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8:00 PM
Generally when people say "other people shouldn't be allowed to discuss X because I don't like X", it's not sensible to give in to that request.
discuss = post a question on main?
is this all going towards (3) Both specific puzzles and general puzzle questions should be on topic ?
@xnor I had taken a break from my site (GL) and just came back in May. The unanswered list went down from 87-13, The graphs went crazy see here, I gained 13k so far this year, and I've been compared with Skeet by three different people.
@Emrakul yeah, I'm one of the ones that was around in private and then wandered away after the direction shift
8:02 PM
i appreciate your guys' enthusiasm for "being the change you want to be", but should warn that many people have left instead
there's been discussion on PPCG chat along the lines of "puzzles was cool, but it's hopeless, I just left"
it comes up every couple of days
@AJHenderson Hopefully we can get you to come back, then :P
from users that are high-quality posters on PPCG and seem to be quite into puzzles
influx of new users in any online community, it's always like that.
@xnor If someone leaves, that's their problem.
do you remember when Usenet used to have an emotional breakdown every September?
8:03 PM
You don't want people like that as examples anyway.
This is all sort of beating around the bush. We have a quality issue.
now it's "always September on the net".
@AE before my time
september used to equal flood of newbies.
but i've read about it
8:04 PM
@Emrakul dv the bad stuff. :)
@Emrakul yeah, I also have a more limited amount of time though. I'm a mod on 3 sites, active on two more and have a newborn and a wow guild that I run the PVE content for
That's what I do.
it just takes time and experience for people to absorb the social norms.
People hate geting dv-d
i think the attitude of "if you don't like, leave" will make this site not leave beta
this is not just a question of a few grumpy people leaving
8:04 PM
@AJHenderson Oh yeah! How's the child doin'? :D
I also didn't have the time necessary to put in really good answers on puzzling since answers here are pretty hard in addition to requiring knowledge
it just takes time to work through a good answer
@AJHenderson well, ideally they are. :)
more so than most Q/As that are more knowledge provision based
@Emrakul pretty good
can stand up now if assisted
@JMusser "dv"?
he gets really excited about that
8:05 PM
@AJHenderson Yeah, all my rep on this site was editing answers to get around SE's char limit, removing unnecessary text.
@AE down vote
@AE downvote
oh! silly me.
you get used to the SEisms after a while :)
@AJHenderson, are you on parenting.SE? some really good answers on there.
8:06 PM
@AE I hang out there on occasion
@xnor w.r.t the answer that brought us here, I think we have two different quality issues.
since the puzzle vs puzzle discussion issues seems to be derailing, I'd like to talk about the question of getting experts in making and solving high-quality puzzles
In may, I had less than 7k.
"Lead by example" is such good advice IMO!
8:08 PM
Pretty good for a site that gets only 3.5 questions per day.
While the questions are somewhat problematic, nobody's in favor of enforcing a policy against them. That's why I'm wondering if we should just delete very low quality answers with a comment.
I was answering half the questions for a while.
i believe that many of the low-quality answers are basically there because of low-quality questions
@Emrakul Yeah, the GL mods do that all the time.
as in, questions for which there cannot be a high-quality answer
i do agree with deleting low-quality answers
8:09 PM
deleting low quality answers is good.
what's an example of a LQ answer out of curiosity
@xnor Well, decent-quality answer would be one that answers the question and explains why it's right, versus just answering the question.
@xnor Those should be closed as tb or unclear.
@AJHenderson example of LQ: "fish!"
@AJHenderson Here's one.
8:10 PM
@AJHenderson Really, just look at the answers on those questions.
holy crap
like half the answers there should be deleted hands down
A: The mother figurine

user170141The son.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

Really, really long answer^
no explanation = bad answer
I even edited that one...
accuracy doesn't matter
8:11 PM
@emrakul what's your opinion on this one then: puzzling.stackexchange.com/a/4397/4551
if it doesn't explain how they arrived at the answer and how it fits, nuke the sucker
@AJHenderson good guideline.
@AJHenderson I just flagged 7 answers on that page. :)
I'd leave it and downvote it. It has an explanation, even if it isn't a good one.
You guys would really look down on what I did here:
A: what to do with obsolete comments

