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I always try puzzles without hints, here or anywhere else. However, I noticed in a question the answer was found by someone who basically needed the hints.

I'm not trying to pick on this puzzle in particular (there might be a way to solve it without its hints), but in general, I ask:

are the puzzles here supposed to be solvable without looking at the CSS-hidden hints?

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Are the puzzles here supposed to be solvable without looking at the CSS-hidden hints?

"Supposed to", I'd say yes.

Are they? Unfortunately quite often not.

I would suggest that you let the OP of the puzzle know about the purpose of hints when you discover a puzzle which is "impossible" without using them. Do this in the comments of the puzzle and maybe also cast a down-vote until it is fixed.

You might also want to refernce this FAQ about hints in your comment to direct any 'discussion' about the topic to the meta-site.

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I suggest reading the hints.

I also used to try to solve the puzzle without hints first. But, I got burned by puzzles that are basically impossible or underclued without the hints, though OK puzzles with the hints. You never know if your hint-less effort is futile. Now, I mouse over the hints first thing unless I have an immediate idea, and I think my experience is better for it.

In an ideal world, hints would be just be hints. But, people like me have been banging our drums about this for a while, and it's unlikely to change. So, I suggest saving your sanity and just mousing over.

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That really depends. Many times in Puzzling magazines there will be a hint published near the back for some of the puzzles, as figuring out how to start them can be difficult. (One of the most common kinds of puzzles I see hints for are the crosswords where there are no clues or numbers, just a list of words of varying lengths, and you have to fill in the grid. The hint will typically be the first word in the top left-hand corner.) A lot of users emulate that here, by posting hints with their puzzle in the hopes that if you end up getting stuck, you have something to springboard you to the solution.

Often times, the puzzler goes overboard making a difficult/interesting puzzle, and it ends up being way off the mark in terms of being solvable. Hints are then added to the puzzle, which (sometimes) make it easier to solve.

At the end of the day, though, it's up to you. If you want to post a puzzle with hints, go for it. If you don't, then don't. It all depends on whether or not you specifically think that your puzzle will be augmented by the hints. (For the one in your link, I think the answer is clear that it was.)

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