Have you noticed what makes this site different? Its purpose is to be entertaining.

Most Stack Exchange sites are for education and studies, or solving work/school problems. Participation differs between here and there. On this site you have to make something creative and new. Additionally there are some 'Point Lines'*(1) which should be followed. Whereas on other sites, if you run into an error on an application or process, you can copy the error and post it as a question. Then other users try their best to find a solution to the question/problem. This allows the question-asker to continue their job.

However here it is totally different. To solve a puzzle you may need knowledge from many fields. A puzzle might require some technology background, some knowledge of English and math, and require linking all the points together.

I suggest a way to encourage newcomers to interact and get entertained.

Looking at the last 5 days of questions, you'll notice most activity is from high reputation users. The newcomers have either low votes or their questions are closed as duplicates.

What's wrong then, with these newcomers? In my opinion, they are not doing anything wrong. They are just trying to interact with the community, using a simple puzzle they memorised or learned from their parents. Newcomers should be encouraged and taught to create new puzzles. We need to motivate them.

How to do that? Well I don't know, that depends on many things. Beside downvoting a newcomer, try to make their puzzle more interesting. If it is really bad or truly unclear, send them to meta to ask how to make their puzzle more clear. Explain ideas and ways to improve their puzzle. Give them good examples and bad examples, encourage them in a positive way. Then newcomers will make this site more active.

Point lines: A good puzzle should contain good/funny plot, a creative and smart problem, and be designed well.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I don't think that someone is conspiring against new users in Puzzling. Novices have many opportunity to interact, there is always a dozen of yet unsolved puzzles where they can contribute. Low quality answers and duplicates are definitely not a good attempt to interact; Puzzling has its quality standards, which should be respected. Anyway, I've joined Puzzling just 2 months ago and quickly achieved a good reputation. If I did it, then anybody can do it! $\endgroup$
    – leoll2
    May 20, 2015 at 14:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @leoll2 I am talking about conspiricy , I am saying about encouragment. Are those opportunities enough to motivate people to answer and posts?. I am refering how to response on low quality asnwers , just ignoring them will not make users motivated to interact. not everybody like you, some people need some help and motivation especialy here $\endgroup$
    – Moudiz
    May 20, 2015 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ When we spot low quality answers, we usually comment them including tips for better posts, like "please add an explanation" or "could you add a picture please?". I don't think that we can do more than suggesting to visit the help center, the tour and eventually the meta. $\endgroup$
    – leoll2
    May 20, 2015 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ there are recent questions such tips doesnt exists. As for the meta centrr i suggest some questions or answer have some effective examples to encourage them $\endgroup$
    – Moudiz
    May 20, 2015 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ @leoll2 Not to say I disagree with you in general, but just as a fact: you're the only newish user in the top 20 on Puzzling (other than Gamow, who was caught cheating and left), so you seem to be the exception rather than the rule. $\endgroup$ May 20, 2015 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Ok, I may be the only yet, but nothing prevents others from becoming trusted users quickly, no? $\endgroup$
    – leoll2
    May 20, 2015 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @leoll2 I also shot to prominence pretty quickly (#5 user within a month or so), but that was back in the golden age of the site. Moudiz seems to be saying there is something preventing others! Maybe you're more enthusiastic and less susceptible to criticism than most? :-) $\endgroup$ May 20, 2015 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor I am just highlighting things to be improved in the site if you want it to be 'Evolved' to next phase. The site is beautiful and really creative but it needs improvement. I noticed there are 2 types here .. (mostly) high rep users posts puzzles , and the rest are audience who tries either to read or to answer. you just have to focus on the part to make post more. $\endgroup$
    – Moudiz
    May 21, 2015 at 6:27

1 Answer 1


Don't bite the newbie

One way to encourage newcomers to be more active, is to tolerate their questions for more than 5 minutes before flagging and down voting. I've only been here about a month and already I've seen (on more than one occasion) first time askers get down voted, flagged and told to take their question to meta. This is despite the fact that at least 5 reputation is required to post here on meta and the users were asking their first question.

If a question is truly awful then sure deal with it, but if it is borderline too broad or subjectively off-topic, consider how the question could be improved to bring it in line with site standards.

For example this question - https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/15478/need-an-animal-equivalent-to-rock-paper-scissors

Closed for being off-topic within 10 minutes of being asked. Aside from the fact that I don't see how a question explicitly about puzzle creation is off-topic, would the question have been more acceptable if it had asked:

What 3 creatures A,B and C exist such that A eats B, B eats C, and C eats A?

The questioner could get an answer and the community could get a new puzzle. If the issue was that Rock/Paper/Scissors is not a puzzle maybe it should have been migrated, but a comment that says 'this is off-topic' without any further explanation is hardly going to be a positive experience for a first time user of the site. An explanation of why it is off-topic would have helped. Some advice on what would make the question more acceptable would have been even better. Jumping in their before anyone else has even tried either of these approaches seems a bit premature and far from the sort of helpful approach that will encourage someone new to post questions again in the future.


If you don't feel you have time to deal with genuine in good faith first time questions in the most constructive way possible do nothing. Don't flag it, don't down vote, walk away and let someone with the time to be helpful, provide the guidance and constructive criticism required.


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