In working on some riddle-rhymes, I had instances of bits of doggerel pop into my head. I found myself thinking, "pity I have no real answer for that. It sounds kind of cool. Very euphonious."

But does that not still fit in with PSE, if stated explicitly?

Another way of explaining what I mean is Lewis Carroll's infamous "How is a raven like a writing desk?"

As near as anyone can say, it had no answer when Carroll first included it in "Alice."

But over time, there have been proposed answers.

"Because Poe wrote on both."

Carroll's own: "Because it is 'nevar' placed with the wrong end in front!"

I would say these answers provide an added dimension to puzzling, even though the original riddle had no answer intended as "correct."


  • $\begingroup$ And why on earth would a question on meta be downvotable?!? Do these downvotes mean to suggest that the question simply should not have been asked?!? (Nice job, Star Chamber.) $\endgroup$
    – user41265
    Oct 9 '17 at 23:01
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    $\begingroup$ Don't be offended by downvotes on meta. Here, a downvote usually indicates the opinion "I don't agree with/like this idea", not that the question shouldn't have been asked (confusing, yes, but that's the convention). $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Oct 9 '17 at 23:16

If it has no verifiably correct answer, then it's not acceptable here.

There's even a custom close reason specifically for this type of puzzle:

This question may invite speculative answers, as the question is not fully defined. The validity of some answers may be based upon opinion. Good questions for this site have a limited number of objectively correct answers. See also: Why are questions off-topic if they invite answers which are not demonstrably correct, or are otherwise speculative?

This makes sense because a puzzle without a single correct answer is essentially insoluble. Something like the Carroll riddle you mention would be completely inappropriate as a PSE post, because it has many possible solutions, none of which is more 'correct' than any other. There's no way of judging the relative quality of solutions, or of choosing a single 'best' one to accept.

  • $\begingroup$ That seems a shame. If there is a "god' of riddles, Carroll would make a good candidate. Pretty much anything of his should be welcomed, and given a preferred place near the hearth. $\endgroup$
    – user41265
    Oct 9 '17 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ @R.Dye - not necessarily. Just because they were good at the time doesn't mean that they're good by modern standards (or this site's standards). And here, puzzles should have one clear answer. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Oct 10 '17 at 21:10

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