J. MusserYes.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

8:12 PM
@Emrakul yeah
(let me repost my comment for context)
I'm skeptical that bad answers will become good if explained. Going from "The bird took a helicopter" to "By piloting a helicopter, which can typically reach speeds of 100 MPH [citation], the bird can cross the distance in 3.6 minutes without flying" doesn't change the fact that it's a cheap cop-out on a puzzle with no right answer, and one of many posted. But perhaps increasing the barrier to posting will help to deter such answers in the first place and keep such questions off HNQ.
no explination = NAA, bad explination/inaccurate = bad answer, but still an answer (thus down vote)
it doesn't help any though that NAA vs BA is one of the hardest things for people new to SE to understand (or even for many regulars)
i guess i agree that deleting the unexplained answers is helpful, I just don't see it as fixign the core problem
the spaghetti questions can still exist
it won't without having good answers there to demonstrate how to give good explanations of the solutions
the low-quality riddles with endless answers can still exist
the low-quality answers are easy to add low-quality explanations to
8:14 PM
@xnor This is a different and equally important problem.
unless the idea is that the barrier of having to put in an explanation will deter low-quality answerers from answering?
@xnor vlq questions can be flagged as such, unclear, off-topic, and too-broad questions can be closed - what do you have left?
@AJHenderson Yeah, this should have been obvious to me. I'll ping the other mods and double-check with them.
@emrakul that's fair, i don't meant to criticise a suggestion on the grounds that it doesn't fix everything
@xnor No worries! We have a lot of little independent issues, and the sudden explosion sort of.. brought them all out.
8:16 PM
NB this is a pretty normal stage in the life cycle of an online community. Maybe it hasn't come up so much in other SE sites because of the format, but this classic analysis from the 1990s is still relevant: oii.org/lists/lifecycle.html
but yeah, if a lot of questions are those problems with no "right" answer and open to infinitely many answers, that is kind of hard to deal with too
@emrakul can we talk about the other problem then?
Stage 5 just seems to have come early: "5. Discomfort with diversity (the number of messages increases dramatically; not every thread is fascinating to every
reader; people start complaining about the signal-to-noise ratio; person 1 threatens to quit if *other* people don't
limit discussion to person 1's pet topic; person 2 agrees with person 1; person 3 tells 1 & 2 to lighten up; more
bandwidth is wasted complaining about off-topic threads than is used for the threads themselves; everyone gets
@xnor Sure!
@AJ Especially when it's hard to differentiate between those questions and well-structured ones.
8:17 PM
@xnor exactly, it sets the bar where it needs to be
and sets a standard
@Emrakul right
let me raise the topic: how do we recruit and keep high-quality puzzle-writers and solvers?
@xnor feel free
the types of people that write puzzle books, or puzzle hunts, or participate in puzzling competitions
8:18 PM
@Emrakul it's certainly subjective anyway
let me be clear: i believe high-quality, expert puzzling-posing and solving is totally possible
but subjective isn't impossible, just hard to work with
I moderate arts and human interaction based sites, so I live in a very subjective world as far as SE is concerned
Let me be clear:
^ that was clear :)^
@AJ I'm curious, then: where/how do you draw the line?
8:20 PM
@Emrakul carefully... on sound design, we are still figuring it out. On video, it's largely process of reverse analysis
I think "is there an answer for this question that would be considered "good"
ie, well reasoned and supported
following the guidelines of the Good Subjective/Bad Subjective blog post
here's a difficulty for puzzles
if such an answer is possible and fits the topic, it is likely good, but answers also have to be patrolled for answers that become too bad subjective based, since there is room for the question to be answered in both good and bad ways oftten
but it does have a key issue that it is very hard to tell what is or isn't good questions without knowing the answer
or atleast being able to conceptualize what it would look like
@AJHenderson right
someone writes a riddle or puzzle-hunt-style problem, but you can't know if it's good until you solve it or see the answer. Then, you either feel "that was cool / those steps make sense" (good) or "i had an equally valid different answer / there was no way that could have been solved" (bad)
or people disagree about whether the intended answer actually fits well
@xnor right. I've started not voting on the question until I've seen the intended answer.
(in some cases)
8:24 PM
@xnor if there is strong room for people to disagree that the best possible answer fits, it is probably a bad question
@AE I agree, but the vast majority of people won't have that patience and so judge on bad criteria
part of good subjective is that while there may be more than one option, both have strong, well reasoned arguments
if there is no strong argument, hitting the threshold of good subjective is hard bordering on impossible
