Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #130: CHILDREN on the site ...
By Jota (Jota)

#1: Jota (Jota) on Nov 22, 2008

What do you all think about how to handle children who make "worthless" puzzles on this site?
It's frustrating to go and work on a puzzle that turns out to be "nothing", a waste of time.
I'm all for being honest, but what if we are harsh on our comments and it happens to be a small child.
Can we as a group find a solution for this?
#2: Byrdie (byrdie) on Nov 22, 2008
There's a fine line between honest and harsh. It's hard not to tread over it sometimes, probably harder for me because, not having children, I don't always tolerate them (or the parents that let them run rampant) well.
A lot of websites have a "report abuse" feature. Perhaps Jan would agree to just make nonsense puzzles quietly go away and we wouldn't need to comment on them at all.
#3: Naomi Millar (sailormewtwo) on Nov 23, 2008
I don't see a problem with commenting on the 'problem' puzzles, but offering advice may be more useful than just sticking with sarcasm. That way you can draw attention to them, while also being clear on what the problem is and allowing them to fix it in future.
#4: Jota (Jota) on Nov 23, 2008
Check puzzle 3788 for instance.
#5: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Nov 23, 2008
Jan has continually allowed essentially any puzzle at all, regardless of quality or theme. That is his prerogative. He is very liberal in that, allowing anyone who wishes to post any type of puzzle.

Given that fact, there are going to be plenty of cases in which someone (adult or child) creates a silly, horrible, pointless, worthless, waste-of-time or otherwise deemed puzzle that we don't care for. There is no way for these puzzles to be made known as such before someone solves it and comments on it.

More often than not, people don't comment on puzzles at all. There are only a handful of players on this site who comment at all, and even fewer who comment regularly. Unless one of these regular commenters posts a comment stating how worthless, or pointless the puzzle is to solve, you won't know until you solve it yourself.

And even if there are comments warning any future solvers about the pointless nature of said puzzle, anyone who goes to solve that puzzle won't know unless he/she reads the comments first before solving. I don't know how many people read the comments first, but I sure don't. It usually gives the solution away, and I don't want the puzzle spoiled in case it is fun or of good quality, which is often the case.

Even if Jan did start deleting puzzles of very poor quality, he would have to immediately solve every new puzzle and make that judgment before anyone else solved it, and that is impossible.

The unfortunate concept to consider is this... I think it is sad, but there are probably a lot of adults who create some of these ridiculous puzzles, and not just children. There is no way to know unless that person specifies or gives details as to his/her age, and how often does that happen?

Unfortunately, puzzles that are extremely boring, of poor quality, pointless, worthless, or otherwise wastes of time will continue to be posted and criticized. It will happen to all of us, where we get our hopes up for a nice, fun, good quality puzzle only to find out (too late of course) that we wished we had skipped it. There is no way around it.

One way is to remember the creator's name, and skip any subsequent puzzles by that same person. Or just solve them all and take your chances. :-)
#6: Bionerd (nieboo) on Nov 23, 2008
I honestly don't know what the big deal is about easy or not-very-puzzle-like puzzles. if you happen to do one, it will take you like what, 5 minutes at most? Suck it up and move on. I don't get the point of being mean about it, honest or not.
The ratings are usually right about how easy a puzzle is, especially the easy easy not-so-puzzle-like puzzles are dead-on. I never saw one of these puzzles rated more than a 1 in both difficulty or quality. So if you want a challenge stay clear of these.
#7: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Nov 23, 2008
I appreciate your comments, Bionerd, and understand what you are saying. What I think most of the people are referring to, however, isn't necessarily the easiness of a puzzle. It's the quality. They feel "jipped" when they solve one of these, only to be disappointed by what the result ends up being. But the same principle applies. People can skip over any puzzle they choose.
#8: Naomi Millar (sailormewtwo) on Nov 24, 2008
I don't see the point in getting riled up about the small and easy 'problem' puzzles, as Bionerd said. That said, I can certainly understand with the larger or harder ones. Even one's with no white space can take up time if they're big. Sometimes these will yield a nice picture for the effort, which is something, but not always.

