There have been some posts where I think there have been a few misunderstandings:


These are some examples of puzzles posted tagged as . True there have been some good ones:

But there is a difference between the two lists. The first set aren't really puzzles, whereas the second set requires something more.

It seems to me that there has been a misunderstanding, especially with new users. The top set where all posted in the first 3 puzzles by the users.

The tag for me suggests that jokes here are acceptable and counted as puzzles. I want to fix that.

I propose we change to and have joke as a synonym.

Hopefully that will stop people posting christmas-cracker jokes.

@RandAl'Thor has kindly posted a suggestion for the tag wiki of as an answer but please add suggestions in the comments below it.

@GentlePurpleRain has also made the suggestion that instead of changing the joke tag we get rid of it completely

Feel free to comment and voice your opinion!

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1, good idea. We also need to have a good tag wiki for humour, probably after reaching meta-consensus on exactly which 'joke' questions are on-topic and which aren't. $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I vote to call the tag humour and not humor! :-P $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor, yes, the stack exchange auto correct did that :P $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 16:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Another problem with such questions is that they tend to invite unexplained answers. With a proper riddle, a good answer would explain how the solution fits each line. With a 'joke' question, there's not really much to explain, so you tend to get answers like this which are super-short and get auto-flagged for deletion. $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ I'll leave this for the mods to sort out $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ They (the mods) can sort out the practicalities of merging the joke tag into a new tag humour, but we (the whole community) should reach consensus first! Including on what the tag wiki and excerpt for the new humour tag should be, which will reflect the more important issue of the actual site scope when it comes to 'joke' questions. $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor, see my answer $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 18:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't really see the benefit of either a joke or humour tag. It seems very meta-ish. Is anyone ever going to want to search only for puzzles involving humour? Maybe we should just burninate joke? $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain, I quite like the idea of having 'fun' puzzles. Makes them more interesting. I'd prefer to keep it but just clarify it. $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ Although if everyone else agrees with you by all means, BURNINATE! :P $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 19:11
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I, uh, hate fun. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Sep 7, 2016 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ Nothing wrong with having fun puzzles, but do they need a special tag? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Sep 7, 2016 at 23:43

3 Answers 3


In the interests of providing options:

We should get rid of the tag entirely.

Most of the questions with this tag are either already closed, or not very funny (obviously subjective). I don't think the tag really serves a useful purpose, and it should probably just get burninated.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 It seems like most of the successful questions there could be (or already are) tagged with wordplay or lateral-thinking instead (and from a linguistics perspective, isn't that what most jokes are anyways? :) ) $\endgroup$
    – user812786
    Sep 7, 2016 at 21:59

I agree with your proposal: using an adjectival tag will hopefully make it clearer that it's only meant to be used for posting puzzles which have an element of humour, not for simply posting jokes.

Another problem with the simple joke questions of the 'bad' type you mention is that they tend to invite unexplained answers. With a proper riddle, a good answer explains how the solution fits each line. With a 'joke' question, the text of the question is very short and there's not really much to explain in the solution, so you tend to get answers like this which are super-short and get auto-flagged for deletion.

Realising this enabled me to see why such questions are bad: it's the same old "too broad" / "invite speculative answers" close reasons. We can argue until the cows come home about the difference between a joke and a puzzle, and where to draw the line, but most of the jokes can be closed for being not uniquely answerable rather than for not being puzzles.

With that in mind, I suggest the following tag wiki excerpt for the new tag:

For puzzles that contain an element of humour or wit. Please do not use this tag to post simple jokes which are not puzzles, and remember that questions should be uniquely answerable.

And the following tag wiki:

This tag is to be used for puzzles that contain an element of humour or wit, or for questions about such puzzles. Questions which are simply jokes and nothing else are likely to be closed if they don't relate to puzzling.

Puzzles should also have a unique, demonstrably correct answer; see this meta post and the associated off-topic close reason. While humour is welcome in puzzles, it shouldn't come at the expense of answerability.

Suggestions and improvements welcome.

  • $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain, everyone seems to have reached a consensus in chat that we should try humour and if it doesn't work burninate it $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil Done! humor I used the American spelling as per this meta post. $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil I also created humour as a synonym, so we can all be happy! $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain Yay! :-D $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2016 at 20:18

After doing a little looking at some of the questions tagged , I'd suggest what @GentlePurpleRain did in the comments to this question:

Get rid of both and !

Take a look at the list of humor-tagged questions. There are only 4 with a QScore of > 10. The first two are logic problems that have a joke-type setup "...walks into a bar." If there is actual humour in either, it has evaded me. The fourth one is actually a decent joke, but is not a puzzle. The third is the only one where knowing the answer is "silly" might help you. And onward down the list (there are only 9 more with positive QScores, and 3 of those are closed) you have a mix of non-puzzle jokes and questions with silly/funny answers.

From this SE Meta post, here are 4 potentially relevant questions about when to burninate a tag. (I've gone ahead and briefly answered each for the humor tag.

1. Does it describe the contents of the questions to which it is applied? and Is it unambiguous?

Possibly for the first question, depending on your sensibilities. And definitely not on the second count. My sister does not find Monty Python funny at all.

2. Is the concept described even on-topic for the site?

Yes, but not specifically. I like puzzles with a bit of humour, but humor in and of itself is not on-topic, and having the tag might encourage people who are posting jokes as "puzzles". "Figure out the punchline" is not really a puzzle.

3. Does the tag add any meaningful information to the post?

This is just my opinion, but almost never. Like I said, there are one or two examples where it could point you to consider sillier solutions that might help you solve the puzzle, but in general it does not. And nothing kills a joke like having to point out that it's a joke.

4. Does it mean the same thing in all common contexts?

Again, definitely not. This whole recent question is about people not finding the same things funny.

So I think the (and erstwhile ) tag fails to do anything useful for the site, and in fact might be harmful in that it encourages people to post low-quality stuff that is not really appropriate for the site.


There are many playful, funny puzzles on this site already that have humorous elements. If we're taking a humour tag seriously, shouldn't these all be re-tagged? Most of the actually amusing/funny ones (this, this, this, this (my own)) are not tagged humor. Retagging these seems like a silly and subjective thing to do. So let's just drop the humour tag altogether.


Because I amused myself by alternating between the British and American spellings in this post, do I have to tag it /?


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