Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #1062: In Favor of "Fill-in Puzzles (iow, No White Squares)

#1: BRASH ATAOM (BRASHatAOM) on Apr 20, 2023

With all the policing concerning puzzles that have no white squares not really being real puzzles, I would like to iterate my sometime preference for easy brainless puzzles. Nevermind that sometimes these fill-ins have very eye-pleasing solutions. Nevermind that this seemingly absolutist opinion discourages new puzzle-makers (and gives unaesthetically pleasing, un-undetstandable images that need the title and explanation to be understood a complete pass) I am in current almost desperate need of something to distract me while I am on hold trying to sort out a frustrating medical coverage problem. I crave a super-easy puzzle to keep my mind off its fretwork....

FWIW, I don't think there should be policing of "unaesthetic" images; this is an open forum for all manner of images from people of all types of backgrounds and drawing abilities. But also FWIW, a person who has such great degree of antipathy for "fill-ins" can tell from the first click (or even the clue listings) whether the puzzle is a Fill-in, and they can bail out quickly, whereas an ugly puzzle must be solved to the end before it reveals (or rather, obscured) its lack of aesthetic/unserstandability....
#2: Brian Bellis (mootpoint) on Apr 20, 2023
First of all, I hope your medical coverage quagmire gets sorted to you liking.

That is an interesting point of view that never occurred to me. I personally don't like to do fill-ins because I'm after the puzzle completion endorphin rush. Yes, I'm a puzzleholic. It has been 20 minutes since my last puzzle.

But your points about fill-ins being easy to spot and avoid, and they can be aesthetically pleasing are both very valid.

When I come across them, I sometimes peek at solution and mark as solved so that I don't miss out on the picture but don't do all that clicking.
#3: Byrdie (byrdie) on Apr 20, 2023
From my point of view, fill-ins are not puzzles. They truly are paint by numbers, but not puzzles.

So it all depends on what floats your boat. If you're looking for a quick "fix" to take your mind off the world, fill-ins are fine. If you're looking for a challenge to stimulate your brain, a fill-in isn't going to do it.
#4: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Apr 20, 2023
I think you are using the word "policing" wrong. None of these puzzles have been "arrested" and removed from the population. There has been no central authority telling anyone what to do. Any negative comments on the puzzles have been made by individuals who are expressing their own opinions.

Unfortunately, making a comment in this part of the forum is only going to reach a tiny portion of the webpbn community, and thus not help the situation. This is not a problem to be solved by "going to the top" since that is not where it is coming from.

The thing to do it to express your own opinion on such puzzles, which will not only encourage the author to make more, but also possibly change the minds of others.

Like most things, the best way to influence other people is to make kind and respectful rebuttals. And to continue to do so whenever and wherever you come across the opposing opinion. Repeated engagement with well-spoken and sympathetic opposing opinions has a way of easing conflicts and allowing everyone to appreciate each other
#5: Joanne Firla (JoFirla) on Apr 20, 2023
Think of it as a buffet: do the puzzles you like, try the ones that interest you, and avoid or stop playing the puzzles that you don't like or aggravate you. Easy peasy. Puzzles for everyone, no matter what your preference. :-D
#6: Norma Dee (norm0908) on Apr 20, 2023
I suppose the fact that we call our puzzles paint by numbers can be confusing because people can buy paint by number paintings with an outline of a scene with the spaces containing numbers, a paint brush, and a bunch of paint. And they, too, are called paint by numbers.

Perhaps we can ask the people who make fill-ins to note it as such, then those who want can skip it and mark it as solved or can go ahead and do the fill-in.

#7: Valerie Mates (valerie) on Apr 21, 2023
Joanne - I think Brash's point is that whenever someone posts a fill-in puzzle, a bunch of people make negative comments, and that discourages puzzle-makers from making fill-ins. So then the buffet doesn't have that item on it, even though some people would want it to be there.

Norma - I like your idea. And actually the site flags those puzzles as "Trivially Solvable," so they should already be marked, automatically. Though I suppose a puzzle that is almost trivially solvable wouldn't be automatically marked that way but would still be that easy. Hm.
#8: Yonah Kondor (yokon965) on Apr 29, 2023
Can it be determined if there is a direct relationship between the percent of white space and the difficulty of a puzzle, such that users would benefit by seeing (and sorting by) this statistic?
#9: Valerie Mates (valerie) on Apr 29, 2023
Hm. I don't think there is currently a quick way to sort by whitespace, but that would be very interesting to look at! I'll add this to my To Do list....
#10: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Apr 29, 2023
Many puzzles with a high ratio of whitespace are also either very easy, or just completely unsolvable. There might be an average in the middle somewhere where the difficulty peaks while being solvable, but I imagine that it would be a *very* noisy bell curve
#11: Valerie Mates (valerie) on Apr 30, 2023
That's a good point. The best indicator for finding easy puzzles is to sort them by the difficulty rating.
#12: Sarah Koenig (homemaker) on Apr 30, 2023
I was thinking the same thing as Norma. It would be great if people marked fill-ins as such. Then people could do as they wished.

I am, by the way, not a puzzle maker at all. But I love coming here and solving the daily puzzles when I can.
#13: Kristen Vognild (kristen) on May 2, 2023
I wonder if it would be possible to categorize all of the puzzles containing no white, so that it's searchable. I don't recall being able to search for puzzles with a trivial solve, but it could be nice for those who just want a brainless fill-in, because they have a lot of stress going on.

For me, whenever I start to solve a puzzle and that first square turns black, I get the opposite of a serotonin bump. It's almost a physical deflation.
#14: Valerie Mates (valerie) on May 3, 2023
If you go to the search page and select sorting by difficulty, lowest first, that should find the easiest puzzles on the site.

I could also add a way to search by percent white, and a way to include or exclude puzzles with no whitespace in the search results. It sounds like that could be helpful to people.
#15: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on May 7, 2023
On the Search page, choose Trivial in the Solvability drop box. All fill-ins are Trivial. It will also show some that are not no-white, but they are all... trivially difficult.
#16: Valerie Mates (valerie) on May 7, 2023
I was thinking that that *should* have been there, but didn't realize that it *is* there! Thanks Joe!
#17: BRASH ATAOM (BRASHatAOM) on May 8, 2023
Thanks for the comments. Yes Joe, policing isn't quite the word I wanted, but my command of English is fast slipping away as I age.... I guess the thing that bothers me most is the criticism of "fill-ins" is almost relentless, and often seems directed at people contributing their first puzzles....I hate to see them discouraged but what sometimes feels overly harsh. I do sometimes add my comments in the puzzle specific comments, but I'm not often amongst the early commenters....

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