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01:00 - 23:0023:00 - 00:00

1:30 AM
Q: History Calls. Twice

Brandon_J You'd send a letter to me, but I'm not quite what you think. You'd send a letter in me, but only if you didn't know me. I was a gem in my day for being both bold and precise. I stood strong in the face of graves and grave faces.

1:50 AM
Q: Girl Hackers - Logic Puzzle

John S. StackExchange Top Ranked Girl Hackers The Stack Exchange Hacking Federation (of course fictitious) has just released its list of top-ranked female hackers for the year. Using only the clues below, match each hacker to her number of wins (un-crackable programs she wrote) and losses ( programs...

7 hours later…
9:02 AM
Q: Sally's older brother

rybo111Sally smiles at her older brother and says, "Happy 30th birthday!" He shakes his head and replies, "I'm not 30 yet, but you are!" How is this possible?

4 hours later…
12:56 PM
Q: What did she name her son?

DEEMCindy Tyler gave birth to a beautiful boy. She wanted her husband's suggestion to name him. Her husband was away on a mining exploration job. She texted to him For our beautiful boy please send me a name suggestion Her husband, a mining and materials scientist and a riddle enthusiast sent h...

2 hours later…
3:12 PM
Q: Special flights

Matt What links Southwest Flight 3551 Iberia Flight 3692 Aeroflot Flight 6582 Can you name another flight in this unusual group?

3 hours later…
pinging @Deusovi - meta question about open-ended puzzles created.
7:45 PM
Hi North
Just out of curiosity - when did you decide to be a tree? I wood go out on a limb and take a guess, but leaf it to me to go barking up the wrong tree. And, no, this isn't a twig question.
Q: The end of open-ended puzzles

Brandon_JSo, I posted this open-ended puzzle a while ago, looking forward to all the fun around it and the upvotes that would pour in. Nope. That question ended up with a score of +1, and 4 downvotes. It was my first and last open-ended puzzle. It also sparked some discussion on TSL, where Deusovi said...

8:30 PM
@Brandon_J I wanted to be a tree. So I became one
It;s 2019, so anyone can be anything.
It's 2019, so anyone can be anything.
@CStafford-14 Welcome back ;)
Also you can just edit the post next time
For some reason, it wouldn't let me do it
I hit edit, it just did nothing
8:38 PM
Huh, strange
It's grayed out, with a blue outline. No text input!
Uhh screenshot pls?
Do I need a specific privilege?
Not that I know of
If your text box becomes italicized and black, you're in edit mode
8:41 PM
I had to click around for it to be un-grayed out (The upload button)
Haha ;)
That's how the textbox becomes when you try to edit something
uhhh why isn't your text box different that's strange
8:43 PM
Q: alphanumerical sequence

adehave tried to solve this sequence,I suppose that it has been created from the combination of a,b,c,d,e , That's the sequence: (a,c), ?, ?, ?, (a,e), ?, ?, (c,d), ?, (d,c) my logic: we just try to do all the possible combination : (A,B) (A,C) (A,D) (A,E) (B,A) (B,C) (B,D) (B,E) (C,A) (C,B) (C,...

@Rubio any ideas?
It should look like this
Does anything show up if you highlight your text input box?
Just the default highlight color
BRB. I'm going to swap devices
Eww you use firefox
Jk that's fine
As long as it's not internet explorer
Meesa back!
And by the way, I can't stand Chrome.
Once you use... 5 devices, you'll understand
8:50 PM
That wasn't a joke, by the waytype
As my friend once wisely put it, "The only thing Internet Explorer is good for is installing other browsers. Don't be Internet Explorer. Be useful"
I'mma try it in a different browser, but IE and Firefox are the only ones on this device, so I'll have to swap again.
It's ok, just right next to me
8:56 PM
At least use Edge, because explorer is actually horrid
Don't have edge.
What type of computer do you have?
I have the following: Windows 10PC, Windows7 Laptop(In use now), RCA Galileo Pro, Raspberry Pi 3 model B, and a 2015 MacBook Air.
Because I believe all computers with Microsoft 10 and after come with edge
8:57 PM
wow I only have a Toshiba (school) and HP notebook
Of which, I have only 1 . (OK I'm on Chrome)
Isn't rasberry pi for programming? That's pretty cool
@CStafford-14 It's a really trash Toshiba mate
We're getting better one next year
@Mithrandir Xd
9:11 PM
Well, it's better than macs
Macs are trash
mac hardware is actually pretty nice
I run linux on 'em. :)
9:29 PM
@CStafford-14 Sorry but your answer here isn't actually an answer to the puzzle - and from your comments i'm pretty sure you're aware it's not. You might want to delete it, as at this point it's only likely to draw downvotes. (No sense in waiting for the community to tidy up invalid answers when you can just do that yourself.)
9:49 PM
@Rubio you mentioned earlier that you'd seen a few good open-ended puzzles. Do you remember any of them? (Trying to collect info for my meta post)
@Brandon_J This seems objectively good
Q: Growing anagrams - What is the longest possible list forming a sentence?

