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12:01 AM
and I still have one unsolved :(
12:15 AM
I back bois
that you are
12:37 AM
Q: The Not So Knights Challenge

Rewan DemontayYou have been imprisoned by your super duper cliche evil king named Tim Goldsteen for sneezing during his birthday party. Apparently he’s that evil. Anyhow, you found out Tim’s secret that he enjoys chess and is a grandmaster. However you did that in jail. Not wanting his secrect revealed, as the...

12:54 AM
@Rubio A bit late to the discussion, but I'm not sure either of those are good -- or at least, good as puzzles. There are clear criteria for ranking answers in both, but I don't think either of those is a puzzle per se. And even as an open-ended contest-type thing, I'm not happy with either.
The first one runs into the "well, what counts as a word?" problem (as well as "what counts as a sentence, when you can verb any noun you want?"). The second has a pretty arbitrary scoring system, and seems to have a 'best' answer for each number of operations.
But more to the point, I really don't think it makes sense to have a puzzle where the "right" answer changes over time. There's a secret addition "...that the PSE community can find?" after every "What's the best way to do [some task]?" in all of these questions.
I say this because the order answers are posted can affect their validity. If answer A (scoring 18 points) and answer B (scoring 19 points) are posted in that order, everything's fine and both are upvoted (though B is probably accepted, unless another answer outdoes it). If answer B is posted before A, though, then answer A is automatically invalid.
Compare this to regular puzzles: if someone gives a full solution, and someone else finds a partial solution after, that partial solution is still a partial solution. The answer is still valid as an answer to the puzzle, even if it won't be particularly well-received.
@Deusovi To somewhat play devil's advocate, we've seen riddles etc. set by posters who have a specific answer in mind, but someone gives a better answer than that. I'm not wholly convinced that an intended answer is a mandatory requirement for posting a puzzle (see, for example, the many puzzles people find elsewhere and ask "how do I...?" here).
@Deusovi would you mind putting some of those points in the meta question?
So there is, to some degree, an implicit open-endedness to almost any puzzle posted here
I'm not sure that the problem is questions without a predetermined answer as much as questions without a predetermined end.
@Rubio We have, and those answers are typically too broad (and closed accordingly). I don't think I've seen a riddle that pinpoints one "best answer" that is not the one the asker was thinking of: in those situations, there are almost always multiple.
(And yes, that's a good way of putting it, Brandon.)
1:01 AM
The tag feels like an explicit statement that the poster (a) doesn't know the best answer and/or (b) expects that it is likely that answers keep one-upping prior answers until no better answer can be found.
Yeah, and even if we make it implicit, it still exists.
the statement, tht is
The puzzles people find elsewhere are a different category. They still should have one clear answer, it's just that the poster might not know it. A good riddle that the poster doesn't know the answer to is still a good riddle; an ambiguous one that the poster doesn't know the answer to is still bad.
@Rubio Exactly, and (b) is the problem. I would be perfectly fine with a question of the form "what is the best way to do this?", where answers required proofs of their validity (just as in a puzzle where the answer is a strategy (e.g. chess puzzles, or prisoners-and-hats puzzles), an answer isn't complete unless it has an explanation for why the strategy works).
(Well, "perfectly fine" is probably a stretch. I bet a lot of them would still be pretty inelegant and unsatisfying. But they wouldn't be open-ended anymore, even if the poster didn't know the answer.)
This is sort of ironic, but I guess that we need a precise definition of "open-ended", and I'm not sure that the wiki can provide that.
Actually I am very sure.
(hang on a sec, trying to find something)
ok i can't find it
@Deusovi So what's your main point in why we should remove open-ended? That was a lot of text :P Are you basically saying they are too broad?
1:10 AM
recent couple puzzles where the idea was to cut a sheet of paper into shapes that could be glued together with a specific margin of overlap, to form a box
the poster had specific maximum volumes for the resultant cubes
but I could well imagine where OP thought one of the earlier solutions was the solution
I remember that one
wouldn't call it open-ended IMO
and someone came along and showed a better solution
which begs the question, are we sure the last posted solution is actually the best?
