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We have already had a similar discussion years ago, when the official SRD was Paizo's own PRD.

Now things have changed. Archives of Nethys (henceforth AON) is a community-mantained, errata-including SRD just as d20pfsrd.com (henceforth PFSRD)

A question asking about preferences between AON and the PFSRD already exists, but it doesn't bring to the table an important factor that has become evident to me in the past week: the PFSRD is full of errors.

So many errors, indeed, that people from the Pathfinder RPG Discord server (which has a channel where you can bring AON errors to the AON crew and they fix them) came to consider RPG.SE an unreliable source, partly because some of our answers include developer opinions from the Paizo forums without clearly labeling them as developer opinions (I don't think we can solve this part of the problem) and partly because many answers here rely on PFSRD errors.

While I realize that those people are not the judges of how this site works, it still rings an alarm bell inside my head. I've been speaking to those people, they know what they're talking about. I believe them when they say that RPG.SE is a poor place for Pathfinder questions and I'd like this to change.

What can/should we do?

Here is a list of the main pros and cons of the PFSRD compared to AON. Some are minor, but some worry me.

Pros of d20pfsrd

  • easier navigation
  • pages with lot of content work well with the browser search
  • has archetypes comparison tables
  • hosts 3rd party content

(I think that 3rd party content question and answers should still link to the PFSRD, but double checking is a both a must and a chore.)

Cons of d20pfsrd

  • part of it is taken traight from the D&D 3.5e SRD, even when PF has made changes (copy-paste from previous SRDs that never got touched?).
  • sometimes, the manual reference is wrong.
  • due to OGL issues, some feats, traits, archetypes and so on have been renamed, for example Wayang Spellhunter becoming Metamagic Master, leading to players taking the same trait or feat twice.
  • due to OGL issues, options limited to a certain region or deity don't list the limitation.
  • I have personally found a trait that does not exist in the referenced manual (after some research, it appears to be unlabeled 3rd party).
  • same problem with the Still Spell Metamagic Rod.
  • The combat page states that a tied up creature is bound, and therefore helpless, despite no such rule existing.
  • recently, the archetype pages have been made anew, but there are still links to the old pages around and sometimes the content is different (a friend making a PG stumbled upon this last week).
  • the grappled rules in the Combat section said that grappled creatures could not cast spells without somatic components, then an errata come out and this is no longer the case. Before the errata, PFSRD decided to copy that rule to this page, most probably for ease of convenience. Now they fixed the Combat page according to the errata but they explicitly refuse to change the other page (I have been told that they argue that there never was an errata to the grappled condition, and of course there never was since the part about casting spells was not there to begin with), and several players got the rules wrong from the PFSRD.
  • takes advice given in forums by developers and treats it as if it was official errata (for example Patrick Renie saying "we have come up with an errata for white-haired witch" turning Constrict, Trip and Pull to swift actions instead of free, but no such errata actually existing to our knowledge).
  • mixes 3rd party content and 1st party content (for example, the alternate rules system is full of 3pp rulesets but also has the occult classes - this is correct, but it makes a lot of people think that occult classes are 3pp).
  • automatically generated links bringing to unrelated pages (any mention of darkness linking to the same-name spell, the "regeneration" word in the ioun stone description letting player thinks that it works like the same-name spell and so on).
  • the curators of the site don't listen to feedback (not necessarily in a malicious way).

