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3:00 AM
A note to the community: We realize that yes, you're not happy about recent events, and we dun goofed. Don't worry; we're working on it. Extensive discussion is taking place as I type this message. You can contribute, too! Feel free to provide constructive input here in chat and on Meta.
5
 
hi doorknob
I think one thing that is being lost in the discussion is legitimate difficulties of the SE format for puzzles
apparently it's not true that puzzles as challenges are off the table to to word from the higher mods
but the problems mentioned your (the mods') post are legitimate ones
 
@xnor That's very true, yes. In fact, that's one of the main points in the discussion in the modroom.
If we want to allow challenge-questions, we need to enforce very strict quality standards.
Both on the questions and their answers.
 
i was surprised that the challenge puzzling community planned to go to an SE clone
and not try to whip up something that addresses the problems
unfortunately, I think many were left with just the message "mods wont less us have challenges"
 
@xnor Honestly, I could almost see why. Anger tends to be incited very easily on the Internet.
 
rather than "challenges have serious issues"
@Doorknob冰 I can see why people wanted an immediate solution
 
user61230
3:11 AM
@xnor In fairness, much of my wording on that post would have been better if it were a little less aggressive.
 
@xnor That could be part of the problem.
 
user61230
But also in fairness, we've raised these issues before and people have gone "yes, this is a problem," but not actually done anything about it.
 
i don't want to repeat myself too much, as i've said this before (at least to Emrakul), but I feel this is largely a systemic problem with SE not giving the needed tools for a challenge-based site and with HNQ
I think people have tried to do something about it, but just couldn't
@Doorknob冰 Any chance I can be invited to the modroom?
 
@xnor Sorry, it has to stay private. Rest assured, another meta post will appear soon, hopefully by tomorrow.
 
ok, i understand
 
3:19 AM
Oh, and by the way, sincere thanks for genuinely attempting to understand our position. With the way things have been going, I'm surprised nobody's called anyone a Nazi yet. It's people like you that sometimes encourage me (and probably other users) to keep trying to resolve the discussion.
 
@Doorknob冰 thanks, Doorknob, I appreciate that
 
 
4 hours later…
7:32 AM
0
Q: Can and should we "sandbox" new challange posts?

BmyGuestA while back in this meta question Lembik suggested in his answer a Sandbox for new puzzle-challenge-questions. I think this is an idea worth discussing and potentially voting on in a specific thread for this. If you have something to propose and potentially "vote" on, please use answer not co...

 
 
1 hour later…
8:55 AM
@Doorknob冰 I wouldn't say you goofed: you made a perfectly reasonable attempt to inject some sanity, and failed.
And were let down by Stack Exchange.
 
A E
9:36 AM
@Doorknob冰 Hi Doorknob, thanks for your acknowledgement above. Re the possibility of moving to a non-SE platform: that wasn't coming from a place of anger but rather it was a case of, we were being told we were not permitted to ask certain kinds of questions here, so we were looking for somewhere (new or existing) where they would be suitable.
@Doorknob冰 I'm also glad that everyone has managed to steer clear of Godwin so far. I've been trying to encourage everyone to remember that modding is a pretty difficult, sometimes unpleasant, and usually thankless task.
 
Joe
9:55 AM
I'll echo @AE's sentiment - the meta post when I read it was a pretty decisive post saying puzzles were no longer welcome. We were trying to get an alternative place up so we didn't lose the community, not because we were angry at anyone :-)
Now that they're definitively back on topic again, I'm glad everyone's pulling together though. The key thing is that the community pulls together
 
A E
Although I must say that I find some of Gilles's metaphors unconstructive. Recently he/she has referred to other users and/or their contributions as dogshit, a malaria infection and (lack of) sanity.
 
Joe
I think he's just reluctant to let go of his idea of PSE. The reality is that the majority of PSE users are here for the puzzles, not the theory. That doesn't make anyone right or wrong, and we need to adapt together to make both welcome. I'm not quite sure he sees things the same way just yet heh
 
@Joe well, the majority of users still here
given how sad people felt when we thought we were going to lose our puzzle-challenge community, we should be understanding of people's feeling about the old community being lost
 
A E
@xnor sure. Important to remember that no-one is suggesting excluding non-puzzle-challenge questions from the site. Simply having other things as well.
 
