I asked What is Avatar Legends: The RPG, and how does one play it?. It was closed within 30 minutes with the reason "This question needs to be more focused."

Should we close it and questions like it? Such as:

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If you don't have the manual, and have not researched/read the rules, does this really meet our minimum standard? Remember what the text reads on the down vote arrow: this question does show any research effort. If you can explain your research effort in the body of the question then objections like that one go away. I think that the question that triggered this might not be the best to showcase the tag. It is quite sparse in detail. FWIW, on History we routinely shut 'do my homework for me' questions. FWIW. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I think the way I tagged it and linked to the material clearly showed more than sufficient research effort, but I have since expanded on it. People who have read the material will be able to see it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 1:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ OK, thanks for fleshing that out; as I said, if you provide more detail the objection goes away. "But he did it" isn't an excuse to be sloppy when you know better. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 12:33

4 Answers 4


I don't think the flaw is strictly in the question type

We don't require questions to have a high mastery of a given system. And I think that extends to asking for an overview of how a system works. That should be something an expert can answer and help with, and I think it's something we can do really well. And I think you've found several – well three, I'm not counting the Nobilis Q&A – examples of it working. There may be aspects to each question which needs work, but I certainly don't want to call them off-topic. Maybe they risk being a bit broad, but we're better off working that out for each question.

But we do want questions to show effort, which maybe becomes a trickier matter. Often that's just a downvote reason, but sometimes if there's not enough description of what you've tried and where you've stumbled, there's too many possible things and places you might have a problem for the question to be focused.

A short set of questions to ask yourself and include in the question:

  • Have you read the basic blurb of the game? What is it in there you don't understand?

  • What RPGs systems are you coming from, and what differences are you struggling with?

  • Is the extant out of system information not clearly telling you whether it's something you'd want to pick up? If so, what have you read, what is it leaving out (and probably what do you generally look for)?

You may discover that the actual problem you end up having isn't quite the same as you're asking for here. That's ok. Maybe even very good. You would have managed to rescope it to the actual problem you're facing, which is what we want.

†: At a brief glance the other questions linked cover (at least one of these) better than yours does. Maybe not perfectly, but some of it is necessary.

As a footnote-footnote, one thing we're trying to distinguish is "what is RPGs?" which we have a signpost for (at least for "what is D&D?"). That's obviously not the problem you're facing, but the question doesn't show that.

Another aspect which you (as an asker) should strive to avoid is have the question not look like it's secretly promotion. I say that not because I think you're doing that, but a short, broad question that puts more space and effort on linking back to kickstater/storefront and some form of praise is a form of spam we see from time to time. I'm actually (pleasantly) half-surprised this didn't raise a flag to that effect.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The voting indicates that after adjusting the question, nothing changed about the voting pattern. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Aug 24, 2021 at 13:42

Questions should generally present a problem that isn’t solvable by just reading the rules.

Your question needs to make it clear why just reading the rules doesn’t solve your problem. This is essentially the first point of the help article on how to ask a good question:

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!

For your question, somehow demonstrating that you at least read the rules is the first step toward making your question a good question. Why don’t you know how to play after reading the rules?

In this case, “needs details” and “needs focus” are really the same thing. Without clarifying why reading rules didn’t tell you how to play, we have nothing to focus on when answering. We can only guess at what sort of distillation or summary of the rules will actually cure your confusion. Or, you could just tell us up front what part of the rules are presenting trouble and we can actually address your problem. Your question needs details to get it more focused on what your actual problem is.

This general guidance applies everywhere, but I’m not presently able to write and present a case for all of the individual Q&As you present in the question. I may come back to that later.


It's on-topic, but ...

While is something that we cover here at RPG.SE, the question itself doesn't seem like the type to generate good quality content. If you look at the other questions that you linked, you can see that each of them explains why they need the system introduction and provide more context for answers to go off of. Currently, your question is simply answerable with:

Avatar Legends is a Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TTRPG), and is played by following the rules within the rulebook.

That is not, by any means, a good answer, but it is one that feels rather on level with the amount of effort that went into the question. Instead, you should look at rephrasing the question into one that invites better answers and shows more effort on your part to understand the game, something like:

I've been looking over the Kickstarter for Avatar Legends and the quickstart they released, but I'm having trouble understanding how to play it. Can I get an explanation of its mechanics to get a better grasp of how to play it?


Your first sentence:

As part of the financially incredibly successful Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game Kickstarter, Magpie Games released a Quickstart, available for free after sign-up in the mailing list.

made me feel like you were more interested in promoting a product than in getting an answer to a real question you had.

You added extra text to your question after it was closed, but that did not change my feeling -- it just made it feel like you were more interested in promoting a product than getting an answer to a real question, and also you'd written some extra sentences because you wanted your question reopened.

I'm on this site because I want to help people with real questions, and it felt like you weren't asking a question in good faith.

I see that Someone_Evil has posted that they disagree with my take, and they are happy that nobody has flagged the question as spam, so I suppose it's just as well that I didn't do that.

But, anyway, that's why I downvoted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1. This question is barely disguised spam. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 4:01

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