I recently asked Why does a round last 6 seconds? on the main site.

To the best of my experience, this question is on-topic, specific, answerable, and reasonably scoped.

Nevertheless, it was closed as opinion-based in less than 10 minutes.

However, I disagree that it's opinion-based. Here are my arguments:

  1. There may be an authoritative answer by the original creator: For example, if this rule was created by Gary Gygax (I assume it is), then maybe he has provided feedback (e.g., in an interview, book, etc.) as to why this number was chosen.
  2. There may be an authoritative answer by one of the games that have adopted it: To my experience, the number 6 is very common (all the games I've played use it). Surely, someone (a creator, a publisher, etc.) must have addressed at some point it even remotely.

I believe that the people who voted to close the answer as opinion-based, did so because they themselves did not know the answer, which beats the purpose of asking questions. In other words, their opinion that the question is opinion-based is not based on objective reasoning. This argument becomes more clear when considering that the question was closed so quickly, i.e., there wasn't time to find out whether there's an authoritative answer.

Am I wrong? Is this question indeed opinion-based?

  • \$\begingroup\$ nope. Gary's turns and rounds were much longer than six seconds. Here's an idea: ten times six is sixty, which is how many seconds in a minute. We work off of base ten in normal life; coders do the weird base 2, base 8, and hex stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 3 '20 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Ah, interesting, do you know of any links/sources that elaborate on turn duration during the Gygax years? \$\endgroup\$ – Aventinus Jul 3 '20 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ the OD&D and AD&D 1e material is in the books I have. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 3 '20 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ this answer helps with how to make it more playable \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 3 '20 at 19:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ here is everything you ever wanted to know about AD&D 1e/Gary's time and turn system \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 3 '20 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ AD&D 1e DMG pages 61-62. 24 hours in a day, six turns in an hour, ten rounds in a turn, ten six second segments, and then there are the surprise segments to come first if one party is surprised and the other isn't ... \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 3 '20 at 20:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Sidenote: the 60 in a minute wasn't chosen arbitrarily, but because 60 is equally divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30 - which made math with it easy back in about 1000 when Al-Biruni invented the minute, where 12 was the common denominator for many other calculations when time was standardized (dozen, a dozen dozen = Gross/144, a dozen gross = great gross/1728), which is why we have 2-dozen hours in a day. Decimal Days did exist \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Jul 3 '20 at 20:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I finally found the six segments melee round, which is previous to AD&D 1e. It is in Eldritch Wizardry, OD&D supplement three, page 4-6, which tried to implement a dexterity based "who goes first" alternate system for melee combat. Melee rounds of one minute were broken up into six segments. (Ten seconds each ...) That was changed to ten in AD&D 1e. Both are clunky. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 8 '20 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question "why does a round last 6 seconds?" can be answered by reasonably examining and narrowing the field of possibilities. \$\endgroup\$ – Amethyst Wizard Jul 19 '20 at 5:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Surely a round would not be 10 hours, or 1 nano second. \$\endgroup\$ – Amethyst Wizard Jul 19 '20 at 5:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NomadMaker: The mainsite question is tagged with the proper game. This Meta question is about the closure of that mainsite question, and needs no such system tag. The [dungeons-and-dragons] tag on Meta is moreso for issues on Meta relating to D&D as a whole, and the [dnd-5e] question is for issues relating to D&D 5e in general - not just for any question relating to D&D or D&D 5e respectively. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 19 '20 at 5:28

“Primarily opinion-based” is the wrong close reason, but the question should still be closed, in my opinion. Designer-intent questions have been ruled off-topic here, and that’s inevitably what this question is.

It might be salvageable if you reworked it to emphasize more the history as the thing you want to know—maybe asking about context, e.g. did D&D always use 6-second rounds? Did that come from Chainmail? Were there other games that Gygax and Arneson1 would be familiar with that used that? Did either of them write about it?

The key thing is to convince the site as a whole that your question isn’t going to invite speculative answers—for instance, I could guess that it was chosen to make 1 minute equal 10 rounds for easy math, but I have absolutely no evidence to back that up. That would make a terrible answer, and as the question currently stands, I’m about 95% sure if we opened it up that’s the kind of answer we’re going to get. Probably repeatedly, because we’re going to delete the answers saying that and then someone else is going to come along and guess the same thing. And we’ll attach warnings and so on to the question, and they’ll be ignored, and it’ll just be a mess until we close it again. This is exactly what happens with most designer-intent questions, and why we ruled them off-topic.

