I noticed that this question (about shortening existing solutions to the Rubik's cube) was downvoted and migrated off the site. To me it seems like an on-topic question. After all, the help center says:

If you have a question about [...] A specific method of solving a type of puzzle [...] then this site is the right place for you!

And the sidebar when asking a new question asks (emphasis mine):

Is your question about creation and solving of puzzles?

However, a highly-upvoted comment on the question read (Not the exact wording, I can no longer get to the original question.):

I'm closing this question as off-topic because it is not a puzzle.

This would lead me to believe that the community has decided that questions about puzzles are not on topic, only actual puzzles are.


Has the scope of the site changed to exclude questions about puzzles? Should we update the help center &c. to reflect this?


No. I don't think the site's scope has changed, and I disagree with the closing of that question - especially the reason behind the closing. Questions about puzzles are still perfectly acceptable here. I think this problem was simply a misguided user voting to close, and other people following suit.

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    $\begingroup$ ... and a misguided moderator migrating it? (Migrations require a moderator, except between a single site and its meta.) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 13 '16 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ I also firmly believe these questions are categorically on-topic and appropriate for the site, and I'm sorry to see it was downvoted this heavily. $\endgroup$ – Aza Nov 13 '16 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ I migrated the question not because it was not a puzzle, but it seemed to be a question specifically about modifying an algorithm, which to me seemed more appropriate for Computer Science. I'm am quite open to being told I'm wrong and that it should remain. I definitely agree that non-puzzle questions about puzzles are on-topic and should remain. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Nov 13 '16 at 20:44
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    $\begingroup$ Triple Diamonds. $\endgroup$ – Fabich Nov 15 '16 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Lordofdark ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Nov 16 '16 at 12:28

This specific question, both on first blush and even now on a more careful re-reading, appears to be not merely about solving a puzzle — nor even solving it optimally — but about programmatically assembling different cube solving methods (or, equivalently, their move sequences) to create a solution sequence for an arbitrary 3x3 cube, and then programmatically transforming that into an equivalent but now optimal sequence. I am still not fully convinced that it isn't.

If the question had been, say, what is the optimal algorithm for solving a 3x3 Rubik's Cube, i.e. not one designed around ease of use or practicality of remembering but rather purely focused on fewest steps to completion, then there would be no question in my mind it would be appropriate here. But that doesn't seem to me to be what the questioner asked or wanted.

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    $\begingroup$ I think you're exactly right. But I think that questions about specific methods of solving puzzles (or in this case, specific methods of improving solutions to puzzles) are still on-topic under the old rules. $\endgroup$ – 2012rcampion Nov 13 '16 at 21:16

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