The question: Is there an alternative word to be used in place of Humanoid?

At time of writing this meta, the question is on the verge of being reopened without modification after its initial closure for being "opinion based".

The question is clear, but the scope is a concern. In particular, we see it stated:

My campaign is DND 5e set in Eberron, but any term from any setting or TTRPG or otherwise would work.

Also at the time of writing this meta, the question has had three answers deleted from review, and 9 of the 11 remaining answers contain no citations to any source describing "any setting or TTRPG or otherwise".

Is this question adequately scoped as is? If not, can it be modified to be so?


3 Answers 3


I think that the scope of the question is fine, and is adequately defined. If the asker is interested in any word used in any setting, that defines a standard against which answers can be assessed. It is in no way opinion based-- words mean what the asker wants, or they don't.

What causes some trouble for the question is is whether or not it is on-topic for the stack. It might be a good worldbuilding question as-is, but to be the best fit for RPG.SE it should depend on knowledge of TTRPGs, which "any setting" doesn't really establish very well.

As for citations in answers, I think that this is a case where they are less important than is often the case. If I added A Fire Upon the Deep as a citation to my answer, it would have a citation for the word sophont being used in a setting, but that would add nothing to the question or answer as currently defined.

Were the question to be edited to ask specifically for in-universe terms in Eberron (5e) only, then the citations become more valuable (to establish that they really are used in-universe). But that's a preference for the asker to determine and express.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think citing A Fire upon the Deep falls into the "otherwise" category mentioned in the question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 17:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov It does, but my point is that the question, as currently written, is asking after words, which have established definitions. If a word has a given definition, then an example of its use to indicate that definition is arbitrary. I also think that there is limited value in modifying answers for a question which is currently closed, but that is a separate matter. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ the more I think about this, the more I think we need a setting or settings. If this is purely a grammar question, it should be on the english stack. Citing a fantasy novel has absolutely nothing to do with RPGs. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 17:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I agree. The topicality of the question is an issue, but one that is separate from the value of a citation. If the question is off-topic here, then no answer can be adequate or appropriate regardless of citations. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 18:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. Very clear cut on scope and answer, but probably off-topic for RPG, and more appropriate for World Building. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ With the clarification that OP is only interested in TTRPG terms, any thoughts on how to handle existing answers? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 18:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch It's an awkward case, because the "any TTRPG" condition feels (to me) like a kludge designed to guarantee the question stays open while still being, effectively, a word request. But, as that is what the asker wants, answers should include citations from the TTRPG which use the answers' suggestion(s). Answers which don't do that should receive downvotes and respectful comments until they do, and answers which cannot be so amended should be deleted. It's unfortunate that the question required changes likely to invalidate answers, [...] \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ (con't) but I think that will happen sometimes, no matter what we do. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 20:14

Well-scoped, but room for improvement

I think the question is fairly clear, although more specifics are always helpful in narrowing down to potential answers that best fit the bill.

Honestly, this seems a bit more like a general language question as-asked and not necessarily a RPG question. Narrowing the scope to asking about words that work within a specific setting would likely be helpful, but not necessarily required.

The bigger issue is that we're now generating answers that are undifferentiated and many not supported. When questions draw answers like that, we can either close as opinion-based to stop the flow, or see what we can do to tighten it up.

I have a feeling that increasing scope may reduce or invalidate many answers, or even make the final answer null. Which isn't bad, but also isn't helpful to the querent. It also retains the issue of inappropriate answers with many upvotes that we're now stuck with.

But is this on topic?

That's a whole other question, but I'd like to address it here. If the question remains as it stands without a narrowing of scope to a setting, then really anything is on the table (as we're seeing in answers.) Such a question would be a potentially better fit for the Worldbuilding, English, or even Sci-Fi stack if they want what others have created in other industries.

But if we want this to be an RPG question, it should be focused on a setting that is relevant to the querent.

Improved! Now, a new problem.

The querent has clarified that they are only looking for TTRPG terms, but we've got quite a few answers that are no longer relevant. It is my belief that we should ask the answerers to remove those answers or change them to TTRPG terms.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note, four minutes after I posted, the most upvoted answer added substantial citations. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ OP changed the question to read: "My campaign is DND 5e set in Eberron, but any term from any TTRPG setting would work." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov That's good...but what do we do with all those answers that aren't TTRPG related :( \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 17:57

The question as written is appropriate for RPG.SE, and doesn't require any change. Although the question could be directed to other Stacks, it is acceptable given our current guidance. Currently it's unknown what exactly is motivating the question, which leads to differing perspectives on how to fix it.

Full disclosure: I am one of the users who answered that question.

The scope is appropriate.

The current question is scoped appropriately. It isn't asking for all terms from all games, or even a set of terms with a given property. The querent's statement that information from any RPG or setting is a (loose) constraint, not a part of the scope of the question.

Does it belong here?

Our Help page explains:

Questions about a general real-world topic such as history, geography or economics, whilst relevant to RPGs, may be off topic if they are not RPG-centric (or better belong on another Stack Exchange site, such as History). A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself:

Would an RPG expert give me a better/different/more specific answer to this question than a Historian, Geographer, etc?

If yes, then feel free to ask it here.

This question could be on topic on World-building, ELL, or a number of other stacks. However, insofar as the querent is interested in advice that is specific to the RPG community and informed by our norms and needs, then it is appropriate to remain here.

Improving the Question

Basically we know what OP wants, but not why.

Is the problem that the players are misinterpreting what is happening? Do they direct their characters into a den of bugbears expecting a human settlement? Is their current communication functional, but socially awkward? Are they concerned about the post-structuralist criticisms of defining personhood in relation to any particular group?

If the querent were more specific about the practical problem they are running into, then we could provide better tailored advice.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If we're not sure how to answer, then we should close for more details, no? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 18:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I was sure how to answer, so I did. The question can be improved, but there's no indication that it should be closed as we await more detail. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 18:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your answer is one of the good ones, but just because you guessed correctly doesn't mean that we shouldn't clarify. However, I know I tend to want more clarification than others because I like making sure my answer (or other answers) are what querents are looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Agreed. Just because we should clarify doesn't mean it should be closed, though. The question could be improved, but it doesn't require that improvement to be a good question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 18:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the approach you have taken, in terms of clearly pointing on that there's an in context element for this to be an RPGSE question, is where I finally sit down and say 'yeah, it fits well enough.' My initial feeling on the question was "head to English SE" but on further review I think your take on this, and your answer on main, satisfy me. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 17, 2020 at 13:24

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