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So - I recently put out a bounty on this question, after having silently worked on it on my own a handful of times over the last month or so. I only just yesterday realized that there had been more "clues" than were visible in the current version of the post in previous edits, and I had only come to this realization because of something someone said in the comments.

I won't edit the original post, because that is rude as hell and also wildly unnecessary my dudes. However, I do think that people trying to solve the puzzle would benefit from those clues, and it's unreasonable to expect everyone who comes across a puzzle to read every revision it's ever had. I also don't expect people to collaborate on hints in the comments - aside from being obnoxious to read, comments are effectively impossible to format.

So I guess what I'm asking is: would it be acceptable—here specifically but also generally—to make a community wiki answer for hints/collaboration? I can't find anything here on Meta that specifically addresses this, and it seems like a harmless thing, but I don't want to rile anybody if there's a reason against this that I'm not aware of.

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  • $\begingroup$ See also: this post, discussing how much actual answer is required before posting something as an answer. If it's just collecting information already provided, one way or the other, in the question, then you haven't taken even the smallest step toward solving it, and posting as an answer (even a CW one) is premature. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Jun 15 '19 at 9:38
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I don't think an answer is the proper location for hints. It would likely be closed as not-an-answer.

I think the best place for hints is in the question itself. I understand your concern about it being rude to edit someone else's question, but you can do it in such a way that it's obvious that this is an addition to the question:

EDIT: Hints collected from comments and previous revisions

  1. The first hint
  2. The second hint

    etc.

That seems to me to be the best way to make the hints visible and to keep from posting a non-answer containing only hints.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, it's certainly disappointing that we would discourage collaboration like this. So what's to be done when someone (like, say, me) can't edit the question? $\endgroup$ – question_asker Dec 10 '15 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ @question_asker This is only one opinion; others may feel differently. Also, I believe you can edit the question; it just might need to be reviewed by someone before being approved. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Dec 10 '15 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ 1) True, and I upvoted your answer despite having issues with the philosophy behind it. 2) Also true, but only technically so - not only is having to be placed in a queue not really the same as having free reign to edit, it also bogs down whatever collaborative process might take place. I think it's outright bizarre that we ("we", of course) insist on enforcing rules originally intended for a very different type of Q&A site, just for the sake of enforcing rules. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Dec 10 '15 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ @question_asker My answer here wasn't given based on arbitrary rule-following; I was giving an opinion on what I thought was the best way to accomplish your goal in the given situation. Having "answers" that are not answers ends up being confusing to everyone. If the community wiki answer gets voted up a lot, it becomes the first answer, which is good for those reviewing hints, but bad for those looking for answers. If it doesn't, it lets the true answers rise to the top, but then the hints are much less visible. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Dec 10 '15 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ I guess I don't really see the difference between a hypothetical like "If the community wiki answer gets voted up a lot..." and a hypothetical like "If the asker accepts an incorrect/trollish/etc. answer..." Unless somebody has some data, I don't see the former as being either more likely or more harmful* than the latter. In any case, it seems that given that there is no built-in mechanism for it, collaboration in general is not feasible on this site. (* the notion of "harm" here, as with the reasoning behind a lot of the rules, is entirely speculative) $\endgroup$ – question_asker Dec 10 '15 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ @question_asker Collaboration is certainly possible via community wiki answers -- see this recent post of mine for an example. The difference is, this started with someone posting a partial answer, and others contributed to complete it. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Dec 10 '15 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ @question_asker What you're proposing is using a community wiki for gathering information rather than assembling an answer, which doesn't seem like an appropriate use to me. Another possible avenue for collaboration is using chat. That would be a good way to discuss theories about a particular puzzle without cluttering the puzzle's page. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Dec 10 '15 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ That one was exactly what I had in mind, to be honest - I even contributed a number of those answers. But where a partial answer isn't possible, there's no option. And nobody is ever in chat, as evidenced by... the chat. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Dec 10 '15 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Dec 10 '15 at 17:32

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