This answer got me thinking about questions involving spoilers.

The question asker doesn't exactly specify whether he'd prefer hints or outright answers. Obviously concrete answers fit best with our general modus operandi. However, in many cases, especially in this genre, people will prefer a nudge over a complete puzzle solution.

My gut feeling is that hints don't really fit in here, but I'm curious what others think.

Is there a place for 'hint' answers on gaming.se, or should we only allow concrete answers to these sorts of 'puzzley' questions?

2 Answers 2


Give the question author what they are asking for. Feel free to ask for clarification if you must in some cases, but let's not make it a habit of pestering people to see whether they want full answers or just a hint.

Your example. Sometimes things are phrased all airy-fairy, but the person still wants a concrete answer. With a title like "How can I get the shovel", the person wants to know how to get the shovel. And the user desires the shovel in the event that it is possible to obtain, as indicated by... the entire question, really.

  • If the person asks for hints only, give them hints and not complete answers.

  • If the person asks for the complete solution, provide the complete solution and not something that just tries to nudge you in the right direction.

Doing the opposite to either of these is just going to frustrate the question author. The most likely scenario is that someone who only wants a clue will explicitly state this in some fashion. Sometimes, if it is unstated, a hint will be sufficient, but usually someone who comes to this site to ask a question is wanting a solution. It doesn't reflect well on the site if we don't deliver it.


I think hints should be preferred over solutions, mostly because this site is immensely google-able (and even more so when it gets its final domains) and outright spoilers, plain, loud and clear may seem "unsporting" for games. Although that varies by genre as much as anything else, and maybe the policy needs to as well.

I also think that best case, there should be standard "spoiler markup", so that answers can be provided "Invisiclues fashion", as is sometimes common on other major gaming boards.

  • 1
    Spoiler tags would be nice, as that allows the answer to provide both spoiler and non-spoiler responses in one go. Unfortunately, I doubt other SE sites would need this, so it might be hard to get that feature added.
    – sjohnston
    Commented Sep 21, 2010 at 23:21

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