A puzzle that involves figuring out what happened with regard to a certain incident.
A puzzle that involves figuring out what happened with regard to a certain incident through analyzing clues and deducing conclusions.
Uh... those sound exactly the same. The "analyzing clues and deducing conclusions" is a given, given that this is a Puzzling site where we solve puzzles.
There is a difference in the wikis of the tags. Ish. Quoting the relevant sections:
Situation puzzles are usually played in a group, with one person hosting the puzzle and the others asking questions which can only be answered with a "yes" or "no" answer. The puzzle is solved when one of the players is able to recite the narrative the host had in mind, in particular explaining whatever aspect of the initial scenario was puzzling.
That's not how puzzles here work. We have an explicit rule banning semi-interactive puzzles. Puzzles should be self-contained; all the necessary information should be present in the question on posting (and ideally not in the hints, since if hints are necessary they're not hints).
The example situation puzzle given is, quite honestly, off-topic. It's broad, amounts to guess-what-I'm-thinking, and I would VTC it if posted. (There's also a typo in the solution, but at this point I'm just being pedantic.)
Okay, so this wiki isn't useful, given that everything it describes is off-topic. Moving onto the mystery wiki:
A mystery puzzle is a puzzle that involves figuring out the exact details of an incident or a specific desired detail, given limited relevant information. Mystery puzzles usually take the form of solving a crime, often murder. Such puzzles are a subset of the word-problem genre.
At least this is on-topic. We have many crime-mystery solving puzzles here; as long as the given information is enough to solve they're fine. But I'm still confused how it's different than situation. Is mystery for crimes and situation for non-crimes? Where is the line?
- Synonymize the tags?
- Which one is the mother tag?
- Update the wikis and excerpts to note a clear differnce?
- What's the difference? Crime and non-crime?
- Do nothing?
- Something else I haven't thought of?
Related earlier discussion: Please vote on whether to make [detective] a synonym of [mystery]
Another related tag is story:
A puzzle that is dressed up as a story or a longer description of a situation.
But I think that's probably fine; it's a manageable broader tag.
*A variation of this sentence was nearly the title of the meta question