Yeah, that's exactly the problem with open-ended puzzles.
anyway - busy for a bit
Again, that goes back to my earlier point: all open-ended puzzles have an implicit "...that the PSE community can think of?" at the end of them.
1:12 AM
Maybe we just need to lock list open-ended puzzles
@Brandon_J Unfortunately that's the point of open-ended puzzles
No, the problem isn't just list-based open-ended puzzles. (Those are already invalid.)
and keep optimization ones?
so hard
@North "List" here means a specific thing: "what's the longest list of X you can think of", where the entries on the list are entirely independent of each other.
Oh I see
Yeah those would be closed as too broad anyways
1:13 AM
But then again wasn't mine a list question?
Kind of
and not closed
Yes, and it should've been closed.
@Brandon_J That's the same as our current state. I'd like to also get rid of optimization ones. Or at least, impose a requirement that all answers must come with proofs (or at the very least, a heuristic argument) of why they are correct.
1:14 AM
and yeah, I think that mine should be closed once this scope change occurs
Not sure it should have been closed before
I agree more with Rubio's stance tbh
thing is we don't know for sure what his stance is XD cause he keeps playing devil's advocate
Also I found the question that @Rubio was looking for
Q: Make the largest box from a cardboard sheet

mpasko256A boy in order to tidy his room asks his parents for a cardboard box to store lots of small toys. Unfortunately they didn't find any but only a raw cardboard sheet of dimensions 60cm x 80cm. Being very busy they told him to make one by himself. What are dimensions of the biggest cuboid box volum...

I feel like this action would constrain the definition of a puzzle as a whole
well of course
that's kind of the point.....
yes, that's the idea
1:21 AM
I think we should improve on the tag instead of just bombing it. Perhaps add more constraints to the tag itself. I like your suggestion for providing an argument of why [given soltuion] is the best. It would condense the asker as well as the answerer to more objective criterias and sniff out broader ones better
In that case maybe we should modify the optimization tag and remove the open-ended tag
IMO a good optimization puzzle is NOT open-ended
well. if there's a proof of optimality for a solution then it's not open-ended
... what he just said
Exactly what I'm in favor of.
sorry i'm kinda here and not here
@Brandon_J Ok so going back to this puzzle -
That's OK
1:24 AM
(thanks for finding it)
You're saying we should merge the two tags and then edit the tag itself?
I think that made a good optimization puzzle
I'd hate to see us rescope in such a way that it isn't allowed here
@North No, get rid of one entirely
I think
@Rubio was there a proof that the answer was optimal?
My concern is that the puzzle would be the same puzzle whether the OP knew the correct best answer or not
1:25 AM
@Rubio It looks like a good puzzle to me, but I think the answer should give a brief justification of why it is the best possible answer.
I'm not sure how you would prove that
I mean - for that specific puzzle at least there is a provable limit
it's that good of a puzzle XD
that was half serious and half ironic
but there were a couple solutions offered early on that seemed pretty optimal, especially when taking notice of the previous incarnation of the puzzle (he posted two versions)
I'm not concerned with whether the OP knows the correct best answer. (Though a question where the best answer is potentially impossible to find is probably a bad puzzle, because the OP probably hasn't put much thought into making sure it's findable. In this case, nobody would be able to answer, which isn't really a problem in my eyes.)
and then ended up being not being the optimal solutions
1:27 AM
could you define "pretty optimal"?
I mean - eyeballing the solution, it would be hard to imagine a better one. At least, until you actually see a better one.
kind of like
an open-ended puzzle
From way I see it, there's no room to grow nor learn if we just slash a tag. Puzzles are narrowly scoped, yes, to avoid "too broad" question, but perhaps we also need to rethink how we structure Puzzling SE.
