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Sometimes valid questions come through that do not explicitly identify the attendant RPG system. Usually, the querent returns to clarify in a timely fashion. But what if they don't?

How long should one wait before reposting the question with the appropriate tags?

The idea here is that we have a valid question as long as we assume a particular system. Policy says we do not tag the question if it's not explicitly specified, but it does not say I cannot ask a corresponding question myself that specifies an appropriate system.

It seems obvious that permitting immediate reposting is a terrible idea. The "new user optics" of such a scenario seem pretty bad. A new user takes the time to craft a good question, leaves off a tag and fails to mention the system causing the question to be closed, and seconds later another user has reposted their question with the appropriate tags. What do they think when they come back? This seems totally wrong.

There should surely be some length of good-faith cooling off time, but there's come a point, I think, where the community should be permitted to repost the question - the question should not remain in limbo because someone forgot a tag.

This question was inspired by this mainsite question and this associated meta.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: "What to do if seeking the answer to an existing question that's been closed because the system wasn't specified?" and something worth reading: "What's SOP for questions that have been asked in other venues?" (SOP means standard operating procedure, in other words, "normally done") \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jul 15 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also related conversation from General Chat: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/11/conversation/… \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jul 15 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rather than trying to answer this in a vacuum, I'm going to ask: (1) Are you planning to re-open this particular question? If so, (2) What is your personal motivation in re-asking this question, and, (3) How much, if any, re-writing or paraphrasing are you planning to do? \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Jul 23 at 1:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Because I'm not sure there's a one size fits all answer, here. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Jul 23 at 1:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak For the partiuclar question that inspired this post, we would not reopen the original question unless OP returned and clarified the system, I want to know because I'm thinking about using the particular subclass mentioned in the question, and I would completely rewrite the question so that it is my question entirely. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jul 23 at 12:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agh, you're correct, and I knew what you meant, but still used the wrong term: re-open is not correct. Re-write is the better term. Apologies. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Jul 23 at 17:33
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Ask if you're interested

Back in the day, if we guessed a system wrong, it was usually because the question was genuinely interesting in another system. Then we'd repost the question we thought it was and the answers based on that system and the question for the OPs real system would also get answered and we'd end up with two (or, well, at least one) decent q&a's. Or, at least, that's how it went when things went best.

Similarly, if you have a genuinely interesting question in mind in response to reading a putatively 'unclear' question, you shouldn't let the fact you think that's what the OP is asking already prevent you from asking it separately-- that would assume you can correctly guess the system. Instead, assume that you may have not correctly guessed the system, and so your question isn't a dupe and doesn't prevent the OP's question from being re-opened, provided they actually secretly meant a different game that just happens to match very closely all the indicators you were looking for to tell it was the game you were thinking of, possibly down to an abbreviated form of the name, publication year, book titles, and trademarked and copyrighted materials/branding.

Asking helps new users

Besides making fake sense in our legal paradigm for system-tag-handling, this also makes actual sense. While you seem to think that having their question asked by a different user will put people off from this site, I can tell you from direct experience that it is actually the exact opposite situation. Every time I have stepped in and re-asked a new user's question with a complete and substantial rewrite to the point that it would not be an acceptable edit, they have been quite grateful. New users don't care that much about rep, they care about getting their actual real-life problems solved, and re-asking their questions for them when they are overwhelmed by our site's frankly rediculous treatment of new users and the effort required to proceed is very large for them saves them a great deal of tribulation, teaches them how to use the site way better than just making them do it themselves all the time does (for all the 'they'll learn best by doing' out there, actually giving people examples and explaining how it's done and why is still a significant part of how we do it in schools for a reason), and gets them the answer they need right now in the simplest fashion.

An example of this in practice is: How to make your players hate your villain, but not your game

It wasn't the user's first question, mind you, but it was pretty early in their learning process here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm neutral on this answer, while I think you are a billion % correct that new users care about getting answers rather than site mechanics, I think that you are using this to justify the idea that there is no negative consequences. I have no doubt that any new user is happy to have someone re-ask their question in the vernacular way that will yield a productive answer, I would suggest that the fact that the question needs to be re-asked probably suggests that the site is difficult to use. In your example, I would bet the OP felt frustrated. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jul 29 at 3:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae Yes, I would agree there is a usability concern here and that new users are probably frustrated when their question gets closed for opaque reasons. I don't think the re-asking itself is frustrating, though, or at least, that hasn't been my experience of trying to help out by doing that. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Jul 29 at 5:35
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Until you are actually having the problem in that original question.

From our tour:

Focus on questions about an actual problem you have faced. Include details about what you have tried and exactly what you are trying to do.

This is reinforced in the help page.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page. (emphasis mine)

In my general experience, questions made "out of curiosity", with the very specific exception of theoretical optimization questions, tend to not be great questions. As doppel explains very well:

We want such questions to be asked by people actually experiencing that problem. When you're asking without having the problem yourself, it's not a real situation so you're not really able to provide the clarity we might want. You wind up asking a lower-quality question this way than someone actually experiencing the problem might ask, and that might actually do a disservice to the people having that problem: now the only version of that question is not actually the best quality one that could be had.

