There is a puzzle concept I have been working on a few years, off and on.

It is related to some I have seen on the cover of Games, a sort of Tic-Tac-Toe that has 9 or 16 images, with the idea being to find a common theme for each row, column, and diagonal.

My twist is that it would be limited to the universe of official US postage stamps.

For example, I have a theme, and most of what I need to complete it, but I am a couple of images short. I don't know what stamp to use for the final two items. They could be found, I suppose, by coming up with a pun, a straight image, or some idea that eludes me.

I am not suggesting, "Hey, I should post this kind of puzzle on PSE!", for which anyone who disagrees then decides to "downvote." (Sorry if anyone feels this is "passive-aggressive," but once bitten, twice shy.)

I'm more asking about whether it is appropriate to ask for help building the puzzle, either here, or on PSE.

If I'm told it is not, I'll be quite content to abandon the idea, at least, as far as stack exchange is concerned.

(I would have thought asking would get an up vote, , or be ignored, rather than being "spat upon," even if it's a type of thing people wouldn't want to see, as it is an attempt to not cause problems.)

Anyway . . . comments on the StamPuzzle concept, or the building of individual puzzles, would be welcomed.

  • $\begingroup$ I apologize if I made assumptions about your previous question. It really seemed less about asking a legitimate question and more about complaining that things are getting downvoted. If the above is what you meant to ask, thank you for rephrasing and elaborating to make it much more clear. You may want to delete your previous question, if you got the answer you needed here. $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2017 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ @GentlePurpleRain Thanks. It really had to do with the experience of asking if nun-definitive puzzles (such as Lewis Carroll's "raven/writing desk") were okay for PSE. I didn't want to just assume, so I asked, and it immediately attracted two downvotes. But since I wasn't asking people to vote on such puzzles, but merely trying to be polite, it felt pretty hostile. I see now those votes have disappeared--whether they were withdrawn, or the question got upvoted, I can't say. This left me wondering if asking another question about what is allowed would just lead to more downvotes. $\endgroup$
    – user41265
    Oct 11, 2017 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ Remember that on Meta, upvotes/downvotes don't usually reflect the quality of a question, but rather users' agreement/disagreement. So if I ask, "Is it ok to advertise my company on PSE?", I will probably get a lot of downvotes. That's not because it's a bad question (better to ask than to go ahead and do it), but because people disagree with the premise (it's not ok to advertise one's company on PSE). It does take some getting used to, and I understand how it could be perceived as hostile, but please don't take it that way. $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2017 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


Sure, it's perfectly appropriate to ask for help finishing off a puzzle here on meta! (And that sounds like an interesting puzzle!)

You could also ask in chat, where you'd be more likely to get a quicker response. That has precedent, too - Mithrandir has asked people to help with his "Clues" series of puzzles in chat. The audience might be a bit smaller there, but I think most active people who visit meta also visit chat fairly frequently.


The post gave me a completely different idea of what the question would be. I expected a question where you would ask for people to help you polish off a puzzle before it was posted to the main site. That would be fine on main chat or meta. But the two that you've posted are complete puzzles in their own right, so they should be posted on the main site. (I'll go ahead and move them there.)

  • $\begingroup$ Okay. How can I post an image, assuming I can? $\endgroup$
    – user41265
    Oct 11, 2017 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ @R.Dye - when editing posts, there's a small image icon in the same bar as the bold/italic/underline buttons. In chat, there's an "upload..." button to the right of the text box. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Oct 11, 2017 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ Ah. Thanks. I'll try a little work with my "images" app. $\endgroup$
    – user41265
    Oct 11, 2017 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ Why are we suggesting people post about puzzles on meta and not on the main site? Meta is supposed to be about the site... Main seems like the place this sort of thing belongs, hence puzzle-creation $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Oct 11, 2017 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja - see my edit. The post implied a different sort of question to me. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Oct 11, 2017 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ I think I'm misunderstanding... His questions are about asking for assistance, but that still doesn't make them appropriate for meta... $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Oct 11, 2017 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Alconja - I didn't think the question would contain an actual puzzle in it - rather, a request for people to help polish off a puzzle in private before it was posted to the site. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Oct 12, 2017 at 0:11

I realise you've already accepted another answer (and from a moderator no less), but I'm going to provide an alternative opinion:

You should post questions like this to the main PSE site, not meta.

The official scope of PSE (emphasis mine):

Puzzling Stack Exchange is a site for puzzle-makers and puzzle enthusiasts of all levels. If you have a question about...

  • Creating or improving puzzles
  • A specific method of solving a type of puzzle
  • A well-known (perhaps unsolved) puzzle

...or you want to create a puzzle and share it here, then this site is the right place for you!

There's even a tag specifically for this purpose:

- "Puzzle creation questions are about the creation and development of puzzles"

So, I'd suggest the main site is absolutely the correct place for these kinds of questions, just make sure you use the puzzle creation tag, and explain exactly what you're looking for in an answer (it can be easy to fall afoul of "too broad" or "primarily opinion based" close rules if you're not explicit/clear).


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