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I was working on this puzzle which has 10 clues leading to a single final answer:

A puzzle with 10 pieces - 2 days to complete

Over a day had passed with no activity so I posted an "answer" which had guesses to 5 of the 10 clues (probably not all correct) but no guess about where the clues were leading.

Deusovi commented the following:

(... so how does this contribute toward a solution? As this stands, it's Not an Answer, not even a partial one. Having fragmentary thoughts on aspects of a puzzle might be comment-worthy, but you probably want at least a germ of an idea that seems to lead forward before you should post as even a partial answer.)

So I deleted my "not an answer". I'm not really clear on what constitutes a "partial answer" and what is considered "not an answer". I've seen many questions on this site that have multiple parts and answers that solve some of the parts but not the whole. For this puzzle, must one guess on the final answer in order for the answer to be "partial"? Should I have used comments instead (using rot13)? Or should I have not done anything until I figured out more (which may not have happened without further hints/feedback from the author)?

I have some new ideas but I'm afraid to post anything and get reprimanded again for posting a non-answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ I, too, have a doubt regarding which answer is acceptable as "an answer" or "not an answer"... Also on the same puzzle, what is the difference between OP's answer and the two answers there (esp. the answer with only a single clue answered)? $\endgroup$ – athin Sep 8 '19 at 3:54
  • $\begingroup$ @athin IMHO, solving at least any one of the clues, be it correct or not, is already a legitimate answer. JS1's answer should not be deleted, for it posted several possible answers. Wrong answers are still answers. $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Sep 8 '19 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ @OmegaKrypton exactly, that's why I don't know what are the "limits" of partial-answer and not-an-answer here so hopefully, someone cleared this up >< $\endgroup$ – athin Sep 8 '19 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think just answering a few clues should really count as a partial answer if you don't know how they connect yet - it seems like mostly unconfirmed guessing in that case. There's a difference between solving parts of a large puzzle with many parts and answering, say, 4 or 5 crossword clues - this feels much closer to the latter. IMO, a partial answer should make significant progress in some sense. Something without a major breakthrough likely isn't enough to be a "partial answer", especially if there's not even any confirmation that any of it is right. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Mod Sep 8 '19 at 7:00
  • $\begingroup$ I made another meta question/answer with my thoughts on a more general situation here. Hopefully it should make it more clear why I posted that comment (though I didn't mean it as "reprimanding"! Perhaps just posting the stock comment by itself wasn't really clear about why exactly I considered this to be not a partial answer.) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Mod Sep 8 '19 at 9:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi I read your other meta question, but in this case I don't see how a clue answer could be confirmed without the author's acknowledgment. It seems like either you get the theme/final answer and it unlocks all the other clues, or you just have some guesses that may or may not be right. Another user answered with a possible theme and 7 clue answers but it turned out to be all wrong. Even the author commented that the correct method was to work on the individual clues first in order to figure out the theme/answer. $\endgroup$ – JS1 Sep 8 '19 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JS1 As I mentioned there, "confirmation" would probably be noticing a pattern in the answers of some sort (say, "all of these have double letters" or "you can pair up the numerical answers with the nonnumerical ones in some way"). But just making guesses for clues doesn't merit a full partial answer IMO - it's more "wild guesses" than any sort of solution. Yes, you'll solve the clues on the way to a solution, but "progress" involves more than some guesses at clue solutions. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Mod Sep 8 '19 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ At this point it feels like this particular question could, and perhaps should, be closed as a duplicate of Partial Answers and “List-of-Clues” puzzles which was written largely in answer to this and similar situations. Thoughts? $\endgroup$ – Rubio Mod Sep 20 '19 at 7:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio Close it if you want. I'm not happy with the proposed ideas of opening a chat room or using community answers to discuss work. Adding comments seems to be the best option. $\endgroup$ – JS1 Sep 20 '19 at 9:58