Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #7: Administrative Notes
By Jan Wolter (jan)

#1: Jan Wolter (jan) on Dec 21, 2004

This item is for me to let people know what I'm up to in my role as site administrator (as opposed to programmer, puzzle creator, or puzzle solver).
#2: Jan Wolter (jan) on Dec 21, 2004
User 'theo' posted a puzzle that was completely unsolvable - you could really only get three squares. It also lacked a title and a description. I decided to unpublish the puzzle. Theo can fiddle with it some more if he likes and republish it.

General rule for moving toward a more solvable puzzle is to paint more pixels. A line drawing like this works better if you thicken some of the lines by filling in additional around them, but you usually need some solid regions of black somewhere to make the puzzle work. This can be done by filling in some parts of the image, or by giving it a black background (the latter approach tends to lead to very easy puzzles). Adding some color can make a puzzle more solvable too.
#3: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 12, 2005
Puzzle 134 from 'theo' was again completely unsolvable, and I again unpublished it. You really need to try solving a puzzle before posting it.

I've occasionally been tempted to "fix up" puzzles posted by other people, especially ones where the image is nice but the solution doesn't quite work, like #82 (hero). I think it'd just take a bit more fiddling to make that into a very fine puzzle. But on the other hand, I'm reluctant to start messing with other people's stuff without permission, and too lazy to try to contact people and ask. Also, I'd have to modify the program a bit to let me edit other people's puzzles, though that would be an easy mod.
#4: jojo pea (bopeep) on Jan 25, 2005
I would not like my puzzles "fixed up" by someone else. If there were a problem with them, I would like it pointed out to me, and I would want to fix it myself. Unless, of course, if I didn't agree that there was a problem, in which case I would want a chance to explain or defend my work.
#5: Martial (marso) on Nov 3, 2007
Perhaps if it was possible to modify a copy of the original work and submit it to the creator appreciation...

Another possibility would be to create a "public domain": the creator can add or remove his puzzle from this state, a little bit like the "publish" option.
Editing could be done only from the "Create Puzzles" page, for example.
#6: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 27, 2005
I've thought of letting people create variations of other people's puzzles (or of their own). When you create a variation, you'd start with a copy of the original puzzle. It'd be a whole separate puzzle, but variations would be listed together, and there would be an explicit link back to the original, so it would be obvious that it was a design by Joe, modified by Sally.
#7: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 20, 2005
I unpublished a couple puzzles. One was Clay's huge unsolvable one, one was Chad's X puzzle with many solutions.
#8: Jan Wolter (jan) on Aug 12, 2005
I'll be away for a week. Not sure why I'm telling you. Will it make any great difference?

Post lots of nice puzzles for me while I'm gone.
#9: Jan Wolter (jan) on Nov 21, 2005
I unpublished puzzle 306, Bikini Nights. It was pretty definitely unsolvable.
#10: Jan Wolter (jan) on Feb 13, 2006
I unpublished puzzle #354: Sweetness. It was a big puzzle (80 by 60) with a very nice image but only about 75% of it could be solved. With some exhausting depth-first search it became possible to solve another 15% or so, but the remainder was just not doable at all, with multiple solutions. I hope the author will try working on it a bit more. It could be a cool puzzle with work.
#11: Jan Wolter (jan) on Feb 26, 2006
I again unpublished Clay's huge, still unsolvable #194.
#12: Jan Wolter (jan) on Sep 27, 2006
One of the oddities of this site is that if you have saved a partial solution for a puzzle that has been "unpublished" then it still lingers around in your saved game screen. The only way to make it go away is to solve it, which in the case of some of these puzzles is impossible. Someday I should find a better way to handle that.

In the meantime, I've gone in an purged a bunch of incomplete solutions to un-published, un-solvable puzzles that have been sitting around for a while. Probably didn't get them all.
#13: Mark Conger (aruba) on Sep 28, 2006
I was still hoping to inish the partial solution I'd saved, someday.
#14: Jan Wolter (jan) on Sep 28, 2006
Sorry. I should add some way for people to delete these themselves.
#15: Mark Conger (aruba) on Sep 28, 2006
No big deal. I don't think I really could ever have completed that "Mama ain't happy" puzzle anyway, and you said the picture wasn't very good. But I held it out there as a possibility...
#16: Jan Wolter (jan) on Sep 28, 2006
I could likely restore it for you. I backup the database pretty often.
#17: Mark Conger (aruba) on Sep 28, 2006
#18: BlackCat (BlackCat) on Mar 28, 2009
I started to comment in the #5 "Bugs" Forum and then I went out to check something and when I came back it is missing in the list. I even restarted my computer to see if I had done something and it is still missing, so I'll put my observation here.

The movement bars on the right side of the puzzle and on the bottom don't seem to work. They work in all my other windows so I don't think it is my computer. I can get the image to move (slowly) by using "Page Up" and "Page Down" on my keyboard, but then the puzzle moves in large jumps. Most of the time I can use the arrows at the bottom of the side bar but the movement is delayed and sometimes it doesn't work. It is very frustrating when trying to solve the larger puzzles.