Joe
@AE I've been trying to think of how to word that :P Thanks.
 
10:02 AM
i understand that we are welcoming of both types of questions, but realistically, puzzles will be the far majority
for the same reason that the site would be small, perhaps unsustainably so, without puzzles as challenges
 
Joe
The way I see PSE right now is that there's a good part of the community interested in creating puzzles (myself, Bmy, AE, rand, dalar and so on) and more who are interested in either solving them, or having fun with silly/creative answers (however you see them). There's also enough people interested in puzzle theory and enough overlap between the two that I think questions about theory would get a good reception
The only thing I see as missing is people actually asking those theory questions, though :-/
 
i agree, but I also think there's another missing piece: experts
maybe we'll get those in time
 
Joe
Do we have to import experts? I feel like as a community we have enough people making puzzles that there are people interested in knowing more about puzzling, and enough people who can give feedback
If we create quality puzzles, people involved in those are learning about puzzling
They can then pass that on to other people (and do I believe, although I don't have any questions to hand to link to and prove that)
 
i guess in theory we can learn from each other and get better over time, but it would really help to have someone with the voice of experience
 
Joe
It would. I don't know how we go about bringing experts into the community, but I believe in putting in the effort as an individual. If everyone works to improve puzzles, maybe we can give experts a reason to come to the site
 
10:12 AM
i think a higher bar for minimum quality would help
based on past meta posts, one reason for experienced puzzlers leaving the community was being embarrassed to associate their name (or pseudonym) with the site
the sandbox might be that bar
 
user61230
On the topic of experts: Community-building is a winding and nonlinear process. That's all I really have to say.
 
that sounds very mysterious, very sagely
can you explain what you mean?
 
user61230
It's... kind of hard to explain? I'm not claiming to be an expert on the matter, either.
 
user61230
Our community will draw like-minded people. It sort of changes with the site scope and quality, and all that.
 
user61230
I guess what I'm saying is, we need to be the experts. And we can.
 
10:20 AM
need to be the experts?
i don't understand what you're saying there
 
Joe
I think the key point is quality of questions/answers - if we have junk questions, no experts will want to come to the site because (a) they have nothing to learn, and (b) they'll get no intellectual benefit
If we can showcase that we're generating high quality puzzles as a community, people who appreciate that will come along
 
user61230
It's a vague definition of "experts." Expert questions are questions that are high quality, and have the capacity to generate useful answers. Expert answers are detailed and thorough responses to questions. That is, at least, how I see it.
 
user61230
We can do both of these things. We aren't doing this well enough right now, but we certainly can be.
 
@Emracool I think that's quite a doublespeak on the word experts
asking high-quality questions and generating useful answers doesn't make one an expert
having expertise in a topic does
there is quite a gap between a useful answer and an expert answer
 
user61230
/shrug. I could be pedantic, and say that they're expert questions, not expert users, but really the point is, if our content is high quality, we'll attract more high quality content and users.
 
Joe
10:24 AM
@xnor this is getting quite philosophical, but surely expertise is the means to an end. A high quality answer is what we're driving at. Expertise is the best way to get it, but if the high quality answer comes from someone who isn't experienced, that's not a bad thing
*most reliable way, not best way
 
user61230
"Expert" is a vague wishy-washy term that loses meaning the closer you look at it.
 
user61230
The word "expert" isn't really the goal or point; it's the aim behind it that is.
 
maybe i'm misreading what emrakul means due to a common thing i've seen said here that irks me
i think there's a sentiment that puzzling can't have experts
it's just fun and amusing
not like a "real" SE like Mathematics or Writers
while we may be a strange SE as things go, I feel like the idea of "expert site" fits just as well for puzzling
 
user61230
I'd agree with that. But I'm beginning to think we'd be better off not using the word "expert" to describe things.
 
why not? because it sounds elitist?
 
user61230
10:27 AM
But as far as I'm concerned, experts in puzzles do exist. There are sites dedicated to twisty puzzles.
 
