Related: Questions from on-going contests

Challenge sites are sites where users solve various challenges in order to gain points. The users are then usually ranked on a leaderboard, based on how many points they have accumulated. These sites usually have a reasonably friendly but competitive atmosphere.

ARGs are a story told in an interactive form. They usually involve going through a story whilst gathering clues/solving puzzles along the way. They can sometimes have a prize attached for the first person to put all the clues together and solve a mystery.

These sorts of puzzle games mainly fit into two separate categories:

Category A
Category A consists of ARGs/challenge sites that specifically forbid any form of hints or solution trading. This is usually because the administrator wants to promote a fair environment and wants everyone to rank up/solve puzzles on their own merit. An example would be Rankk, who explicitly state on their challenge page:


Category B
Category B consists of ARGs/challenge sites that do not specifically state whether you are allowed to share or ask for solutions. Most ARGs fit into this category.

My questions are:
- What should we do with questions copied from Category A sites?
- What should we do with questions copied from Category B sites?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'd be happy for us to apply the Math.SE policy as per meta.puzzling.stackexchange.com/a/1675/4050 $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 17:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AE The Math.SE policy only applies to contests of 'finite duration'. We could, however, remove or amend that clause. $\endgroup$
    – Tryth
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ I am still not clear on what the plagiarism policy of this site is. Every day I see a chestnut. Recent one, although the user is new and perhaps wanted only to know the answer: puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/11306/… $\endgroup$
    – Aravind
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


To pull an ARG puzzle out of its situation in the ‘alternate reality’ is to commit two egregious crimes in the ARG community:

  • treats the puzzle as if it were simply a puzzle, and not a puzzling aspect of a larger alternate world.
    In an ARG, puzzles aren't there simply to provide you with a fun puzzle to solve; they are there because someone wanted to put them there: the goal is to engage with that reason of why, and not merely with the what.
  • if you aren't inducting others to the alternate reality, then you are depriving them of the opportunity to fully participate. (See to my comment posted to such a question.)
    Now, it is entirely possible in an ARG that you wish to keep secrets from certain groups of others in that ARG. All well and good; an ARG is like an RPG but with no assumed persona.
    However, if such secrets are being maintained in an ARG, then posting a link to the public discussion board or chatroom doesn't spoil the secret. Well, there are a few other considerations to be taken in regards to how much secrecy is acceptable; here is a page with further reading: http://www.argology.org/how-to-play-args/
    My belief is that it is a common courtesy to introduce anyone, from whom assistance is solicited, to the public page for an ARG; this is done out–of–game, so to say, and doesn't breach any secrecy — i.e. if it is too much of a secret, then don't ask for help.

Of course, it has been a while since I participated in one; maybe things have changed in the majority opinions.

That is what I think should be considered when reviewing questions which fall in your class ‘B’.
As for the class ‘A’:

Your ‘Class A’ questions would be those which are violating the policies of some other website — not those of PuzzlingSE. Users here can, of their own conscience and ethical motivations, take the actions as necessary on that site.

Should that have any bearing one whether the question, once posted here, should be closed or deleted?
Well, on the one hand, you might say that this site has no problem with the puzzle, and that the puzzle itself could be answered — so long as any such information is not used to cheat on the other site.
I like a libertarian stance; this one would work if most people were decent at heart. Also, this isn't like deciding what to do with stolen money dropped by a thief, yes?

However, it would probably be better, ethically and all that, if such a question were closed until the other site concluded or cancelled their own window for submissions.
When that is done, then let's re-open and have at it.


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