BmyGuestThis is a challenge for word-puzzle lovers. It might be a bit more of a game than a puzzle, but I think it is not limitless in it's answers, so a final answer could be found (eventually). What is the longest list of growing anagrams which can be put into a grammatically correct English senten...

"Good" is relative. Good for that type of puzzle would be one where clear criteria for a "best" answer is given, and where it is open-ended because the asker doesn't know what will end up being the "best" answer
Most of these tend to be fairly well constrained word puzzles, much like the one @North just posted
Q: Making π from 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Glen OThere have been two other questions here and here that are similar to this one, but this changes the rules up a little. Your job is to approximate $\pi$ using the sequence of digits (in order): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 with operators inserted between them (permitted operators listed below). You are t...

^ This is a mathsy one that is pretty good as well, for similar reasons
Also @Brandon_J I realized that the example I gave for my answer was indeed not an open-ended question. That was a mistake on my part
I do agree it is a problem, but don't think it should be just slashed.
Things that end up actually being kinda bad are things like this one:
Q: A rhopalic sentence of at-least 5 words, beginning with as long word as possible

dryairshipRhopalic sentences are sentences which have words whose length is one more than the previous word. eg: I do not hunt birds. I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing handwriting; nevertheless, extraordinary pharmaceutical intellectuality, counterbalancing indeciphe...

