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User Guide and FAQ

This is the User Guide Frequently Asked Questions list (FAQ) for this forum. If you have any questions that are not covered in this document, please ask them in the chatroom within the new puzzles section of the forum.

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William Topaz McGonagall (Kingpin)
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 11:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi - Welcome to lateral

This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that we have compiled about we do, and how we operate this forum. Please read this guide before you take part - it will make it easier for you in the long run!
What are lateral thinking puzzles?
Sometimes called situation puzzles, they typically involve a situation which requires some kind of explanation or answer. There is usually insufficient information to solve the problem at first sight so the solver has to ask questions or propose solutions. The best lateral thinking puzzles are intriguing and seemingly illogical yet have a satisfying answer. Browse the archives her to get a feel for what they are and how they run.
What puzzles do we NOT do here?
Riddles, straight logical puzzles (the Sherlock Holmes , grid logic type puzzles) Numeric sequence puzzles etc. These are all excellent puzzles in their own right , but they have their own forums - Elsewhere - Not here!
How do I submit a question?
Simply register and submit your question within the puzzle thread. Once you are registered you can submit questions and new puzzles as often as you wish.
Important - please note
Once you have asked a question there may be a delay before the host answers - this may sometimes be only a few minutes if they are online the same time as you. However it may be a day or two - some people play only during the week and not at weekend (or vice versa), and always remember that this is a truly international forum - there are players in almost every time zone - so please keep away from 'hurry up' type messages. Occasionally a host will take several weeks to respond. If this happens the puzzle may be moved to a sub page - for 'abandoned' puzzles'. This will be done by a Moderator. If the puzzle 'comes back to life' then it can be moved back to the main board. Not many puzzles are abandoned - but it does happen from time to time.

When sending a question/post, please check your post in the Preview screen that appears after pushing the Preview/Post Message button and check whether you made any typing errors. Errors in formatting will turn up on the Preview screen.

Hosting a new puzzle?
Once you have registered you can pose your own puzzles. However, you then have the responsibility of answering questions submitted by others. Please note however - we recommend that nobody run more than three puzzles at the same time. This is to stop people 'hogging' the forum. Also - It is not an easy task keeping up to date replying to four or more puzzles!

Please keep in mind that this is a lateral puzzles forum. This means we do situational puzzles here, asking questions that can be answered with Yes or No. The forum is NOT meant for riddles or mathematical puzzles, there are other forums and newsgroups where those can be posted.

When submitting a puzzle please include your name enclosed in []'s
[User123] My New puzzle.. .or
[Person456] Precision Engineering!

We do this so it is easy to identify who has posted a particular puzzle. This makes it easy to search in the archives for puzzles set by a particular person. You may for example find you particularly like puzzles set by a particular person, due to the topics they use, or the way they run a puzzle. Please do not ask if this can be automated - it can not (unfortunately). We all forget from time to time - a moderator can fix it up, but please do not make a habit of it!

The title for a puzzle may be related to the puzzle or not. In the above example 'My New puzzle' is not a particularly good title - try to think of something catching and original, but not too complex.

When submitting a new puzzle/post, please check your post in the Preview screen that appears after pushing the Preview/Post Message button and check whether you made any typing errors. Errors in formatting will turn up on the Preview screen.

How do I answer questions asked in one of my puzzles?
You should keep your answers succinct and accurate. Yes/No answers are generally best though you can give other answers e.g. irrelevant or please rephrase. Your answers should never deliberately mislead.

Please cut and paste the original question into the message box and the add your response: Some people identify each response with the name of the person who asked it - feel free to do it if you wish - its up to you.

Yes/No answers are generally best though you can give other answers e.g. irrelevant or please rephrase. Your answers should never deliberately mislead. Do not however offer extra information, unless specifically asked. The exception to this would be if a puzzle is 'drying up' and you want to give the players a hint or clue.

Yope - is a special term that has been thought up on the forum. It is an answer that means Yes AND No - sometimes you will find it is the only way you can honestly answer a particular question. Yope should normally provoke further questions to clarify the original question.

Sometimes you will often find that Yesish or Noish (meaning sort of yes or sort of no) seem appropriate responses. The more you, as a host stray from straight Yes/No answers the more hints you are giving away. It's up to you how much you want to do this.

