but still might be too broad). If you read a few guides online and look into the math of it, and ask about creating symmetric minimal Sudoku puzzles, it's probably going to be on-topic.

If you have a specific question in mind, I'd be happy to go in chat and see if there's a way to refine it.

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