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It seems like quite a few 4E questions are being answer with a quote and link from the D&D compendium. Whilst these answers are perfectly accurate, I'm not sure how useful it is as an answer in some cases. Are these General Reference?

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No, these are not General Reference, as described on this SO blog.

General reference: this question is too basic; the answer is indexed in any number of general internet reference sources designed specifically to find that type of information.

(Emphasis mine)

Following the flow chart in the blog, and replacing an internet search with a search of the D&D compendium many of the questions would be considered General Reference. However, D&D compendium is only accessible to those who have paid for the Dungeons and Dragon's Insider subscription (DDI), and thus is not available to everyone. It is worth bearing in mind however that you should, when using the DDI as a source always (where practicable):

  • Give a quote from the compendium.

  • List the Primary Source of the information, be it a Dragon Magazine, a Splat book or otherwise, as well as the link to the compendium.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Request to have this cleaned up by someone who knows better than I, and maybe added to the FAQ? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '12 at 12:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ But what about questions related to 3e/PF that can be answered with a link to d20srd.org or d20pfsrd.com? These sites are publicly available for everyone and many questions related to feats & feat interactions, spells & magic items, rules and monsters can often be answered with a single link and what amounts to "RTFM". \$\endgroup\$
    – user2862
    Jan 14 '12 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I always thought it was considered bad form to use a single link as your prime way to answer a question? What if the external site goes down, what if the link changes due to a site moving, what if the site changes its access model, yadda yadda yadda...? \$\endgroup\$
    – user2862
    Jan 14 '12 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @arotter "can often be answered with a single link and what amounts to "RTFM"" should they though? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '12 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that's the question and it would be good to know rpg.se's rules for that. How should we react when someone asks a question that can answered with a single link to an SRD site, a publisher's FAQ or Wikipedia? \$\endgroup\$
    – user2862
    Jan 14 '12 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @arotter did you read the blog? I think the flow chart explains the wikipedia example, I'm not sure about the rest. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '12 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I read the blog and flowchart. But I got a bit confused about the discussion that went on with the flowchart (new close option "general reference"). \$\endgroup\$
    – user2862
    Jan 14 '12 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Which section? The comments or Jeffs text? - "please endeavor to make your questions more than a constant stream of no-duh underhanded softballs requiring nothing more than a quick cut and paste from Wikipedia, IMDB, or some other standard internet reference site." \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '12 at 15:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @arotter I always thought it was considered bad form to use a single link as your prime way to answer a question? -- The way you (properly) answer with just a link is by pulling some of the important bits from the external site into the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Jan 14 '12 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding 3.5/Pathfinder: My take has been that as long as there is interpretation or hunting for rules involved, the question should be fine. Most of the SRDs (and RPG books in general) fail the "too hard to parse" test, in that information is generally scattered and/or buried. \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Jan 14 '12 at 17:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon is that how you'd classify the D&D compendium then? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '12 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret In general, yes. But keep in mind that things are not quite so simple for us as they are on SO, due to errata and the exception-based nature of many RPGs. \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Jan 14 '12 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon Agreed. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '12 at 20:12
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I think these may be general reference in some cases.

The DDI Compendium and d20 SRDs count as a general internet reference source for someone who plays that game in my book (especially because they basically cover the rulebook the person should have read). If someone asks a C question that's straight out of K&R on SO, it gets closed (and should).

If there is hunting around and interpretation involved, then it's fine. If it is just a black letter thing - "What power does a sorcerer get at third level?" then it's close as general reference.

When answering using an external source, you shouldn't just link it - you should link it and cite it. If all the answer requires is a link and a cite, however, it may be a warning sign that it's GR. I tend to not come down too hard on GRs as a mod, but the second someone opens a bunch of them - revealing they are either rep-whoring or a complete dumbass - they'll go tout suite.

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