Last year I published a book of puzzles. I co-own the copyright of the book. Many of the puzzles are adapted from other sources (including some chestnuts) and some are original.

I'd enjoy posting some of the original ones here. Is it acceptable?

Obviously, attribution is required, but on the other hand self-promotion is discouraged. This post suggests it's OK to post puzzles that appeared on one's own website, but doesn't say anything about books. Does the same logic apply?


2 Answers 2


This site started as a place to ask questions and answers about puzzles, and then expanded its scope to provide a place for puzzle fans to challenge each other with puzzles they created or found elsewhere, and likewise for others to rise to the challenge and try to solve those puzzles.

Our aim here, when posting puzzles, is about sharing either original puzzles, or ones that are very interesting that most people probably wouldn't have seen, with a community of puzzle fans.

It wouldn't be fair (nor, probably, fair use) for someone to post a stream of low quality, fairly mechanical fodder—say, a page per day from some random Sudoku book. That feels like a play to gain reputation more than to share interesting puzzles. Indeed, it wouldn't really matter if they came from a book they themselves had created or otherwise had full right to post content from; nor would it matter if the source was a book or some random generator. The repetitive content is the problem there more than the source. So it may be the case that posting even original puzzles from a book you even (co-)wrote is still not a good fit here.

However, let's assume that your book is filled with high quality, interesting puzzles. At this point we cross over into how you post beginning to be as important as what you post. Using your own material should still be given self-attribution, if for no other reason than to avoid the danger that someone decides your posts here are just plagiarizing from the book. At the same time, you'll want to make sure your notice is not self-promotion. That is to say, the attribution should be enough to convey the source and the affiliation, but shouldn't be gratuitous or overly prominent. Something like

Source: The Amazing Book Of Puzzles (and yes, I co-wrote it)

at the end of the post would work nicely. Really, it shouldn't look out of place compared to any other puzzle's attribution; you can find many examples of how people cite original sources for content they post here but did not create. Something not to do would be "if you liked this and want to see more like it, check out my book" ... yeah, that's just all kinds of not ok.

One last thought, to circle back. We should consider one last consideration: why you post. We generally prefer people not inundate the site with a burst of similar puzzles, even if they're good; it leads to genre-fatigue, and when done with a cite to a source the poster has a vested interest in, it looks like a teaser ad. And as I said at the beginning, we're really looking for puzzles that are very interesting that most people probably wouldn't have seen. Quality original content posted at a reasonable interval looks like someone contributing good puzzles to share with like-minded puzzling fans, benefiting the site and the community. But too many posts at once, or content that is uninspired or unoriginal, looks like someone trying to benefit themselves. Be mindful of the distinction and, if you're posting with the right motives, things should work out well.

Glad to have you here, and looking forward to see what you have to share!

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @Rubio. I appreciate this feedback and I am fully on the same page. I wrote the book for enjoyment, not for money (in fact, because of the way the pricing works, we earn no royalties). I hope the puzzles are interesting and non-repetitive. As for why I post, it's because I'd like to be part of the PSE community, including posting puzzles -- but I'm not that prolific, so if I'm going to post, I'm likely to dip into the book material. :) $\endgroup$ May 5, 2019 at 0:19
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    $\begingroup$ "Using your own material should still be given self-attribution" - this sounds sensible, but when did the rules change? A certain high-rep user once got a year's suspension for self-attributing (without gratuitous extra self-promotion) a puzzle re-posted from a source they co-own, i.e. for doing exactly what you advise in this post. The result emerging from discussion then was that attribution isn't necessary if you published the puzzle yourself somewhere else. $\endgroup$ May 5, 2019 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor Nothing has changed. The question includes a reference to this older post with which I am certain you are familiar; my answer does not disagree with it. Both posts stand for the same principles and both suggest a modest amount of self promotion, done with appropriate disclosure of affiliation and in a way that does not cause one to feel the poster’s main objective is purely to promote their own product or service, is acceptable. Both also suggest self attribution to preclude the appearance of plagiarism; mine specifically says to not do so gratuitously. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio Mod
    May 5, 2019 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ The high reputation user you allude to was not suspended for a single post, as I am sure you know. There were other posts preceding it that, together with that final post which failed to effectively disclose self affiliation, cumulatively presented the appearance of overt self promotion, which was explicitly called out; the user then made the ill-advised choice of adding a comment to the accepted answer that could serve no other purpose than self promotion. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio Mod
    May 5, 2019 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ I don't wish to rehash the past history which, incidentally, expressly informed both the older post and my answer here. But to allay fears that innocent actions might cause suspensions, let me summarize the older post: We trust you to not abuse the site... ...unless we have reason not to. The line for "too much self-promotion" is a little ambiguous, and you can rest assured we're not going to jump to a suspension immediately (unless you're doing something egregiously abusive). As my own answer concludes, "if you're posting with the right motives, things should work out well." 'Nuff said. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio Mod
    May 5, 2019 at 18:22

I think basically the same principles apply. Say what the source is (in case anyone's curious), acknowledge that the book is yours (so that your vested interest isn't hidden), be as un-promote-y as possible subject to that (to minimize the temptation to use PSE just as an advertising channel), don't post so much from it that it dominates the site (for obvious reasons), pay attention to the feedback you get (in case e.g. your book's puzzles are generally either too easy or too hard for the PSE community's taste) and generally make sure that what you do makes sense as a contribution to the PSE community rather than only as a means of promoting your book.

It sounds from what you've written as if your intentions are good (the mere fact that you're bothering to ask the question puts you well ahead of the game); I suggest you post a puzzle or two and see how they are received.


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