Every Stackexchange community has a main site and a meta site. The main site is for questions about the subject matter, and the meta site is (roughly) for questions about the workings of the site (community policies, discussion about posts on the main site,...).

At puzzling.SE, the majority of the questions posted to the main site are puzzles created by users. However, questions about puzzle creation are explicitly on-topic here. We have a funny situation:

  • questions about creating puzzles belong on the main site,
  • questions about creating posts on puzzling.SE belong on meta, and
  • posts on puzzling.SE frequently are puzzles.

This issue most recently arose with this question. The user wanted feedback on two puzzles already posted here, and wanted advice on constructing another. The question currently has four votes to close as off-topic.

Is the linked question a better fit for the main site or for meta?

More generally, what guidelines are there for deciding where to ask a question about the creation of puzzles for (or about puzzles created for) puzzling.SE?


4 Answers 4


I think it belongs on the main site, but I think the choice of words, and therefore apparent focus make it seem like a meta question, even though it's not.

Ultimately, the underlying questions being asked are:

  1. How do I create a puzzle that will be well received/successful?
  2. What makes one puzzle better than another when they use similar mechanisms?

These are both clearly about puzzle creation and belong on the main site. Unfortunately the OP has chosen language (eg. discussing up/down votes, etc) that make it feel specific to PSE, and thus potentially a meta topic. It's not, though, as voting is just a mechanism for measuring reception, which is the real question being asked.

Remember the context of the word "meta" here does not mean "about puzzles", it means "about the site", and the question is in no way about the mechanism of voting, it's about the reception of the puzzle.

So yes, it could probably do with an edit to clean up the language and improve it, but I think it's still a fine fit for the tag.

TL;DR: The question is not about the mechanics or rules of the site itself (i.e. it's not meta in the context of the site), the question is about puzzles. Therefore it should go on the main site, not meta.


My two cents.

I think the post in question needs modification to fit on the main site.

The question seems to emphasize the community reaction to the puzzles, rather than the puzzles themselves. "Are members bored with the idea of ngram puzzles" and "Do people down-vote because they think a puzzle is too hard" are meta questions. Similarly, "How to create a good puzzle" is a question for the main site, but "How to ward off down-voters" seems more meta (any discussion of puzzling.SE voting probably belongs on meta).

If the "meta" elements are removed, what's left could be a very nice question for the main site.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I disagree (though I agree the language makes it feel blurry, even though I don't think it is). If someone asks "Do people down-vote...?", they're really asking "Do people dislike...?", which is about puzzle creation, not about the site. The question is not about the mechanism (up/down voting = meta), it's about the purpose (reception = puzzle creation). $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 1:42

The question is about how to create an enjoyable puzzle and therefore belongs squarely on the main site IMO.



It must be on the main cite. The stackexchange must help to solve a peoples problems. Meta stackexchange must help to solve peoples problems with stackexchange.

  1. "How to create a puzzle" is clearly not second type of problem, it is not "a problem user has with stackexchange".
  2. There are basically only 2 set of problems with puzzles: a) how to solve a puzzle; b) how to create a puzzle. So puzzle creation is like a half of everything puzzling.stackexchange can help people. Futhermore, for most of questions "how to solve this good puzzle" you Can find an answer in google and for majority of questions "how to make this idea good and create a puzzle" you Can Not the answer in google - this is where puzzling.stackexchange is almost last hope for people.
  3. Having something on meta reduces number of views dramatically. (not taking into account the fact that people, who came on meta came here with a little bit different goal than the goals which are sets in such a topics).
  4. Taking into account all I said, I think that the main goal of puzzling.stackexchange should be to help people to change and create puzzles (though this is minority of questions here at the moment). Only second goal to help to solve them (though this is lest than 25% of questions here I think). And only third goal to have let other people think and have fun answering the questions OP already knows answer to (this is like 60% of all questions). Third goal is important for this is unusual for puzzling.stackexchange I think, because puzzles and fun are strongly related:), but one must not forget that this is not what stackexchange was made for and don't treat this part as most important here, which can happen if you look on the per cents of topics only.

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