I'd like to put forth an idea which I think could simultaneously address two heavily discussed topics on Puzzling.SE:-

  1. Adding more content about puzzle creation itself (in addition to being a repository of high-quality puzzles)
  2. Rewarding good puzzles by awarding the questioner more than +5 per vote

About puzzle creation

While Puzzling.SE originally started out as a site to learn about creating and solving puzzles, and some meta-posts state that posting and solving puzzles created by others is kind of a way to learn about puzzles, there isn't actually much insight on offer on what really went into making those puzzles.

There are several great puzzles on this site, and it would be interesting as well as educative for others to learn things about how their designers created them, such as:

  • The source(s) of inspiration
  • How the puzzle started and evolved, ideas that were discarded or added along the way, and why
  • Any resources or programs that were used to research or produce the content
  • What the OP learnt from solvers' responses to the puzzle
  • Etc.


The proposal is to allow the OP to share their story by (optionally) posting a self-answer with this description. Each such answer could have a brief standardized heading, possibly with a meta-post link, to explain what it is and that it's not an answer to the puzzle itself. This post would typically be posted after the puzzle is solved.

Rewarding good puzzles

Now anybody who reads this special answer and appreciates the work behind the puzzle can choose to upvote it, thereby awarding an additional +10 points. For puzzles that were copied (with due accreditation) from another source such as a puzzle book, no such narration is possible, and thus good but unoriginal puzzles would not be unduly awarded additional points. Similarly, regular questions that aren't puzzles would only receive the standard +5 points.

Pros and cons

Advantages of this approach:-

  1. This mechanism would work without requiring any site-specific code changes.
  2. Moreover, it allows a finer level of control than a blind +10 per upvote (as described above).
  3. Bounties can also be awarded to this answer in lieu of the question. [Thanks, @Ian MacDonald for this suggestion.]

The few potential concerns that I can think of are:

  1. This additional post should be genuinely interesting and not degrade to something like "Please upvote this answer if you liked this puzzle"
  2. It shouldn't be abused to place hints to the answer of the puzzle itself
  3. A really interesting post could get more upvotes than the accepted answer (i.e. solution) and earn the "Populist" badge
  4. If this proposal goes through, there may be an initial spurt of people trying to mass edit their old questions.

I think all of these can be dealt with, and overall this approach would make puzzling more interesting and rewarding.


A sandbox for sample commentaries on puzzle creation has been created.

There is also a question on how these samples should be standardized in format.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wonderful idea, and might not need much formalization because behind-the-puzzle "answers" could refer to this meta question for support. I am extremely interested in the sparks behind many puzzles and appreciate every little tidbit someone allows (e.g.). $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 6:13
  • $\begingroup$ KeyboardWielder, many of your puzzles hinge on playful parallels that make me wonder what circumstances brought them together (threepersonalfaves). Why not treat us to a peek-post behind one/some of your puzzles (and link it/them to and from here)? $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ @humn: I was thinking of this example. I'm thinking of waiting for a few more days for general feedback, and then creating a temporary sandbox on Meta where anyone can post their behind-the-scenes samples - which should avoid bumping the main site prematurely. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Might not need to approach this so gingerly. Considering how few posers answer even in comments when I ask about a puzzle's background, a sandbox stage might be safe to skip. For me, an about-this-puzzle post and any edits would be just as relevant as most posts here. (Would be nice, in any case, to have a general way to keep from interloping on the "front page": Making an edit without bumping the puzzle up?, Is there a way to edit a question without bumping it to the front page?) $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 20:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If someone provides a commentary on the puzzle-creation process for an old puzzle, is it a good thing or a bad thing if it gets bumped? Bumping it would increase the visibility of the puzzle creation process and people may get to see high-quality puzzles that they missed before, but it would further crowd out the high-quality unanswered puzzles. There might be an initial influx of commentaries, but I expect that the volume would reduce after a short time. $\endgroup$
    – Gordon K
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ @GordonK and humn: By "bumping the main site" I meant throwing the idea into the wild before it was sharpened. I went ahead and created the sandbox. I'd personally love to read (and write) commentaries on old puzzles. ;) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 19:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A bounty could also be awarded to the puzzler's inspiration "answer". $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald: Good suggestion! Edited in. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 17:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Time for a stamp of approval? Seems to have passed the shake-out stage and posers are already posting wrap-ups in situ. $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 19:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @humn: Not waiting for anything... Actually, I don't know how the process for suggestions at Meta goes. Does me accepting an answer to my own suggestion indicate community approval? Well, I'll go ahead and hit the tick button on this one (not quite sure what to do with the sandbox though). $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ This is not a bad idea, but a potential negative is that this was actually proposed by Shog9 as a way of rewarding good puzzles. If this is implemented, then we may never see some of the other things we wanted, such as awarding bounties to questions and awarding +10 rep for each upvote on a question. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


