I have noticed that when adding a new question on Puzzle Stack Exchange (PSE), one may sometimes see the warning:

The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed

Similarly, when posting a puzzle that is concise, for example, like this one, one may see the error:

This question body does not meet our quality standards. Please make sure that it completely describes your problem - including what you have already tried - and is written using proper grammar.

I can understand this makes sense for most forums on Stack Exchange, but in light of this recent question about whether puzzles as questions are appropriate on PSE:

Yes, it is absolutely acceptable to ask [puzzle questions as opposed to methods on solving them]. Originally, PSE's main focus was supposed to be questions about puzzles. ...When PSE started having a lot of actual puzzles as questions, there was a good deal of soul-searching about whether that was appropriate...

I can see no reason for why short "questions" are necessarily low quality. Many puzzles I've encountered are succinct in length and receive overwhelmingly more upvotes than downvotes (if any).

A similar question about the warning/error message was asked here, and the consensus seems to be that such questions are "essentially ... very low quality". However, that question was nearly 6 years ago.

Based on the response above, it seems such questions are now more acceptable. So, is it time these warning/error messages were updated to reflect the direction that PSE has taken (assuming that it is possible - maybe these are inherited by some SE template and cannot be easily changed)?

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    $\begingroup$ These are all built into the system and the same across the network. I'm not sure it's possible or worth it to disable them just for here. $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Jan 16, 2020 at 7:34
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    $\begingroup$ I thought this might be the case. As a newbie on this site, I was a bit concerned when I saw those messages. Oh well. $\endgroup$
    – Earlien
    Jan 16, 2020 at 11:13
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    $\begingroup$ The older question you reference is now marked as a duplicate of yours, as it was asked in -- and its answers, while still relevant, reflect -- an older time on the site when things were a bit different. While older questions and their answers are often still as relevant now as when they were originally raised, that shouldn't preclude us ever revisiting them; thanks for bringing this up again, and referencing both the original question and why you thought it might no longer apply. $\endgroup$
    – Rubio Mod
    Jan 21, 2020 at 2:04

1 Answer 1


As Mithical noted, these warning messages are the same across every site on the Stack Exchange network. I agree that the "subjective" warning doesn't make a whole lot of sense for us to have, but it may not actually be possible to disable it solely for Puzzling.SE.

However, I do believe that the "short length" message is still worth having here. It's true that a concise puzzle can be high-quality, and I personally love seeing riddles that manage to pack lots of challenges into a tight space. But puzzles like that are very hard to construct.

For every puzzle like yours, that trips the "short length" warning but is actually high quality, there's one where the OP has just dumped a number sequence or cipher and gone "here, solve this" without any effort, like these two, or where there's so little to go on that we could never possibly answer it, like this one.

It's not that we don't want short questions, or we don't think short questions can be high-quality. We just want people to make sure that their question actually is high-quality before they hit "Post". If they hit "Post" anyway, then it's on them.


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