I would like to thank Grand Druid Zollqir on the Pathfinder RPG Discord server for their list of PFSRD problems, most of which made it to this question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Some numbers for the scope: searching url:"d20pfsrd" currently gives 7,268 results, and url:"aonprd" gives 371 (don't know if there are better terms to use in the search here). \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Aug 13 at 12:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil how many for the paizo SRD? \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Aug 13 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish I thought aon was that, but is there some other url you'd like the number on? (this isn't a mod tool btw, just the search function) \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Aug 13 at 14:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil originally, it would be paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd but apparently that got linked to AoN \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Aug 13 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish Well, 1097 results for that url \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Aug 13 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ that's about 1500 for the official ones. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Aug 13 at 15:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ it was also http://archivesofnethys.com/ before it became aonprd @Trish. which gives 125 results. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Aug 13 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Library of Metzofitz is a good 3pp source for dsp content. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Aug 13 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh "has archetypes comparison tables" is both a con and pro for d20pfsrd. The tables occasionally have errors that cause people to think certain archetypes stack, even when they don't. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Aug 13 at 17:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @williamporter damn, I've been trusting those tables \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Aug 14 at 9:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ You do realize that random dev commentary on forums is legit the official Pathfinder errata model, right? Like, that sucks and frequently leads to the rules being stupid, but that's hardly d20pfsrd's fault-- it's the way Paizo instructed that their game officially be played! \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 16 at 7:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil the only official developer commentary on the forums is the Pathfinder Design Team account as far as I'm aware. The rest of the dev accounts have exactly the same level of much rules authority as I do, which is to say, none at all. If you have a link saying otherwise, I would love to see it. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Aug 17 at 13:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @williamporter Here's a link to a forum post in support: link. And a Q+A that links to that that explains the revisions involved the the FAQ's release: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/36364/14848 \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 17 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, so prior to the FAQ they were considered official rulings. Good to know. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Aug 17 at 18:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ It also got brought to my attention that James Jacobs is the lead of the lore section of Paizo and is no part of the Design Team \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Aug 18 at 11:22
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If an answer is wrong, downvote it. If you have constructive advice for improving it, such as a link to correct information showing how it is wrong, comment with that. If the question lacks a correct answer, write your own. This is how the website works.

Don’t edit incorrect answers to correct them; that is not what editing is for. Do not edit answers that are correct to use a different resource you prefer to back up the claims in the answer; that is not what editing is for. We absolutely do not need the front page spammed with edits turning correct citations on one site to the same correct citation on another site. If an answer lacks any citation or evidence, then editing in any accurate source is acceptable.

Both websites are, basically, pretty terrible on some fundamental web-design levels, but they have the content and that’s crucial. d20pfsrd has some errors, has obnoxious ads, and loads slowly. The inconsistent reorganizing that has led to dead links is particularly just embarrassing. But it has everything and it’s generally well-organized, and it’s been around since the beginning. aonprd is an eyesore with poor readability, and a navigational nightmare. But it’s also got everything, and on top of that is officially endorsed and allowed to use the correct names for some things, and so on. I am not particularly convinced that the issues with one or the other makes either substantially preferable—the list of issues with d20pfsrd is not that large for the immense size of the undertaking they’re attempting, and the restrictions that they have. But that is a matter of opinion and preference—I’m not going to downvote an accurate answer using either resource, but if you want to, it’s your vote.

But it is not a matter of policy. What policy could we even have? Banning links to d20pfsrd? That would be an absurd overreach; that isn’t how things work here. The only links we ban are those to sites engaging in copyright infringement, and frankly the main reason we do that is because of concerns about link rot. Neither d20pfsrd nor aonprd is likely to go away any time soon.

Ultimately, much of the problem here is 100% on Paizo. Their own website was nearly useless, so another resource was needed. Complaints of answers relying on dev commentary rather than errata are comical, since that was long Paizo’s official position (and frankly I’m not sure it’s changed). Actual Pathfinder errata is rare and the FAQ is a mess. This site, and both d20pfsrd and aonprd, we’re basically trying to salvage that mess and correct their mistakes. Personally, I strongly doubt that Pathfinder’s success would have been possible without d20pfsrd—without it, the game would have been nearly unplayable.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking maybe "warn the community to double-check their sources", like we already do for dndwiki for 3.5e content. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Aug 18 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zachiel How do you see a potential implementation of it? \$\endgroup\$ – Baskakov_Dmitriy Aug 19 at 6:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Baskakov_Dmitriy Us being aware of it and double checking links from d20pfsrd on sight might be a start. Though I see a problem where we keep the link to d20pfsrd and we keep checking it everytime we see it. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Aug 21 at 9:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zachiel I think you will find that you are wasting your time doing that on the overwhelming majority of things, as while there absolutely are errors on d20pfsrd, they are a very small properties of the enormous quantity of content there. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 23 at 0:48
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Use what you prefer in your own answers.

Otherwise mind your own business - there is no reason for people to be trying to force each other to use reference sources they prefer. RPG.SE will accept any legal links as support for answers. If you believe something actually incorrect is being used from one of those links, feel free and add a comment or your own answer with the correct information.

Lists of pros and cons are irrelevant, unless you are running an awards ceremony for “best Pathfinder online SRD” - it’s not something we can or should judge here.

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