Talk:Situation puzzle

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Answers to puzzles[edit]

Need answers to the puzzles! :-) --Ejrh 09:22, 2004 Mar 19 (UTC)

If possible, could you incorporate them:

  1. The surgeon's a female, the boy's mother.
  2. The two dead men are the pilot and copilot of a plane, which they are inside the cabin of. They died when the plane crashed.
  3. Tom is a mouse, killed by a mousetrap.
  4. Shoots = photography, i.e. she's taking pictures, or "shooting" them. cryptfiend64 21:56, May 18, 2004 (UTC)
  5. The man was perviously in a survival situation, lost at sea. He was given something called "albatros soup" by some other people. The dish he ordered at the restaurant tasted completely different, and he knew the meats were not the same. The only other meat available during the survival situation was human flesh -- corpse or otherwise. Confronted with the facts, he commits suicide.
I have incorporated the answers in typical usenet fashion, I hope this is correct. Any problems?--Requiem the 18th(email) 20:46, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Is it just me, or are some of these answers kind of stupid? There could be several, equally or more plausable, answers to some of these questions. For example, in the last one, the man in question could have had some fatal disease. He therefore wanted to end his life quickly, but still wanted one last taste of his favourite dish- albatross soup. I think that that answer is better and less complicated than the one given. -lara

Correct Laura, many people find these puzzles annoying. They work well as a party game, where people work together to find the solution. The newsgroup rec.puzzles hates them for being too rigid, and love them for the opprotunity to offer other possibilities, like yours. Also, movies like "Alive: The Miracle of the Andes" suggest that the situation is not so clear cut.

as far as the last one goes, i believe there is a supersticion about killing an albatross if you're a sailor. in "rhyme of the ancient mariner" the old sailor shot and albatross and then was abandoned by his crew because of it. maybe this patron was a sailor who wasn't thinking, and after he ate the soup he realized that he had doomed his crew. (mori)

On the other hand, the rigidness is part of the charm for many people. A lot of the situational puzzles would be too easy if the responder was allowed to come up with any plausable explanation that fit the original facts, and it would eliminate much of the discovery and guesswork which is the fun of the game. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this type of puzzle is completely pointless if you're not required to come up with the specific incident the questioner is thinking of.

In fact, I've seen several message boards where people make up their own situation puzzles and have others on the board ask the questions. These tend to be incredibly complex stories starting from very simple premises -- along the lines of "It opened, and she died", with the answer being a 5 or 6 paragraph story. It's definitely a type of puzzle that not everyone likes, though.

The 4th puzzle could be a clinic where children accompanied by parents are getting immunized. The roles of the doctor/nurse could be male nurse and female doctor to ambiguate matters. -Tristan

The first answer that occurred to me for puzzle number 2 was that the "two dead" were animals, with their heads mounted on the wall of the cabin - they were killed by another hunter. - David Fisher

One important component of situation puzzles (imo) is challenging assumptions. In most of the examples given (the exception is #5), responders may make an invalid assumption (that the surgeon is male, that the cabin is a building, etc.) which prevents them from solving the puzzle until somebody realizes the assumption and challenges it. Part of the fun is discovering these hidden assumptions. -Diplomacy Guy

The important thing about this puzzle is better defined in it's other name, lateral thinking. This is a "guess what I'm thinking" game rather than a "think of a solution" game. Although multiple situations can bring about the requirements of the question, only one is actually correct. I developed the following simple lateral thinking puzzle: "If all you had was an eight and a half dollar bill, what would you do with the eight and a half dollar bill?" The answer is that you would sell it because you have the only authentic bill of that kind. Therefore, it's worth lots of money. You have to figure out what isn't told to figure out what is true. -Tested

You should always keep in mind when trying to solve these puzzles that there are tens or even hundreds of possible solutions to one 'lateral problem definition'. However, the fun is to actually find out the story which the puzzle-asker has in mind. Take for example the Albatross situation - it's quite easy to find a logical or obvious explanation, but then you're missing the point of the whole 'lateral' idea, i.e. to think out-of-the-box. ~~Son of Yoda

Discussion of inclusion of the link to www.lateralpuzzles.com on Situation Puzzle article page[edit]

This is a post to discuss and resolve the dispute over including the an External Link to http://www.lateralpuzzles.com This link (which was added by Badly) was removed by DreamGuy under the premise that it violates a Wikipedia protocol that "links to forums are not encyclopedic". I reversed the edit under the premise that this external link complies with Wikipedia's Wikipedia:External Links policy: "What Should Be Linked: #4 Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews" protocol. Where in any protocol is there justification for excluding "links to forums [that] are not encylopedic"?

I reversed the edit because the external link in question contains more than a forum, but also links and resources to other Situation Puzzle sites along with a puzzle repository. DreamGuy reversed my edit and stated that "forums and games are not meaningful for an encyclopedia, and this fails on self-promotion, spam, registration, etc. grounds". Note that links to external sites that require registration to view content IS listed as a reason on the Wikipedia:External Links policy as grounds for not including an external link. HOWEVER, this external link does NOT require registration to view any of the content, only to actively post/participate in the site's forum. I'm not sure where "self-promotion" comes into play since Paul Slone, a notable author of Lateral "Situation" Puzzles books, seems to reflect the Wikipedia:External Links policy's #1 reason for including an external link which states, "Articles about any organization, person, web site, or other entity should link to the official site if any" may be a relevant reason for including this external link since this is likely the most official site for these types of puzzles on the web.

