Although the two are fundamentally different, Puzzling and PPCG (Programming Puzzles and Code Golf) are related, and because PPCG is the elder of the two, I think that some ideas should be taken from it.

For that reason, I propose that we make a sandbox: a meta question where you post your question ideas so people can help to make them better. This will increase the question quality and decrease the number of closed questions.

What do you think?

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I missed this posting. I've re-opened it as a duplicate here: meta.puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/1631/… $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Dec 4, 2014 at 11:16
  • $\begingroup$ Please mark this as status-completed! $\endgroup$
    – clickbait
    Sep 1, 2016 at 12:19
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, they are the trilogy of PPCG! PPCG, Puzzling and CR (yep, CR is a cousin of PPCG, they hate each other!) CR has no direct relationship with Puzzling, though. PPCG and Puzzling are brothers. $\endgroup$
    – EKons
    Sep 6, 2016 at 12:17

2 Answers 2


I think that it won't work.

The reason is because most puzzles here have a single solution. In PPCG almost all of them have multiple possible solutions.

If you sandbox questions here, people could figure out the solutions before the puzzle is posted, and quickly post the answer, taking an unfair advantage and possibly spoiling its fun. Further, if the question was changing in sandbox before it is posted, people could get an unfair advantage by looking its evolution in the sandbox.

In PPCG this works (though it is really far from perfect) because the questions are competitions with multiple (normally infinite) possible answers. Even if you already know a possible answer, usually there is a lot of people which may have better answers. Moreover, knowing a possible answer there and starting to work in the solution before it is actually posted, rarely is an advantage. But here, this is normally a killer advantage.

And as per mdc32's comment, it is very hard to give any useful feedback about design a puzzle without knowing the answer.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ yep, I can't see a way that this could work in a fair way. A headstart on a puzzle will often be a decisive factor as to who solves it $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Nov 28, 2014 at 23:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, won't people giving feedback in the sandbox have to know the answer to the question? I don't think any feedback could be useful if people don't know the answer, as some parts of the question may seem unnecessary or vague, but when the answer is found, then they are useful. $\endgroup$
    – mdc32
    Nov 29, 2014 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ This answer doesn't quite make sense. There are plenty of question which allow multiple answers and they would work in the sandbox. In fact even some of the question with only one answer would to be honest. If some subset aren't suitable then fine, they won't go to the sandbox. puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/5190/… would have worked perfectly in the sandbox for example and in fact it would have been very helpful if someone had said "Do you require an explanation with the solution for acceptance?" at the beginning. $\endgroup$
    – Simd
    Nov 29, 2014 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Lembik If you think so, post an answer to this question explaining that and specifically delineating what would and what would not work in the sandbox. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2014 at 19:41

A particular difficulty of a puzzle sandbox is judging a puzzle requires solving it. A puzzle statement might look good, but after you work on it for a while, you reach a dead end or become unsure if a step was correct or find an equally-good unintended solution. The fundamental difficulty is that a puzzle must conceal the solution process, the very thing that its quality depends on.

This isn't saying a sandbox is useless, just limited. It could still help with formatting problems, overt ambiguities, and obvious holes.

Or maybe we should consider having solutions posted with the sandbox along with the puzzle? Those who spoil themselves or solve it in the sandbox would recuse themselves from answering it. This would lead to better feedback but less participation, and would take a level of selflessness for those that frequent the sandbox.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This isn't true in general that judging a puzzle requires solving it. People on the sandbox would also be encouraged not to post solutions but merely to make comments that encourage making the question better. As a slight aside, if the question is obviously trivial, this would be a good place to say it rather than having the main site cluttered. $\endgroup$
    – Simd
    Nov 29, 2014 at 19:06

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