Tex.SE has alot of fun with its , subjective, community wiki "Show Off" threads.

I would like to have a similar type question, also marked community wiki, for "Show off your character sheets", for character sheet designs community members have made. It would also serve a educational purpose, suggesting answers go into some detail about how they made it.

Would that be a good fit for this site? I'm not certain.
I kinda think it would not be as it is a question without a a single definitive answer.
On the other hand it worked out fine for Tex.SE, and many people enjoy the threads.
But on the other other hand TeX.SE are nice people, and are really chill.

Update: as noone has said anything against this, I have created the Question: Show off your Character Sheet Designs. It has been flagged for a moderator to convert it to community wiki.


6 Answers 6


I think we'd be open to specific designated "fun" questions as long as people don't suddenly open others and flood us with low qual questions. We could do something like this as part of a specific initiative. How would you propose a charsheet show-off to work, just posting an image of the sheet (probably with a max size, so one person's 6 page char sheet doesn't fill up 6 linear feet of space), a link if applicable, and a paragraph or two at the most about the design theory/benefits thereof?

Sigh, OK after this other question asking about the charsheet questions' "fun" tag in What is the intended purpose of the 'fun' tag?, I am going to change the tag to and add a tag wiki that says it's an exception type only to be created with permission from meta.

I guess perhaps there should have been more windup and communication on this and a more defined "this is the official it's OK" before it got initiated - I'm about 3 meta questions into deciding this was more trouble than it's worth from various confused site members.

For rules going forward, I think we want:

  1. A meta post requesting a question. It should justify itself as being both fun enough to break the rules and having some educational value. It should remain in voting for a week, and if it gets more upvotes than downvotes (and no diamond mod vetos) then it can proceed. "There's been too many of these lately" or "it's just not interesting enough" are valid downvote reasons, I wouldn't want to see more than one a month and only would want to see really good ones, not just because "we think it's time for another fun Q..."

  2. Clear rules on the question - I think the charsheet Q is doing well on this, we had good guidelines on the answers with image sizes and whatnot, and a good standard format has emerged on them explaining how and why (which meets the educational criterion).

  3. A clear announcement on the question as to its nature. This would consist of a link to the authorizing meta Q and the tag, whose tag wiki would explain all this as well.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, a Image of the sheet, and a link if possible. With the possible suggestion that if it is multi-page, image only of favourite page. Restriction that it must have been created by the poster (whether the poster is the system author or not - so fansheets for popular systems would be OK, as would sheets made by professionals, if the professional themselves is posting). One sheet per post. A short paragraph to describe how it was made (Eg, I made this with Inkscape, ...") Another short paragraph on what makes it good: "I put XP costs in the margin, which is handy" \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2014 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ We may want to set a max size and link to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/74312/… on how to do that \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed. Is it possible with imageur to specify as max width, and keep aspect ratio? Looks like from that link yes, by using the nonsquare thumbnails. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2014 at 13:32
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ We do need to be careful about copyright though. I wouldn't mind making custom designed D&D next sheets as part of our push \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 18, 2014 at 2:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree on the more windup thing; the character sheet question was created only 36 hours after this one, and only 24 hours after you responded, by which time I'm pretty sure your answer only even had like 3 votes. It was jumping the gun doing it that soon. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 5:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I figured 24 hours was enough. My bad \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 7:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can't we just have the question and not the tag. It's meta. Better yet, I don't really see a point in the question. This is forum material. It doesn't really do us harm, but I'm not sure I see the benefits. What does our engine provide on this that a forum doesn't? What does the voting do? \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 0:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is a special exception to the site rules made in the name of fun, so of course it's "forumy" and voting doesn't work any better on it than any community wiki Q. The tag is important to help label that it's an exception and that's how other SEs do it. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 5:25

I'm kinda ambivalent about this one.

I'm not sure this thread really represents a direct analogy to the Tex.SE "fun" threads.

My understanding is that the Tex.SE showcase threads are, in part, about teaching. Each of the answers is implicitly saying "Here is a cool trick I know," or "Let me teach you about writing elegant code." That makes them potentially relevant to many hardcore Tex users (not just the people literally doing scientific diagrams in Tex). It's notable that, as far as I know, nearly everything posted comes with source.

I think RPG.SE's character sheet thread doesn't really achieve the same goals as the Tex.SE show-off threads.

  • Is it relevant to the site's users? Doing your own character sheet layout isn't really a core part of playing an RPG. It's more of a graphic design activity associated with publishing one (or being a dedicated fan, sometimes). The vast majority of people involved in the hobby are never going to do this.

  • Is it relevant to the core mission of the site? I kinda suspect if you posted a detail-oriented question about how to make a character sheet (rather than an overview question like "What tools could I use?"), you'd be shunted off into Graphic Design or Tex or some other more technically-oriented part of SE.

  • Does it contain tricks you can pick up and apply to your own work? Probably yes, but not as directly as the Tex.SE questions do.

It's cool to show off and maybe this is good enough for a first-time experiment (one thing that makes it a great choice for a first-time experiment, despite my concerns about on-topic-ness, is that it's a pretty narrowly scoped question). But, well, what would more questions like these look like?

  • "Show off the games you've written?" (Seems like advertising.)

  • "Show off your actual play?" (But how do you turn that into a substantive teaching tool?)

