As this is my first post on Puzzling Meta, I hope it is appropriate.

If you post a question on Puzzling, and someone posts an answer which is mostly, or almost completely correct, what would be the policy on giving assistance to better 'aligning' your answers together?

IMHO I believe that for a puzzle (depending on the question of course), the solution should help reveal not only the final answer, but also the creative links between the solution and the given problem/riddle.

For example in one of my earlier puzzling questions here, the answer I intended was glasses, since in part of the riddle I was referencing glass cups, as well as the glasses on your head/nose. The answer given was 'the glasses'. The issue here is that they are correct in the most part, however they did not notice how the use of 'glasses' being for both drink holders, as well as for vision improvement.

I am uncertain on how to properly 'align' our answer or reveal such connections with the answer as I think I would be unable to properly explain it in the comments since use of the answer would not be hidden with spoiler tags. The other alternative (I used at the time) was to edit their answer by adding my intended explanation behind the riddle and slightly improving/tweaking the solution.

So my question is, how should situations similar to this be handled? Should the OP just 'suck it up'? Should the answer be allowed to be mentioned in the comments? Should edits such as this be allowed?


IMHO I believe that for a puzzle (depending on the question of course), the solution should help reveal not only the final answer, but also the creative links between the solution and the given problem/riddle.

I absolutely agree. For people who aren't the OP or the solver, the most interesting part is often to see all the ways in which the solution fits the puzzle. So it's always better to have the full solution displayed somehow. I know of a few ways of managing this.

Leave comments on the solver's answer.

If someone's more or less solved your puzzle, reaching the correct solution, but missed some of the nuances (this is particularly common with riddles where there are usually many clues pointing towards a single answer), then go ahead and post comments on their answer to point them towards the last few clues. If they don't edit their answer accordingly, you may want to proceed to the next possibility below (but consider whether this is appropriate given how much you want to edit their answer: minor edits to one line of a riddle are fine, deleting a lot of the OP's guesses and replacing them with the intended interpretations might not be).

Edit the accepted answer.

One way to do this is just putting something like "Added by OP: this line of the riddle signifies blahdiblah" in a few of the places where the solver has failed to solve a line or included only a partial solution for it. Alternatively you could add a whole section below the solver's answer with your own canonical answer written out in full ... which is very similar in effect to the next possibility below. Here's an example where this was done.

Self-answer with a 'canonical solution'.

This is more often done when many different users have contributed answers which can all be put together to get the full solution to a multi-part puzzle, as here. But it can also be done when somebody has got the correct solution to your puzzle but in an unexpected way, or they've solved your riddle but not interpreted every line correctly. Post an answer to your own question, with a banner at the top to make clear that you're the OP rather than a particularly insightful solver. You probably shouldn't accept this answer though, and you may want to think about making it community-wiki. Here's an example.

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    $\begingroup$ Why shouldn't a self-answer be accepted? I imagine many people who come across a question in the future will see only the accepted answer, so a canonical solution that isn't accepted has limited value. $\endgroup$ May 30 '15 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ @JulianRosen Well, the person who actually solved it might get pissed off if their answer isn't accepted... $\endgroup$ May 30 '15 at 16:23

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