Should we ban Deusovi from puzzle-solving?

Ah, what a day, sprinkled with joy and sorrow at the same time! I just got up and online just to find that the master of puzzles has finally returned to the scene with some new and fresh input (here). "And it's not even 4 hours old", I thought, cracked my knuckles and took out a sheet of paper.

Slowly scrolling down I was soon faced by the ultimate horror. An answer? Already? Who dares..
Could I resist looking at it? After all, it's not yet accepted, so it may just be the hopeless scribble of a newby trying to catch some attention. Who is it? My hopes were fundamentally crushed when I read the dreadful name letter by letter... D E U S O V I , each hitting my heart like a knife. He's done it again. Fully solved. Quickly. Excellent quality. With a spark of his own humor at the end. The day is ruined.

I'm proposing a poll on banning Deusovi from actively participating in puzzle solving on this site.

Just in case you may really not have noticed. This post is a joke. Well done Deusovi and well done Alconja. I'm so glad to see 'expert level' puzzles both being posted and solved on this site. It is why I love it. We need more gems amid the endless stream of puzzle-sand! Stuff which needs more than 60min to create and more than 10min to solve (even for Deusovi).

• Oh wait this post is a joke. – Wen1now Dec 19 '17 at 11:18
• I’m resisting the urge to upvote every post in here – Quintec Dec 19 '17 at 12:44
• Added the feature-request tag :-P – Rand al'Thor Dec 19 '17 at 17:28
• FYI DEUSOVI is an anagram of DEVIOUS. – EKons Dec 20 '17 at 12:35
• FYI DEUSOVI WAS THE LAST ONE TO EDIT THE ANTI-DEUSOVI POST – NL628 Jan 3 '18 at 5:42
• I love this post. I just keep coming back to it. Also, can we just about how ironic it is look at Deusovi's profile picture while there's an (old, nonetheless) post on banning him? – Prince North Læraðr Mar 2 '19 at 0:32

Clearly, something needs to be done...

I propose we reignite the fortnightly challenges with the following theme: Puzzling Honeypots

The challenge would be to devise puzzles that were challenging, intriguing and most importantly in someway recursive or fractal in nature. This would mean that the unsuspecting solver could never get to the final solution, even though they continually make progress (a simple "fake" puzzle with no solution, would not be sufficient).

In that way, we could trap Deusovi, and his ilk in the labyrinthian honeypot puzzles forever as they desperately searched for the end, leaving them no time to even look at other puzzles. Thus allowing the rest of us to get on with solving the real puzzles and earning our imaginary internet points in relative peace.

• I think we should delete this post before Deusovi noti - oh wait, they can see deleted posts – Wen1now Dec 19 '17 at 12:12
• Ah, an Alconja-worthy suggestion ;c) Honeypot it is! – BmyGuest Dec 19 '17 at 12:38
• Hmm, what about a sentence where the first letters of each word should be used as vigenere key on the second, which, when decrypted, gives the key to be used on the third... to be used on the last, which gives the key to be used on the first to reveal another one to be used on the second? – Lolgast Dec 19 '17 at 13:30
• Just one issue. How do we distinguish the real ones from the honeypot ones? – Sid Dec 19 '17 at 14:18
• @Sid We ask the mods what they are currently working on. (They are always the first...) – BmyGuest Dec 19 '17 at 18:00
• puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/58255/5373 – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 12:48
• @Bmyguest Deusovi is a mod... – DonielF Dec 24 '17 at 21:35

I have been unable to reproduce this issue.

Sorry, I've looked around for issues where this has happened to me, but can't find anything, even intentionally trying to make it happen. This issue of answer-sniping simply doesn't seem to happen for me.

After three days of attempted reproduction of the issue, nothing has happened. So I've gone ahead and tagged this question as .

• boom-tish You should get a hat for this answer. – Lawrence Dec 23 '17 at 6:18
• * sees meta post to ban him * * decides to slow down * * the results are then obvious * * that's so devious * – EKons Dec 25 '17 at 11:44

How to stop mods from answering puzzles

Write the solution in a comment (or a chain of comments if necessary) below your puzzle, then immediately delete the comment(s). Mods, who can see deleted comments, will thus have the answer spoiled for them and be unable to solve it themselves. Meanwhile, everyone else will never see the deleted comment(s) and will be able to attack the puzzle just like any other.

