The moderator team has noticed a handful of minesweeper questions which all amount to "How do I solve this exact Minesweeper board?", and we believe that these questions should be closed as duplicates of more general questions. Those questions are:
- I gave up on this Minesweeper board. Is there a correct move that makes this solveable with certainty?
- Is this board solvable?
- Determine if Minesweeper is still solvable
Several years ago we decided that clash-of-clans questions about "How do I attack this base?" should be considered off-topic. The two primary reasons were that those kinds of questions (and their answers) can quickly become outdated due to patches, and that the questions and solutions are far too specific to a particular player and base to actually be useful to a more general audience. Although the issue of patching doesn't apply to Minesweeper, the concerns around the questions and answers only being useful in very specific situations does apply to Minesweeper.
Since Minesweeper boards are generated randomly, the odds of another player getting the same board, and then getting stuck in the same way as another player, are extremely low (I haven't calculated the odds, but I'd guess the odds are nearly zero). Due to this, these questions don't really offer any value to anyone outside the asker. They may not even offer any long lasting value to the asker either, since the answers won't necessarily help them the next time they get stuck. Back in the day, these questions appear to be a perfect example of why the Too Localized close reason existed.
The answers to these questions can sometimes provide valuable techniques which are helpful in the general case and to a wide audience, such as the answers to this question, which demonstrate how mathematics can be used to determine the safest course of action. However, these more general techniques would arguably be better fitted to a more general question, which we actually already have multiple examples of:
- How can I minimize my chances of losing in Minesweeper?
- What do I do when two squares are equally valid?
- Advanced Minesweeper Strategies?
- Best move when they are no more certain moves left
Some of the above questions are arguably duplicates, and if the only answers to "How do I solve this board?" questions which have future value are ones which address the more general case, then one could argue that these questions would best be closed as duplicates of some of the above as well.
So, due to all of the above, the moderator team feels that the best course of action would be to close these "How do I solve this board question?" as duplicates of the more general questions. Additionally, we think that some of the questions would actually be good candidates for mergers, such as this and this. However, given the positive community reception to these questions, and the lack of any closures until now, the moderator team felt we should consult the community before taking any action to determine how the community feels these questions should be handled (including "Do nothing, they're fine").
Should we continue to allow questions asking how to solve a specific Minesweeper board? Should we close/merge any of these questions? What action, if any, do you believe should be taken with regards to the above questions?