No room to grow? The site's growing just fine. We've destroyed and/or disallowed tags before when they didn't fit with the site: [semi-interactive-puzzle] is the one that immediately comes to mind.
It's a lot easier to grow if you only build off of a solid foundation
That sounded much wiser in my head lol
1:30 AM
I am admittedly taking a devil's advocate position, but only because I think there's some amount of merit to it
I have seen some puzzles that sure feel "open ended" in that proving the last-offered solution optimal would be difficult
just to play the devil's advocate to the guy playing devil's advocate
and if there is no obvious way to demonstrate that the answer is THE correct answer, that doesn't seem like a reason to kill the question
In my opinion, if proving a solution optimal is really that difficult, then it's a bad puzzle.
1:32 AM
(at least, not in and of itself)
A puzzle where you can have the correct answer, but there's no way to be sure of it is a bad puzzle.
@Rubio It doesn't
@Deusovi Why?
@Rubio What's the point of a question with no demonstrably correct answer?
@Brandon_J What came first, the chicken or the egg?
1:33 AM
(equating "THE" with "demonstrably")
@Brandon_J You can have questions without a demonstrably correct answer
Some of them are called paradoxes
@North This seems fairly self-evident to me: a puzzle's solution should be clearly the solution. A puzzle should have one clear best answer - this is a position we as a site have taken many times before. Why are optimization questions suddenly an exception?
@North You can! And they aren't puzzles, and are not appropriate for this site.
But can you have them on SE?
er what he said
Nobody's preventing those questions from existing. You can talk about them in other places, or even in this chat. They're just not appropriate as questions for PSE.
Are we getting anywhere?
1:36 AM
No, we're going in circle, but Deusovi is slowly making a tagent line
Deus! Deusovi, why are you so smart :/
oooooh...a spiral
well -
is the paper -> box question a PSE valid puzzle?
Look at us four: discussing the fate of a tag that's hardly even used
There's a definitive limit, which I think we can safely assume we won't hit
Can we though?
1:38 AM
Is it right now? Yes. Should it be? I'm not sure.
can the answer right now be proven to be optimal?
Not a genius mathematician. Pass.
I mean, I couldn't prove it, but that doesn't necessarily mean nobody can. but I have no idea if it is provable.
I feel like that's a problem.
I feel like Deus and Rubio are the two boxers and Brandon and I are like the cheerleaders on the side XD
1:40 AM
Go, Deusovi, Go!
only problem with that: cheerleaders are usually attractive
and I dunno about you
but I am drastically underqualified
I'm a tree. I'm totally hot. Especially during the winter
On the subject of tags, should unsolved mysteries really be a tag here?
Don't change the subject......
I'm not sure whether it can be proven to be optimal. I think the rule about the trapezoids' shape makes the proof much more difficult, and the puzzle would be improved (and probably provably optimized) with trapezoids changed to rectangles.
@North I would say yes - the tag applies to puzzles found elsewhere that have been accessible and unsolved for some time. Trouble is, if the world can't solve it, we usually can't, either.
well I mean I guess here's my thing -
I think that was a good puzzle.
1:43 AM
@Brandon_J That's exactly my point
I would hate to see us classify it as not acceptable here because the answer isn't provably THE answer
The puzzle's validity doesn't change based on our ability to solve it, though
OK 2 separate discussions
@Brandon_J What's the point of posting it then?
back to the topic at hand
Okay, we'll discuss this later
1:44 AM
thanks :) I can't keep track of two conversations at once
anyway. i'm tied up for the next 20 minutes or so, but my whole issue with "let's not have anything that is 'open ended' because we can't prove with finality a solution" is if it excludes puzzles like the box ones. I would like to make sure we don't kill t hose types of puzzles, personally.
With that minor change of trapezoids into rectangles, I think it would be much easier to show when an answer is optimized.
Also that trapezoid one: isn't there a mathematical way to prove that there's an optimal solution?
And so that question would live with this new policy (with a very minor change that would only benefit the puzzle).
OK, regarding this puzzle - it's a grey area, perhaps, and it's kind of where we've drawn our lines. Is it safe to say that all puzzles that are more broad than this should be closed?
1:46 AM
@North Do you have one in mind?
see, North, I can box, too! :D
@Deusovi No, definitely not (I'm horrid with math) but it comes across as one that could theoretically be proven with an equation or formula instead of wild guessing
Is that a wild guess?
It's an intuition
1:48 AM
so were all of the guesses
Something I've gathered from ciphering :/
Yeah, there should be some formula to this... (dialing math s/o rn)
Not everything in math is equations and formulas. Proofs are, in general, not something that can be done mechanically.
But to repeat my question: Have we drawn a (somewhat thick) line that rules out puzzles more broad than the box one? I guess we need to wait for Rubio to come back to reach a consensus
But you're solving for an optimal amount of volume
All this volume stuff is a bunch of noise
sorry I had to :P
1:51 AM
You can get an upper bound on the volume with a bit of algebra, but that doesn't mean that that upper bound is reachable.
Is calculus needed? Idk
oh gee I just got the talkative badge....go figure. Also, knowing the limit=/=knowing how to reach the limit
Again, not everything is doable mechanically. And just because we have a limit, that doesn't mean that we can even reach it. There might be something preventing that limit from being reachable.
@Brandon_J I believe so - at least, among the three of us. (I'm not sure North agrees, and we can't really be sure of the rest of the community's thoughts.)
Hmm perhaps
i just think we might be able to gain something from keeping the tag, that's all
@Deusovi Well of course, but we're at least somewhat representative I guess
@North Such as?
1:55 AM
@Brandon_J Coping and learning to expand in situations. I normally try to optimize/fix it before slashing it
I'm saying there might be something to be gained from improving it
The criteria is too broad. I can agree with that. Something needs to be done.
Does that gain coincide with SE's goals and policies?
I don't understand
What I mean is that just because it improves our quality of life in some way doesn't mean that it belongs on PSE
some broad questions are fun, and can be learned from, but don't belong here.
Improving the way we look at things can improve the site
so we improve the way we look at things by removing the tag
1:59 AM
"Improving" it is exactly what we're trying to do. Some questions can be retooled to be pure optimization questions, under my proposal. Other questions, the ones where it's unclear when you have the best answer, would be disallowed. The tag could be 'improved' by cutting out most of its content, and that's a very bad sign.
I think I just fell for equivocation somewhere.
Perhaps you could elaborate on what is to be gained by keeping and modifying the tag?
Again, use as a case study. This was an attempt at puzzles that would be changed when people answered one part of them, usually to update part of a story and add an additional component. Some people found these fun! But we soon realized that they were not suitable for PSE, and so the tag was deprecated.
What was exactly the problem that arose with these questions?
People spamming answers?
Gonna ping rubio in about 60 secs XD
2:05 AM
They didn't fit the format of the site at all. Answers were invalidated by updates to the puzzle, and this was an intentional feature. They also put several unrelated questions into one.
I see
OK, @Rubio you said 20 minutes :D "OK, regarding this [the box] puzzle - it's a grey area, perhaps, and it's kind of where we've drawn our lines. Is it safe to say that all puzzles that are more broad than this should be closed?" - me
And one of PSE's goals is to be an archive of puzzles that are solvable at any point in time, whether that's as soon as they're posted or many years later. Those questions did not fit this goal.
ok back
I did say "or so". :)
2:07 AM
obviously that was only on the smaller side of 20
sorry, though, if you have something to do, go do it
So why are the box puzzles a grey area exactly? I mean, if we're going to have a policy on this, we should have a definitive standard ... what is the standard we're settling on, for which the box puzzles are a grey fit?
I guess grey area as in we can't agree right now
eh. then let me ask a different way. what DO we agree on right now?
1) Open-ended puzzles are too broad
2) Something needs to change
That all puzzles more broad than the box one are too broad? :)
2:10 AM
I'm not sure. You tell us, since you're the one arguing several different positions.
ah, give him a break, he's busy riding his horse through the pool.
@Brandon_J ?
#nocontext hold on I'll find the context
3 hours ago, by Brandon_J
now you're marco rubio in a pool on a horse with your eyes closed while dressed business casual
Oh lol
Okay in all honesty though, I'm pretty sure the rest of the community doesn't really care tbh
Or most, i should say
Still, though, I guess we would like to know your position, currently?
(that was to rubio)
2:14 AM
I think we should cultivate a community that brings in the type of people who do care.
My position, more or less, is that I feel a rule that says a puzzle must have a definitive and provable best answer could exclude some puzzles we have here right now that are nevertheless interesting puzzles to pursue to a solution
Alright so reading through all the arguments again, here's my stance
@North 1. Not sure that's a good reason to not do this. 2. four people downvoted my question.
@Brandon_J I'm just pointing it out. Not saying that should be a determining factor
@Rubio OK, so essentially all puzzles more broad than the box one are too broad?
2:15 AM
@Rubio You can pursue them to a solution, but how do you know it's the solution? How do you know it's really the best, and not just an interesting not-quite-answer?
@Deusovi Maybe you don't.
I think the open-ended tag should be narrowed in its scope of definition (or perhaps a rework), but if that proves to be futile, we should slash it. But I don't think it should be slashed until some effort has been done to rework it
Now currently, I'm not sure how to rework it
@Rubio In which case is it a good idea for it to be on PSE, where we stress demonstrably correct answers?
I mean, if the original setter who knows the right answer isn't available to confirm it, we may never know if the answer everyone thinks is demonstrably correct and upvotes as such actually IS "the" answer
@Rubio Puzzles should be clear enough so that you do know that; a puzzle that fails to accomplish that is likely too broad.
2:17 AM
@Rubio That's a flaw in the community, not the question IMO
flaw in the asker
@Brandon_J nah
@North How exactly would you like to rework it? Because right now it seems like you have a vague idea that open-ended questions can be sometimes good, but you don't know how. And you haven't demonstrated that to us.
I think Deus is right on that one
@Deusovi Touche
I guess here's my concern
We have puzzles where the setter says that the "best" answer is the one which, given such and such type of scoring, has the best score
We've, and I mean explicitly, said this is an ok thing to do
2:19 AM
New book coming out: How to win an argument. Step one: Side with Deusovi.
@Rubio Where, just out of curiosity?
That's the policy we have gone by in the past, yes. There's no reason that we can't change that.
How do we reconcile that with a puzzle where the setter honestly doesn't know a best solution, and wants someone to solve it "optimally" for some loose definition thereof
I'm not sure that is a puzzle.
Not necessarily one, at least.
2:21 AM
That's the box puzzle, actually. At least, it would be if say I had set it.
I wouldn't know the best possible answer, just that there clearly must be one - and the intent of my question might be to figure out how to find it. (Oh, and incidentally, what is that answer, but I'm more interested in how to determine it)
And I'm not sure that that is a puzzle. (I'm also not sure there is necessarily a best answer - it could be possible to get any volume below the upper bound, but not the upper bound.)
IMO we keep getting into hypothetical scenarios where the asker doesn't know the answer. First of all, this is distinct from "open-ended." Second, in a non-open-ended question, the answer, even if the asker doesn't know the answer, is definite, and will have a definite end.
Do we now separate pure challenge questions (I create a puzzle, I know the answer, my challenge to you is to solve it and get the right answer) from actual question about how to solve a puzzle (I create it or I found it, but I don't know the best solution, show me how to find it)?
Okay, so what is defined as a puzzle?
That's kind of what we are working on right now
2:25 AM
I'm asking Deusovi and Rubio their definitions, because it's clearly contrasting
Well. See, whether the OP knows the answer doesn't affect if something is a valid puzzle or not.
@Rubio No, I don't think that's necessary. As Brandon said, the question is not one of whether the asker knows the answer.
But the box puzzle is, by definition, open ended if you can't prove a particular answer is the best answer.
@Deusovi I think the thing is "will we be able to undoubtedly recognize the solution when we see it"
well ok not "you" you, but "anyone" you
2:27 AM
actually I think that might be a good definition
will we be able to undoubtedly recognize the solution when we see it = not open-ended?
@Rubio Yes, I believe it should be only posted if there is a way to be sure that an answer is the best possible.
and everything else is open ended?
@Deusovi yeah see, I'm not sure I agree. At least, not as a bright-line rule.
I mean, if I had set that puzzle, I wouldn't even know IF a best answer is provable.
hmmm....but maybe if we ask for a provable answer that saves the question?
But now we're kinda saying if it's not provable, it shouldn't have been posted. That, from the asker's perspective, would seem a bit unfair
2:31 AM
Maybe we're saying if it isn't intended to be provable?
@Rubio I don't see how it's unfair. If I wrote a few random mysterious-sounding lines and called them a riddle, and wasn't sure what the best answer was, the question would be bad even if there was a single best fit that I wasn't aware of (say, one object fit 4 out of the 6 lines and nothing else did).
Why do we hold open-ended questions to lower standards?
Well sure but that's a bad question because it wasn't designed to have any solution
And many open-ended questions weren't designed to have any best solution either. (I could change my question to say "what object fits the most of these lines?". Would that make it acceptable, if I had one in mind that fit 2 lines?)
"Well sure but that's a bad question because it wasn't designed to have any solution" wait I feel like that contradicts something you said earlier
Too broad encompasses more territory than open-ended unprovability.
That would be bad on too-broad grounds irrespective of whether or not we thought it was open-ended
2:34 AM
@Brandon_J Too broad usually means a subjective answer could be given, or too many solutions for a single topic
Why? Why would it be too broad, if there happened to be exactly one answer that fit four of the lines? And I asked for the thing that fit the most of those lines?
"Too broad usually means a subjective answer could be given" like in an open-ended problem where the answer can be bested at any time and there is no objective way to determine the correct solution?
Well, ok, if that's the case where there is definitively one answer that fits four lines, then it's neither open-ended nor too broad. It's a crappy question for including extraneous stuff, unless there's hinting to bypass that, but it's not too broad OR open-ended
No, the question would be: "Here are six single-line riddles, each having several possible answers. What object fits the most of them?"
Actually, increase that to 10 or 20 to make it easier to best other answers.
So you're basically saying "I look like a tree, what am I" is the same thing as open-ended puzzles?
2:38 AM
This is clearly open-ended, no? And if there happens to be a single best answer that fits the most lines (but I don't know about it, and you can't show that it's the best answer), does that make it an acceptable question?
Ok let me spin that a slightly different way
@Deusovi Wouldn't that reach a point where all answers are equally valid? Which is something we avoid here?
@North No, I gave the condition that there happens to be a single best answer that fits the most of those lines.
But where's the criteria?
"What object fits the most of them?"
2:43 AM
I'm trying to write a puzzle for say a D&D campaign, and I've got a set of riddles that have already come up; they weren't specifically intended to be solvable when they were posed, because I just wanted an excuse to confuse the players. But now I realize I have an opportunity to make a master password on some door, and I'd like to use these riddles to give the players the password. Here's all the riddles. What answer would work for all of them? Or, at worst, what answer works for the most?
This site is supposed to be about creating and solving puzzles, so I think that question as posed is on topic
@Deusovi But that'll lead to arguements. There's no objectivity in the "best answer". From at least the open-ended questions I've seen, there's a objective to reach and clear guidelines (or should be clear guidelines).
I as the setter don't have an answer, and don't know if one exists, but I can give criteria (most matches) for a "best" answer, as we've told people until now they can do
Sorry that was for dues
and I legitimately want to see what the best solution available is
It's an open ended question because it's realistically not going to be provable that a particular answer is the best possible
@North The best answer is the one that fits the largest number of lines. (And for simplicity's sake, we're assuming each of these lines is something that is very clearly true or false about an object.)
2:46 AM
but some answer WILL be the "best" of the ones offered, by my criteria
@Rubio I'm sorry to say, I think that instance would be too broad
it'll lead to discrepencies... I think that example is too subjective, and would lead to sparring matches between users
and keep in mind that elsewhere in SE, the asker accepts the answer that best addresses their need, whether it's objectively the best answer to the question they actually asked
There could be a scenario where both questions are valid
I don't think that question should be on-topic as a puzzle. But that would be an instance of the tag, which would be more along the lines of traditional SE questions (where alternate answers bypassing the XY problem would be accepted).
what he said
2:48 AM
Ok, and that's fair -
but you realize that's now a loophole to get literally any open ended question in
Not that I necessarily think that's a bad thing
What I don't want is for people to be able to throw some nonsense together and ask people "what's the best you can come up with for this" - as per your original scenario
Well, I think the question just asking "what the best answer is to all the riddles" shouldn't be allowed.
But I do want to allow for someone who actually has a real, open-ended question, to be able to ask it
But "How might I use these riddles to a useful end in my campaign, as opposed to just being the meaningless text I originally intended?" would be acceptable.
So I think -
maybe -
2:51 AM
@Rubio Here's the thing -- "some nonsense, thrown together" describes most open-ended questions to me, if not all of them.
@CStafford-14 You should probably take cover
It's a war-zone here
Nah, just a guy riding his horse in a pool next to a video game ghost
the best thing here is that "open ended" is probably NOT a viable tag nor a viable format for a challenge question - one of the variety where the puzzle is designed to have a correct answer, and where you are looking to have PSE find the solution
I feel like there's a 'but'.......
Challenge questions should have demonstrably correct answers, and presumably are designed to have them
2:52 AM
@Brandon_J And the cheerleaders is a tree and a uhhh Brandon?
Hmmm. Call me a naive cynic nerd who doesn't play video games
Actual open-ended questions should be allowed, if they're open-ended because the OP believes there is no definitive best solution, and is basically admitting as much and asking not "Here's my puzzle, can you solve it?", but instead, "Here's a puzzle, does it have a best answer?"
That difference is perhaps subtle but important
when is said puzzle considered solved?
Questions that are not challenge questions -- those about puzzle design -- are inherently "open-ended" (but not ), as with most of the rest of SE. This isn't a problem, and I am happy to have those questions here.
The question in that case is not "what's the answer"
the question is "is there a best answer"
the answer is "yes, here is how / why what"
or "no, here is why not"
2:55 AM
In which case it isn't open ended
because the answer is a yes or a no
@Rubio Sounds reasonable to me.
@Brandon_J Only if it's provably yes or no
I think a lot of those questions will just languish, unanswered (since there may be no feasible way to prove whether there is a best solution). But I'm not sure that's really a problem.
If it's challenging (and perhaps impossible) to prove an upper / lower bound or whatever, it may not be provably best, which means any particular solution proffered is only "optimal" until someone else does better. I think there's room for such questions, but not as challenge questions.
@Rubio Not to be a smart alec, but of couurse
2:58 AM
@Rubio In those cases, any offered solution is not an answer to the question. It may be useful as a comment ("you can do at least this well"), but it's not an answer.
Well, it may be part of an answer to the question, so not necessarily relegated to a comment.
I mean - it may be a wrong answer, but it's an answer, right
The answer may be "I believe this is the best. <blah>"
00:00 - 03:0003:00 - 23:00

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