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When a user posts a question, we usually need to know the game system and edition in order to adequately answer their question. Sometimes a user fails to sufficiently specify this in their question, either missing the explicit system, edition or both.

As a community, we have addressed topics related to this issue in over 30 meta posts (full list) since it was originally asked about on meta. Over time, this policy has become controversial and complex with various nuanced interpretations, which makes it difficult to have productive discussions around it.

The moderator team decided to create this post as a waypoint for the status quo of the current policy, clarifying our view of the current status to be used as the basis for discussions going forward. This post represents the moderator team’s understanding of the policy and therefore is how we will continue to enforce it when required.

What this post is

  • A new target for the FAQ entry on “guessing the system”
  • A canonical summary of the current state of the policy
  • A reference regarding this topic for users new and old
  • A post to be edited/updated as or if the policy changes over time

What this post isn’t

  • A place to discuss the policy or suggest changes to it
  • A place for lots of competing views of what the current policy says

How to suggest changes to or request clarification on the policy

Changes, updates, and clarifications to this policy should be raised in separate meta posts. Such changes should not be proposed/discussed as answers/comments on this post; this Q&A is meant merely to describe the policy as it currently stands. Such changes should be incorporated into this Q&A only after they have already been discussed in a separate meta post and a consensus has been reached.


So, for the sake of clarity...

What is the “Don’t Guess the System” policy?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m voting to close this question because it inaccurately represents the current state of the discussion and thereby hardly qualifies as representing the issue by circumventing the required discussion for an faq proposal, there is no consensus on this topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Nov 17 '20 at 11:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu I think you have misunderstood the point of this post. This post represents the "status-quo" of the policy. As it is currently enforced and understood. We understand there isn't global agreement that this should be the policy, this post will be updated if/when the community agrees to modify the policy. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Nov 17 '20 at 13:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ The community-specific argument for closure is that this Q&A fails to make a "canonical summary of the current state of the policy.", grossly misrepresenting the current "state" of policy. I'm not proposing changes or clarifications, merely pro forma closure. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Nov 17 '20 at 20:16
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The system (and edition, if relevant) must be explicitly stated by the asker

The simplest expression of the current policy is:

The question asker must explicitly state the game system (and edition, for games with multiple editions) that they’re asking about.

Not all questions require a system to be specified in order to be clear. Some categories of questions, including system-agnostic questions, questions about game design and similar statistical topics, or some questions about social issues, are perfectly clear without specifying a system. However, if the question asks about game rules, content, or other facets of a game, we need the system to be clear so we know what the relevant game rules, content, or other facets are.

For more information on how and when to specify the system, see this Q&A: Why do I need to specify my game system, and how do I best do it?

What counts as “explicitly”?

The user asking the question can explicitly indicate the game system/edition by doing at least one of the following:

  • The asker adds the appropriate system tag for the game system and edition to their question.
  • The asker states the game system and edition (if required) by name in the body (or title) of their post.
  • The asker confirms the game system and edition (if required) in the comments of the post.

Exceptions

What to do if another user edits a question without the asker stating the system?

If a question fails to explicitly identify the system (and edition if required), it should be closed until the asker clarifies. If instead another user edits the question without confirmation from the asker, this is considered a “guess”.

Edits that guess the system should be reverted to prevent the question being preemptively reopened and to prevent answers addressing the incorrect system/edition.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am getting really worried about the obsession on this SE with the term 'policy' and the somewhat rabid pursuit thereof by a small but very vocal minority. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 18 '20 at 0:15

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