You may also on occasion want to answer a question as wrong assumption (which is often abbreviated to WA or FA (false assumption) - again it is a clue - after all a NO could almost always replace a 'wrong assumption' response.

I should mention at this stage that there is one other common abbreviation used in the forum. It is FYOI or FOYI (for From Your Own Imagination or Figment of Your Imagination) often, near the start of a puzzle, people will try to find out the source (eg, is it from a book? is it from a film?) and FYOI? is a quick way of saying "did you make it up yourself?"
NB sometimes hosts don't want to reveal sources to puzzles, don't be offended if this happens, it's purely that they want you to work out the situation, rather than remembering it.

The forum recommends that you use BOLD formatting. for your replies. This makes it easier for everyone to read your responses and keeps things clear. Some people will also use italics as comments or 'asides'

To find out more about formatting Read This. Some HTML tags are also supported - but I can not at this stage give a list as I personally am not familiar with that technique.

What if a puzzle 'dries up'
Players may ask you for a 'Recap' - you do not have to give this but it is often useful to get the puzzle moving again, as it ties together all the information so far, and put you, the host's feel to it, which often is enough to start things moving again.

Should I give hints? If people are really stuck you may want to give them a hint: do so - maybe using

Do not give too many hints - if you do so you might as well just tell us all a story!

What if I think I know the answer?
If you find a puzzle to which you know the answer because you heard or read the puzzle before, please do NOT post the solution straight away - e-mail your solution to the puzzle host, to ask whether your solution is the one s/he has in mind. If it is, please stay out of the puzzle. If it is not, of course you can join and ask questions about it! There are always people who don't know the solution yet, and you would spoil the fun of puzzling for them by posting an answer straight away. The fun here is not in knowing the solution to a puzzle, but in figuring it out!

Most puzzles seem to go through two phases - the first is made up of a lot of 'ground work' where some basic facts are established - you may see questions such as "Is he human?" "Do both 'its' refer to the same thing". During this phase it would always be good practice to email an answer if you think you know it. As the puzzle progresses you will see more 'logical deduction' type questions appearing. It is often OK now to begin to suggest possible solutions - although if you have a 'verbatim' answer copied out of a book of 'Lateral Thinking Puzzles', please do not post this as a 'possible solution'. It will be obvious that you are supplying a 'preformatted suggestion' and all you succeed in doing is spoiling someone else's fun!

How do I post the answer to my own puzzle?
If someone has given the answer or something extremely close then by all means post the answer but please put the word SPOILER in the title of your posting so that people browsing the puzzle will not have their pleasure ruined.
Recommended would be something like

************* SPOILER **************

NB – please don’t use the word “spoiler” in a puzzle that isn’t finished, it can cause some problems for moderators – it has become convention to say $poiler if mentioning it becomes necessary.

Should all puzzles be original or can I post a classic puzzle?
If you'd like to post a puzzle which you didn't make up yourself, please remember that a lot of the puzzlers here are very experienced with lateral puzzles and know most, if not all, of the puzzles that have been circulating for years, or classics, as we call them.

Please, please, please do not post any of the puzzles on this page or this page.. They are 'Absolute All time classics' and you will find very few, if any responses - other than the occasional 'flame'! Also, please check the archives to see if your puzzle has been run before.

Before posting a classic, please search the forum for clues from the description and/or the solution using the Keyword Search and if that puzzle has been posted in the previous two weeks, please refrain from posting it again.
You can of course post any classic you like, but don't be discouraged if nobody asks a question, because chances are you'll have to wait for someone new to the forum to give it a try, as the older members already know them.
Also, it is appreciated if you start your puzzle subject in this case with "(Classic)". If you think it may be a classic but you are unsure simply add (Possible Classic) or similar.

Where can I get more of these puzzles?
Look in the books and links pages.

Why do I have to register?
We want to keep this discussion group to lateral puzzle fans and to exclude those who would wish to post spam or porn messages. That is why users are registered and can be de-registered.

What if I forget my user ID or password?
Please re-register. Sorry - we have no way to reset your password (I know it seems a bit limited but it's just one of those things you know!)

You can also read This Page which has some other useful information.

Any further questions you may have - use our Chat room in the New Puzzles Section - We'll try to help you there. Please do not post general 'Forum' type questions in normal puzzles. By using the chatroom more people are likely to see the question and you have a better chance of getting it answered successfully.

Good Puzzling,


Have Fun!