Joe
You can definitely have experts on puzzling - published crossword writers certainly qualify as having expertise, I'd say. I don't think that we should exclude people without that formal expertise though, because equally you can gain experience through creating and publishing puzzles here and learning from them
 
user61230
@xnor It has less to do with elitism and more to do with the vagueness of the term.
 
@Joe yes, yes, i don't mean to exclude anyone, i was just saying that experts are something i feel is currently lacking on the site
 
user61230
What constitutes an "expert" in puzzling? Along the same lines, what constitutes an "expert" in Anime, or an "expert" in LEGO, or in Beer? The term is too vague for casual use. There's a point behind it, and that's what we should be addressing.
 
A E
@xnor I've always found the "if I post on a site where stupid people also post then I'll be perceived as stupid" angle quite hard to understand. I'm not convinced it's a real thing. Stackoverflow is full of dumb questions.
 
10:30 AM
@Emracool are those rhetorical questions? :-P
 
user61230
@xnor Yeah.
 
well, i think they have real answers, so i'm afraid that point is lost on me
 
Joe
What would you define an "expert in puzzling" as, @xnor? Not trying to be arsey, just working through logic :-)
 
no problem
i'm not an expert myself, so my definition is limited, but i can try
people who compete in national or regional puzzling competions
people who write for puzzling magazines
people who write puzzle hunts like BAPHL (baphl.org)
people who invent new types of puzzles for magazines like Nikoli
people who produce content for the national puzzlers' league
 
Joe
OK, so we're looking at people who actively engage in either professional or competitive puzzling at a high level?
 
10:35 AM
yes, but that's just one criterion i think is very desirable
 
user61230
@xnor I've been mulling this one over. I used to think you're right, and that we should be striving for that, but now I'm not as sure.
 
i can imagine a more self-taught puzzler, and I'd have more trouble specifying what makes them an expert, but i'll try
@Emracool that's perfect! I think moments like this are the best opportunity to learn something
please do tell me how you changed your mind
 
user61230
@xnor Agreed. Lemme get a minute to formulate my thoughts coherently.
 
@Joe would it help if I explained why I think PPCG has experts, even though there are not code-golfing competitions or books?
 
Joe
Sure
 
user61230
10:38 AM
The Meta post yesterday came from that standpoint - that those are the experts we want. We have the principles of Stack Exchange: that we're a resource for expert knowledge, and those are the sorts of experts we want. Challenge riddles are detrimental to that purpose, and should be off-topic. Summarily, that's the logic that was used.
 
user61230
The Meta post went into more detail about specific reasons why these things applied the way they did, but that was the summary argument. We're here for a specific group of experts.
 
Joe
(I'm somewhat familiar with PPCG, as a programmer)
 
@Joe there are code golfers on the site that are intimately familiar with the features of their chosen language or languages
besides an encyclopedic knowledge of their features, they are likely to know tricks or edge cases that are useful only for golfing and the like
and therefore are not known by many programmers because they're be horrible in production code
skilled golfers draw on a wide knowledge of templates, algorithms, and optimizations
they collect tricks and ideas, often sharing them in discussions
 
Joe
So we'd maybe expand "expert" to be "people who actively engage in either professional or competitive puzzling at a high level, or people who have a deep understanding of the theory behind type(s) of puzzles (eg. sudoku, crypto, murder-mystery, etc)
(with a " on the end that I forgot xD)
 
that's well said
 
user61230
10:41 AM
Primarily Meta discussion with Robert has caused me to reconsider the argument (of my last messages) in a very particular way: we're here for the community we develop - the community we earn and get, not the one we ideally want. Our goal is to make the community we have better, not to push our community toward a model everyone wants but nobody can sustain.
 
@joe thanks for formulating something that I had trouble saying concisely
 
user61230
In other words: we are the community. Our high quality content is our "expert" content, whatever that means. It's our job to bring out the best in that, and not strive toward a disparate and/or unsustainable ideal.
 
