This is a fun site, but there are some lines of distinction that become confusing.

Like the difference between a riddle and a situation riddle. I lost a few points over that, having no way to really know it was not allowed.

However, what is the difference between a riddle and a joke? Often times they have things in common - they both seek out a solution, often the solution depends on some twisting of words. I doubt we want this site to become a joke site, but it would be good to find the line.

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    $\begingroup$ The title of this question sounds like it could be either a riddle or a joke ... good question for Meta then! $\endgroup$ Feb 21, 2015 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ I'm actually using the clarification in a childrens' magazine. $\endgroup$
    – bgmCoder
    Nov 3, 2015 at 4:42

1 Answer 1


For the panda riddle, it is much more likely that someone will find the answer by knowing the joke than by figuring it out from the clues. Even with how directly you clued it, I find it hard to imagine someone figuring out the pun that's the punchline.

Jokes are optimized to be clever, not to be solvable. The punchline is meant to be unexpected and surprise the listener. But a riddle needs its answer not just to fit, but to be deducible and unique.

A joke can happen to be a good riddle, but before posting one, check that it makes a good riddle in addition to a good joke.

(Also, downvotes on puzzles generally mean the downvoter didn't like the puzzle, not that they believed it off-topic. For that, there's close votes.)

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with you completely. The panda riddle, now that I think about, comes pretty close to being a joke, although it has enough riddle-like qualities to redeem it somewhat. Also, I don't mind being downvoted - I just want to know why - it's polite to say why, even if it's "I didn't like it". $\endgroup$
    – bgmCoder
    Feb 20, 2015 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ @BGM: Both your question and xnor's answer are here are +1 for me. I haven't seen your Panda joke/puzzle before. I like it ;c) (as a joke) $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Feb 20, 2015 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ "Jokes are optimized to be clever, not to be solvable." I like that distinction. $\endgroup$
    – bgmCoder
    Feb 23, 2015 at 2:11
  • $\begingroup$ That panda "joke" (I concede) is an enigma - I don't have rep here to see votes yet, but I've gotten as many upvotes as downvotes. $\endgroup$
    – bgmCoder
    Feb 23, 2015 at 2:12

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