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Backslash allowed in form input?

Ahead of puzzle round 3, where #10 Shakashaka is begging for the use of forward and backward slashes '/' and '\' instead of the suggested notation, I wanted to check whether the submission forms have been verified to process '\' characters correctly. (Not that I doubt the technical competency of whoever coded the site, but '\' is commmonly used as an escape character for quoting string delimiters, so can get easily mangled...)

In general, I feel that the answer keys for puzzle rounds are getting increasingly and unnecessarily complex over the years. By now my brain has finally figured out the L/I/X code used to input solutions to loop puzzles (it took a long time), but to take an example from the upcoming round, if one takes the viewpoint that Slitherlink is a shading/filling puzzle as the answer keys suggest (O/X for inside/outside), it would be better to have the same sort of answer keys as for other shading/filling puzzles namely Tapa and Nurikabe... I understand that too simplistic an answer key would be guessable (and in particular that only asking for shaded lengths in a Coral puzzle may let in some wrong solutions that would be detected by asking for a complete description of the row) -- it is not in itself bad to ask contestants to describe more information about the grid, but overall the amount of notation we are being asked to learn and get familiar with for the purposes of answer keys is getting a bit excessive. In the recent past there have also been some answer keys where it was almost as hard to compute the answer key as it was to solve the puzzle itself. (Sorry can't remember the specific offending puzzle).

Thank you.

I'm also interested by the answer to this question on backlash \ allowed or not ?

Hi Denis,

Yes, the form should accept '/' and '\' correctly -- and if it doesn't, it's our fault and I'll make sure that the solver is not blamed for it.

As for the general discussion of the answer keys getting more complex: I'm aware of this problem and I'm trying my best to balance several different considerations, such as:

(a) The solver should not be able to confidently get the correct answer key without solving at least 95% of the puzzle;
(b) It should be relatively easy to enter an answer key given the solution;
(c) Our simple client-side checks of answer length and legal characters should catch simple typos;
(d) Directions of reading should be consistent (ideally left-to-right, but occasionally top-to-bottom, but don't mix the two).
(e) Answer keys for the same puzzle type should not change between competitions;
(f) Answer keys for similar puzzle types should be similar.

In many cases some of these considerations are in conflict. The "segments" answer type used in Nurikabe and Coral are good for (b) but not as good for (c); the "O/X" answer type used in Slitherlink is good for (c) but not as good for (b). So, (e) has often been the tiebreaker, but Nurikabe keeps "segments" because of (e).

The feature where the solver can use their own characters is relatively new (although I've wanted it for years) so I'm trying to ease into it. Possibly by next year Nurikabe will switch to it like Slitherlink did.

Sometimes, when the puzzle is very fast for expert solvers, such as Simple Loop, it's nearly impossible to have an answer key that satisfies (acd) while not taking more time to extract than solve the puzzle. I just try to adjust the point values to take some of that into account.