I think this even beats Alconja's honeypot suggestion for evilness ... :->

• That is sooo mean :c) – BmyGuest Dec 19 '17 at 17:59
• Mods can only see deleted comments if they choose. This won't work. – wizzwizz4 Dec 23 '17 at 13:59
• @wizzwizz4 shhhhh ;-) – Rand al'Thor Dec 24 '17 at 13:49

Yes, Deusovi should totally be banned from solving.

What more need be said?

• ... is this because you want to overtake them on rep? – Wen1now Dec 19 '17 at 12:09
• Well, obviously. Duh. – Gareth McCaughan Dec 19 '17 at 12:11
• @GarethMcCaughan Congrats for overtaking Deusovi :) – Shinjo Oct 17 '19 at 10:00
• Thanks. (Though I won't be surprised if he overtakes me again.) – Gareth McCaughan Oct 17 '19 at 10:59
• Oh yes, he does... – Omega Krypton Apr 27 '20 at 15:44

Yes, we should totally ban Deusovi from solving all puzzles.

For proof, all you have to do is look at his profile - he has conveniently placed a lot of quotes of people telling him that they hate him right there.

He takes every puzzle on the site, solves it, and takes all of those meaningless internet points for himself.

Please, have some mercy on the rest of us and allow us to solve some puzzles as well! #BanDeusovi(AndRubio)

Deusovi (and other black-listed members of the gang) are only allowed to post 1 answer for every 20+ voted questions they have posted? Booming high-quality postings on site might be a bad thing, though. We don't want to attract too many people here, do we?

I mean, damn, they are not only good at solving all the puzzles, but they are generally great puzzle-creators as well. The world is not fair :c).

• no. look at El-Guest and you'll know why – Omega Krypton Apr 27 '20 at 15:44

Yes we should

• If we don't, then all the good quality puzzles will be solved before people see them.

• Moderators in general in fact should be banned from solving puzzles.

• Just to be clear, if the majority of good quality puzzles are solved before people see them then a lot of people will be deprived of the knowledge of how to make good puzzles

• Of course, it'd be fine to post a 'Mods-challenge' - a challenge just for the mods to do

• Keeping mods away from good puzzle would help let newer members see what constitutes a good-quality puzzle before it gets solved too fast

• It might also be sufficient to just stop the mods answering questions in their area of expertise

• Naturally, there would be the possibility of only letting mods post partials

• Generally speaking, this would be beneficial to the whole community

I think we should urge puzzle posters to discuss their puzzles with Deusovi before posting them. That way we:

• Get high quality puzzles because Deusovi himself helped forging them.
• Get Deusovi out of the way because the puzzles are already spoiled for him.

An example of this is this puzzle where @Rubio can't post an answer (look at the upvotes the others got, yummy!).

We should set a time limit before allowing answers

When a puzzle is posted, it should be closed1 as "too new" for, say, 1 hour2, before being open to answers. This time limit will level the ground between Deusovi and the others, because, even if he thinks of a solution before others do, he wouldn't be able to take advantage of it.

1No, mods won't be able to circumvent this closure! Don't get your hopes up with that diamond!
2Time limit subject to vary, depending on factors such as the length of the puzzle, its tags, or meta consensus. Note: please don't poll on Meta, that's why we have strawpoll.me and other straw-polling services. If many of us poll, the devious will be unable to manipulate our votes by a big factor.

Don't worry Deusovi, I've got your back ;)

Looking at the existing answers, my answer will probably be downvoted into obviation, as I can tell that users will find it way too controversial. But here it goes...

NO.

Everyone should have equal opportunities to solve puzzles, and being the owner of an out-of-this-world mind shouldn't change that. That is my opinion.

I know, I'm all alone :'(

Better, have a thing like the sandbox where only the mods can post, and prevent them posting on the «public» version. Problem solved (sic).