@Emracool that's noble of you as a moderator, to serve the community as it exists
 
user61230
@xnor My last few messages are a little long, but that's the core reason why I've made an about-face on that stance.
 
user61230
I honestly just want the community to produce the best content it can, and be as cohesive as we can be.
 
user61230
10:43 AM
And maybe that means something different than I thought it did.
 
Joe
So just looking at the two kinds of "experts" we've defined for now, we can't really do much to actively attract type A - those people will come organically if we create a good community
Type B experts though, we can create those by providing good feedback as a community on puzzles, and emphasising the understanding of puzzle creation
 
@Joe I'm almost with you. I think there's an issue of timeframe though
 
Joe
Learn-by-doing is a valid way of learning, and by having people create puzzles, then constructively feed back to them, we can create both the environment of discussion that we want, and also the type B experts
 
someone who has been doing something all their live, or even for a few years, will carry much more experience that someone on the site for months, no matter how good a community we are
 
user61230
The community seems pretty adamant about keeping puzzles-as-challenges, and I'm okay with that. Maybe it'll change in the future, maybe not. Who knows. But maybe we should be looking more toward asking people to post puzzles for constructive feedback than as challenges.
 
Joe
10:46 AM
As a fledgling community though, we can't reliably attract them though - unless someone just happens to use SE anyway and naturally finds us, the chances are that those experts have no reason to stay here
 
user61230
There's a post by Logan Maingi I'd like to refer back to.
 
user61230
6
A: Content on site slowly becoming more and more like Y! Answers

Logan MaingiIt's not just you. The problems you've mentioned here are the main reason I stopped participating in this site several months ago. I have no intent to return in the future unless they are worked out (which I'm not hopeful of). I decided to describe what I expected this site would be and compare t...

 
user61230
This post slapped me in the face when I read it. This was one of the first times I'd felt "we're doing something obviously wrong."
 
user61230
But there are two routes here: "we're doing something wrong," and "we're not what we used to be."
 
A E
10:50 AM
@Emracool, that post - both the question and the answer - slapped me in the face as well, but in a bad way.
My comment at the time was "Logan, I'm not clear what it is about other people's contributions that's preventing you from making quality contributions to the site?" and that still puzzles me.
I interpreted "like Y! Answers" as a euphemism for "stupid".
 
user61230
@AE The reason is that we model the content we want to see.
 
@AE I can't speak for Logan, but I can try to convey what might make one feel that way
both from my own feelings and what i've heard from others
people like to feel like they're part of something good
being a member of a community gives them pride
 
A E
@Emracool, I agree, the best thing to do is for each of us to model the content we want to see. If some other person posts content that I don't think is high quality, I really can't see how that prevents me from posting high quality content.
 
user61230
If we model theory questions, we'll continue to get theory questions and attract theory "experts." If we model challenge-riddle questions, we'll continue to get challenge-riddle questions. We can link similar topics, but we can't cram two communities into one website.
 
Joe
I'll link something I posted yesterday - I don't think that solve-this-challenge questions should be off-topic because you can learn how people approach your challenge, and gauge difficulty quite well from that. This is dependant on good answers that explain working, though - a bad answer which just says "it's X" doesn't help anyone
 
A E
10:52 AM
@Emracool re "we can't cram two communities into one website." - I don't agree that it is two communities.
Imagine a Venn diagram with two overlapping circles.
 
user61230
@AE Yeah, that's fair. It's not that black-and-white.
 
A E
Some people are interested in one, some are interested in the other, and some (e.g. me) are interested in both.
 
Joe
Here's a very outlandish and weird question
 
A E
It's normal for any online community to have a range of interests.
 
Joe
Is there any sense in putting challenges on PSE and theory on MetaPSE?
I'm expecting a "No", but just think about it for a moment
 
user61230
10:54 AM
The problem is, theory is not the impression our community gives right now. That's okay, if we're not aiming to attract theory experts.
 