Whenever any other person (or you) is facing the same problem, they should ask the question again, with the proper system tag - doesn't matter if in the next hour or the next month. See What to do if seeking the answer to an existing question that's been closed because the system wasn't specified? for reference.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm genuinely unsure: how would copy-pasting over the other person's question (with credit given) not do this? If the OP actually had a problem and described it, aren't their words enough to accurately describe the problem? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jul 15 at 23:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 If the question is already good enough, sure. If the question needs any more clarification, then, how are "you" going to provide that clarification? The problem is this: anything else that any answerer wishes to ask the asker to improve their answer is unavailable because the asker is not the person having the actual problem. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 15 at 23:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Kinda lame that you don't support curiosity. \$\endgroup\$ – Rainb Jul 16 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rainb Feel free to post an answer contrary to this one with proper back up then :) Although you may want to actually read the tour and help pages from our SE before doing that... \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 16 at 18:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rainb I can see whence that idea can come from, but being curious about a specific thing is a valid problem to face, and is perhaps something this answer could better address. If that complaint is based on something more general, I'll be happy to try talk it out with you, but our chat room might be a better place for that. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jul 16 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil This meta question was made on the context of this mainsite question, which is a question about someone facing an actual problem in actual play. Just trying to replicate such question out of curiosity will, in my opinion, inevitably make it a worse question, with worse answers. If the "problem" in the original question was simply curiosity, and you are also curious about it, then you have the same problem as the original question. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 16 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ To expand that complaint for @HellSaint: a lot of our questions are asking about the interaction between two or more rules. In a lot of cases, any reader would immediately also be having that problem, because they don't know what the correct or useful interpretation is. Would your stance be that system-unspecified versions of those could immediately be reasked by someone else? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jul 16 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil If the original question was simply "how do these two rules interact?", then yes. The person making the original question and the person making the new question have the same problem - being confused or curious about how the rules interact. This is not the case here. The original question was not someone reading through the rules and getting curious about a rule interaction. It was something showing up in their actual play, that would influence their whole character. IMO, the original question has much more depth and value than a question out of curiosity. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 16 at 19:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I think I see what you mean. There's maybe a case to be made for distinguishing genuine curiosity; "I've looked at these two things and can't figure it out" (without it coming up at the table), and "I briefly saw these and how do they interact?". The latter isn't a very good question and if you're copying the rules interaction for a non-system-specified question it's sort of automatically the latter. So to reassure @Rainb, we do support curiosity, but not low effort curiosity (which I hope no-one aspires to). \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jul 16 at 19:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ So... your answer still doesn't address the case of when the answer to your subquestion is "immediately". Like, if the OP is asking for a rules clarification, because they're trying to understand how the rules work, and you read it, and discover that you also want that rules question because you also want to understand how those rules work, then how long should you wait to let them edit their question before you post it on your own behalf? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jul 22 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden That's not the case here, and I'm not trying to provide a general guideline. If that is the case, the person can open a new meta question asking "Is it fine for me to re-ask this question?" - and people will give proper guidance, just like this person did. Note: if you want to, you can read my answer as "immediately" for your scenario. I wouldn't mind.The person is actually having that problem and the person actually wants that question asked. They can just go on and ask it. For all purposes, the unclear question was never made. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 22 at 19:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint but this question is explicitly asking for a general guideline. That's what this question is. "Question inspired by" and "what do I do in this specific case" are not the same thing. The question you link is pertinent, but does not cover timing, which is what this question is about. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jul 22 at 19:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden and I explicitly state that the timing is irrelevant. "doesn't matter if in the next hour or the next month." - if that does not satisfy you, feel free to downvote. But I doubt anyone here is willing to set an arbitrary time threshold like X hours or Y days. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 22 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil Sure, in the depths of Stack Exchange Logic... but the point is that the new posters aren't part of us yet. They don't know that... and from a reasonable outsider perspective where one does not assume all of the Stack Exchange legalisms, it feels frustrating and unfair, and is thus likely to drive new posters away. It behooves us to try for a smoother onramp than that. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jul 28 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint My experience does not align. I have seen many many explicitly theoretical questions that do well. Most questions aren't explicit as to whether they are theoretical or not. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jul 30 at 0:28
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At least 24 hours after the OP stops responding, and then only if you would ask it on your own behalf

First, you shouldn't repost the question unless you want to ask it on your own behalf. If and when you do repost, you should be posting as yourself, rather than in lieu of the OP, and you should be able to fully justify the question based on that.

Once you've gotten that far, though, I agree that there is a benefit to the community of trying to make the first few experiences of asking questions be positive ones... assuming the quality of the question can justify it. If the question is intriguing enough that you want to ask it for yourself, and the only thing wrong with it is that the OP didn't think to include appropriate tags, then there is clearly some quality to the question. I'd say give it 24-48 hours after the OP stops communicating. People have large chunks in their day where they are not available to the computer for one reason or another, but it's reasonable that a user who actually cares about the answer to a question will check back in at least once over the course of a day. Once that period has past, there's a decent chance that they're one of the many who just drops contact entirely, and you can go ahead.

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