  1. Assuming 6s was the original choice and that these two would have been the ones most likely responsible, which I don’t know is a fair assumption.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your feedback. You say that "Designer-intent questions have been ruled off-topic here" but as far I understand this page (rpg.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic), rule-intent questions are not off-topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Aventinus Jul 3 '20 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Aventinus See here for more details. We have somewhat limited control over the page you link. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 3 '20 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have read the thread. But does a meta-discussion overshadow the official page I've cited? Isn't that illogical? How would a user know what's on-topic if they have to search the Meta site first? \$\endgroup\$ – Aventinus Jul 3 '20 at 16:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aventinus Yes, the meta-discussion overshadows the "official" page you have cited. As KRyan literally just mentioned, we do not have easy control over the help page, so changing it, even after the community has agreed on something, is not trivial. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 3 '20 at 16:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good guess @KRyan, that's exactly the answer that the question got. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jul 3 '20 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ And the way the users know is: They make the question, they get their question closed, the meta is linked, they read the meta, now they know. Getting your question closed is not a punishment, does not decrease your reputation, and does not get you in jail or killed. Many of our site policies happen to work that way: the user gets their question closed and then we redirect them to the reason that happened. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 3 '20 at 16:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint Thank you for your feedback. Your response is unnecessarily aggressive/toxic and not constructive for a question that I believe is perfectly reasonable, i.e., "how a user is supposed to know." I know that closing a question is not a punishment, so mentioning jail or getting killed is just... weird. In any case, I believe that there is merit in asking why/how the meta-discussion overshadows the official rules. In other words, this may be the standard policy but this doesn't mean that it's a good policy. \$\endgroup\$ – Aventinus Jul 3 '20 at 17:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Aventinus I can no longer edit my comment to delete that part, since it offended you. It was not the intention. My reading was just that it seemed that you were overreacting to the question being closed, and I just wanted to point out that it is not a big deal, in a comparison to something that is a big deal. While I agree that such policies should be explicit in pages commonly visited by users (check my question history in meta), it is not a huge problem if we have to close the questions and redirect them to the relevant topic. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 3 '20 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint I understand. No, it's not a big deal -- written language has the tendency to do that. I just believe that it's a perfectly valid question, that's all. Apologies if I sounded like I was overreacting. \$\endgroup\$ – Aventinus Jul 3 '20 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aventinus No overreaction, or at least none that is surprising or unreasonable. This is a perennial problem at Stack Exchange (not just RPG), and so far, no one has been able to resolve it very well. You’re actually far more aware than most new users, since most don’t read the help pages you have—which is probably why allowing each site’s community more ability to customize them hasn’t been a high priority. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 3 '20 at 18:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aventinus Anyway, yes, the Stack Exchange philosophy on moderation is extremely community-driven. Actual SE staff rarely interacts here, and even moderators are just for “exception handling” (and “moderators” includes everyone with a certain rep, though a certain few—voted on by the community—get a few extra tools and a ♦ by their name). Policy is always a matter of community consensus, as determined by this Meta site. Which can make it kind of inaccessible to new users, so again, we’re back to that perennial problem I mentioned. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 3 '20 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Thank you very much for the explanation. \$\endgroup\$ – Aventinus Jul 3 '20 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ To add my two cents to this, I can very much understand Aventinus point here and find it very far fetched to call the post linked by @KRyan with 14 upvotes on the answer a "consensus" of the community of 47k people. Of course it shows that the community is not massively against it, but interpreting silence as consensus is imho inappropriate. Adding to that, the second answer on the linked question just has like 7 upvotes less and states the opposite. \$\endgroup\$ – findusl Jul 6 '20 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @findusl If you know of some way to achieve greater Meta participation, be sure to let Stack Exchange know. These are very typical numbers, and if we don’t accept this, we cannot make any decisions at all. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 6 '20 at 15:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @findusl OK, well, I don’t really care; I have no dog in this race. I didn’t vote to close this question and I’m not going to vote to re-open it. I will continue to vote to close questions that I think have problems, including those I think that are just going to invite baseless speculations. I don’t need a policy to know to do that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 6 '20 at 15:45

"Why 6 seconds and not... 2571241 Planck time Units?" is in its inception a designer intent question. Why did the designer choose this time length and not any other arbitrary measurement can only be answered by the designer. And because of that, it is a speculation for everybody else unless the game itself defines WHY it chooses that unit. Some games do specify why they choose something, most don't. So we can't answer for the designer, which is why designer intent is a banned type of questions.

