Remember your audience.
We're an international group that spans several continents, native languages and generations. Keeping this in mind doesn't mean that there isn't a place for country-specific clues, but remember that the more specific the knowledge required to solve a clue, the smaller the pool of interested players is likely to be.
Try keeping a few puzzles for your favorite P&Ss in reserve.
A lot of vets do this and it seems to work well. An added benefit is that if you've never made a particular puzzle before, trying your hand at one before it's your turn will give you time to test it on a friend or another player, if you like. Most P&Sers would certainly take it as a compliment if another player asked their opinion of a puzzle and would be more than happy to offer feedback. :o)
Err on the side of making a puzzle that's too easy rather than too difficult.
Puzzles that draw on obscure fields and facts are usually less popular than ones that draw on general knowledge. While all 2-minute solvers could get dull, all hair-pulling stumpers would get tiresome and probably result in a loss of participation.
If you're feeling stumped, try asking someone for help.
You probably have a sense of which MNers are regulars in the various P&Ss and whose puzzles you especially enjoy. Maybe the person whose puzzle you just solved? Or someone who's posted a lot in the most recent few pages of the discussion? Or a clever friend who just happens to be on an instant messenger? And pay attention to what draws you to your favorite puzzles you know what they say about imitation. ;o)
Be judicious in your use of red herrings.
The more red herrings you include in your puzzle, the more likely it will take players a long time to solve.... while this can be fun, a long series of "No"s from the host can lead to a loss of interest/activity. Also, in most of our P&Ss, the tighter a clue, the better the construction.
Don't be overly vague in your clues.
When players are at a loss as to where to start or get absolutely nowhere after a couple days of guessing, we often end up with a lull.
For tips on creating specific P&S puzzles, check out the Resources for Creating page.
And please feel free to e-mail Eeva and Chris Wise with recommendations on other resources that could be included! :o)
4 questions/guesses per clue are allowed in between the hostís posts.
In most puzzles, this means that you can ask 4 separate questions. In multi-part puzzles, you can make 4 guesses for each clue/hole. This gives all players a chance to join. Itís no fun if one person has taken all the good questions or made 20 guesses to one clue.
Only make a guess if you're ready and willing to take the next turn.
Real life is bound to impinge on all our play time every once in a while but some things (guessing and provisionally passing, disappearing/not checking back after making a guess, etc.) are seriously frowned upon. By all means, join in on the multi-part puzzles without fear ;o) but only make a potentially puzzle-ending guess if you're up for taking the next turn.
Refrain from using bold in your posts.
Bold is reserved for TMs so that their puzzles and answers stand out. (And for official announcements/questions from hosts/moderators) Similarly, please don't use colors or any other font embellishments. (Italics are fine for limitedasides.)
Using online or print resources to solve is not allowed.
Exceptions include cases where explicit permission is given by the TM for a particular puzzle or in the header for a certain P&S.
Try making recaps as a player.
Making recaps is not the job of only the host or only the players. It does give you a good idea of the status of the puzzle. Making a recap as a player refreshens your memory of whatís been asked and can give you new ideas.
Don't "volunteer" another player to take the turn when you make a guess.
More often than not, a player who'd like the next turn will make a guess him/herself. If someone's inspired your guess, a tip of the hat is a friendly gesture... sticking them with the turn isn't. *wink* P&S play is a collaborative effort and you're likely to inspire a correct guess from another player in the future, too. It will all even out eventually.
Wait for official confirmation before assuming you have the next turn.
Having more than one puzzle going at a time will drive us all mad. ;o)
In multi-part puzzles, clearly indicate which clue your guess refers to.
Something that seems obvious to you might not be so obvious to other players. :o) Again, it's a collaboration, so being clear will be appreciated by everyone. Making regular recaps in these puzzles will help both players and hosts to keep track of whatís been solved.
Posts without any connection to P&Ss may be deleted without warning.
Pages cluttered with unrelated chit chat are frustrating for everyone who wants to play. If you're looking for conversation, head to the Social Lounge or use an instant messenger.
Have fun! And encourage your fellow players to have fun, too!
Often, the clever guesses from players are even more entertaining than the puzzles themselves. For example, funny guesses in Rhyme Time are a big part of the fun. However, rattling off a bunch of guesses for just one of the words right off the bat sometimes stifles the inspired rhyming guesses that otherwise would have been coming our way. Of course, the same basic courtesies we hope for from hosts toward players applies to players toward one another and toward hosts, too.