Our site has a lot of rules.

One might even say, an awful lot.

It would be a very good idea to list the most relevant of them in one place somewhere (the tour seems like a decent option) so that we wouldn't need to give many a well-meaning newcomer a figurative kick in the face when they first try to post, and we explain exactly which meta posts and VTC reasons they should have presciently known in order to avoid the torrent of downvotes that resulted.

As answers, I'm hoping to see some concisely worded, basic rules on what one should post, and how. Along the lines of:

  • Mostly, our questions are puzzles of our own making.
  • Do not ever post someone else's puzzle as your own
  • A puzzle should have a unique solution clearly identifiable as such.
  • The tag wikis will sometimes contain a section on "what (not) to do"

and so on.

Having these clearly stated would make the first step into PSE a lot easier to take, I believe.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Maybe a small guide for the 'obscure' community customs should be given somewhere as well! (such as rot13) $\endgroup$
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 19:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Adam Oh, yes, very much yes. $\endgroup$
    – Bass
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, and spoiler tax syntax (and formatting workarounds) too. $\endgroup$
    – Bass
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe a separate meta post should be made for the purpose of the guide and linked at the bottom of the "Read Me First" $\endgroup$
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Bass is't there how to ask? guide on puzzle meta like it is there on stackoverflow? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Sayed Mohd Ali Maybe the idea here is "Made by us for us" sort of thing-it's better than the Overflow guide since it comes directly from us instead? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 9:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RewanDemontay but that doesn't lead to lot of debates? I saw many questions where we try to makes rules to avoid debates but that leads to more debates... both positive side and negative side have high voted good and & justified points. and that leads to some good question got downvoted and the similar question got upvoted because of views not because of rules.. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @SayedMohdAli True. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ I've already gathered a lot of useful links in one place here. I move that we faq-ify all those posts (and maybe some others too) and then summarise the rules therein as you suggest. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


Since the question is getting a lot of support, but there are no answers yet, I'm starting this CW on Rand's idea: FAQify the posts in here and summarise the rules.

Since I lack the power to add the tags, I'm just writing some summaries here, grouped by the newcomers action for which they are relevant. Most links are still missing, as are probably some other conventions that it would be useful for a newcomer to know.

This community wiki answer is a work in progress, and not yet complete.



  • An answer to a puzzle should always explain why it's the correct answer.
  • Partial answers are ok, but not always so.
  • Use spoiler tags >! at the start of lines to hide the crucial parts of the answer from accidental views.


  • If you have a minor improvement to an existing answer, add a comment rather than a new answer.
  • Rot13 encryption is sometimes used to hide possible spoilers in comments. @Alconja's nice script can encrypt/ decrypt rot13 upon mouseover.


  • Use upvotes and downvotes as you please. When downvoting, adding a constructive comment is much appreciated.


  • A collection of helpful tools to assist you can be found here.
  • If you need help, the easiest way is to ask at The Sphinx's Lair.

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