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If an answer that is very close to what the puzzle maker has in mind has been given, but the answer is not quite there still, what is the best way to proceed?:

  1. Wait until the 100% correct answer is given.
  2. Accept the answer and explain what puzzle maker has in mind.
  3. Simply accept the answer.

Case in point. I accepted the answer because I didn't want to come off as rude by demanding an answer that I have in mind (explained in the comment there).

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There is a fourth option (assuming your first option involves waiting without any further interaction) - and the one that I would recommend:

Engage the almost-there user in comments, prompting them towards your intended answer.

If the answerer has the correct answer but is missing an optional 'Easter egg', point out the missed observation and allow them to add the additional detail if they wish (no need to insist - the comment alluding to it is usually sufficient).

If, however, the user's answer is almost there but is missing something important for the solution to be truly considered 'complete', try to guide them towards finding what they have missed without saying it explicitly - make a suggestion of something else they might consider, point out a precise phrase in their answer that needs rethinking or tweaking.

It will be much more satisfying for the answerer to make that final step for themselves rather than have the OP edit their answer - and much more satisfying for the OP getting to see their puzzle completed fully also.

Remember, patience is key - don't rush to award a checkmark to an answer you're not fully satisfied with, and neither should you rush to edit another user's post content to match your expectations. Engage the user in comments, make hints and suggestions, and give them time to react accordingly (remember they may be in a different timezone to you, or have work or family commitments that prevent them from replying immediately.

Finally, it's important to appreciate that what may seem obvious to you as the puzzle's creator may not be immediately obvious to others. Sometimes your expectations may even be unreasonable, with your intended conclusion requiring several leaps of logic or inference that were not sufficiently clued within the puzzle - be prepared to accept that sometimes you could have designed a puzzle better to help a solver get all the way to the end without the need for these interactions; learn from these situations and bear in mind any lessons learned when designing further puzzles in future. There's always an opportunity to learn, develop and improve!

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