# Guidelines in What is a Word™? questions

I'm sure we all know of the latest puzzle craze; the What is a Word/Phrase™ series started by JLee with a special brand of Phrase™ or Word™ which has been revived from the embers mainly thanks to the efforts of Engineer Toast.

I genuinely love these puzzles, and have even participated myself.

However I feel that because these puzzles have become so popular, I feel there needs to be some sort of.... guidelines.

While the majority of these puzzles are good quality, there have been some which aren't quite as good - no offence intended

I feel the question that needs to be asked is:

## How many examples should be required?

• I think there should a be special tag for these kinds of puzzles first. Giving them specific guidelines means we treat them to be a kind or form of puzzle that other puzzles are not. See the relevant meta thread. Sep 18 '16 at 18:24
• It's worth noting that this type of puzzle was NOT, as I thought when writing the above-linked meta question, invented by JLee: see these earlier examples. I'm about to create the tag now, but I'll have to change the tag wiki from what I originally proposed. Sep 18 '16 at 20:03
• Those earlier "Company of Thirteen" examples have the crucial difference that they give no non-examples, so they have the drawback that, if the solver thinks of a property which is in fact too wide, the puzzle gives no clue that this property is wrong. Sep 20 '16 at 13:21

I don't think that we need "rules" for this type of puzzle any more than we do for any other type of puzzle on this website. Yes, there have been a few sub-standard examples of this type of puzzle. That is why we have downvotes. It looks like were employed quite effectually with that example, as it is currently at a score of -8.

Any type of puzzle will have the occasional bad egg. I would argue that this particular type has actually had mostly very good puzzles, with very few exceptions. I chalk that up to the rigour employed by JLee when they first created this puzzle type.

So I don't think anything needs to be done. The bad eggs will fall victim to the community scoring system, just as happens with any other type of puzzle.

• Do you not think we need a certain amount of examples? Sep 18 '16 at 18:34
• @BeastlyGerbil Yes, in order for the question not to be considered too broad, there should be a decent amount of examples. But I don't think we need to prescribe a specific number of examples any more than we prescribe the number of lines in a riddle. It's sufficient to say, "There must be a decent number of examples," and if there aren't and it allows for multiple feasible answers, then the question will probably be closed as too broad.
– GentlePurpleRain Mod
Sep 18 '16 at 18:40
• Fair enough, can't argue with you there. Sep 18 '16 at 18:41
• "I don't think that we need "rules" for this type of puzzle any more than we do for any other type of puzzle on this website." - ahem, it's not so long since there was a rule that a certain type of puzzle had to go through a sandbox before being posted :-) Also, JLee didn't actually create this puzzle type. Sep 19 '16 at 0:03
• @randal'thor ...and pretty much everyone agrees that that "rule" was a bad idea. Hopefully we've learned from that experience. (Also, I hope you're aware that the question you linked was based on another earlier one.) But JLee did create the particular brand and formatting of these puzzles.
– GentlePurpleRain Mod
Sep 19 '16 at 2:20
• Yes, I saw that Moghwyn created the first one, but for maximum irony I wanted to link to the one that you yourself made :-) Sep 19 '16 at 13:11

### My Suggested Guideline

1. There should be at least $$10$$ examples

That way there won't be any doubt over the 'rule', or there won't be multiple rules

• What do you mean by "solvable by just looking at the words"? If you know what to look for, a lot of rules are solvable by just looking.
– Deusovi Mod
Sep 18 '16 at 18:12
• @Deusovi, I'm trying to think of a way of saying 'not easy' but is something you can follow. Any help? Sep 18 '16 at 18:13
• Vulgar?? Did someone make a rule that was vulgar? Sep 18 '16 at 18:22
• @randal'thor Take a look at the linked question. Sep 18 '16 at 18:32

I think it should be also required that the logics in these puzzles do not repeat. I'm pretty sure there are already a few puzzles in which the words contain letters from one set of words or another, and I believe spending time just to discover that the puzzle does not contain any new ideas, is not that great.

• +1, but: in order to ensure this, anyone posting a new Word™ puzzle would have to check all the previous ones to see what the method of solution was, which would be quite time-consuming. Also, if the solutions are exactly identical we can close as duplicate. Sep 20 '16 at 19:14