Currently, the Fortnightly Topic Challenge solicits ideas for tags that will become the topic for the challenge for a two-week period. Once a tag has been a topic, the post suggesting it is deleted, and other suggestions rise to the top of the answer list.

Several of the past topics have been great, and have really encouraged creative, quality puzzles. It seems we're getting close to exhausting the list of viable FTC topics (although a creative person could always come up with something).

I propose that we allow "used" tags to be suggested a second (third, fourth...) time. They can be voted on just as they were the first time, and if they rise to the top of the current list of suggestions, they should become the topic again.

This provides the following benefits:

  • it allows those who may not have been around the first time a tag was used to have the opportunity to participate in its FTC
  • it allows those who may have been too slow in completing a puzzle for the FTC to have another opportunity to post it as part of the FTC
  • it ensures a steady stream of quality topics for the FTC, instead of mining more-and-more esoteric and obscure tags as we run out of popular/relevant ones.

If you agree with the proposal, please upvote this post. If you disagree, please downvote. If you have another idea or want to make an alternate suggestion, feel free to post an answer.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm definitely in favor of reusing them. Maybe not yet though. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Another option is to allow re-use of tags after 'roundabout a year or so, or some length of time, with a note in the post that it's been used before. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Emrakul l I don't think we need to set a time limit; users' votes can do that. If we had tag weasels 1 month ago, and it gets heavily upvoted, then a large number of users want another go at it, so why wait. People are probably more likely to upvote a re-used tag if it's been a while since it was last used, so I think the problem solves itself. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 20:11
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    $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain That's a good point. Maybe just a note that it's a re-run would be good enough, then. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 20:12

4 Answers 4


Yes, of course we should "allow" reuse of topic ideas.

And i don't think we need to impose any restrictions (i.e. minimum gap between repeats). If people want three chess fortnights in a row, they'll vote for it, if not, the subsequent repeat suggestions will be down voted (that's kind of the idea of voting).

In fact, I think we should loosen the fortnightly challenge restrictions even further, and remove the tag orientation too. Fortnightly challenges are by the people, for the people, and sure, tag based challenges are one way to do things, but far from the only... Loosening the single specific tag restriction would also allow more ideas to flow, like:

  • Restricted tag challenges (, but not )
  • Tag pair (or 3, or 4) challenges ( + )
  • Negative tag challenges (no tags in the top 20 tags)
  • Other restrictions (text oriented puzzles, without using the letter "e")
  • Stylistic/art challenges (monochrome only visual puzzles)
  • Twisted classics (alternative twists on newspaper puzzles like crosswords or sudokus)
  • Sincere flattery (remakes, reworkings or sequels to existing puzzles on the site)
  • Rabbit holes (deep, multi-layer puzzles)
  • Three dimensional grid puzzles (3D crosswords and sudokus)
  • "Real-time" puzzles (puzzles with some "time" component, stepped or otherwise)
  • Etc, etc...

Who cares how crazy the idea is (or how many times it's been run before), if the idea has merit, is interesting and people want it, it'll get upvoted, and the crap (including the overly repetitive) will just get downvoted.

(Though I agree with others, repeats should be marked as such, with appropriate links to prior challenges).

  • $\begingroup$ I don't agree with one of your points about restrictions, (like text-oriented puzzles without using the letter "e") if you mean that the topic challenge should explicitly state that. If you just mean that the topic challenge could be like "restrictions", it would lead to way too many puzzles each with some sort of restriction.. $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid - I was suggesting a given challenge's theme could be a specific and well defined restriction (or set of restrictions). If you didn't like a particular restriction, you could downvote that topic if and when it was suggested in the ideas thread (and for what it's worth, I'm not a fan of the "no e" idea, it was just an off the cuff example) $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ I tried suggesting a non-tag topic challenge the other day (10k link only - Emrakul deleted the post), based on a highly-voted meta post from GPR, but it was downvoted into oblivion. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor - yeah, I saw that. If guess people didn't like that particular implementation (though looks like some just think it should be a separate, non-fortnightly challenge)? $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor - possibly people feel it's a little too restrictive for a whole fortnight challenge, which tend to generally be quite broad. $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 23:59

Yes, we should be able to reuse old tags, although we should not stop coming up with new ones.

Many of the tags that are currently out for vote were proposed long ago, and have gathered very few upvotes as a proportion of views, this shows that the community likely has a desire for alternatives, and several of the already-used suggestions proved popular.

I propose that each new Calendar year (First fortnight after Jan 1) all previously used tags are free to be proposed and used again.

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    $\begingroup$ As a (probably)less popular addendum, I'd say that holiday should probably coincide with Winterbash, and possibly be removed from the standard Fortnightly rotation $\endgroup$
    – Sconibulus
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 19:07


I whole-heartedly (?) agree to this idea, for several reasons.

  • New users who haven't been around for previous topic challenges.

  • Good tag challenges should be able to be reused, for even more epic puzzlingness!

But just one thing - there should be at least two challenges in between re-using a topic. Because if we have the same challenge three times in a row, that's just... meh.

Also, it should be posted as a new answer (which I'm sure was obvious anyway).


I'd say yes. (Although maybe not yet, considering there are still a lot of available tags) But with a few restrictions.

I'd say yes, because there are a lot of new users, who weren't here when the challenges were taking place. So to give them the oppurtunity to make puzzles for that tag, I'd say yes.

However, I think there should be some restrictions:

  1. Reused tags have to have been used more than a year ago so that things don't get repetitive.

  2. Creative ideas, like the unconventional tag fusion, shouldn't be re-used, but similar ideas can be. This is so unique ideas remain unique.

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    $\begingroup$ -1 especially for the last paragraph. Unconventional tag fusion is one of the first things I'd suggest reusing - there's so much scope in that challenge, and we didn't get to explore it as much as we still could. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 17:53

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