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Suppose a puzzle had activity and then lost it for unknown reasons. From the perspective of the OP, there are three options I can think of:

  • Do nothing and leave the puzzle sit.
  • Edit-bump the question for more attention.
  • Wrap it up with a self-answer.

All three have their pros and cons, but I'm curious what people think is the "best" answer.

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The "standard" way to do this is to place a bounty on it. There are other options, though:

  • bring it up in chat
  • add a hint
  • post a community wiki 'evidence locker' with interesting data that may be useful (humn does this sometimes)

However, I would like to draw attention to one of your options:

  • Edit-bump the question for more attention.

Yeah... don't do that. Edits go to the front page to show where recent activity is. Please don't abuse the system by editing just to bump. (Actual improvements are fine, though.)

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Put a bounty on it.

  • Doing nothing may work - mere patience can cure a lot of problems - but it's not the best solution if you want to be proactive about getting more attention to your puzzle.

  • Edit-bumping is discouraged if your edits aren't adding anything useful to the question. Editing to clarify or add a hint is fine; editing just to bump the question isn't.

  • Self-answering a puzzle isn't a great solution either; it feels like giving up, assuming nobody else is going to solve your puzzle. Only do this if all else fails. Even puzzles that go unsolved for a looooooooooooooooong time may end up getting solved if the right person sees them!

From the relevant help centre page:

What should I do if no one answers my question?

First, make sure you’ve asked a good question. To get better answers, you may need to put additional effort into your question. Edit your question to provide status and progress updates. Document your own continued efforts to answer your question. This will naturally bump your question to the homepage and get more people interested in it.

If, despite your best efforts, you feel questions aren’t getting good answers, you can help by offering a bounty on any question more than two days old.

Note that "to draw attention" is a perfectly valid reason for starting a bounty.

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Being in this situation at times, my views are -

  1. Check if you have added all the necessary clues for getting it solved
  2. Encourage solvers by adding a bounty
  3. Check if people are looking at it in TSL
  4. Add hints if required
  5. If still remains unsolved $\rightarrow$ add more clues/hints

Posting a self answer is the final step. Do it only when you feel you have made it too hard. But remember, self answers before any attempts are not taken well if your puzzle didn't had much clues.

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