  • "Show off your house rules?" (That'd be a disaster, I think. No focus. So many comment arguments.)

  • "Show off your character doodles?" (Is that in scope?)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ambivalent, and not seeing a teaching angle: yeah, that's how I'm feeling about this. Re your "what would future ones look like," I can only think of design-golf contests: "given these constraints and contest rules, and this mechanic design goal, submit your rules designs". I don't know that that would be useful though, as mechanics in isolation are hard to learn from or even judge for quality. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie One thing I've been kinda turning over in my head is whether a "just-for-fun" topic may help with the whole D&D5 outreach thing we've been talking about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex P
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:49
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It might, but in implementation I'd be concerned about how it conveyed what SE is about... I could see it giving the impression that we're just another forum, so why bother coming here; I could also see it showing more clearly how we are different in the exception-proves-the-rule contrast between a [just-for-fun] question and our "normal" questions. I'm not sure which is more likely. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ A possibility I’d be interested in for a future “for-fun” kind of question is a homebrew contest. That said, that’s been suggested before (though it was not presented as well, with as much homework and precedent) and received little support, and opposition received considerable support. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 17:00

I think a small number of questions of this type, reasonably curated, is beneficial.

What is the benefit of having them here rather than somewhere else:

  • Build Community.

    • We want out people on this site, thinking about each other, and as a group.
    • Knowing what cool things people have done, helps build a sense of community.
  • Attract Experts.

    • We want experts.
    • Many experts like to show off there expertise.
    • Some forms of expertise can't be readily shown off in normal answers.
    • But the same experts might have other skills that can.
  • Educate:

    • I agree with Alex P that the TeX.SE big-list questions tend to have a implict educational component. And that it is important these do too.
    • I disagree (with the statement I find implied) that they always achieve that goal
    • I think that good answers to this type of question can and will have direct education (Eg my own answers to it tend to describe what tricks i had to do to make the software line things up and draw fields.)
    • I think there is a intrinsic education: "All the high voted character sheets use only two fonts -- including sizing. That must be a good idea."

I think it's off topic due to not having a best answer.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sure, it totally is, but we can also experimentally accept it for the fun/sharing value. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 10:12
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm curious what makes you feel controlled and pre-approved "frivolous" threads for the community to display their own work aren't appropriate on rpg.se, despite being seen to succeed in some other SE sites. Could you elaborate, please? \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 10:48
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Agreeing with BESW: I definately see that aramis has a point (that is why I made this meta post to begin with). But I would really like aramis to expand and elaborate on the reasons. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 11:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As it's explicitly modeled on other "golf"-type questions that have been given a special exemption on other SEs, not having a best answer is a given. Not that I disagree (I'm undecided), but "it's exactly as advertised in the request for exemption" isn't a persuasive point. Given that it doesn't fit the format and given that that's expected, can you elaborate on how that's fatal for the experiment? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 19:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The rules for this SE explicitly require, and the mods almost insanely enforce, a requirement for potential answers to have a clear, factual basis. This one can't. \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 23:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ So, the mods are all about keeping a site well kempt according to the rules. We're open to a special "breaks the rules, once in a while for fun" category like this - it allows an outlet without, hopefully, degrading normal site operation. Please don't use as as "the reason we can't do this" - if the community wants to "insanely enforce" not doing this that's fine, but I think it provides a safe outlet to the other heavily curated content here. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 16:24

I really liked this idea. We are here for our hobbies, so why not show what we have done for our hobbies on our tabbles?

Also, after I looked at that Ars Magica character sheet, I became really curious about the system. While advertising is not the focus, a topic like this one could spark our curiosity to try new systems and taste a bit of new things.

I confess, I got a bit proud of my character sheet. And having the oportunity to post it here, for others that share the hobby see and opine, is a great, great thing to me. I really liked this idea.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ To be a devil's advocate, there's no reason such a topic couldn't be hosted on an RPG discussion forum such as RPG.net. Since that purpose is already or can be served elsewhere, that means that RPG.se doesn't have a special responsibility to provide an opportunity to do it here. There needs to be a reason that having it here is better than having it elsewhere. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2014 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think 7SD's comment here sums it up the best. I don't think anyone here thinks it wouldn't be a lot of fun to review other people's character sheets. We'd probably learn some things, and have a heck of a lot of fun doing it. I hate to sound like Maro and the color pie, but I really don't think it belongs here. what's that? I'm on the wrong SE for that reference? drats... \$\endgroup\$
    – corsiKa
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 21:12
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie An easy argument there is that here has this community which is different from that community. Overall, I like the people here better than I do at some other communities I've been to. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 14:06

It appears this question was quietly closed and locked some time ago. Did the opinion on whether or not this was an appropriate question change somewhere along the line?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see the "closed" in brackets notation. (Was there a recent re-open vote that I missed?) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 24, 2017 at 13:50
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ My bad, I had locked it a few weeks ago because (to my mind) the “just for fun” experiment died a long time ago and in my mind the question type was no longer on-topic, but it was correctly pointed out to me that maybe it's just sleeping, not dead. That was after I'd gone and locked that though, and I forgot about going back to unlock it. (That said, it had been closed for about a year before that, which contributed to the “it's dead, Jim” sentiment I thought I'd detected.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 24, 2017 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it dead. It was fun, but I'm not sad to see it go either. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2017 at 2:28

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