@AJHenderson true. if the questioner can't support the argument that their intended solution is the best solution then that's a sign of a bad question.
That's sort of why I'd like to start by raising the quality standard on answers.
@AJHenderson what if people disagree on whether an alternative answer also fits?
8:25 PM
btw, sf is having mod elections. serverfault.com/election
@xnor it fundamentally still comes down to a judgement call about if it is a strong argument or not
@xnor There's a close reason specifically for that.
Multiple subjectively-correct answers.
you just kind of have to flush that out as a community as to where the standard is. Ideally, the community should be VTCing those rather than a mod having to
@AJHenderson would you support a question being closed on that judgment call/
8:26 PM
but if you have a problem where the community isn't doing so, then it gets real tricky for mods
We have a custom close reason:
> This question may invite speculative answers, as the question is not fully defined. The validity of some answers may be based upon opinion. Good questions for this site have a limited number of objectively correct answers.
yeah, I'd support NAA deletion on that judgement call as well
so, say a question is open for 2 days
and gathers lots of answers
and people are wondering if there's a canonical answer that's clearly better
and then someone posts a canonical answer that the OP accepts
and it's not better
do you close then?
@Emrakul where do I find that? I just voted to close something as 'too broad' and I didn't see it.
8:28 PM
yes, I would VTC:POB
@AE Under 'off topic,' we have the option to add custom close reasons.
so you're all OK with the weirdness of a question only being closed after a long time and getting many answers?
@Emrakul Oh! I was looking under "too broad" because it says "There are either too many possible answers"
and off of a subjective comparison?
@xnor yes
8:29 PM
@xnor It's a little weird, but it's better than leaving it open.
sometimes it doesn't become clear that a question isn't good right away, that's ok. The bigger trick is that such questions may need deletion assistance
OK, i'm glad to hear, that certainly makes it easier
since they are likely to screwup the auto-delete logic
let me keep poking at this though
@xnor If it's not just one person's subjective opinion but 5 people's and the option to re-open is still there then yes it's ok (IMO).
8:30 PM
what if OP never posts or accepts an answer?
and says "nobody has gotten the really good answer yet"?
@xnor I'd still close, if there are too many answers, then it really is too subjective without strong arguments in any direction
unless they are generally going in the same direction
@AJHenderson sounds like a good call to me
(for example, a question on Moderators might have 10 answers, but they might be 7 different ways of approaching a problem in the same general direction and 3 that take different tacts entirely)
in that case, it wouldn't be too subjective as most are in the same general direction, despite many answers
i would feel annoyed if I wrote a puzzle with an answer that fits super-well and that's clear when you see it, but it was closed because a bunch of people gave clearly bad answers
but if every single answer goes a different direction, it's not well defined
8:32 PM
@xnor I would feel annoyed about that too.
@AJHenderson or maybe the puzzle is just hard.
i'd favor just asking the OP to reveal the answer in a spoiler after a while
@AJHenderson the puzzle can be clearly defined without it being at all obvious how to get to the answer. That's a good puzzle!
@xnor in that case, you edit to indicate the answer later and it automatically goes in re-opne
i also have a concern about re-open tug of war
where 5 people close, then 5 reopen, then 5 people closed, etc
that's limited by the fact you can only close a question once and reopen once
unless you are a mod
you get one vote for each, ever
8:33 PM
yes, but i've seen four cycles
oh wow
that's impressive
(not on here, but on PPCG)
wow o.O
almost 5
say some people think the posted answer is clearly the best, and some don't
yeah, there are sometimes going to be borderline ones
you kind of have to feel it out
'probably wouldn't hurt to have a policy on ones that seesaw as well
and then that could be enforced
8:36 PM
what if we require OP to post the answer?
that way, if it's bad, anyone who doesn't care about spoiling themselves can vote to close
and others don't waste time on a bad question
(The idea of asking questions if you already know the answer somewhat irks me, too.)
that might not be a bad idea
ehh, asking questions you know the answer to is a well established SE practice though. Keep in mind what the overall purpose of SE is
it's designed to be a repository of knowledge
the closing in retrospect thing is also unsatisfying because, what purpose does it serve?
if you can post a question and the answer and it is something new, it adds to that base
@xnor I would couple that with deletion
if most people who wanted to answer the now-closed question have already, the time has been wasted
8:38 PM
gtg. bye all!
closed questions without upvotes will be automatically deleted
but if you are having problems with low quality participation, they will likely still get upvotes
sure, that solves it for future viewers and google
and thus you may have to force deletes through on them
Q: Gathering chestnuts