Still, I do think simply being mean isn't going to help any. Point it out, yes, but also offer constructive advice as well. Some of the authors of these puzzles have been know to act on it, not all, but it's a start.
#9: Jan Wolter (jan) on Nov 24, 2008
I don't know if many people read comments before solving a puzzle. It's rare for me to do that.

Like Bionerd, I think the ratings pretty much do what is needed. If you select a puzzle with low difficulty/quality ratings, then you'll probably get what you are asking for.

I've considered adding other warnings to the top of the puzzle page, so that in addition to saying things like "may have multiple solutions" it might say things like "may be ridiculously easy" or "may be very difficult" or "very low rated puzzle". These kinds of things would only appear on puzzles that have extreme ratings. This would be especially helpful for people who use the "random puzzle" thing.
#10: Byrdie (byrdie) on Nov 24, 2008
I have read the comments **before I did a puzzle . . . twice. I'm going to do the puzzle anyway because one would have to to do them all so the only reason I'd look at the comments were if I was stuck and wanted a break. That doesn't mean I like doing boring or useless puzzles.
#11: Jota (Jota) on Nov 24, 2008
A while back Adam posted a puzzle called " my turn to waste peoples time" or something like that. I think he unpublished it by now. My point is, I know he did it to make a point and not to waste our time, but if he had been serious about it I would have said something mean in hopes of discouraging him from it or simply to vent. Now if I knew it was a child should the reaction be different ?
#12: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Nov 24, 2008
Thank you, Jota. I completely agree.
#13: Babarann (babarann) on Nov 24, 2008
Why is it necessary to say something mean to discourage poor puzzles, whether the creator is an adult or child? (Grown-ups have feelings too!) If you feel like you have to comment at all, which you don't, I'd much rather see constructive criticism. Maybe a comment related to the subject of the puzzle rather than its quality. This is a happy place! Regulars know the red flags -- creator name, low ratings, titles including the words "bored" or "random," etc.
#14: Jota (Jota) on Nov 24, 2008
For instance puzzle 4064 (comment # 2).
#15: Arduinna (arduinna) on Nov 24, 2008
Personally, I let the ratings do the talking. If a puzzle is rated particularly low, I usually peek at it, and more likely than not, mark it as completed and move on. If I happen to try solving a puzzle that turns out to be crap, I give it a 1 and move on. No need to comment on it at all.

Fortunately, I haven't been solving much lately, so there are LOTS of good puzzles to solve. Usually I search for my favorite authors or search for B & W of a certain size. And now we have this wonderful "Best" tab that will take me a while to work through!
#16: Mara Alconea (Alconea) on Nov 26, 2008
I think that if you're putting up a puzzle that is subjected to comments, then you're asking for it. However, there are quite a few regular members on this site that will get on to you for posting mean comments. So if you're going to post a comment where someone can comment back on YOU, then you're asking for it, too.

Here's what I've seen that seems to be "acceptable" critiques:
Needs more white space.
I don't like fill-in's.
What is it?
Please add a description.
Don't give it away in the title.
I really don't know what this is.

Hardly anyone would accuse you of being mean when using the comments above. Also making your comments into "I like" or "I don't like" instead of "your puzzle is" or "you are" takes the edge off your honesty/frustration.

I /personally/ think that it's okay to make fun of the puzzle, but not the creator. So "that looks more like a milk container than a butterfly" isn't mean whereas "I think you've created a whole new definition of lame" is mean.
#17: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Nov 26, 2008
LOL. :-) Thanks, Mara.
#18: m2 (mercymercy) on Nov 27, 2008
I agree totally Mara except that I would like to add that which so many others have said. Constructive criticism is a way to help puzzle creaters grow.
#19: Twillis (twillis) on Nov 27, 2008
From a purely selfish point of view, constructive criticism makes more sense.

For example, I haven't been successful at creating a puzzle even once.

Therefore, I need other people to create puzzles for me.

Therefore, it is smarter for me to encourage people to create puzzles, rather than discourage them.

Also, maybe if I can constructively point out where puzzles went right or wrong, I might learn to make my own one day.

