The question What is a "Game Jam"? asks an interesting question, but maybe is a question asking information more suited to Wikipedia ("Game jam"), which excels at taking a thing, and telling you what it is, with lots of references and detail. Encyclopedic entries don't seem to be what rpg.se is about. Am I missing something?

It's not literally "what is" in the question I'm asking about. For instance, rpg.se has questions such as:

Clearly those are questions where the answer is specific to RPGs and maybe a specific RPG. It's clear to me that a good answer here to those questions are different than a good article on Wikipedia.

If "What is a "Game Jam"" is suitable for rpg.se, does that mean "What is D&D" and "Who is Gary Gygax?" good questions for rpg.se?

This meta question got instantly downvoted, and instant downvotes always make me feel like I'm approaching a question the wrong way, maybe I'm not asking the question correctly. It was prompted by the game jam question, because I didn't want to close vote without understanding the issue, but it's really about where's the line between rpg.se and other sources? To me, the game jam question seems better suited to other sources, but I'm happy to understand others' points of view.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Notably, the site has 1403 questions with titles that begin with "What is". \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2022 at 18:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also of note, we have 188 open [terminology] questions \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2022 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, but they are terminology questions that are within the context of the rpgs in question. Is game jam a term used within a game? That's not what the question is asking. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Mar 11, 2022 at 18:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack A lot of those questions have nothing to do with terms games actually use. A lot of them are exclusively about terms people use when talking about games \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2022 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Exempt-Medic I looked at your terminology list. Looks to me, the first 20 are ALL terms being defined within the game, and none are pointing to a Wikipedia article. I think it supports my position rather than refutes it. However, I'm standing down on the issue. I'm trying not to reflexively delete this question because the negative scores bypass my brain for the delete key, but I'll leave it for a bit in case it turns out to have some value. dobblegreener's answer was useful. Thank you for your comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Mar 11, 2022 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


Encyclopedic answers are exactly our jam.

In the early days of the site, Stack Overflow used this diagram to define itself:

venn diagram of reddit, wiki, blog, forum

This diagram was featured in the early network's About page, and mentioned in blog posts in 2009, in 2012, and in 2014. It was used prominently to indicate that we function more or less like all of these things: we are the overlap of all those functions. As the 2014 post puts it:

That’s the visual elevator pitch for Stack Exchange. We were the little dot in the middle, a potent mix of useful traits from other tools, a wiry mutt full of hybrid vigor. The purpose of this blend was to allow and encourage the construction of a library of solutions, by providing communities with the tools they needed to share their experiences and challenges with others who might struggle with the same issues.

The diagram illustrated where we stole drew inspiration for the design of those tools, and their influence occasionally shows up in the results. Sometimes, a question will end up more like a wiki, other times more like a blog, other times more like a discussion.

The Stack Overflow tour says:

With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed, high-quality answers to every question about programming.

This is the first introduction of the flagship Q&A platform, so I'm assuming it's very official and controlled and vetted by Stack Overflow corporate as an accurate mission statement.

The entire purpose of our existence is to build up a Q&A-driven knowledge base for future reference for all comers. It's why we have citation standards, score answers to elevate the best ones to prominence, and have accepted answers to show what best solved the problem for the person to ask about it. Encyclopedic answers are absolutely what we're about and here for.

Many things covered here can also be covered by an appropriately scoped Wikipedia article, but that's because we have that overlap with Wikipedia's mission to also build up a knowledge base. The fact we have overlap in function is deliberate and intended, not accidental or something we want to avoid.

But just as Wikipedia also does some things we do, we can do things Wikipedia can't do. Not everything we do is encyclopedic, and not everything we do that's encyclopedic would also belong on Wikipedia.

This question's great, answers to it will be great, and fielding it is exactly what we're here to do.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, thank you, this is a very helpful answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Mar 11, 2022 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad I could help. :) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2022 at 19:11

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