^ that one lol
Oof @Rubio
Good thing CStafford didn't see that
@Rubio I think these aren't constrained enough
@Brandon_J Your open-ended wasn't bad but I did notice a problem as I was solving it
It could go on infinitely
There are so many diseases in the world, it'll make your headspin
9:57 PM
Yup. I mean, what qualifies as a "sentence"? Most of these don't have a sensible meaning, they degenerate into word salad. And, at that, there's always questions about what qualifies as a legitimate word.
@Rubio Well, a "sentence" needs a subject and an action as a bare minimum e.g. I jumped
Things that syntactically are sentences may not semantically be sensible ones.
But then these kind of sentences end up becoming a fragment sentence
Or as my Latin textbook says
"The flower gives the boy to the girl"
There's also the problem with "what are considered words?"
I can say dfirsbu is now a word, meaning "a very large soda can resembling a dog" and it could be a word
Also "the sentence must make sense" is pretty subjective
10:05 PM
Yeah. I think Deus mentioned how restricting a "word" to be something locatable in a specific dictionary is unsatisfying, but NOT doing so is likely to be too unconstrained - falling into "well what IS a word" territory
I mean, some answers will clearly be valid. Some won't pass the sniff test. Ideally the best answer is one for which the validity is not at all in question. But that's not always going to happen.
In the simplest term, a word is a combination of symbols that represent something (an action, object, idea, etc.)
But most people would agree it also should be widely used
But then mbaqangas, bibliopole, and SUIKINKUTSU are all words but like no one knows them
Or uses them
@Rubio Going back to the issue in itself though, is it worth removing te tag completely?
Ahhhh, I forgot about that post
I remember coming across that last month or so
I don't think the problem is the tag. There are, as we've shown, some at least adequate or better examples of open-ended puzzles that, I think, show the tag and the format show sufficient merit to not nuke from orbit
The problem is that there are a lot of less than stellar puzzles that would be problematic under any tag, because they're ill-conceived, poorly constrained, lack "best answer" criteria, or other similar failings.
Something should be done though to combat it
That one by BmyGuest was from over four years ago
And that pi one was from more than year ago
10:20 PM
What do we do with poorly defined puzzles of any genre, in any tag?
@Rubio Downvote!
And close if it doesn't fit PSE's requirements
I'm not excited about making exceptions for specific types of bad puzzles. If they're bad, they're bad. Downvote, vote them off-topic for "primarily opinion based" or "not specific enough", or whatever.
There shouldn't be exceptions, but downvoting seems to only works with users that have been here for a while
Like how Brandon_J reflected on the puzzle and why he got the downvotes which is exactly what downvoting is meant to do
So do what I do. Post comments on why a question or an answer is a poor fit. Then make sure it's either flagged or voted so it gets into the review queue. And then let the community address it. People do read comments, and hopefully are guided to do the correct thing when they read them.
It only takes a few.
But I think there's a problem when the same similar situation happens to similar groups of people.
E.g. new users posting duplicate and/or not giving proper attribution despite community warnings before even posting the question
10:28 PM
We'll always have new users. See, to me, it's the height of unthinkable rudeness to start posting in a "forum" where you aren't aware of the local customs and rules. I always read a bit, get a feel for how the place works and what is (and isn't) ok before I undertake to post there myself. For those folks, the more instructive comments they stumble across and the more upvoted good examples (and downvoted/closed poor examples) they have as reference, the better.
The folks who don't bother with any of that because HEY LOOK A TEXT INPUT BOX JUST READY TO ACCEPT MY BRILLIANCE, HERE GOES YOLO! aren't going to learn from any amount of guidance we offer beforehand; for them, we want to cut them off early, and turn them into good examples of BAD examples, for the folks who actually do pay attention to such things
The problem with open-ended though, is that the tag description itself can lead it to usually become broad. The good questions become the exceptions, rather than the majority
I agree that can be said with any puzzle
You'll always get more poorly thought out riddle than a clever one
But when people upvote bad posts, consistently, that's where I think there is a crossing of lines
Albeit it, I have done that few times because it was funny, but I guess I'm still immature in that sense. Yet when several posts with 25+ upvotes marked [closed] or [duplicate], then there's a problem with perhaps understanding within the community
Well, yes. There is often a frustrating lack of understanding in the community.
Things that are obviously someone else's content get upvoted and answered, instead of closed as lacking attribution. That's a no-no.
Things that are clearly off-topic, math homework problems in particular, get answered instead of closed on sight. There's literally no excuse for that, and yet it happens.
People post "lateral thinking" answers to questions that are obviously not looking for lateral thinking answers, and other folks are all, like, oh that's hilarious, have my upvote! instead of marking them as Not an Answer
I mean - the whole point of a curated collection of quality questions and answers is .. well ... the curation
Hmm that's true
otherwise we're Yahoo! Answers or Quora, and I'm out of here
Yahoo! answers no. Quora isn't bad, but it is
10:41 PM
Quora is a bunch of opinions, and little meritocratic "cream rising to the top"
It's aggravating trying to find an actual good answer there.
That I do agree with
If I may insert myself (inelegantly) into this conversation... I've only been an active member of PSE for a month or so, but I've followed the site for a year or so, and one of the main issues I see going on right now is the lack of participation overall, whether it be asking questions, answering questions, or, as Rubio mentioned, moderating the site in a consistent manner.
A lot of the top contributors in the past rarely post nowadays, and as a result several low-quality posts slip through the gaps and become "the best"
Though Quora is a little more laidback than Se though, so I like it when I'm browsing casually for answers (I don't asl questions there)
If you take a look at the monthly top questions for this month, for instance, you don't have to scroll down too far to start finding questions that are too broad, do not have proper attribution, or otherwise are lacking in puzzling elements.
@PiIsNot3 Yeah. I'm dying to see one done by cough cough @Mithrandir cough sometime soon
I mean, there's definitely really good new users, but I guess there is a lack of participation
10:44 PM
@PiIsNot3 And (seriously, not trying to single you out) what are you (all, collectively) doing about that? The ideal moderator is one who doesn't have to moderate at all because the community, seeing questions that are too broad or lack proper attribution or whatever, deal with them.
@North When I've got time.
@Mithrandir so, in 2½ years? hehe
@Mithrandir That's what we all tell ourselves
The only time I can dedicate to puzzles at the moment is the puzzles that I'm depending on for food ;)
Which reminds me... would questions about running an escape room be on topic here?
I mean I guess escape rooms are essentially a buncho of puzzles in a giant puzzle room so I'd say yes, though depending on the question itself
I think the topic of escape rooms are on-topic
10:48 PM
I think just recently there was a question about a riddle somebody wanted to use as a key for an escape room
> I'm running an escape room business, but we're out of stocks, help me HOW DO I GET DE STOCKZ BACK
"I need suggestions for puzzles I could put in an escape room" would categorically be off-topic (it's a list question where no relevant answer is less or more valid than any other). Trying to "fix" it by adding criteria might work but I am hard-pressed to imagine any criteria that would apply.
Even "I want to do a medieval themed escape room, what would be some medieval themed puzzles I could use?" is too broad
More like "How do I gauge when to give hints while running an escape room?"
But "I remember a puzzle from some Die Hard movie involving jugs of water, what was that puzzle and how do you solve it?" would be an on topic question (though not a particularly good one).
When they ask for one ;)
@Rubio That question will probably be voted down since that can be researched
10:52 PM
@North That doesn't always work
@Rubio ah yeah those puzzles are so dupe
@North Which is fine. Bad question != off-topic question.
@Mithrandir I was just joking :P I think a main part would definitely when they're folloing a red herring
@Rubio Oh yeah, going back to site moderation, I think some users just kind of expect the moderator to act as an omni-present police officer and don't make an effort to do anything about it. Just like a bystander
Something that I appreciate about @Brandon_J was that they stepped up as soon as they understood and had the oppurtunity to do so
Speak of the devil, greetings sir!
well thanks man
@North yup. at which point, if only to avoid the "broken window" effect, we sort of need to step in and deal with things. but ideally we just signal what needs to be done, and only take action if the community ends up getting it wrong
10:59 PM
I only brought it up because Deusovi suggested it
but yeah
or if, because of some well-intentioned but poorly timed edit-from-review, something that should have been handled that way ends up unilaterally marked "ok"
@Brandon_J Not just that, but also greeting new users and stuff. Great job :)
I do try to take responsibility for a little bit of what happens here, since I get so much enjoyment from it
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