So, if some of my comments seem too nice, just remind yourselves that I'm really being selfish and greedy.
#20: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Nov 27, 2008
#21: Jota (Jota) on Nov 27, 2008
I really don't like to work through a puzzle to find out at the end, it's nothing ...
On the other hand, if there's a puzzle but the quality is not good, I'll use the ratings, no frustration there ... I know how hard it's to make a puzzle and I know that I don't always achieve quality. I'll also take the criticism constructive or not, I'm an adult and by coming to a public site I now what I'm exposing myself to. The problem is that there are children in here and I don't now the right way to treat them.
#22: Mara Alconea (alconea) on Nov 27, 2008
I don't know why people are so worried about upsetting children these days. I think it's ok to tell a kid, "hey I didn't like this puzzle you made." It's a parent's responsibility to monitor the kid's activity online and it's up to them to decide whether should come to this site or not.

You know, children don't just read their own comments. They see all sorts of comments on other puzzles, too and we know not all of them are nice.

I think any parent doing their job can find out what kinds of things are said here and if they'll hurt their kids feelings and if they want their children to come here. This site doesn't claim to be 100% child safe.
#23: Rea Aksglæde Karlsen (Rea) on Nov 29, 2008
good point mara
#24: Hazel Hiller (hjhiller) on Dec 3, 2008
Does it really matter if it is a child or an adult? Saying something mean and/or rude is wrong at any time. Constructive criticism done right will never be mean, crude or rude. Just remember one mean deed will overshadow many many good deeds. Also remember we can only see what you type. If it comes across as mean then you may be perceived as mean, vindictive, or shallow.

As for the "worthless puzzles", I prefer them over the huge puzzles which causes my computer to act weird. When I was down in my back this summer and could hardly move, I loved those little puzzles regardless of the quality.

Comment on the ones you like, don't comment on the ones you deem worthless, or comment that you don't like the puzzle just do it in a nice way.

#25: Cecily (TheLorax) on Dec 7, 2009
So my opinion, because I was asked for it...

I do not think that the respect level of a comment should be changed because it is a child or an adult. As pointed out in the other topic, I think it is more important to be respectful than rude. I do not think that respectful is sunshine up your ass or happy fluffy bunny comments. I think they are constructive and to the point without belittling the puzzle or the creator. I also VERY STRONGLY agree with Mara's comments about the way to structure a comment. (I have worked very hard and for many years to hone my conversation skills, and learned many rules that keep the offensiveness of an opinion to a minimum. Part of the reason I have such hard times with forums, *most* people don't know them)

Offensive-"You did a horrible job on this puzzle"
Polite-"I feel this puzzle is not up to par."

Offensive-"This puzzle was a horrible waste of time."
Polite-"I prefer puzzle with less white space. It feels like a waste my of time to fill in rows of white when they don't contribute to the puzzle."

A very simple way to keep from offending people and to have respect in a conversation is to speak in "I's" not "You's"

I think that there is something that is almost forgotten with the regulars on this site, not everyone is an expert at this. And not everyone enjoys the puzzle that takes a half an hour to figure out, or that is incredibly complicated and you can only solve if you have learned every single trick to solving them.

(Maybe Jan could make a special section for expert puzzlers? That way you would all know that in that section you would be doing a puzzle that would challenge you intellectually and satisfy you personally. If you haven't noticed, I am a problem solver. I like to come up with solutions for issues.)

I completely sympathize with the desire never have to do a flag again. Dear Gods please no more flags. BUT I also don't enjoy the super tedious ones. Teresa pointed me to a WC one she made, and I can't solve it and it is not bringing me any joy to continue to bang my head against it. Typically if I open a puzzle and see rows of ones, or lots of numbers on the sides, I don't do them. I just don't find the tedium of counting out spaces over and over again to be enjoyable. But I understand some of you do.

I, personally, don't find it very hard to scan the numbers and do some quick math to see if a puzzle is going to be without white spaces, so I don't completely understand people doing those puzzles and complaining about them. In my opinion it probably takes as long to comment on one after it has been finished as it would be to just look at it before and not do it if it's one you already know you aren't going to like.

