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12:44 AM
Can someone explain the difference between what makes a puzzle open-ended and what makes it too broad?
2 hours later…
2:23 AM
@North "Open-endedness" is a quality of a puzzle itself: it means the puzzle intentionally has multiple possible answers, or possibly none. (I would argue that this is always bad, but that's beside the point.) "Too broad" is a quality of a puzzle as it relates to Puzzling Stack Exchange: it means that the puzzle is not a good fit for this site because it has no clear best answer, either because there are too many answers or multiple components that can be individually answered.
Most open-ended puzzles are too broad; for an open-ended puzzle not to be too broad, it must have a way of choosing a single best answer out of many (for instance, the longest word or set of words satisfying certain criteria). Even then, it still may be too broad: for instance, if solutions can be arbitrarily long, or if there's no clear rule for what counts as a word.
(I don't think open-ended "puzzles" should be on the site at all, to be completely honest. They're fun games, but IMO they're not puzzles.)
I don't mind open-ended puzzles. At least, not if they're any good, and are well constrained.
I'll let you know if I spot one. :)
(Ok I think we actually do have a couple, but - the bad ones are way more prevalent)
It's just, most open-ended puzzles aren't usually designed to be so. That's a good sign it's bad.
2:41 AM
I'm not sure I've every seen an open-ended puzzle that I'd consider both "well-constrained" and "good". All the ones that I've seen here rely on words in some way, and then you run into one of these two:
- what counts as a word isn't well-defined, so it's too broad
- what counts as a word is based on some arbitrary source, so it's unsatisfying
Maybe a logic-based one (like "what's the smallest number of clues you need to make a uniquely solvable Slitherlink whose solution touches all four edges of the grid") would be nice. (For what it's worth: you can get 2n-5 clues.)
But I'm still not sure that anything open-ended should even count as a puzzle. Open-ended things can be interesting questions (and in fact, that one would be on-topic for this site, because it's about puzzles). But I think puzzles should have only one solution, and anything more than that is either a broken puzzle or not a puzzle at all.
Unless, the puzzle itself somehow revolves around being open ended? The possible solutions are somehow aggregated in the puzzle?
I can't think of a way for that to be solvable as soon as it's posted and years in the future, which would be a pretty significant problem
I can't think of one either. Just trying to play devil's advocate lol
Honestly, the OEIS has ruined so many good sequence puzzles I've come up with. I think, there's no way this is in the OEIS, and then there is always is
And I know I could hash a sequence to make it undiscoverable, but that kinda ruins the point of the puzzle
That's one of many reasons I don't think sequence puzzles are good puzzles.
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@Deusovi I do agree with you. Plus, it doesn't help that mny open-ended puzzles end up being poorly made or rushed. It's kind of like "Oh, what's an easy way to get rep? Hmm, I did have this interesting idea, but I don't feel like putting too many restrctions so I'll let other people do the work!"
Idk feels like it's bears too much responsibility of puzzle solving to the solver
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