Since this is a site for puzzling AND puzzle-related questions, might there be a tag (or an area) specifically for brainstorming how to refine a puzzle?

Say I have a question that is quite open ended and I have two possible solutions to the riddle or puzzle; or I'm thinking there might be a formula to describe all the solutions rather than a single solution. Would I need to wait until I can refine it down to its most complete form first, or could I post a question like this:

"I am the one who is obnoxious and hard to read. Cut off my head, two shall take its place. You won't find this in my pillow. Take the other half of this toy."

I may believe that "2up Yo" is a perfect solution to my puzzle (yes I know it's a stupid example but work with me), but while watching people trying to stumble through my terrible clues they might discover some much more interesting ways to interpret my clues. They're probably not going to find a secret treasure in the Washington Monument off of that drivel, but odds are, they'd find something much more interesting than my very terrible solution.

Supposing that I know someone out there's going to find a better answer to my riddle than what I had in mind, might it be appropriate to tag my puzzle as such so that all puzzlers walk into the thread knowing ahead of time that it's perfectly acceptable to do something crazy like build a giant crane, or look away from the mountain, or chop up the rope into powder, or rope up a couple of sea turtles...

Normally these kinds of puzzles get put on hold because they're too vague and there's not one clear solution, but I think if this site is going to be a resource for puzzlers in general, these kinds of puzzles are going to be very helpful when puzzlers move on to creating new puzzles.

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    $\begingroup$ If you know that your question is too broad and is going to be closed, why even ask it? $\endgroup$ – Doorknob Jul 22 '15 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ For the discussion about the puzzle. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Jul 22 '15 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ Stack Exchange is not a place for discussions. These are question and answer sites, not discussion forums. $\endgroup$ – Doorknob Jul 23 '15 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ I like your question. The DV indicates that I do not agree with liking to have that tag. See my answer. $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Jul 23 '15 at 7:50

I do not agree completely with Doorknob's comment - as I think this site is more than just Q&A - but I do agree that it is not a 'discussion' forum. (In particular, I do think that this site is a lot about learning how to create good puzzles, and that necessitates feedback and editing.)


The 'finally' posted text (Q & A's) should be of lasting value (and potentially be cleaned up) so that it serves purpose in future.

I see you point and I partly agree with your goal, but I think a tag is not the proper solution here. I would recommend asking your puzzle directly but stating right in the front that this puzzle ( - in your case a riddle ? - ) is not having a single 'true' solution yet, but that you're hunting for ideas of miss-interpretation. However, you also require each answer to 'detail' why their solution is fitting. Something like

The following riddle does have one intended solution, but I am not sure it's clues are restrictive enough. My aim is to improve on this riddle and I need help.

Therefore, I encourage everybody to post what possible answers would fit to this riddle, but exclusively so if all clues are strictly met. Please give detailed reasons and do not post answers which would only fit clues if they need to be stretched a lot.

This would allow everyone to rate answers based on how well they fit (-regular answer voting-) and give you the feedback you need. If the intention is to edit your puzzle based on the feedback, ensure this is done in a way that it is easy to see which edits have been made and which previous answers match to which edit. You could for example label/number the edits and have each answer state at which edit they were valid, i.e.

I will edit the question to improve on mis-interpretations. Each edit will be numbered. In your answer, please state at which edit your answer is valid to avoid confusion.

And finally, once you have decided to abandon your task of improving, make sure you do a final edit to leave everything in a clean and nice way, so that the whole thread is of use for others. Either as a good, final puzzle with accepted answer, or as a guidance of how things where improved.

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    $\begingroup$ A "puzzle-feedback" tag may be a good substitute. For instance, posting a puzzle tagged with puzzle-feedback means it's explicitly not a challenge question, but rather that you're looking for improvements and suggestions on the puzzle itself. $\endgroup$ – Aza Jul 23 '15 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Emrakul This is very much in the direction of the original suggestion. And while I'm not opposed to having such a tag ( I like yours better than 'intentionally-broad' ), I think it is still a meta-tag which I thought should be avoided at nearly all cost. Also, I think relying on everybody properly interpreting a tag is risky. Having the intention written in plain text is safer... $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Jul 23 '15 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... as far as I could understand, it's a little different, primarily because puzzle-feedback doesn't seek creative/lateral-thinking answers, but explicitly seeks input on how to refine the puzzle further. As far as meta-tagging, I'm not sure it is, since it describes the goal of the author to get feedback on their puzzle. As far as plain-text, yeah, I agree, that could definitely help too. $\endgroup$ – Aza Jul 23 '15 at 8:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Emrakul I think it's a meta-tag because it describes an aspect of the post, not the topic of the post. It's unlikely somebody will "search" for postings with such a tag on purpose. (It would only serve as 'info' on the question - which is a meta-tag.) $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Jul 23 '15 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... I see what you're saying. Meta-tags are a bit ambiguous, though, and I'd be glad to chat about it at some point, but this discussion might not be the best for comments. Feel free to ping me at some point, though! $\endgroup$ – Aza Jul 23 '15 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, this is probably closer to what I'm thinking of. Curse my extensive but still limited vocabulary! Anyways, I was sorta visualizing how I might label a puzzle in such a way that anyone looking at the puzzle would recognize that it probably doesn't belong in the same category as the other questions. I guess meta tag is right on the money. I'm not sure why you'd avoid that at nearly all costs though. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Jul 23 '15 at 11:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Kingrames Just search the StackExchange (meta) sites for "meta-tags" and try not to end up in flame-wars ;c) But as a starter, read this post $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest Jul 23 '15 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ Okay, according to the two criteria in that blog, what I'm visualizing wouldn't count as a meta tag. Firstly, a tag pointing out questions where the point is to group brainstorm all the possible answers would actually make more sense than to tag it as a puzzle of its "type," like word puzzle or picture puzzle, because ideally persons looking for puzzling experience would search for the tag itself. Secondly, It wouldn't mean different things to different people. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Jul 24 '15 at 12:21

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