Joe
It's not as silly a question as it sounds
 
you have to admit though, given the portion of the community planned to leave yesterday, and the number of "old guard" that have posted on meta that they're leaving and not coming back, that the are two large "sides" to the venn diagram
 
A E
@Emracool Go ahead and ask more theory questions then.
 
user61230
@Joe It's an interesting thought, but please do read here.
 
A E
(if you want to see more theory questions).
 
user61230
10:55 AM
@AE I do.
 
A E
@xnor re "the number of "old guard" that have posted on meta that they're leaving and not coming back":
- what is that number?
1? 2? maybe 3?
and
 
sounds reasonable
 
A E
- those people who have left weren't being prevented from using the site in the way that they wanted to.
They just found it intolerable that other people were also allowed to use the site in the way that they wanted to.
 
sure, let me get back to this
 
A E
i.e. they weren't able to tolerate diversity.
I don't find that a persuasive argument.
i.e. the argument "you can't discuss what you want to discuss because I don't happen to like it".
as someone said, it's the "I'm on a diet so you can't have a cookie" argument.
 
10:58 AM
i disagree, and let me explain why
there's two issues
 
A E
explain away...
 
first, it's not like there's a neat wall separating away bad content so I don't have to see it
yesterday, I saw a puzzle by Bmyguest
 
A E
@xnor if you set an ignore tag then that provides just such a wall, doesn't it?
 
it looked intriguing, but my prior on puzzles of that kind was that it was probably bad
so I looked at the answer
or, a partial answer
 
A E
Personally I look at the author's previous puzzles.
 
10:59 AM
in fact, the puzzle was great, and i would have enjoyed solving it from the start
 
A E
If they turn out to be good then I give the author the benefit of the doubt on the most recent one.
 
at the time, I did no know who Bmyguest was
now I know to think more highly of them
in a past experience, I was burned the other way
a puzzle looked intriguing, but I spent an hour on it and got a solution
and the poster said it's wrong and I misunderstood the problem
(this was meant to be a rigorously stated problem, not a riddle)
 
Joe
This is more an example of a bad question, I feel
 
A E
I totally know what you mean and understand the problem and basically agree.
I think the only way to deal with it is to look at the author's track record.
 
if there are bad questions on the site, I can't necesarrily tell what's good and bad
how do I look at the author's track record?
if other puzzles are similar, I have to solve one first
upvotes are not useful
 
A E
11:01 AM
@xnor Look at the previous puzzles they posed, see if the answers make sense.
 
Joe
If we define what is a good question or a bad question we can actively stamp down on bad challenges
 
people upvote on appearance, withotu solving it
 
A E
@xnor Right.
 
@AE OK, checking answers is fair
 
Joe
Thus resulting in worthwhile puzzles , which you can trust to be good quality
 
11:02 AM
still, that's a lot of work I wouldn't have to do if the puzzles were uniformly good
 
Joe
That's not the community we have now, though
We need to train the community and work together to create a place where puzzles are well defined
 
A E
@xnor I think unfortunately that "uniformly good" is too much to expect in any sphere of life.
 
@Joe I think rules can eliminate puzzles that are blatantly bad. My concern here is puzzles that are passably OK on the surface but that are poor to solve
 
A E
You have the same problem with music.
 
@AE sure, "uniformly good" was too strong
 
A E
11:03 AM
How do I choose an album that I think I'll like?
- I read reviews (did other people like it?)
- I go by, have I enjoyed the previous work of that artist?
- I ask my friends what they think
etc
 
let me pick at that analogy
in the case of music, that music was made by professional musicians
 
A E
But even if all of the puzzles on this site were high-quality (which IMO is impossible) then they wouldn't be all to my personal taste.
You need to pick and choose quite carefully.
And upvotes are not a good guide to what you personally will find an enjoyable, high quality puzzle.
@xnor yet most of it is still awful! :)
 
i'm fine with differences in style and preference
it's not hard to ignore a puzzle type i don't personally enjoy
 
A E
Sturgeon's revelation, commonly referred to as Sturgeon's law, is an adage commonly cited as "ninety percent of everything is crap." It is derived from quotations by Theodore Sturgeon, an American science fiction author and critic: while Sturgeon coined another adage that he termed "Sturgeon's law", it is his "revelation" that is usually referred to by that term. The phrase was derived from Sturgeon's observation that while science fiction was often derided for its low quality by critics, it could be noted that the majority of examples of works in other fields could equally be seen to be of low...
 