But can it be salvaged? YES!

For example, if this was a question "Why do we have alternate turns in [insert game here]" it could be rephrased as "From where did the idea of taking turns come into Chainmail, which then was imported into D&D?" and the answer would be "Turns are established in many boardgames dating back to even before chess and had been an integral part of the very first wargame, Little Wars by HG Wells from 1913, which in turn was carried over to Chainmail" or something.

Though, maybe a better example would be Where and when did "the GM is always right" get codified first? - This one did start out in my head as "Why is there the saying 'The GM Is Always Right' [attached to D&D]?", and then turned into a history of gaming question after some thinking.

In your case, I would alter your question to something similar: "When was the 6-second per combat turn introduced to D&D?", which might offer insight into why it was chosen by identifying the edition it first appeared in and then taking into account the circumstantial evidence - such as interviews with designers and other games we know those designers were involved with - and the history of those - and maybe even an outlook onto other editions if you phrase it as "How did the length of combat rounds evolve over the different editions of D&D?"

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    \$\begingroup\$ In your last paragraph, I might suggest something even broader: "what's the story and evolution of rounds/combat time in D&D." Who knows--maybe that's just because I've enjoyed so many well-researched and -sourced historical answers by some of our top contributors. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 4 '20 at 21:32

You are not wrong. In fact, you are right.

The purpose of this place on the internet is for people to ask questions and receive answers from experts, answers that are corroborated by research.

Looking at the question I see no valid reason why it should be closed.

As you have articulated, a vote to close maybe a presupposition.

I have the answer to this question. Given the opportunity, I could answer it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ We do understand the purpose of the site. In reality, we have chosen to make this a place where we can get expert answers to quality questions that fit the system that we have here. That means that not every question is a good fit and some would be better served elsewhere. We've determined from past issues that this type of question (as originally posed) is among that group, as much as we'd like it to be otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jul 19 '20 at 4:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose who is included in "we"? Am I not included? \$\endgroup\$ – Amethyst Wizard Jul 19 '20 at 4:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ In this case, "we" was a shorthand for "the community as indicated by meta consensus" but not necessarily meant to imply that there is 100% agreement on it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jul 19 '20 at 4:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm a member in the top 3% of this site, and I am well aware of the close reasons, and this question is a good question and should not be closed. And so I voted to reopen it. I hope others will do the same. \$\endgroup\$ – Amethyst Wizard Jul 19 '20 at 4:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Diagreement is fine. My use of "we" was not meant to be exclusionary to you, my apologies. Hopefully my clarification makes it clear what I intended. You are obviously free to make your dissent known respectfully in the appropriate places as you are doing here. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jul 19 '20 at 4:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question in question was closed, reopened (by 2 of the closing ones!) and then reclosed, which is how the community voted. Those 10 that have voted to close and 5 that voted to reopen can no longer vote on this question. That's how the stack works. Most people that go through their duty lines will have seen it by now and decided to either not reopen or not to weigh in on the topic. Which means, that while you say the question is good, the community does not think it is in a state this can be answered. You have one reopen and one close vote per question, use those, not fight on meta. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Jul 19 '20 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish telling me how to use the privileges ive earned by my contributions here is condescending, i will write here exactly what i think, this is a great question, one I can actually answer and fits perfectly well here. \$\endgroup\$ – Amethyst Wizard Jul 19 '20 at 21:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the voting on this answer shows a sufficiently clear view of the community opinion of what is expressed here and arguing about it in the comments is unlikely to be fruitful. Unless there is something productive that you both wanted to discuss, I'm going to recommend that this conversation should probably stop. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jul 19 '20 at 21:59

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