I joined this site this month, I like writing riddles.

Is it possible currently to state that a riddle should only be attempted once per user, maybe add a specific tag to a question or something like that? (I did look but couldn't find anything)

Is this something that would be welcomed? Or frowned upon?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Why would you want to limit the attempts that each user can do? Also, I'll note that if there are multiple valid solutions it's probably insufficiently defined. $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Feb 27 '18 at 17:51

You're perfectly free to specify in your riddle posting that the riddle should be attempted just once per user. Of course, the users of the site are under no obligation to honor the request. There is nothing in place here that would prevent users from making more than one attempt—in fact, users could make more than one answer posting—and at least speaking for myself I would be disinclined to act on a plea for moderator assistance in enforcing your restriction.

The overall nature of the site here is to allow people to post an answer, and then to go back later and refine it or completely replace it with a different answer as they see fit, which happens (somewhat frequently in fact) as new ideas or new information come to light. This is because the whole concept behind Stack Exchange is to provide the best possible answers to questions, something that often doesn't happen in a single attempt. I don't think it would be appropriate to allow someone to force others to adopt a different way of answering, Just Because.

In a comment, @Mithrandir points out quite correctly that if you are already worried about users offering multiple answers to a riddle before you've even posted it, the riddle may be overly broad or under-defined. Rather than try to dictate how users interact with your riddle by imposing limits on how many tries they get to solve it, you might instead focus on making the riddle specific enough, but abstruse enough, that the person trying to solve it will either know they have the right answer or will not find anything close enough to really be worth posting as an answer. (Not that this will stop some of them from posting anyway...)


Is it possible currently to state that a riddle should only be attempted once per user

What would be the purpose of this?

Given the whole Stack Exchange philosophy of "vote for the post, not for the user", it shouldn't even matter who posted an answer. If you get multiple answers to your riddle, then why do you care whether they're by the same person or multiple different people? I don't get the motivation here.

How would it be enforced?

The only real way to 'enforce' such a rule would be to expect moderators to delete a second answer posted by the same user. I don't think this is fair, either to the mods or to the user who might have posted a perfectly valid (maybe even correct) answer.

In fact, even this wouldn't really work as a means of enforcement. Someone who really wanted to post multiple answers to the same riddle could do either of the following, thus technically staying within the parameters of "at most one answer per user" while violating them in principle:

  • delete their first answer (leaving it still visible to high-rep users) and post a second;
  • edit their existing answer to mention the second solution instead of (or even as well as) the first.

In short, regardless of whether your suggestion is a sensible one, I don't think it's a practical one.

maybe add a specific tag to a question or something like that?

Definitely not. This type of tag would be what's called a meta tag, which are heavily frowned upon on Stack Exchange in general, including Puzzling. If you did want to make a requirement like this, it would have to be included in the text of the question.

Is this something that would be welcomed? Or frowned upon?

TL;DR: you could do it, but it might be considered odd and might not work well.

Other unusual requirements have been added to questions without issue. For example, this question stipulated that only low-rep users should answer it, which was largely respected (my answer was originally posted by accident, then - well, see the revision history :-) ) And this question stipulated that people should only solve it by hand - which indeed there's a whole tag for. So there is precedent for OPs adding their own conditions to a question and the community respecting that.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, I think the purpose here was similar to the example you mentioned actually, about only novice users may answer. I guess I'm worried that my riddles won't be complex enough and may be too easy. If a riddle was only allowed to be attempted once, it might (and I stress might) encourage more answers. On reflection it's probably not a good idea. $\endgroup$ Mar 4 '18 at 23:54

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