Joe
@AE check the "Another home" chatroom a moment please :)
 
A E
11:06 AM
@xnor But then there still absolutely is the quality issue. I agree.
 
well, i think SE in general has been good at getting around Sturgeon's Law
 
user61230
@AE I honestly believe that Stack Exchange is an exception (violation?) of Sturgeon's Law.
 
anyway, my point here was the existence of poor content worsens my experience because i can't immediately tell it from good content when starting a puzzle
my other (weaker) point is that even it being there is distasteful
it's frustrating to post a puzzle and then get an answer that's clearly, nowhere near right
as in, "how could you even think this was right"
sure, I could ignore it
 
A E
Well, it would be great if all the content were brilliant. And all the answerers were fantastic.
 
but part of me is still disappointed
 
A E
11:08 AM
But we live in the real world.
 
Joe
@xnor I don't think we can ever guarantee that. However, encouraging good puzzles through the mission statement and rules will increase the percentage of good-to-solve puzzles, and I believe work towards attracting better puzzlers
 
A E
@xnor me too!
@Joe right
Best we can do is improve quality, but perfection is unattainable.
"Quality is a journey, not a destination"
 
i've been trying to explain why the existence of content one doesn't like can't just be waved away and ignored
are you happy with my explanation?
 
A E
Not really TBH.
Sorry.
 
no problem
 
A E
11:09 AM
Explanation seems to be (as I understand it):
1) Presence of lower-quality content makes higher quality content harder to distinguish.
and
2) distaste
 
sure
 
A E
have I got that right?
 
yes
 
Joe
Proposed Solution: Define and encourage good content, discourage bad content
 
user61230
We're at the point where we need to define what good content is.
 
A E
11:11 AM
1 is a true statement, but I don't think it justifies any member in trying to impose their own personal definition of quality on other members. E.g. one of the 'old guard' leavers said he/she was only interested in twisty puzzles. For them any non-twisty-puzzle content was unwanted. There was non-twisty-puzzle content so they left.
 
@Emracool I'm only answering the specific question of why the mere existence of bad content might drive someone away for the site.
 
A E
2 (distaste) just doesn't convince me.
 
@emracool for the purpose of that, can we just agree that the "bad content" is whatever content the person sees as bad?
 
user61230
Ah, I see.
 
user61230
Let's play a game.
 
A E
11:13 AM
Re 2 (distaste): I have a distaste for sprouts but I don't try to stop other people from eating them. I just refrain from eating them myself.
 
Joe
"Bad content" sounds like an excuse for "what I don't like". Do we need to distinguish that from "Bad quality content"?
 
A E
@Joe Exactly. It's subjective. We need to accept that.
 
Joe
*sounds lke it's being used as...
 
@AE good for you for taking the higher ground, but I think it is a factor for people
 
user61230
Let's all play a game for a second.
 
A E
11:13 AM
@Emracool is it a puzzle? :)
 
user61230
Pretend you're a new user to Stack Exchange.
 
user61230
@AE Could be!
 
Joe
Are games on-topic on Pu... never mind :P
 
A E
@Emracool ok, pretending.
 
user61230
Take a look at the first ten questions on the site, and tell me what the site is about, if it's high quality, if you're likely to get a good answer... but don't spend long! You have 40 seconds to figure this out.
 
A E
11:15 AM
 
i'm still me as a newbie for this, right?
 
user61230
After that you decide if you're going to ask here or somewhere else.
 
user61230
Yep! You're totally new to Puzzling. Never seen it before. Just stumbled across it!
 
A E
OK, I'm looking at the top 10 question titles...
 
i looked at 5 questions
bad luck, i think newbie me just left
 
user61230
11:16 AM
What did you conclude about the site?
 
