Usually when someone downvotes a question, they mention the reason, and if he likes the question he tries to make it better. (As you know SE actually has this feature: people who have high reputation can review new questions to make them better).

In my case I thought my question was bad or not funny(it has 3 answers). Though I have spent more than an hour making the pic and linking the words together.

Till now I am not sure what are the things to make the above question better( A comment mentioned it was a bad title, I won't mind if anyone changes it if it will get people attention), so at least for the next time, if I want to spend an hour thinking about something, I know what are the things to make it better.

What I suggest is to help new comers to post even if it wasn't a good/funny/clear question because after all it is a puzzle site.


2 Answers 2


Specific to your puzzle

I think part of the problem was that you had a fairly strong first part with the phone keypad, but the other two sections were really weak in comparison. The second part was far too simple, and in the third part it wasn't really clear what you were asking and the solution (reverse image search) much of a challenge.

Presentation is important. How your puzzle looks and sounds will influence how people respond to it.

The character in your puzzle could easily be viewed as a creepy stalker because you don't initially make it clear if the girl has invited him to track her down. The picture itself isn't the best piece of graphic design and all the relevant information was in the text anyway.

General Tips

Make clear what answer you are looking for. Posting what looks like a poem and saying 'Solve this riddle.' may seem like it adds a layer of mystery but asking 'Who/what is this poem about?' will be much better received. If your puzzle is strong enough it won't need that mystery to make it challenging.

People can review and edit your posts but they don't know the answer, so they will be reluctant to make anything but the most obvious spelling and grammar corrections for fear of making changes that might remove some important clue.

A single puzzle that is simple but challenging is better than several where some are poor quality. If the connections between parts of your puzzle are weak enough that they could be separate posts then do that. Then each will be voted on based on its own merits.

Making a good puzzle isn't easy. Its easy to make a puzzle that is too hard for anyone to realistically solve (obscure cryptograms), that has many possible solutions that could all be valid (riddles or number sequences), or require specialist knowledge that only a limited number of people may possess. Avoid these question unless you are confident that your puzzle has a reasonable chance of being solved with a single valid solution that most people will have knowledge to solve.


I want to add a few things about your puzzle specifically, as I think Bob did a great job with his "General Tips" section so I don't feel it's necessary to mention anything more there.

1. The setup wasn't prepared well

Even though I think the first part of your puzzle was a very neat touch, the way it was presented made almost no sense. Why in the world would she list the street she was on encrypted in her "reach me" section? Even more so, why would she list the address of the restaurant she was at as her age? The numbers were all pretty randomly placed, and even though the first part was fairly interesting, it wasn't at all intuitive. Whenever you make a puzzle, you should think about how you're setting it up and if it's actually making sense. If you're just arbitrarily putting text into fields without considering why it's there, then you might want to reconsider your initial approach.

2. The parts varied too much in specificity

As has already been said, I think the first part of your puzzle was the most successful. However, the answer of "she was probably at the bookstore because she likes to read" is just an inference rather than puzzle solving - it doesn't really take any working out or understanding, instead being a stab in the dark based on limited previous knowledge. This is not a good way to make a puzzle. Preferably the puzzle will have a definitive answer that everyone can look at and understand how the answer came to be. The third part of your puzzle, on the other hand, was way too specific. I've never heard of the restaurant in question, and even if I had, how was I supposed to know the address of it? When parts of your puzzle turn out to be rather obscure knowledge, people who spent awhile working on it to no avail will be left with a bitter taste in their mouth. I think you should stick with the sweet spot of the first section of your puzzle - a cryptic, yet intuitive, answer that anyone can reasonably solve.

Note that there's an exception here when referring to literature, movies, or pop culture in general. If you want to make a puzzle based on a book series that not everyone has read, that's totally fine - just make sure it's a series that enough people have read such that there will be someone that can answer the question.

3. Presentation is important (thanks, Bob)

One of the biggest issues with your question is that the image was not incredibly well-prepared for Puzzling.SE. The quality is not a premium, some words are misspelled, and the overall layout isn't fantastic. There's totally nothing wrong with an image representing the question, but make sure it's high-quality enough that it won't be a turnoff for people looking to solve your puzzle. If you're at all worried about the quality of your image, you can always take feedback from other people before uploading it - or, if the image really isn't required, leave it in text form so that the community can tune up the grammar and spelling and make the question perfect. They're pretty good at that!

An important note to end on: Don't misconstrue downvotes as people saying that they don't want you here. Every member of our community is important, and of course that includes you! (You referencing specifically Moudiz, but also every single person reading this.) The downvotes just mean that the question has some areas that need work, which is totally okay. You gave a very level-headed response to the criticism by asking how to improve your question, and hopefully we've been able to help. I look very much forward to seeing what puzzles you bring to us here at PSE in the future!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Bailey for your answer.A puzzle is really hard, it consist a creative smart idea, a plot, and design, especially for new people , I had spend more than 2 hours thinking and designing it. and trying to link the ideas together , Improving it better would consume more time. The main problem was I needed help , or a point view. $\endgroup$
    – Moudiz
    May 20, 2015 at 6:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .