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3:32 AM
Q: Primus Inter Non Pares

greysaffLooking around inside an antique shop, I come across an old hand mirror. I pick it up and notice something written on its edges. Carved on it are the words below. Effortful list freaks esteemed at specially prescribed figures, imply me Can you figure out what this means?

4:14 AM
Q: What next step can I take in solving this sudoku?

Matheswaran Kanagarajan There are lots of pairs and I don't want to assume any values.

4:33 AM
Q: *Playtest feedback request* Puzzle 1

MobileGlickI'm working on my first series of puzzles and would love some feedback for any of you that give them a shot. This first one would be found next to a box with a 4 digit padlock on it. (you can assume it's to help you open the padlock). Feedback encouraged.

5:13 AM
Q: *Playtest feedback request* Puzzle 2

MobileGlickThis is the second puzzle in the series I'm working on. It's very different from the first as I tried to do different kinds of puzzles for each of these. In this one, players would have to find each of these images so to save that step I've just pasted them all below. The players then need to fig...

5:25 AM
@Sphinx @Deusovi Wait so is there any difference between this puzzle and this or have you just not seen it?
I hadn't seen that one - thanks for pointing it out.
Welp I've doomed everyones answer - including mine
Q: Find the probability

JAGRITI BANSALThere are n number of people in a room. If any two people doesn’t know each other, they shake hand. At the end, ever body announces their number of hand shake. Total number of handshake is : N(N-1)/2 But what will be answer to below probability ques? What is the possibility that ever body’s an...

5:42 AM
Just to make sure - does editing a deleted answer automatically vote to undelete it or not? I actually want to edit my answer without undeleting it right now because I have a lot of proof ahead of me
6:30 AM
Nope, it doesn't.
7:25 AM
@Deusovi Uh, what? That meta post was about which questions are off-topic ("the end of open-ended puzzles"), not which answers should be deleted if the question is not off-topic.
Plus, my answer actually was optimal at the time of posting.
Wait, what the hell?! You've even deleted the optimal answer?!
I actually think we should debate this and create a new meta post on this topic
I'm writing one now.
imo I think the course of action (since those posts became hnq's) should've been first to protect the questions so that the countless unoptimal solutions at time of posting were avoided
There is no mandate for deleting answers under the "no open-ended puzzles" rule.
The whole meta thread doesn't mention deleting answers at all.
7:42 AM
"Optimization questions
These should have a provably best answer (ideally, not one that needs heavy programming or mathematics to prove, in the same way that we currently don't want puzzles that require heavy programming or mathematics to solve). Answers should come with justification of why they are optimal; an answer without this is not a full answer, but more of a comment."
> If an absolute best answer exists and seems likely to be provable, then it's not open-ended: even if some answers are posted with successively better but non-optimal solutions, those are partial answers with increasing progress towards an upper/lower bound, not just iterations in an open-ended answer stream.
The whole meta is about closing certain questions, not deleting certain answers.
But the part I quoted also established that non-proven answers to optimization questions are not answers, no?
The question is "find the least number of eights necessary to do X". If I find a proof that it can be done with 9 eights, then 9 is an upper bound on the optimal value that we're seeking. That's a partial answer.
In some combinatorial problems, the optimal value is actually an open problem, and proving a new upper bound could be worth a valuable research paper!
We're not operating on that level, but improving a bound is still progress towards the final solution.
"Progress towards the final solution" is not a solution in itself, though. And once again, with the meta post I linked to we got a fairly good consensus (by this site's standards, at least) that that isn't an answer, even a partial one.
And if something that is Not An Answer is posted as an answer, it's deleted. This is standard practice across the whole network. (Ideally, all of the answers would be converted to comments, but that would bring much more text from all of them along for the ride.)
@Deusovi That's a trick response though :-) Citing "standard practice across the whole network" for deleting NaA is irrelevant if there's disagreement over whether a particular class of answers is NaA or not.
And I don't think a throwaway line saying a certain types of answer on an on-topic question "is not a full answer", in a discussion about making a slightly different type of question off-topic, is enough mandate for declaring them NaA.
(oops, fixed my quoted text above - not sure why it didn't all appear before)
7:58 AM
Your quote above is at +5, and I don't think that's enough to declare consensus. +16 is much better, especially considering the amount of people who usually vote on meta posts. And it wasn't a throwaway line - it's a fairly core part of the proposal's handling of optimization questions.
The discussion is about which questions to declare off-topic, so anything about the handling of answers is parenthetical, surely.
I'm not really saying my answer represents a consensus, but for being posted weeks after the discussion was wrapped up, +5 isn't bad.
I did think it was necessary to clarify exactly what we mean by "open-ended question", because at that time we were seeing false VTCs on things that weren't really open-ended at all, just because of words like "smallest".
Surely? I don't see why you'd say that - it seemed pretty integral to me.
Why would the handling of answers on certain on-topic questions be integral to a discussion about making a slightly different class of questions off-topic?
Slightly different? That was exactly one of the types of questions that we were focusing on in that discussion. And that particular type of question makes up a full third of the proposal.
The question we're looking at now is not open-ended.
The meta was about closing open-ended questions.
The questions might be only slightly different in that both types are about optimisation, but the key difference is that one type is off-topic and the other is on-topic.
Meta: "what should we do about open-ended questions?"
Answer: "open-ended questions should be closed, for this and that reasons (and also certain types of answer on certain on-topic questions aren't proper answers)"
Second answer: "here's what open-ended questions are, so we know what we're closing and what not"
8:11 AM
The "proposal", which once again was a pretty clear consensus (as is now mentioned in the first line of the meta question), gives up a full third of its text to optimization questions.
Right, but it's about how to handle a specific category of questions.
Not about how to handle answers on a category of questions which are not even covered by the "these should be off-topic" proposal/consensus.
Or do you think everyone voting on that consensus was voting that certain answers should be deleted as well as voting that certain questions should be closed?
What? That section has only two sentences, and one of them is about what counts as an answer to those questions.
Meta: "what should we do about open-ended questions?"
Answer: "open-ended questions should be closed, and here's why. here is a proposal for what similar questions do not fall under this category, and what additional restrictions they and their answers must fulfill"
And now we see the problem with making multiple policy proposals in a single answer :-)
It's hard to know what those upvotes give you a mandate for.
It seemed clear enough to me that if anyone had a problem with that part, it would have been mentioned in at least one comment (even if it was "upvoting, but I don't like this particular part").
I thought the main discussion there was about declaring a certain class of questions off-topic. I'd hazard a guess that most other voters were also thinking about closing questions rather than deleting answers.
And "not a full answer, but more of a comment" is a kind of thin mandate for mass deletions anyway. Every partial answer is "not a full answer".
8:16 AM
I agree that it's a good idea to clarify further what we mean by 'open-ended questions', and what we should do with their answers (and would be happy to discuss this more on meta for the next few days).
@Randal'Thor Right, I agree with your concern - I think that it's probably a good idea to handle it with downvotes (and linking to these guidelines) in the ambiguous cases, and only handle it with deletion when it's clear that the post is unambiguously Not An Answer. — Deusovi ♦ yesterday
In fact, we were just agreeing yesterday that borderline partial answers should often be handled with downvotes instead of outright deletion :-)
@Deusovi I've written up a meta post, just polishing it now. Trying to make the question as neutral as possible ;-)
(Incidentally, I think your categorization is too lenient - to give an admittedly ridiculous example, it still allows questions like "what five Scrabble-legal words, when concatenated, have the highest MD5 hash", which is technically provably optimizable, but I don't think we would want to accept people posting random sets of words with lucky hashes as "partial answers".)
(I think the answers posted here are much closer to this than actual "solution attempts", and don't think it's a good idea to allow them - but that's a topic for meta discussion, of course.)
@Deusovi I'd hope a question like that would in practice either be downvoted into the basement, or quickly proved by someone using a computer, rather than people posting random guesses.
@Deusovi And actually ... did you check the comments on your meta answer?
"...then Answer A is retroactively no longer a correct answer." How so? It's not wrong unless it doesn't solve the problem posed in the question; it's just no longer the optimal one. Someone can still solve the puzzle later and try to optimize their answer; they just might not come up with the most optimized answer. I don't see a non-optimal answer as any different than a partially solved crossword. The answerer got partway there, just not all the way. (I don't know what's best for this site, but that point just seems wrong to me.) — jpmc26 Apr 23 at 20:57
(and following comments)
@Randal'Thor I'd hope so too! I did say the example was ridiculous, and it was intentionally so. But I would also hope the same thing would happen to a lot of these number-formation questions that are also likely only truly solvable with brute force.
I'm not the only one who thinks non-optimal answers can be OK.
(In moderation, of course ... not a hundred "random guess" answers.)
8:25 AM
How about one big CW answer containing each attempt and replacing each non-optimal one with a better one thought of later.
@Randal'Thor Yes, and I also read (and participated in) discussions with that particular user after that. That's not the same thing we're talking about, though.
D and R al'T: On the way down saw your activity here and wanted to say good night and good morning. @TheSimpliFire, we'll get to know each other.
Hello @humn
@humn Good morning!
I've all but given up on the full out-of-bounds crossword and might go with the test case:
The intended:
8:32 AM
I've posted a new meta, @Deus, after a lot of editing during our conversation as I understood your standpoint a bit more.
Hopefully the question itself is neutral enough ... :-)
And now, AFK.
Template for CW @Deusovi. E.g. if someone comes up with nine 7s w/ concat. they replace the expression in that part of the spoiler and change ten to nine. This means there will only be one answer for each one, and can be continually improved.
Argh. Internet drop. The intended:
The probable, as advertiszed weeks ago, if you haven't solved it already:
@Randal'Thor I'll try to write up a response tomorrow, but it is currently Very Late o'clock, so I'll also be going AFK. For now, I've locked the two relevant questions and undeleted the affected answers.
@Deusovi , (It is truly late o'clock where you are. I'm happy to have caught you. Pleasant dreams!)
(Thank you! Good night! (Or "morning", I guess?))
8:44 AM
@Rand al'Thor, it is early o'clock where you are. I bragged your recent poem to someone who crashes invitation-only poetry gaggles around here and he loved it.
Q: About NON-open-ended puzzles with multiple answers working towards an optimum

Rand al'ThorA while ago, consensus was reached that open-ended puzzles are no longer welcome on our site. That means, if a question has no absolute "best possible" answer, so that any answer could conceivably be outdone in the future, then we're supposed to close it as too open-ended to work well here: there...

@Deusovi Goodnight! And thanks.
@humn Which recent poem?
Care to share a goodnight sentiment at chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/info/39978/the-troll ?
Chatting here or chatting there,
'Tis nary a fleck 'twixt either or.
I'll be one, and you'll be t'other,
And with us both the room will ring.
@Randal'Thor ! You've helped me flower and flourish. (Still looking for the poem forwarded. Please venture the Troll room.)
8:58 AM
Ventured, as always.
3 hours later…
11:32 AM
Q: A Mainer Expression

hexomino+--------------+--------------+--------------+--------------+ | Box | Day | Files | Means | +--------------+--------------+--------------+--------------+ | Love | Span | Objective | Pad | +--------------+--------------+----------...

2 hours later…
1:32 PM
Q: rearrange the numbers as specified rules - Combinatorial puzzle

Sayed Mohd Ali     1   8  9  4 7 0 3 5 2 6 Arranged them so that the numbers in a way that the 3-sides added up alike-that is, to 16. Can you rearrange the numbers so that the 3-sides shall sum to the smallest number possible? , Of course, the central barrel (which happens to be 7 above) is not a pa...

1 hour later…
2:33 PM
Q: How many ways you can go from point A to point B

Pʀıncess Anaya I know I have drawn the picture badly but can you tell how many ways we can go from point A to point B. each path used once and no turning back...

3:31 PM
CCCC hints: 1. The part of the clue that's iffy is the word "accepted". It was outright wrong when it said "taken in". As msh210 observes, the new version has a better surface reading than the old; what's wrong with it is not the surface. 2. First letter is I.
Q: Where is it? - The Google Earth Challenge Ep. 1

ConifersI've just found something fun when I tried to give hint in What is a BEN Number™. Let's find whether this puzzle could get well-reputed or not :P This puzzle will provide a screenshot in somewhere on Google Earth, please try your best to identify where the location is. The reasons to find out ...