A E
I can see two questions about puzzles (one of which has been put on hold, so maybe they aren't welcome)
 
honestly, newbie me gets a kind of cringe
 
A E
1 asking for an explanation of a puzzle
 
Joe
@Emracool am I a newbie to PSE but an expert puzzler, or just a passer-by interested in the site?
 
A E
6 riddles/brainteasers
 
11:17 AM
the site seems all over the place
 
A E
and 1 about a strategy game
I think "ooo, this looks interesting"
 
other than an interesting tic-tac-toe variant, it seems fairly juvenile
 
user61230
@Joe If it makes a difference, let's assume you're an expert (because we want experts, right?)
 
why on earth is the shape perspective question at -2?
the code is a just a plain parody of poor code puzzles
 
Joe
@xnor is playing a newbie expert-puzzler, and @AE is playing a newbie casual-puzzler from the look of it
 
11:18 AM
i'm playing me, xnor
i'm no expert
 
A E
@Joe I am.
But I would think that an expert puzzler would be drawn here by a Google query about a specific puzzle or puzzle-type. That's how it works on stackoverflow, right?
 
Joe
OK @xnor, play both of those roles, then read your and AE's comments. Do those seem to fit, in your opinion?
 
both roles?
 
A E
I mean I think I do count as an 'expert' on some of the technical issues that the other sites in the SE network deal with.
 
user61230
The reason I'm doing this is because we need to pay careful attention to the impression we give.
 
A E
11:20 AM
But I don't go to their homepage and think "is this for me?"
I go to a specific question/answer that I've found through a search engine.
 
user61230
This is sort of what site self-eval is for, too. "Is this question useful to viewers/will they even find it?"
 
A E
@Emracool IMO the problem with the "we must give a good impression" approach
 
newbie me would probably look through the site but not bookmark it without prior knowledge of SE or participation in PPCG
 
A E
is that it encourages value judgements along the lines of "this puzzle is not high-class enough for us"
whereas actually IMO - this is definitely personal opinion so make what you will of it - puzzlers look for creativity and originality
rather than the appearance of conformity.
 
"good impression" = "value judgment", no?
 
user61230
11:22 AM
@AE It's not a perfect analysis, admittedly. It's by no means complete, but it's an important aspect.
 
A E
I'm talking about hauteur.
 
user61230
If you came here with a theoretical question and poked around the site for a bit, would you ask it here?
 
A E
@xnor 'good' how? Lots of long words? Conventional presentation?
@Emracool yeah
 
Joe
193
Q: How do I draw a pair of buttocks?

Simpleton JackI'm trying to develop a function which 3D plot would have a buttocks like shape. Several days of searching the web and a dozen my of own attempts to solve the issue have brought nothing but two pitiful formulas below. They have some resemblance to the shape I want, though not quite. Could you...

 
puzzle that seem sophisticated and well thouht-out
 
Joe
11:23 AM
Sorry, I just love that question
(Little bit of light relief)
 
questions that seem to incorporate expertise
 
A E
47
Q: 418: I'm a teapot

NitAs we all should know, there's a HTTP status code 418: I'm a teapot. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to use your creativitea and write the smallest possible server that responds with the above status code to any and every HTTP request made to it. Standard loopholes apply, inclu...

 
the buttocks question being on HNQ was an embarrassment
 
user61230
@AE I'm curious: what gives you the impression you'd get a good answer here?
 
A E
I love that ^ question
 
11:23 AM
i'm all for fun questions, but when that becomes the public image of the site, there's a problem
 
A E
@Emracool I see lots of people interested in puzzles. I'd give it a try and see what happened.
@xnor Fun is good.
 
@Emracool I think I'm not getting whatever I was supposed to learn from the exercise.
 
A E
The idea that expert puzzlers are anti-fun seems to me, well, it doesn't make sense.
Puzzles are for fun.
 
why are expert puzzlers not fun?
they are really into puzzles
being more into something fun doesn't make it unfun
 
A E
@xnor Right.
 
11:25 AM
oops, missed a negative
 
A E
Exactly.
 
