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I've been writing feedback for puzzles and wondering I should put it. I've been doing this in the comments (like on this question), as that's what feedback is: commentary on the puzzle, rather than an answer to the challenge it provides. But I can see an argument to normalize making it an answer so as to encourage and emphasize giving feedback, as well as to let it be formatted, edited, upvoted, downvoted, and commented on. There's also an issue of spoilers.

What do you think?

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    $\begingroup$ Experts like Travis Kindred often leave feedback in an answer (while also attempting to provide an answer to the question itself) $\endgroup$ – d'alar'cop Dec 8 '14 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ @d'alar'cop What if you want to leave feedback on a question you didn't answer yourself? $\endgroup$ – xnor Dec 8 '14 at 0:45
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    $\begingroup$ For me, comments are the perfect place for that. But, since this SE is about creation of puzzles, one could make an answer which critiques the question (not answers it). But, now one falls into the answer-delete-reason - "does not attempt to answer the question - should be a comment etc". So there really seems to be no other home than comments. Let's allow someone with more knowledge and regard for SE policy to answer $\endgroup$ – d'alar'cop Dec 8 '14 at 0:49
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In order to promote an environment of expertise, we need feedback answers. First, this includes those members of our community that dislike the "puzzle challenge" format and are upset that it seems that's all we do. In any community, it's important to include minority opinions. Second, other formats have problems. Lengthy critiques make comments a mess and having a separate question makes that question only relevant to a single case. Chat is a great format because it allows rapid iteration and correction, but it has the same problem as the other two. It's not building a database. The whole point of SE is to build something for future users. Leaving an answer that provides feedback is the only way to do this.

One of my examples

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    $\begingroup$ To be clear, is your suggestion that "feedback" answers be posted on challenge questions, with solutions posted in separate answers? $\endgroup$ – jscs Dec 8 '14 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ Ideally, an answer would solve the puzzle and provide feedback. Realistically, we won't usually get both from the same people at the same time. We should settle for either, but both should be consolidated when possible. $\endgroup$ – Travis Don Kindred Dec 8 '14 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ @TravisKindred Yes, I think the aspect of editing one's comments (i.e. removing outdated ones) and one's answer-posts should be highlighted and encouraged. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Dec 10 '14 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. We're getting a bit bogged down in wondrous, useless comments. $\endgroup$ – Travis Don Kindred Dec 10 '14 at 23:27
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I really appreciated the feedback on the example question. To me that was more useful than the actual answer to the puzzle - since I already knew that! :)

I'd be very glad to have feedback as either a comment or an additional answer - please add the implicit question "what do you think of this puzzle and what should I change?" to all of my questions, thus bringing feedback-answers into scope. ;)

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Questions about puzzle creation are on topic, so how about asking your own question about the question in question? Then you can add your critiques as an answer. This carries all the normalization advantages you mentioned, while avoiding the spoilers which would occur when discussing the answer within the challenge itself.

One important caveat: make sure your question is specific. "How can we improve this puzzle?" is too broad. Identify only a few specific things which you think could be improved - and which can be done so in a succinctly explained manner - and ask about them.

If you want to post an actual answer to the puzzle, it's OK to do so and include a few remarks about ways the question could be improved. But the actual answer should be the most important part of your post. Answers to challenges which are only critiques are very likely to be deleted as not-an-answer posts.

If you just want to add a minor footnote or aside, then chat or a comment is more appropriate.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for the nice use of question 3 times in a sentence making your answer a (small) puzzle (for non-native speakers at least). But really, I've upvoted because it is exactly my answer as well: If the challenge/puzzle asks for comments, then giving feedback as an "answer post" with or without the solution is actually wanted. Otherwise, comments would be preferred. That's my take on it. Personally, I like getting feedback - and I hence ask for it. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Dec 10 '14 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ @BmyGuest Actually the word "question(s)" is used four times in the first sentence! ;-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 12 '15 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ @randalthor you can't count on me counting properly! $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Aug 14 '15 at 5:48

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