We have a question asking for the game creator's intent behind Sorcerers being penalized when they get new spell levels relative to Wizards. There's no problem with the question itself, except that it's acting as a newbie trap.

What I mean by that is that the highest rated answer given is at 0, and that's only because it was preemptively deleted by a mod before it could be downvoted into last year. There's four other answers (two deleted), at -3, -6, -4, and -8. All but one is from a relatively low rep user (the exception is over 2k). The answers in question all deserve the downvotes, as they don't address the main criteria in the question (which I went and bolded a while ago to try and make obvious).

The question asker and the downvoters are not doing anything wrong, but the net result is a question that's acting as a trap for users that don't know better. I don't think that is making for a great experience for those (generally newer) users, but I'm not sure what else can be done to make it clear that speculation is not wanted.

Any ideas? Or is this just a case where everything is working as intended and people just need to learn the hard way?


3 Answers 3


It's not just newbies. Some people just can't resist answering a question, even when they have no direct knowledge of the issue at hand. Happens on questions like that more just because it seems accessible and has no answers on it (there's less motivation to answer an already answered question, especially if you're talking out your butt). Even high-rep site users fall prey to this - "I'm sure I can answer that even without direct knowledge, I'm so smart" (the recent Spider Whip spell question comes to mind, where everyone's answering without knowing/owning the spell description and begging the OP to add the whole thing - hint, maybe those that own the Advanced Class Guide would be better answer-ers).

All we can do is enforce Good Subjective, Bad Subjective with the white hot fury of a thousand suns.

  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ If you have access to the content of the book - say, though the PFSRD, or because the person asking the question posted it as part of their question - you can answer just fine. There's no need to take snide pot shots like some twelve year old. You're supposed to be a professional. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26, 2014 at 16:23

The protected question status is intended to do this, but it's for truly new users (10 rep and less). This question's poor answers are not coming from that segment of the population, so it's not useful in this case.

I'm not sure if this means that this question is working as intended in the school of hard knocks, or if there's something else which can kick in here.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I think part of it is just a culture thing. We seem to have inherited an very poor attitude here, in that answers that rely on objective data (like math, or the text in the book, or, you know, the math) are valued equal to or less than purely anecdotal answers. This is...less than ideal. This is in fact part of why most RPG forums become so damn unhelpful. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26, 2014 at 16:30

The questions needs some further attention -- specifically, it needs extraneous comments and invalid answers to be deleted.

Right now, it's sitting at a +22 score, with four chatty comments on the main question, and a pair of very-low scoring answers that, in turn, have a bunch of chatty comments. Both answers should be deleted outright, as should every comment on the question save for @doppelgreener's note that we are seeking answers with citations.

It isn't possible to outright prevent "newbie trap" questions, but they can be handled appropriately when they arise. And in this case, "appropriately" means "clean it up until a real answer can be found."

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how deleting answers helps in this case. The people getting into trouble can't see deleted answers, so they think it has no answers and make the same mistake again. Seeing several answers down voted into last year would serve as a better warning on what not to do. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Aug 29, 2014 at 2:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see the exact inverse, actually -- seeing bad answers just discourages ANY answer, and makes a good example less likely. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bleep
    Aug 29, 2014 at 11:59

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