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I am seeing a trend that is well illustrated by this question, where our reviewers seem to be forgetting about our meta discussion a while back about the word Should.

There is no need to close that very useful question about what the best info is on a DM screen. I am pretty sure that either the term should informed the reaction to it, or that an erroneous "that's a tool-rec question" assessment was made. The use of a DM screen is a 40+ year old habit in our hobby, not just in D&D, and the person's problem to solve is "what is the best info to have there" and the accepted answer clarifies that nicely. So do a few of the others.

There is no reason to close that question. None.

Thanks to the help of NautArch and Doppelgreener, we can see that the closure votes come after the newest deleted answer was posted. ?

In an attempt to prevent further erroneous close votes, I felt obliged to remove the term "should" via an edit to forestall further wrongful review responses. I am calling on all reviewers to take a little more care in their efforts.

And, please, everyone, read and Review the Meta that @Someone_Evil posted about the word Should a while back.

Note on the question that got me to speak up:
Per the linked timeline, the question popped into the review queue thanks to a new answer of unimpressive quality that has received at least one down vote. That's not a bad response, but closing that particular question is a bad response. The arrival of a bad answer is not a good reason to close that question. The question and the answers that have sat there for Over Five Years are good, on topic, and useful.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch This is a discussion prompt at what I see are wrongful review actions. We are allowed to do that on meta: this is not Jeopardy, I am not required to ask this in the form of a question. I have been watching this wrongful necromancy go on for a while as I go through the review queues, and I felt a need to Speak Up. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 12 at 14:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I personally like it better when there is a clear question for discussion rather than a statement about a dislike. You don't have to do that, but I think it is presents a better opportunity for us to talk about an issue. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 12 at 14:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Thanks, I felt a need to cut to the chase and issue a Call For Action up front, in the title. I didn't want to beat around the bush. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 12 at 14:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch This is a cultural problem in the current stack, as I see it, and it is related to the obsession with "wait, there's a rule" that I think is driving this. (That's my best estimate as an observer of the changes in tone as the years have gone by) We didn't have these problems for quite a while on this stack, but at one point the reviewers did seem to get hung up on the word "should" and I think it's happening again. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 12 at 14:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The why is an estimate based on "at Stack Experience" and the actions being taken are wrongful and need to stop. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 12 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I added some clarification on the explicit question, since I think that will help demonstrate better what I am driving at, and we'll see. Thanks for the feedback. I am, as I am sure you noticed, frustrated by what I am seeing. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 12 at 14:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ As far as I'm concerned, this was a tool rec question, but at the core had an interesting question to which it was adjusted over time. Your most recent change to it makes it no longer a tool rec question. Originally it wasn't a tool rec question, poor editing made it one. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 12 at 18:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ On the broader statement, I see lots of tool recommendation questions in the queue and close them, as it is proper. Very few of them are edge cases, like this one. The arrival of a bad answer puts the question on the "home" page - the place where we do most things - so it is the best time to close something when its on there. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 12 at 18:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it was solely an issue due to edits 3 and 4. Poor editing obscures, and we only vote about the snapshot of one instance. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 12 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu That's a good point on the edits not being helpful, but then again, not all editors engage in or read meta, and thus may not be aware of the trip wires on some questions . \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 12 at 21:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ While the framing of the discussion-prompt is slightly jarring and ranty, the content and wanted discussion aren't problematic - they are appropriate and welcome :) -from review. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 16 at 22:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I looked through the last 40 pages of close votes, and I can confidently say that this is not a "trend". There are now fewer close votes in general - a trend that has been going on since the end of 2019, also refer to the "2020 in numbers" meta. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 21 at 13:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu That'd be great info for an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 22 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast any answer that I would write would be: there is no such problem - the review queues are empty, moderation amounts have declined steadily. I don't think that it would be interesting. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 24 at 20:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu I’d still upvote it. Sometimes the answer is boring. Welcome to meta :P \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Mar 24 at 23:03
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Community curation appears to be working as intended.

There will always be disagreements about curation. We do our best to provide meaningful guidance here on meta for curation best practices, but there will still be disagreements. In the case of this question, it is not obvious that this question is as black and white as you seem to think it is. In the questions six year history, it has appeared in the close votes queue six times and accumulated 18 closure votes compared to 18 Leave Open reviews. Over time, it seems that reviewers have been pretty evenly divided over the state of the question.

The question has remained open through every review, which seems consistent with our guidance on good subjective. So to me, it seems we don't actually have a problem here. The number of users who thought the question should be closed is not insignificant, so it seems inappropriate to simply dismiss their input. The correct response, which you implemented, is to ask yourself, "why does this question keep showing up in the close queue?" and then fix the inconsistency. This is, again, community curation working as intended.

It is a problem when problematic closure votes are consistently affirmed in the review queue, but that should still make us reflect on the guidance we have to see if our guidance is insufficient, obsolete, or actually just being ignored by a problematic few.

It's only wrong if there is policy.

You are the outspoken champion of "guidance, not policy". In this situation, we have both. We have policy that says tool rec questions are off topic, and we have guidance that tells us what it looks like. If we assume good faith on the part of reviewers who voted to close, we must assume that they are faithfully trying to apply existing guidance on what a tool rec is. This is not wrong. In fact, this is exactly what we are supposed to do - apply existing guidance as we understand it.