I do like the ability to move the numbers from one side to another - very handy sometimes. Why ever you started this site I don't know but I truly admire the time and skill it takes. Thank you, Cec Jones
#19: Jan Wolter (jan) on Mar 28, 2009
I did at one point see problems with the scroll bars not working in one of the browsers I tested. I think it was some version of IE, but the problem went away and I didn't research it further. Looks like you are using IE 7. I'll have to do more testing on that.
#20: BlackCat (BlackCat) on Mar 28, 2009
Thank you.
#21: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 29, 2009
I went through the forum topics list and archived a bunch more topics.

Note that archived topics can still be seen, if you select "Archived Topics" from the pull-down at the top of the "Forum" page.

The reason I do this is so that when new users come to the site, they don't have to wade through tons of old discussion to find current discussion. So my criteria for archiving things is based on whether I think they would be of much interest to new people coming into the site. Many archived items are discussions about bugs that have been fixed, or social chit-chat that was fun at the time, but perhaps not of lasting interest. Some were lovely items at the time, and make for nice memories, but that's what archives are for.
#22: Jan Wolter (jan) on Apr 11, 2010
User aguler01 posted 24 puzzles from Gemsweeper. I'm sure no harm was intended, but I think these are copyrighted puzzles, so I have unpublished them.

Gemsweeper is available from http://www.lobstersoft.com/gemsweeper/

It runs on windows. There is a free demo version. The full version has 225 puzzles and costs $19.95.

I just tried the demo. The graphic design is quite fabulous. Text is witty. The multicolor puzzles are a bit odd - you don't get multicolored clues. They are solve just like monochrome puzzles, but cells come up in different colors when you click on them. So they are really just cosmetically enhanced monochrome puzzles. There are bonus levels where every time you solve a row, it vanishes and a new row scrolls on. Of course these puzzles can never be finished, so it's a time trial sort of thing. Guessing is sometimes required in the bonus puzzles. Free demo has only very easy puzzles, no bigger than 10x10. Dunno how much more interesting the puzzles in the full version get.
#23: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 26, 2012
I'm working on a software upgrade, but I hit enough snags today so that I don't think I want to proceed with it today - rather do it tomorrow where I'll have time to fix things if they go wrong. I think I briefly broke the production site today when I deleted the wrong file. Sorry about that.
#24: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jul 27, 2012
So the new software is all up, but ratings are still turned off, because the update to the database isn't complete. To update the logic ratings I need to run the checker on every single puzzle, and that is going to take a while.

So you can't rate things for a while, and the solvability ratings on many puzzles will be temporarily incorrect.
#25: Jan Wolter (jan) on May 29, 2013
I'm thinking that maybe I should add Joe (infrapinklizzard) to the short list of people who can rule on the solvability of puzzles, along with me and gator. Normally I'd send him an email asking if he'd be interested in this, but I don't seem to have an email address for him, so I'll just ask here.

Note that accepting this assignment would not place him under any obligation to solve and rule on every hard puzzle on the site. I obviously don't, but then, I'm not really a very good solver. But as he seems to be carefully solving so many puzzles, and posting solution hints, it seems sensible to cut out the middle man.

What do you say, Joe?
#26: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on May 29, 2013
I'm honored, Jan, and I promise to only use my powers for good.

I'm guessing you've been thinking about this for a while, as coincidentally I added my email about two weeks ago when I was suddenly reminded about how easy it is to lose passwords and thus access.
#27: Jan Wolter (jan) on May 29, 2013
OK, you are now authorized to utilize the awesome power of ruling [on] puzzles.

If I remember correctly this means exactly three things:

  1. You are always given the option of rating on the solvability of puzzles, even if they have already been ruled on.
  2. the list of options includes things like "DEFINATELY has multiple solutions" in addition to "has multiple solutions". The latter is just casting a vote, the other is making a ruling.
  3. you always get the "helper" button, even on puzzles you haven't solved. I think.
#28: Jan Wolter (jan) on May 29, 2013
Do you really have an email address? My user information page isn't showing it.
#29: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on May 29, 2013
That's strange. I just looked and it's not there. So I re-input it and hit Save, and it said "UPDATED". But when I reopen the settings page it's empty again.

I'll send it to your unixpapa.
#30: Jan Wolter (jan) on May 29, 2013
Looks like I have some more debugging to do.
#31: David Bouldin (dbouldin) on May 30, 2013
congrats joe!
#32: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on May 30, 2013
Thanks David.
#33: JoDeen Mozena (ozymoe) on May 30, 2013
Couldn't happen to a nicer puzzler! Love both of you guys! You did a good thing the day you set about creating this site, Jan. I'm pretty sure I speak for many when I say you bring all levels of joy to our pbn hearts on a regular basis!
#34: Parag Vora (pvora) on Jul 21, 2014
Hello! Thanks for creating this site! I'm a newbie, and just had a question. For the first 2 weeks I was on this site, my completed puzzles were saving just fine, and would show up as solved on the list of puzzles (with the check mark). However, now when I complete a puzzle (for the last few days or so), it gets stuck on saving, with the word "Saving..." appearing, but never getting to the puzzle summary phrase, and if I go back to the list, it shows the puzzle as not having been solved yet. Is there a bug? Or am I doing something wrong.
#35: Norma Dee (norm0908) on Jul 21, 2014
You are doing nothing wrong. The problem is with the site. Jan is a very busy person and I'm sure he'll look into the problem when he gets time.
#36: joanna yong (jyong) on Aug 6, 2014
I'm having the same problem as pvora - how can I tell when Jan's fixed it? I'm a huge fan of this site, and am eternally grateful to Jan for keeping it!

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