I heard something about puzzles and came to see what's happening :D
 
A E
Oh.
 
hi sp3000!
 
A E
"being more into something fun doesn't make it unfun" <----- agreed.
 
Joe
11:26 AM
@Sp3000 "something about puzzles" is possibly the most passive, friendly way of describing the last 24 hours here :P
2
 
A E
We want some in-depth questions.
We don't want them all to be trivial or too easy (IMO).
 
how about this: let's be concrete
PPCG chat was generally excited about puzzles but seemed to fall away from the site
what could you/I say to them to encourage them to give it another shot?
 
A E
@xnor Why would I want to? They have their community and they're happy in it. We don't have a problem recruiting new members.
If their favourite kind of puzzle is PPCG then they should stay at the PPCG site, because that's a better location to discuss that particular type of puzzle.
 
I'm talking about members who were specifically interested in a site about puzzles and puzzling
 
user61230
The point I was trying to make is this: generally speaking, we'll draw the people who find their questions to be similar to what's already here. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but it's a good rule of thumb.
 
11:28 AM
were excited that Puzzling.SE started
 
A E
@xnor We have new users turning up all the time. That's not really a problem at all.
 
user61230
If I went on the Rubik's cube speedsolving forums with a theory question, I'm sure it would be received decently, but I probably wouldn't ask there. It doesn't look like it's on topic.
 
@AE I'm not saying these specific users are necessary
 
A E
@xnor Perhaps they were being polite and supportive but don't actually have a genuine interest in non-PPCG puzzles? Which would be fine.
 
perhaps you don't believe so, but I think there are users who are totally aligned with the goal of the site, who want to solve and pose challenges of the type and style given here, who will not join puzzling because they thing it's not very good
or who were excited about it for the exact right reasons, then left
 
A E
11:30 AM
Anyway, got to go. Should do some work. @Emracool, thank you for being open to feedback / comments / discussion.
 
nice talking to you, AE
 
Joe
cya AE
 
user61230
@AE Thank you, you too, and have fun!
 
Joe
Brb
 
@Emracool I'd still like to understand why you changed your mind about experts
I understand why you, as a mod, are indebted to serving the community as is
 
11:33 AM
(I guess Puzzling's just lacking the puzzles to accommodate the large range of things the word "puzzle" encompasses :/ It just so happens that the easiest-to-make types are those which are most frequently seen)
 
but what about from an outside view?
 
user61230
@xnor It's a paradigm shift between the community reaching an ideal, and the community getting better at what it does.
 
user61230
Right now, the community does challenge questions.
 
@Sp3000 Well said. Puzzler that take minutes to write will always drown out puzzles that take hours.
@Emracool Sure, it's quite important to agree what types of questions are on topic. But what about the ideal of quality?
what we do is (apparently) pose and solve puzzles
we can do this well, or we can do this poorly
 
user61230
Quality is a slightly different, though linked, issue. We want to do what we do at the highest possible quality - the ideal, though, is hard to force to lie outside of what we do.
 
user61230
11:37 AM
(Do you mind if we save this discussion for later? I'm actually physically passing out on my keyboard, and I'm tired.)
 
oh, sorry
please, you must have had a long day here!
 
user61230
That's a part of it, but it's also 3:30 AM :P
 
user61230
No worries!
 
ah
well, good night
don't stress out too much over Puzzling!
2
 
user61230
Good afterbeforevening!
 
user61230
11:39 AM
Heh. I should really take that to heart.
 
2:39 PM
@AE I like the cipher question!
 
Joe
2:49 PM
+1
 
A E
Thanks guys! :)
 
I was going to post an answer, but then I thought "there's too many ciphers out there" :P
 
Joe
You can just post a partial answer with a few
I just posted about half a dozen ones that are pretty common and easy to explain
I'm no crypto guru but it's easy enough to describe those i know :)
 
Ahaha well I immediately recalled a puzzle which took each word and converted it to a product of (letter position in alphabet)^(letter index in word). The mapping is clearly not bijective, but it was because the puzzle hinged on word pairs that map to the same thing which made it interesting :P
 
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