An outline for wrap-up posts can be found at Wrap-up posts: What should the formal part of it contain? Please copy the outline’s header, being sure to include the words wrap-up, making and poser, so that wrap-ups are easier to find and distinguish from other kinds of posts. Content below the header can be free-form and the outline includes many excellent ideas.

Examples of wrap-up posts may be found by searching for keywords such as wrap up making poser. (Experimental wrap-up posts, made while this topic was under discussion, may be found at Sample commentaries on puzzle creation.)

Full answer, which motivated community approval

Just to clarify I understood the idea correctly:

  • this is an optional thing
  • the OP posts an answer (call it wrap-up) to his/her own puzzle-question on the main site
    For now: As this idea is tested, the wrap-up is posted on the meta site sandbox only
  • the wrap-up is posted only after the puzzle is solved (i.e. when an accepted answer already exists.)
  • the wrap-up never becomes the accepted answer
  • there is some format standardization of wrap-up answers

I very much like this idea! And it is similar to some of the "community-wrapup-answers" I've done in the past, but still I think your suggestion is better than this community-wiki post. (And could co-exist.)

Addressing your issues:

  1. This additional post should be genuinely interesting and not degrade to something like "Please upvote this answer if you liked this puzzle"

Self-solving, as one could easily downvote bad wrap-up posts (and comment on them).

  1. It shouldn't be abused to place hints to the answer of the puzzle itself

I think it should only be posted after the puzzle has an accepted answer, so this problem does then not exist. Note, that for too-difficult/never-solved puzzles, there is still the possibility to "self-answer-solve" a puzzle with a community-wiki post. So the wrap-up idea does not interfere.

  1. A really interesting post could get more upvotes than the accepted answer (i.e. solution) and earn the "Populist" badge

I see this as a benefit, not as a problem.

  1. If this proposal goes through, there may be an initial spurt of people trying to mass edit their old questions.

True. Not really a huge issue - and maybe a wave of very interesting information sparking new puzzles! - but we might add to the proposal that old posts should be wrapped up at a slow pace. (One at a day / user ?)

Additional points:

  • If wrap-up posts are at least partly standardized in format, it is easy to create a search-filter for them. (Similar to how I group puzzles of a series, like here.) This is an excellent way of 'tagging' these without the need of meta-tags.

  • This idea kind-of adds a missing feature which is not wanted on other SE sites, but clearly is in our special case: A place to discuss/comment on the puzzle-creation process which is still neatly linked to the puzzle but not obscuring it, like question-comments would be. Comments on this wrap-up are a very good place, and if there are too many, it becomes a chat automatically...

Summing up:

I love your idea. I really want to see it implemented, and I don't think it causes havoc on the existing system.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wow, +1 - very good ideas here. The original post didn't convince me, but your answer did :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ @BmyGuest: Thanks. Your summary is accurate. I've updated the main post to add the point about the commentary typically being posted after the puzzle is solved. "Wrap-up" to me conveys a slightly different or more specific meaning than intended, so I've preferred using Gordon K's "commentary" word. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ Mind if I revise this answer into a definitive "here we go" that can be accepted? I would add mention of the minimal skepticism that this answer resolved, along with mention of the template's and samples' receiving only positive feedback over the course of more than a week. Care to revise this yourself? $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 0:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @humn yes, please go on. I also think we should get into 'implementation' soon. (Other than the puzzle sandbox, I don't see potential negative side effects. It's optional. It adds content. In worst case, it does not fly...) $\endgroup$
    – BmyGuest
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 9:52

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