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I'm asking in regards to this question:

What are the benefits of owning a physical book?

My gut feeling has me concerned this might not be suitable to ask here. It might be a primarily opinion-based matter, or a Gorilla vs Shark question, or something else.

My say in the matter is totally out though: I voted to close then retracted it, so I can't vote again, and I've answered, leaving me to a certain extent vouching for it being worthwhile.

But my concern is still there, so I'm bringing it up here. Is this question OK, or not?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I admit my question is on the border between objective and subjective, and so were the answers, but I got some ideas, so I think it was more than just a poll. \$\endgroup\$ – András Mar 4 '14 at 12:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Andras I don't think it's a poll; we have far more kinds of opinion-based questions than just polls. See the Gorilla vs Shark link I'm adding now. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 4 '14 at 12:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm undecided myself, but the answers don't look bad so far. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Mar 4 '14 at 12:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ What change or subset would make it more valid? \$\endgroup\$ – András Mar 4 '14 at 13:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andras This isn't definitive, but possibly context would help. Consider that I responded with certain advantages from the perspective of one person with one e-reader. You challenged that from a scenario with a table full of people each with e-readers (and possibly also the dog has one too). This is analogous to "but what if the gorilla was in the water?" That indicates a scenario you're not specifying. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 4 '14 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ If we use the examples at the end of GvS as some kind of very rough scale, you might be only at the stage of "What is it about the UX of Facebook that made it more successful than Google+?". A specific context would move it closer to the end example, and move us out of an arena the size of Mexico into a specific situation where we can actually evaluate which side has the advantage. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 4 '14 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I advise not doing anything just yet tho, wait for more feedback I think, since my change could be a somewhat radical question change potentially and those get a bit messy so aren't to be done lightly usually. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 4 '14 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ This question seems on topic. They should both probably have the same fate. Personally, I think they are similar enough to close the new one and try to get some people to add bounties to the old one. \$\endgroup\$ – Colin D Mar 4 '14 at 18:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ColinD That is a very different and very, very much more specific question. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 5 '14 at 2:39
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The one thing this question has going for it is that in the case of RPG sourcebooks, there are some objective differences between E-Readers and paper books. Primarily that the electronic versions are more searchable and updateable as things like errata are released.

I mean, it's still mostly opinion based. Anytime an answer says something like this:

I own an ebook, and I find it more comfortable linear reading than in physical books.

That's opinion based. But the question of being updated vs being easy to use at a table, and things like the higher cost upfront of a paper book vs the cost of a subscription service like DDI for years have better answers.

I shared your reaction to this one, and it took me a while to figure out what I think of it. Right now, IMO it's just far enough on the good side of the line to be okay.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's opinion based. But it's also experience based, which supposedly validates it as good subjective. Or do I understand everything wrong? \$\endgroup\$ – Flamma Mar 5 '14 at 23:56
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To be honest, I voted to close because the answers seemed to be primarily opinion-based.

This leads me to believe that the way the question itself is framed isn't really specific enough.

I can see the value in a question discussing the trade-off from a publisher's perspective, but the current version doesn't really define a use case for the information beyond "Huh, why do they do this and not that?"

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also why I voted to close it. there were 9 when I voted to close. I'll close just about anything that has that many as that becomes evidence there is little expertise required to supply an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Mar 5 '14 at 19:56
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I think that the question, as asked, is fine. The user is trying to determine what benefits are associated with paper books versus electronic ones. It's similar to someone on a music site asking what the benefits of vinyl are over CDs, or possibly more accurately, CDs versus MP3s. Some of the answers and comments, based on my entirely too faulty memory of the discussion, seem to head more toward answering a question of "Why are electronic books better than paper books" or vice versa.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Agree. I think it's some of the answers (and the phrasing in others) that make it seem more questionable than it really is. \$\endgroup\$ – Chuck Dee Mar 5 '14 at 1:37
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I don't think the question is so opinion based, if you read it carefully. Especially, if you read this part of the question:

So what am I missing? Why are people buying rpg rulebooks in paper format? Why are even books published(...)?

This mark the question not about which is better, but what benefits do physical books have and why books are still printed.

So, every reason someone have to keep using physical books is objectively answering the question of why some people are still using them.

As everyone that answered the question has tried physical and electronic formats, the answers are experience based.

So I would dare to say that since the questioner has gotten an ample spectrum of reasons of why some people still use physical books, and since that was what he was looking for, the questions and the answers are working just fine.

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I think the question is fine as it is, because it's asking for facts ("what are the benefits").

This question, cited as a better example, is still open and it does not get more subjective than that. If something is "too annoying" is entirely subjective. That one should indeed be closed.

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