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During Area51 phase, the question How do you come up with a good riddle? was one of the 40 that got 10 upvotes. I was quite eager to answer it, so without much waiting for the original proposer I reposted it on the beta site.

And shortly after, it got closed at express speed, without much explanation. At first, the reason was given that "this is too broad": despite me giving a rather good idea of what I mean - classic rhyme riddles in the description. After my edit that restated it clearly, close-votes continued, disregarding the existing answers.

If the question is indeed so broad that my answer is considerably insufficient, could someone point out the areas which I missed? And if my answer covers the topic well, wouldn't that mean the question was not too broad after all?

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Your edit narrows the scope of the question significantly, but I'm leaving the rest of this answer for historical context.


A lot of questions on Area 51 are not intended to be literally posted on the main site. As the questions people post on Area 51 are topic-defining, the benefit from those questions is primarily in that we can tell what would and would not be on-topic for the site. In this case, the community consensus was that riddles should generally be on-topic, at least when the site starts out.

However, when a question is actually posted and asked on the main site, we need to take into account the question as a whole, and the text of the question was too broad.

So, it's not as if your question was off topic for the site - that's what the Area 51 question implies - but rather, that it is simply too broad a question to be a good fit.

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  • $\begingroup$ So, again, can you give any specific domains which remained uncovered by the answer? $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @SF. I'm a little unclear what you're asking? $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ The reason we close questions that are too broad is because they can't be answered in a meaningful way: you can't cover a significant area of the question with anything short of a book. Therefore if the question IS too broad, that means the answer I posted to it misses the mark and leaves a significant area of the question uncovered. If this is the case, I can either narrow the question down or expand the answer. There's a reason for the [on hold] mark: pending corrections. I want to know what needs to be corrected to make this question fit the site. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ @SF. Well... in my opinion, the answer does miss various types of riddles. There are dozens of types of riddles, most of which don't have specific names, but I can guarantee your answer doesn't cover the creation of every type of possible riddle. In essence, in order to clarify your question, I think you need to specify what type of riddle you're talking about, and maybe give an example or two in your question. Right now, no answer could reasonably cover all possible riddles one could write. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I was aiming at one specific type, as detailed in the description. I'm not sure what is its correct name; I used "classic rhyme riddle" - if that's not correct, then I'd love to hear the correct one. Also, thanks for the suggestion for examples. I'll post some. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ @SF. I'm not sure there's necessarily a categorization for them, but I'd probably go with "verbal riddle", but one specifically describing an object, or some such. I'd definitely include a couple examples of what you mean, too. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ Check now?..... $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ I've tossed a reopen vote into it; see my edits to this post. Thank you for taking the time to improve your post! $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ And thanks for your help! It really helps to get external insight on own shortcomings! $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 18:08

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