Jon EricsonOn of the first things that was brought up on meta was whether simply asking a puzzle as a question was part of the scope of the site. The consensus seems to be a resounding "yes". However, I've noticed a class of questions that give me pause: Burning ropes as timers Hats and Aliens The Puzzle ...

for a while anyway
8:39 PM
i'd like a question that is bad to be closed immediately so I, personally, don't waste time on it
and that's why i'd like a requirement for OP to post the solution
well, like I mentioned, I think that is fine, though it does have the problem that others may then copy/paste it as their own answer
rather than actually reasoning through themselves
wouldn't everyone see that?
or you mean paraphrase it?
this comes back to the dichotomy question
though I guess maybe that isn't a bad thing
8:41 PM
I end up going the other route, of disallowing puzzles-as-challenges.
because ultimately, the difference between a good answer and a blah answer is the quality of the explination
is the goal is to be a repository of knowledge, what's the point of having having others post a correct answer in addition to OP?
but if it's to provide puzzles, that's the whole point
(There are a lot of reasons I don't feel these fit, but I'm in the minority, which I'm okay with.)
and we should upvote pepole who seem to have solved it themselves
put another way, instead of the question being "What is a, b and c?"
the question could instead be "The riddle 'What is a, b and c?' generally has the answer d. Why is this?"
where answer d is a spoiler
this allows people to solve the riddle if they want and leaves open the productive discussion of explaining the answer
8:42 PM
@AJ are people actually confused about answers to riddles?
i think people would use that as a cop-out to post riddles
@xnor Once again, "the cup has an IPV6 address."
@Emrakul i missed that example
Ah, sorry. I think it was from a previous discussion, now that I think about it.
is it just of a silly wrong riddle answer/
A: Why was the Five Star Hotel sued?

VictorThe cup has an unique IPv6 address?

8:44 PM
I'm not sure "confused" is the problem, in other words. It's silly answers.
@xnor if there isn't a meaningful explanation possible, then it may likely not be a good question either
I'm not sure a puzzle that doesn't have room for explanation of approach and reasoning fits
because then you can't have more than a one line answer
Maybe "not a source of meaningful discussion" would be a useful close reason.
and one line answers are bad
@Emrakul while i personally would enjoy this site more as solve-this-puzzle, i can see an argument that the empirical evidence shows it didn't turn out very well that way, and also that one should respect the decisions made in private beta
8:46 PM
I think there is still room to have it be something where you can solve puzzles too
I think it just needs to fit the bill of having an explanation possible. And if the poster knows the answer, it should probably be given up front such that people can focus on the explination of how and why the solution works
but those who want to solve themselves first can
Yeah, we had puzzles in private beta. They just... needed detailed explanations.
what do you think of this puzzle? puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/4784/4551
i mean mostly whether puzzles like this should be on topic
Hrrrn. I... don't know.
let me give another example
i've written some puzzles for a puzzle hunt
i believe them to be well-written, and they've been solved by many people, so I'm not looking to improve or revise them, or to ask anything specific about them
Q: What should our standards be for on-topic challenge questions?

Joe Z.A lot of users, like me, came to Puzzling.SE because we thought of it as a place that would become equivalent to PCG.SE, but for non-programming puzzles and that would coexist with a place to ask questions about puzzles rather than just for challenges. Of course, our lack of clarity on what our ...

8:52 PM
would such a puzzle be OK to post just to share it with those who'd enjoy it?
I'd like to jump back to an old categorization for a second.
"Mass-producible puzzles."
@JoeZ I think you'd be interested in out discussion
@xnor I think that is probably ok, it would be even better if you explained the property that made the words fit.
you mean the OP?
8:54 PM
no I mean for the answer
you did explain
not sure what you mean; I thought "Each prefix can be extended by adding a letter, then an anagram of the prefix. " covereed it
oh, ok
I need to work on my speed reading
no problem :-)
spoiler boxes throw me off
"Mass producible puzzles" are a category of puzzle including riddles, sudoku, crosswords, etc.
8:55 PM
What if we made mass-producible puzzles off-topic?
(They're characterized by simple permutations and/or exactly the same style and logic.)
i think i support that, but given that people have apparently used the word 'mass-producible" in different ways, let me check what you mean
@Emrakul I think I actually wrote one of the answers on that on meta about them not being "off topic" so much as dupes
one could have used a word other than the answer
@xnor I'd say no, it requires a clever rule set and selection of words to make it well constrained
8:57 PM
@AJ Ehh... the reason I don't think that holds as much is because (as a counter-example) riddles are mass-producible, but are clearly not duplicates.
thus the same basic pattern can't easily be applied
ok, i agree, the key is easily
one could make other variations
but it's hard to do
@Emrakul well, when I see "mass producible riddles" I think 20 questions
what if I post a small crossword i made?
ie, start with an object and describe it leaving out key details
8:58 PM
those are hard to make, but a standard kind, and many can be made
mass producible in my mind means you start from a solution and work backwards to make it a problem
that's a good explanation
OK, I think i'm on the same page then barring edge cases
if the solution has to be carefully selected, it is NOT mass producible
or, actually, what about the spaghetti questions?
I'd say they're mass-producible.
8:59 PM
I've satirized these questions before.

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