It would be quite cool if a puzzle could be posted with some kind of reputation cap that rises over time. I could just picture mods and other people with silly-high reputation (definition: anyone who has more than me) sitting with the answer unable to post, and pulling their hair out as I (or someone else I guess) swoop in and post the answer moments before the cap reaches 45.5k

• Silly-high reputation? There's no such thing ;-) – Rand al'Thor Dec 28 '17 at 19:14
• @Randal'Thor Agree. You and I are in the same window. – risky mysteries Nov 29 '20 at 18:01

The problem is not with Deusovi (or other serial solvers). The problem is with the way this site works.

On this site there can be only one solver. Whenever someone posts an answer equivalent to a previous answer is downvoted with "How is your answer different from the one already given?"

It now works like this that one person creates a puzzle, then comes one solver, solves it, posts the answer and voilà, the puzzle is done and can be fogotten. I see almost no activity on old puzzles.

Somehow this site doesn't work well.

Puzzling.SE was a nice site in the past, it started as a collection of classical difficult problem like the Monty Hill problem. There really was value in the discussion around the answer. You could go and search a known problem and have an explanation or different opinions about how to solve it.

Actually, puzzling is defined as "Q&A for those who create, solve, and study puzzles". It is for questions about puzzles, not just for posting puzzles. When a puzzle creator posts an original new type of puzzle there is no discussion about the puzzle but just "here is how I solved it". There is no evaluation of the puzzle itself, how it can be improved.

To me Deusovi just reveals how this site disfunctions. We need a way to get out of this "one creator / one solver" pattern.

I come to believe puzzling is just not suitable for the stackexchange platform.

• It now works like this that one person creates a puzzle, then comes one solver, solves it, posts the answer and voilà, the puzzle is done and can be forgotten. You don't think that a lot of people without accounts go to the site to solve puzzles? – risky mysteries Nov 26 '20 at 12:32
• I would be surprised. When I post a nice puzzle it gets upvoted for a couple of days only. I seldom get an upvote (or downvote) for an older puzzle. – Florian F Nov 26 '20 at 13:28
• That's because people without accounts can't vote. – risky mysteries Nov 26 '20 at 13:38
• I know, but why would people who don't have an account have a different visit pattern than those who do? – Florian F Nov 26 '20 at 13:43
• Because they visit the site to challenge themselves, have fun, amusement, ect. What do you think spoiler tags are for? Perhaps most people with an account visit the site differently from those who don't because they are trying to earn rep! – risky mysteries Nov 26 '20 at 13:48
• I don't buy that. – Florian F Nov 26 '20 at 14:07
• When I get bored, searching some intersting keywords and selecting a couple of highly upvoted puzzles to read can make my day. – risky mysteries Nov 26 '20 at 15:32

As a practical solution, mods (or others above some high threshold) can simply be excluded from answering new questions for a cooling-off period while new questions are still hot and fresh. This period can be variable or weighted based on rep.

This is clearly beneficial for all parties because newbies get a fair chance while experts get to solve the filtered, tough puzzles that don't receive immediate answers. Experienced puzzlers are less likely to be satisfied with solving trivial or known-pattern questions anyway.

• See One attempt only? for why, as a practical solution, restricting who can answer is not really workable (not to mention contrary to how SE works). In particular, since nobody but the Moderators could enforce this and at least one of those Moderators (me) would not do so, I can't see this working, even if the community thought it made sense. – Rubio Apr 6 '18 at 22:42
• @Rubio I was not suggesting that this be a manually enforced rule. In that link, I too agree with your opinion that attempts shouldn't be restricted. But both scenarios implied system enforced rules. It could kick-in after a threshold or perhaps even on voluntary enrollment, which could show up as an elite badge on your profile. Or It could be implemented as a separate "sniping" rep counter which tracks rep gained from such answers. Asking mods to do it would obviously be unacceptable. Your point about SE is true, but the proposal was for Puzzling only. Ok, I will delete this feature request. – Amit Naidu Apr 6 '18 at 23:24
• " Experienced puzzlers are less likely to be satisfied with solving trivial or known-pattern questions anyway." - Which is why experienced Puzzlers mainly don't answer those questions anyway. – Sid May 5 '18 at 6:08