I also agree with Bionerd about not understanding what the big deal is with the uber simple puzzles. I mean they are so easy to do I just whip through it and move on. I truly don't understand even taking the time to comment on something that you believe to have wasted your time. Aren't you just wasting more of your time by commenting on it?

I get more frustrated by the gigantic puzzles that I work on for a half an hour and then can't find a logical way to finish them. Now I know I am not the best on here, but I am also no novice. Starting in my teen years I would buy those Games magazines ONLY for the PBN in them. I even had an entire set of pens special for doing them. Two colors to mark the solid and blank spaces. Everywhere I went I had them with me. And I am much more put off by the too hard to solve puzzles than the small overly simple ones. I guess my point is we all enjoy different things on here. I don't think that the small easy puzzles should go away, nor do I think the huge, over my head ones should go away either. But I do think there could be more respectful comments...but we've kinda beaten that horse to death twice now.
#26: Jota (jota) on Dec 8, 2009

#27: Alicia (prinny) on Jun 20, 2010
Wow this is a great topic.
Personally, I agree with those who are all for the constructive criticism.
I don't think our opinions should be forced upon anyone nor censored for the minors.
Everyone is here for a reason and everyone's reason is different.. so are their opinions. Pointless or not pointless is an opinion. Some people may like the puzzles that others find pointless. And people's level of difficulty or ease with puzzles will vary so it's great that these ones are labeled accordingly. To each his own!

I know I'm far behind on these forums because I just found this site recently and my opinion probably doesn't matter much to most people but I really enjoyed this particular topic.
#28: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jun 20, 2010
You opinion matters, and is welcome. Even when there are differences of opinion, we can all learn something from it.
#29: Jota (jota) on Jun 21, 2010
Thank U Alicia!
#30: Kristen Coolman (kristen) on Jan 19, 2011
I agree, comments should be respectful. I've done a few puzzles that didn't make much sense, only to look at the comments to see one of the regulars trash it. I took it with a grain of salt, assuming that the creator had made many such puzzles, but it still hurt my heart to see some really mean comments.

Personally, I enjoy a good pattern, so I don't mind the overall-pattern puzzles, and I studied enough Modern Art to be, well, tolerant of such. I lurked on this site for nearly a year, solving hundreds of puzzles, and it was the bad ones that taught me what *not* to do, when I finally created a puzzle of my own.

I include a diclaimer for all of my son's puzzles (and he's done the same, for the ones he titled and described on his own), but you won't see that until you've completed the puzzle. He fought with his preying mantis puzzle for hours, but he's leaned to use the Check button, and his face lights up when it tells him his puzzle has a unique solution.

So I say, try to help people make better puzzles (not so much content, but the mechanics, like trimming the white edges), and ignore the ones you know will be dull for you.
#31: Hannah Johns (Nini721) on Jun 26, 2011
I love the little ones - they are some of my favorite, especially when i dont feel like putting a lotta time in. Just personally. And I don't feel like kids are always the ones to make the boring puzzles. I know my little sisters could put a heck of a lot of puzzles here to shame with their creativity, and they're probably some of the youngest people on here. Anyway, just take a look at ratings and/or comments. That should help. But yes, I do agree that after working hard on a 45 by 30 for example, a intricate, thought provoking picture is darn better than a few lines hapazardly thrown across the screen. Cmon people, pull it together, and make something worthwhile!
#32: Ronda Polack (bowsocks) on Aug 17, 2012
Is there a way when creating an account to ask if the person is younger then 18yrs. Then if they are, have their username look different, so those who wish to stay away from their puzzles can. Like have their username be in blue or italicized?
#33: Naomi Millar (sailormewtwo) on Aug 18, 2012
Honestly I think the quality ratings and indicators for multiple solution or trivial puzzles do the job well enough without singling out people based on their age.

Besides, I bet some teenagers (or children for that matter) are perfectly capable of making good puzzles whilst some adults would be happy to throw out whatever comes to mind.

Goto next topic

You must register and log in to be able to participate in this discussion.