Summer Update #1

Thanks to those who’ve written recently to ask how things are going (both personally for me on this “sabbatical year” and with launching a GMPuzzles subscription service). We’re making progress in different ways, even if we’re taking different paths that we thought we would when we first set out goals for 2023 and progress comes in fits and starts.

On the subscription service, we’ve found from testing feedback that a Discord platform may not be the right technical solution to get started (although it is a good addition for puzzle-based communication and ideation). So we have tried to adapt an approach where we can use subscriptions into this WordPress blog to provide subscriber-only content, while expanding the number of puzzles we release in each week to try to offer something for our existing audience and for newer solvers. We are intending to launch this subscription as soon as the start of July if we can pass final integration tests, and will have some more details to share by the end of next week on this front. (Yes, we will go from no puzzles a week to 13+ puzzles a week very fast, but whenever you are able to subscribe you should be able to catch-up on the GMPuzzles you love.)

Today, for Summer Update #1, I wanted to bring attention to another large Grandmaster Puzzles project for this year which is the World Sudoku and Puzzle Championships that we are organizing in Toronto, Canada on October 15-22. We have gathered a great group of authors — most but not all from North America — and are hard at work creating unique individual and team round puzzles for this event, while also setting up different evening activities to make this a lot of fun for anyone who can attend. Our event website just went live earlier this week and we are now starting the registration process.

2023 World Sudoku and Puzzle Championships

Alongside this WSPC, I do expect to restart some of my YouTube videos on different aspects of puzzles, including more stories/perspective from my time in puzzles like “What is a (sudoku/puzzle) competition?”, “How to train?”, “How to construct?” instead of just putting out individual solving videos. I will also have some non-puzzle videos on that channel, since part of this year has been watching out for myself and finding what big problems I want to be solving — where I don’t have any answers yet and still sometimes am closer to depression than I want to be, but am getting physically healthier to eventually be mentally healthier to then embark on my next big thing(s).

So with those teasers for upcoming events for me and for GMPuzzles, I want to wish you all a happy start to the summer!

  • bert says:

    Glad you’re well!
    I’m happy to hear you’re not going the Discord route but instead keep using this blog.
    Also, looking forward to the youtube stuff.

    • Avatar photo drsudoku says:

      I remain intensely surprised at the number of audience members who disliked the Discord idea without even seeing what we were trying to do there — while individual Discord instances or users could have some negatives, the platform has some positives in other puzzle projects that I really appreciate. And for us, following our testing, we did see that some of the new puzzle posting, interaction, and communication options were a clear step forward, but archiving / searching would take a lot of extra work. It was almost a coin flip, except for the “general Discord not GMPuzzles-specific Discord” negatives that we sensed, and we did understand there was a weight on the scale that was outside our control.

      All this to say, one of the bonuses our subscribers will get is access to a GMPuzzles Discord for commenting, tutorials, “ask me anything” and other things if they choose to go there. I do think more community-building communication can flourish outside of the blog format, and I also think our community isn’t so large that GMPuzzles should build its own tool for that if other platforms are working well. As some of our most helpful feedback identified, there are different roles for a puzzle database with tags, searchability, and an organized archive (like we have) versus discoverability and delivery and longer-term communication which can be complemented by other methods.

  • Tony says:

    Echo everything bert said. Great to hear a bit from you, and continuing to wish you well.

  • Loren Looger says:

    Congrats on all the progress on multiple fronts, Thomas and colleagues! I will subscribe as soon as the website is live. Wishing you all the best.

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