There's been a few questions (most recently this one) where parts of the question or hints toward the solution are hidden away from casual users, by hiding them in the question's markup (requiring the user to press 'edit')

What, if anything, should be the policy regarding this practice?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The question linked to is one of mine. I took this idea from one other riddle on the site. There probably won't be any more; it was just something like the 'cat' meme that was a riddlers' joke for a while and has now died out. I agree that it would be a problem if it starts to happen all the time. But then a hint is a hint; some are just buried deeper than others! $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2014 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ We always made sure that those markup hints are not essential for solving the riddles. More like little jokes as rand said before. So I think there is nothing more to talk about. @Gilles did you find the hidden clues? $\endgroup$
    – Avigrail
    Nov 25, 2014 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ Where can the "rules" for these markups be found? Or the syntax (besides guessing)? $\endgroup$
    – bgmCoder
    Feb 20, 2015 at 2:17

3 Answers 3


I think it's hilarious if rare. When it's overdone, it'll be hell. I think that we should monitor it as a community and stop it if it gets to be more than say .5% of challenge puzzles.

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps, and if/when used there should be something in the visible clue to hint at "looking deeper into the question" or something. $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Nov 24, 2014 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ @d'alar'cop Are you hinting at something? XD $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Nov 29, 2014 at 5:01

As long as what's visible is sufficient to solve the puzzle, that's fine. Questions must be self-contained; if printing out the question results in something that's missing necessary information, the question is not acceptable.

I agree with Travis that hiding hints in markup comments only fun once. It would be better to use spoiler markup: that's what it's for.

  • $\begingroup$ I disagree with your last point - that's not what spoiler markup is for. Spoiler markup is for hiding things that may provide too much of a clue and make the puzzle too easy to solve. It's not for hiding an intended step of the solution $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Nov 27, 2014 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe “Spoiler markup is for hiding things that may provide too much of a clue and make the puzzle too easy to solve”. Exactly: it's the right tool for additional hints that are helpful but not necessary to solve the puzzle. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2014 at 11:08
  • $\begingroup$ But if you're not sure if you've solved it (you think you have an answer that works) and it turns out you're wrong, you've just read all the spoilers that you didn't want to read $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Nov 27, 2014 at 11:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe Then what? If you want to check your answer, you shouldn't need to check the spoiler-hidden parts of the question. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2014 at 11:27

I think it's fine and fairly uncommon.

This is my basic view on how this would work:

  1. Hints hidden; nothing hinting at looking in edit.
    This looks to be grey area. But if it's rare it seems fine.

  2. Hints hidden; question hinting at looking in edit.
    This seems fine to me :D as long as it isn't overdone, that'd be annoying.

  3. Answer hidden; question hinting at looking in edit.
    Hmmm more grey area. As long as it isn't spammed to death, it'll be fine, but some people may disagree on this point.

  4. Answer hidden; nothing hinting at looking in edit.
    Close it! Close it now.

  • $\begingroup$ Agreed! Excellent breakdown. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2014 at 21:53

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