In Quark's recent question, part of the solution involved detecting (and decoding) some text and data hidden in the lowest bits of an image.

Originally the question was not tagged with , but after my initial answer and a prompt from leoll2, the tag was added. Quark commented:

I added it, although I was thinking it'd be better to leave it out and make it a hint people discover by looking at parts 1 and 2 (emphasis mine)

One one hand, I know that questions should be correctly tagged. But on the other hand, I agree with Quark: part of the puzzle was to discover the hidden data in the image, and I feel like adding would have been too big a hint, especially since you could have plausibly decoded the dot pattern before seeing the steganographic text.

So here is my question: How should steganographic puzzles be tagged?

My proposal would be for two different cases:

  • If steganography is explicitly part of the puzzle (this one for example), then it should be tagged.

  • If the steganography is intended to be somewhat "secret" like in Quark's puzzle, then it should be tagged after the steganography is discovered.

An equally valid point of view is that not tagging the question is unfair to people trying to analyze the image contents traditionally, and so such questions should always be tagged. I'm interested to see what the community thinks!

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I like your proposal. I think it would be fair, in the second case, to add the tag as hint when the problem is unsolved for days. $\endgroup$
    – leoll2
    May 20 '15 at 18:54

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