We've now had at least three questions seeking/giving help with a particular tag:

The first one was written with its answer at the same time, and many people (present company included) have found it a helpful guide to writing and solving .

The second one asks about a single tag () and generally has pretty good answers. However, the answers aren't necessarily as in-depth as the first one, and the gems of information tend to be scattered around the different answers.

The third one asks about three different tags (, , ). Though at the time of writing the post only has one answer, I think that the important information will again be scattered among different answers, and even more scarcely because of the multiple focuses.

We're starting to venture into 'too broad' territory. I personally think something needs to change. I have had some ideas:

  • Gradually accumulate the communities knowledge on each of the, say, top-20 tags, and make community wiki posts on all of them

  • Ask someone experienced in each tag (again, e.g. top-20) to make a post and self-answer on each tag

  • Close the questions and refer people to the tag wikis, which can then be improved

  • No change

What do people think?

Feel free to add ideas to the list, and if you post an answer about one of the ideas, link to it


2 Answers 2


What's your problem?

Although most 'questions' on this site are puzzles posed as challenges to the community, there's also nothing wrong with questions asking for help with certain types of puzzle. After all, that was how this site first started back in 2014. These questions themselves fall into two categories:

  • specific questions, e.g. from someone who's got stuck with a particular Sudoku or Minesweeper puzzle and needs help in finding the next step to take;
  • general questions about a whole class of puzzles and the set of possible techniques for approaching them.

(in a rush now; will add links and examples later)

The specific questions are going to be the most helpful to their OPs in the short term, but the general questions are going to be an incredible resource for the future, including for many other people and not just the original poster.

There's nothing wrong with letting these questions sprout and grow organically.

We don't need to make it a big planned operation and post an immediate self-answer with all possible details. Consider my question How can I make a good word-search puzzle? - it has several different answers all of which make good points, and there's nothing wrong with that. If people are really interested in learning techniques for creating wordsearches, they'll read the whole thread anyway. This advice doesn't need to be collated in a single answer.

If you want, though, each time one of these questions comes up we could create a big CW answer to summarise all the existing answers, once the post has stopped being 'hot' and attracting new answers. I can totally understand the urge to be tidy and have everything together in one place! :-) But if nobody bothers to do this, that doesn't make the post less useful: we already have a lot of good info there, which can be learned by reading a single page even if it's not all collected into a single answer.

And of course if people want to create self-answered guides for more of the top 20 tags (or any other tags - popularity shouldn't be a requirement), that's great. But let that be part of the organic growth of the site, not something we force ourselves to do. And of course, if someone does this and then someone else posts a second useful answer, then we're essentially back to the original situation: more than one good answer with ideas/suggestions for the same type of puzzle. Which is great! It doesn't at all mean "too broad"; SE is designed to have multiple answers to the same question.


Puzzling: "For those who create, solve and study puzzles".

Giving my take on this as we had a similar 'issue' arise in Arqade recently.

No. There's nothing wrong what we have and we don't need to make CWs and amass large amounts of "how do I solve/create X puzzle".

Why? - Because that is not what we are here for. We are not here to be a wiki of resources, but a place where questions and answers are mostly organic.

I think the CC guide made by Deusovi both explains the situation well, and was incredibly helpful to create considering the amount of cryptic clue usage there is across PSE. (The Sphinx's Lair, Contact and Puzzles in general). Taken from there, "Questions about puzzles are perfectly fine here."

Over in Arqade, a user or two wanted to close off a bunch of questions, and amass all of the information about a particular game/character into one question that could be the one stop shop for all answers. When the user began doing this, many others including myself brought this to their attention and mods in chat/meta where we resolved the issue and explained why this wasn't a great idea. So while in theory that sounds nice, it's not the point of the site. None of the SE sites are Wikipedia and as Rand said, there's nothing wrong with letting these questions come up when they do.

We've only had 3 of these questions so far, and I'm surprised there are not more. I see nothing wrong with someone asking for some information on creating and solving puzzles. It may seem broad, but in this case I think it's okay because there are so many people here, with so much expertise across the board that it seems better that we get such a great response to them. E.g Marius' question about Steganography for the FTC, I think it'll even help open the door to more people getting involved in the FTC as they have a better understanding of the puzzle type. These questions can help people feel less isolated which is again, better for the community.

So to reiterate in short. I vote to say no change is needed.


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