Now, I think you're on the right track here in pointing out the meta discussion about the word "should", but instead of framing it as "you guys are wrong, go read this discussion that you probably missed", we should instead be asking how we can improve our guidance on tool rec closures to properly integrate the relevant guidance from the Should meta.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think there is also a consideration of perceived problems vs problems proven with data. Lack of data to support a problem doesn't mean the perception is wrong, but it does mean it needs to be looked at differently if we are asking for changes. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 25 at 15:54
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The arrival of a bad answer is not a good reason to close that question.

It isn't necessarily a bad answer itself that might cause folks to close-vote a question, especially if the question is old. More likely is that this is simply the first time some users are seeing those questions. The reason for closure in that case is simply that off-topic questions should be closed as off-topic, regardless of how old they are or whether they have answers or high scores.

Closed questions don't disappear if they are positively scored or answered, so there's nothing to worry about in that regard. Closed questions also prevent people from posting new, bad answers (many new answers to old questions [NATO] are bad, because old questions worth answering usually already have [plenty of] good answers), so it seems like an ideal thing to do from that perspective, as well, if the question is off-topic anyway.

In an attempt to prevent further erroneous close votes

It's important to remember that others have the right to vote or not vote as they see fit. Framing this as "others are making mistakes, they should do what I think instead" is dangerous and ultimately not very constructive. Users can and will disagree with you on whether something ought to be closed... and they likely will be right, at least some of the time. That's why we have (for the most part) consensus closure procedures. If you disagree that something should be closed, the proper course of action is to cast a reopen vote (or a Leave Open action in the CV queue).

Alternatively, as you've said, you can review the question more closely for a way to edit it so that it's on-topic (or appears less like it's off-topic, at least) without changing OP's question or meaning. But it's also not a voter's responsibility to try and edit a question into shape when they come across it in the wild, or even in the CV Queue; it's the OP's job to make sure their question is on-topic.

Making a meta post about a subject should be a last resort rather than a first, because that's what will result in the Meta Effect landing on said question. Even if one intentionally invokes said effect (and they never should... that's abuse), it's a dangerous gambit, because if the whims of Meta disagree with you, then you've just invited a lot more scrutiny and attention in the opposite direction of what you were hoping for. Of course, RPG.SE's Meta Effect is going to be a drop in the bucket compared to a larger site, but it's still a thing to be cognizant of.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer, but this is not correct: Making a meta post about a subject should be a last resort rather than a first That isn't what's going on. Other than that, you raise some good points. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 22 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer may be missing the present and historical context Korvin is speaking into—that we've had a specifically recent trend of closing out questions that are subjective and not sufficiently black-and-white, ones that are of a variety tha thas historically (for many years) been just fine. The way I read it, Korvin is not asking people to apply our current standards, but appealing with a reality check to how current enforcement looks. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 22 at 14:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also on a tangent: I disagree with the characterisation of meta as a last resort, at least on this site. It's just a tool available for us to turn to when it's the appropriate one. In this case, it was the appropriate tool invoked at an appropriate stage. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 22 at 14:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener said it better than I did, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 22 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ (correction on my comment: Korvin is not asking people to not* apply our current standards) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 22 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener You're right I don't have any context about a trend; as no context was provided in the post (only one specific question was linked). That plus a recent comment by the user Akixkusu stating no trend is visible, are the only pieces of contextual information available to me, since I have not been looking at the review queue the last several months (due to being below the necessary rep threshold on this site). \$\endgroup\$ – TylerH Mar 22 at 19:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener However, the post does not provide any detail or context regarding the trend beyond opening with "I am seeing a trend". The 1st half of the question is about one specific question, and the 2nd half is about how users are misusing the site from Korvin's perspective. My answer responds to that 2nd half. Thus, it doesn't really need any context (specific to the problem Korvin alleged) to inform it. FWIW, I don't have any skin in this particular game--obviously I haven't cast any close votes, and at some point in the past I upvoted both the question & at least one of the answers. \$\endgroup\$ – TylerH Mar 22 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Looking at the timeline for the question, I see closure is not a new trend. Starting with the first close review the day it was posted, 12 different users have voted to close it over half as many close attempts over 6 years. In fact, one of the users who voted to close it is now a moderator (had they cast that vote 2 months later, it would've been a binding one and left the question in a closed state). That's not so much a trend as a ...very strong signal that it's a hotly-contested question. It should not be a surprise that, each time it surfaces, it draws close votes. \$\endgroup\$ – TylerH Mar 22 at 19:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast To that point, I don't particularly see a reason why a Meta discussion needs to be started about a wider trend (if there are a series of other posts, that's one thing, but I don't see a list linked/enumerated in your question above). This question in particular has never been closed. Perhaps it should be protected if it's only NATO that are causing it to bump to the front page and thus garner attention and potentially close votes? That will prevent folks with less than 10 rep outside the association bonus from providing a response, at least. \$\endgroup\$ – TylerH Mar 22 at 19:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TylerH except for only considering meta as a last resort I think I agree with most of what you say (meta on rpg.se differs in that regard from many other se sites and I think it is positive). \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 22 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TylerH It was in the close queue when I hit review queue, that is what brought it to my attention. And my memory of SomeoneEvil's post a while back about the word 'should' since we had a rash of closes and 'sturm und drang' with that term in a question being interpreted as "that means it is opinion based" which has since subsided. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 22 at 23:33

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