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This query came about following a comment on Did Basic D&D invent and popularise the abbreviation XP for experience points?

I am particularly interested in how such a question meets the "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" requirement. My initial reaction is no, they don't, but there are other similar questions with enormous numbers of votes that suggest otherwise, e.g. Who created the idea of Experience Points?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The whole practical, answerable questions based on problems you actually face was a recent mso topic meta.stackexchange.com/q/164436/170797 \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle May 25 '13 at 19:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think we see that many trivia questions. Certainly not so many that if they are bad, they cause a clutter problem. My preference is to ignore edge cases until they get too noisy, and then figure it out. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Withers May 26 '13 at 4:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SimonWithers I tend to agree about ignoring things until they're actually noisy. I think that is worth being an answer to this. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 26 '13 at 20:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ related: meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/q/2864/4089 \$\endgroup\$ – LitheOhm May 27 '13 at 3:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not really sure how/whether to choose a 'correct' answer here, as I don't know that there is one... \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs May 28 '13 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Correct, in this case, is an answer that cites sources and is faithful to those (no speculation or speculation clearly marked as such) \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Jul 28 '14 at 20:48
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Historical research into the history of table top gaming should be on topic.

The line "practical answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" is quite outmoded and while it was suitable for the trilogy sites, has been and should be largely abandoned by SE 2.0 sites (though it's still a part of the FAQ it's wording is up for revisions).

That said, it's a good criteria for most questions. The problem is when you have a general interest question that is otherwise quite good "Did D&D invent the usage of XP for experience points?" is a good no topic question (provided the author does a bit of prior research and informs the audience of such).

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's fine to think questions like this are on topic, but "practical answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" is one of the key differentiators of SE sites from the junk forums of the world. -1 for that. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica May 25 '13 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wax Eagle - but who defines what 'general interest' means? Does it come down to the number of up and down votes a question gets? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs May 25 '13 at 21:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I find the distinction between "actual problems you face" quite subjective. If I want to write a history of gaming article maybe not knowing who invented the XP term is an "actual problem I face". How can we know if one question is an actual problem? \$\endgroup\$ – Flamma May 25 '13 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Flamma exactly this. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle May 26 '13 at 3:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk then we might as well shut down Christianity, Chemistry, Physics, Skeptics and half of SE 2.0. If that distinction was tightly held those sites would not be able to exist in the form they've taken. It's a distinction that works well for programming sites, but honestly doesn't hold up as we branch out in topics (see the MSO discussion I linked on the question). \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle May 26 '13 at 3:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ And the reason I disagree with the "2.0" thoughts in that thread and agree with Jeff Atwood is that people are likely to use the jettisoning of this requirement to justify asking all kinds of bad questions. Game theory (or physics theory or whatever) is OK. "Code Golf" kinds of "how high does the goblin fly" are not, neither are trivia questions. Our site is doing just fine with practical, answerable questions. Most examples to the contrary (on the other 2.0 sites too) are red herrings. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica May 26 '13 at 15:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Then tell me how character optimization is on topic? Code golf is like character optimization. "I want to make the best grapple fighter" is not really a "problem". \$\endgroup\$ – user4000 Aug 6 '14 at 12:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Practical optimization should be on topic (I want to play a grapple fighter), but I'm not super happy about theoretical optimization, which is why the "flying goblin question" or whatever it was got closed. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 6 '14 at 12:54
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The question is mostly answerable. It's actually quite easy to validate the null hypothesis Moldvay Basic is the primary source of the term XP.

All one has to do is show that either Moldvay wasn't the most widespread early source, or that a similarly widespread source was earlier. In point of fact, both of which are true. (AD&D's DMG uses XP, is earlier, in print longer, sold more copies, and in general, was better known prior to the rise of the OSR.)

History of Gaming, especially history of specific terms, is of use in later game design, as well as specific non-gaming uses (to wit, authors of fiction set in period).

Which said, this particular question isn't really off topic. Further, it's actually answerable with a relatively high degree of certainty - far more than, say, Encouraging players to not cheat the item purchase system?.

Plus, such questions are exactly the kind of thing best handled by crowdsourcing answers... which is exactly the purpose of SE sites.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Answerability isn't the only criterion of a good on topic question however. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica May 26 '13 at 14:59
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In general, trivia should be off topic because it does not meet the bar of "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" - which, far from being outmoded, is what separates SEs from the animals.

I think there should be limited exceptions with a high bar for items that might fit the category of scholarship/real information. "Wikipedia article worthy" stuff.

In my opinion, Who created the idea of Experience Points? - who invented experience points, barely clears that bar, but Who popularised the abbreviation of XP for experience points? Was it Basic D&D? - strictly about the abbreviation - does not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You are arguing by proxy here -- the SE policy exists for a reason, and it's worthwhile examining whether that reason still makes sense in this context. Simply pointing to a policy and saying that it "separates SEs from animals" is meaningless until you articulate why that is so. \$\endgroup\$ – starwed May 25 '13 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not interested in spending my time justifying long standing SE best practice. It you're truly curious go ask on meta.SE but here, we're taking the SE format as a given. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica May 25 '13 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Except that here, on the SE 2.0 sites, is where the pressure to change this is coming from. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 25 '13 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, it's coming from a couple random folks that don't understand the format. The old sites get that as much as the new. Don't kid yourself, voting here isn't going to cause us to remove standard SE bars for our content. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica May 25 '13 at 20:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not for changing the bars to content, or the wording of the question, but I feel this particular question was of enough merit and worded well enough to justify leaving it open and available for answering. \$\endgroup\$ – George Spiceland May 26 '13 at 0:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk the "format" is flat out being ignored on two other SE2.0 sites I've seen... and a couple of them explicitly encourage historical source analysis. I'm only active on 5 SE sites... and 3 more I occasionally answer on... and the ones that are out of beta, EXCEPT this one, all allow historical questions. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Jul 30 '14 at 7:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's fine for them. We aren't doing that. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 6 '14 at 12:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Judging from the score of your answer, @mxyzplk , it looks like we should be. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Aug 6 '14 at 14:57

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