I created a question. I want the method of solving to continue to be a mystery even though the answer has been found (at least for a while).

No shoot Sherlock: Test your internet and detective skills with this one!

I received the following comment and replied.

It's a very important part of Q&A sites. If you don't explain how you got your answer, it isn't a good answer. – warspyking 3 mins ago

@warspyking - That is an interesting point. Maybe we should ask about this on Meta. I'll create a question there and let you know. – chasly from UK 1 min ago edit


I'd like to leave the method a mystery at least for a while. What do you think? Should I now reveal all immediately?

Subsidiary question

If I do reveal it, do I just reveal the method or every tiny detail?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Well, for one, it helps those who don't know what the final answer actually is. In the question in question, the answer you specifically say is the correct answer doesn't have anything stating what it is. All one sees is a half-sphere on the ground. If you want to keep mystery so you can continue the question, then it should be at least tagged as a semi-interactive-puzzle. If there is nothing more coming, then the full solution should be posted. $\endgroup$
    – tfitzger
    Aug 17, 2015 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the tip-off about semi-interactive puzzles. That is going to be very useful for me in future. In fact I have a fully-interactive puzzle planned so I shall be interested in reading the new rules carefully. $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2015 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ Related meta post $\endgroup$
    – Set Big O
    Aug 17, 2015 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


I think it's very important the Answerers disclose the method in getting the answer. Stack Exchange aims to provide helpful Q&A answers, and if future readers come for help and find your question, they are not going to understand your question.

It's sort-of like offering a kid help with his math homework, and then just giving him the answer. He learns absolutely nothing in the process.

It's a very important aspect to explain how you got your answer. If you don't it's usually a "guess". You know an answer is great when in clearly explains how to get to the correct solution.

Wanting to continue suspense is not a good reason to withhold answers. If a user wishes to figure it out themselves they will. At the very most, place the method in a spoiler. It's great you want to encourage those that DO want to try, but you shouldn't prevent people who want to know the answer (whether trying or not), from seeing the solution in all it's glory. It would be highly unfair.

  • $\begingroup$ The reason is that I personally find it too easy to click on the hints or answers before really trying. I know this is my own weakness but I'm also pretty sure that a few others do it. I just wanted to continue the suspense a little longer and get several people solving the mystery without help. Note that this happens anyway if someone doesn't immediately solve it. I wasn't meaning to withhold the method for ever, maybe just say, "I'll reveal the full solution on such-and-such a date and time." $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2015 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ @chasly from UK I've addressed your comment in an edit. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Aug 17, 2015 at 20:28

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