4:13 PM
Q: Where is it? - The Google Earth Challenge Ep. 2

ConifersWell, Just got instant kill from the first puzzle :P. Let's try harder this time! This puzzle will provide a screenshot in somewhere on Google Earth, please try your best to identify where the location is. The reasons to find out the location should be part of your answer. Will give a zoom-...

1 hour later…
5:33 PM
Q: Patient No. 141

Quark-epochI have a rare disease and it is really dangerous. I need oxygen tanks supplying oxygen to me. It is like I rely on oxygen tanks more than water and food. I think that my path to cure takes wholehearted optimism from my friends and colleagues who have constantly been supporting me and I think that...

@GarethMcCaughan I think it is INTESTATE: INT(er)EST and ATE. It's easy to see why "taken in" doesn't work: It's the past participle and we need a past tense. "Accepted" can be either and I think it's used as in: "That's hard to accept / swallow / eat"?
(I had to llok it up. I'm not very confident with all those fancy Latin-based words you English like to use and first thought the word meant something like "having no testes". Ahem.)
("Look", of course. Apparently I have problems with the Anglo-Saxon words, too.)
5:50 PM
@MOehm Yes! Well done. My apologies for the slightly iffy clue.
(But I was really pleased with "unwillingly".)
Yes, that's a nice cryptic def. There's also the slight misdirection that "rent" could be without other stuff to make "reluctant", only that there's no useful other stuff and that reluctant doesn't really mean unwillingly, just unwilling.
That's nice, but it never occurred to me :-).
6:08 PM
CCCC: Try rindless "Oud Edam" cheese from Holland (5)
1 hour later…
7:09 PM
(I have the answer but I've posted too many C4s lately and will let someone else do it)
Nice rind -- I mean surface.
Thanks, but you can't judge a cheese by its cover, they say.
Q: Easy Riddle: What A Foolish Goal!

Dr Xorile I want love for my enemy But not for myself. I send objects to my enemy, But I don't want my enemy to get them. I am matched with my enemy. But in the end I want the match myself. Why do we run around doing this pointless exercise?

I have just realized something: a coward is somebody who cowers.
8:11 PM
Yup. And a braggart (a different version of the same ending) is someone who brags. A laggard is someone who lags. A drunkard is someone who gets drunk. I'm not sure whether "wizard" was originally a term of abuse -- someone who is wise about Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know.
A bastard doesn't appear to be someone who bastes (there are a bunch of theories about the origin of its bast- element and I don't think anyone knows what's true), nor is a Spaniard someone who spans.
Hm. If Wiktionary is to be believed, the words to cower and coward are unrelated. It also doesn't quite fit the pattern of the other words, otherwise a coward should be soneone who cows, no?
@MOehm But actually, they are. Someone can be "cowed".
Yes, but in that case, it's not the coward who does the cowing. The coward would be the, er, "cowee", no?
Something like that.
But they still cow, therefore a coward is someone who cows.
(Not sure if that's even considered a usecase of it...)
I'm not convinced.
8:27 PM
I think it's because "cow" is a verb, not an adverb.
So none of that even really makes sense.
Hmm, indeed, my yuppage was entirely incorrect: "coward" and "cower" are unrelated, as apparently are "coward" and "cow". My apologies for confirming something that didn't deserve confirmation. The first element in "coward" is apparently from the Latin for a tail.
@GarethMcCaughan Interesting.
1 hour later…
10:05 PM
@MOehm GO (try) + [-o]U[-d] [-e]DA[-m] = GOUDA
Q: Is it possible to find easily the number of RNA chains after a fragmentation?

Chris Steinbeck BellThis riddle has got me confused over several days and I'm not sure how to find the answer. The story is shown below: A molecular scissor is an enzyme which breaks down RNA chain. At a laboratory a technician uses a G-enzyme into the chain CCGGUCCGAAAG and it gets broken in the sites wher...

10:35 PM
Q: Arranging people to be in a group with every other person at least once

Jac FrallThere are 12 people. These people start in 4 groups - each with 3 people. They swap groups 4 times, so they are in a total of 5 groups. Is it possible for each person to be in a group with every other person at least once?


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