At this point, it's necessary for the community to provide clarification and input on whether or not this external link should be included on this article's page and to avoid an Wikipedia:Edit_war. Again, this post on the talk page is an attempt to gather input to avoid dispute resolution or arbitration, but Situation Puzzles are collaborative in nature and the link provides a good insight into how a situation puzzle is conducted in addition to providing other valuable resources and I support it's inclusion. Your thoughts? Alancookie 15:29, 23 May 2007 (UTC)Alancookie

It's not encyclopedic in the slightest. It fails in every aspect of WP:EL. It's just promotion for a discussion site.
And this argument: "since this is likely the most official site for these types of puzzles on the web." is just nonsense... that section is only for REAL official sites... microsoft.com for Microsoft, Bob Barker's website for the Bob Barner article, not some ridiculous forum that just happens to talk about the subject. DreamGuy 02:51, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
Just to clarify...this external link is not simply just a discussion site, as indicated by DreamGuy, but the forum is for hosting and/or participating in solving Situation Puzzles. As I indicated above, this is a tremendous resource for understanding how a Situation Puzzle is conducted since you can read the transcripts of a situation puzzle that has been previously solved (which does not require any registration), participate in an ongoing situation puzzle or host your own puzzle. This site has provided many situation puzzles ideas for me personally over the years and is a tremendous resource for links to other puzzle sites. As stated in my proposal above, there are specific provisions for adding this external link on Wikipedia:External Links policy but where is the documentation for DreamGuy's reasoning? Can someone find me a policy for external links that prohibit sites that have a forum? This is not stated anywhere on the Wikipedia:External Links policy page? The closest is the policy that sites that require registration, but clearly it states on the External Link page that this is for sites that restrict access to the information on the site pending registration.
DreamGuy claims that this external link fails every aspect of the policy. So, let's look at the list of "What should be linked":
"Articles about any organization, person, web site, or other entity should link to the official site if any." Hmm...okay. The argument is that this link is not an "official site". I'll agree with that, there is no "official site" for Situation Puzzles on the Internet...so this would not justify any links added to this article.
"An article about a book, a musical score, or some other media should link to a site hosting a copy of the work if none of the "Links normally to be avoided" criteria apply." Okay, this probably does not apply to this link or to either of the other links currently present.
"Sites that contain neutral and accurate material that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright issues, amount of detail (such as professional athlete statistics, movie or television credits, interview transcripts, or online textbooks) or other reasons." I would agree that this is not applicable, to the link in question or to the other links currently listed.
"Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews." This is the what justifies the link in question, as well as the other two listed. The "relevant content" is, as I explained above, is mostly within the forums...but there is more on the site in terms of links to other situation puzzle sites. Alancookie 17:53, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Cut a chunk[edit]

Listen, wholesale cuts in Wikipedia are a pretty bad thing, but the section I cut really doesn't add anything to the encyclopedia definition, and just adds the original research warning. For ease of putting it back, it's reproduced below, but really ... telling us not to spoil it for another person if you've heard it before? carefully choosing content for children? What is that all about?

Structure[edit]

Players should be forewarned that if they have heard the puzzle previously (or after a few questions are asked and they realize they have figured out the answer prematurely), they should avoid spoiling the puzzle for the other participants by either privately questioning the host to confirm their suspected conclusion or simply listening and not actively participating. Hosts should also be careful to gauge the age and skill level of players in order to avoid having to provide hints. Some puzzles are simple while others can take lengthy explanations and, therefore, more time to discover all the detail and intricacy. Often beginning with a few simple puzzles and progressively hosting more and more complicated puzzles will allow players to develop confidence and increase their interest in continuing to work on additional puzzles. Also, realize that some puzzles may be more suitable for adult players due to the historical references or mature players depending upon the graphic (particularly with the morbid) nature of the content. These puzzles are popular among educators and can be used to encourage students to use more critical thinking and deductive reasoning. Working on these puzzles, particularly with a group of students or children, while doing mundane work, traveling or participating in an activity where there is plenty of idle time (such as standing in lines at an amusement park or during a layover at an airport) can help alleviate boredom.

Could this have been lifted wholesale from another source or webpage? 64.252.131.217 (talk) 15:11, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

I contributed the majority of this text (not lifted from anywhere else except my own experiences hosting situation puzzles over the years...mostly with youth groups/children as an educator). As to the comments about "spoiling" and "choosing content", I guess everyone has their own opinions about what is useful and what is not...just like you would include some general rules for a wikipedia page on a sport I feel that it is useful to include common ground rules for those who are interested in hosting or working on a situation puzzle. An example of choosing content would be a situation puzzle such as "If Paul is sitting next Davey, who is sitting next to the old man?" since someone who was not familiar with music from the 1970's would have a difficult time solving this puzzle. Personally, I vote to put it back in since I disagree that it is irrelevant and does add to the understanding of how these puzzles are solved in a group setting. Alancookie (talk) 05:29, 20 September 2008 (UTC)