This question was closed for being too opinion based. To be fair, I got enough answers, but I'd like to bring it up here, because I feel almost every question under and is opinion based. I feel that this question was broadly applicable, and yet well scoped enough to not be too broad.

I think the "opinion based" motivation was created for questions that on this site would be, D&D3.5 vs Pathfinder, or even D&D3.5 vs 4.0, where answers are both so broad and are likely to result in answers that are simply flame wars. Categories like don't have scientific answers; you can't glean the answer from a rule in the book like ; there isn't years of scientific research on the art of being a GM; so by definition they are opinion based. There are even questions that are too broad and too narrow at the same time (I'd close this one because it appears the question is simply about a very personal case and as worded I feel it's unlikely to help others, also answers are likely to be simple advice and just opinion: talk to her, leave, yada).

My point is that I feel my question has enough quality to be reopened, and that it is at least at par for this site.

(I would also like to state that I don't feel the suggestion of restricting it to be system specific actually improves the question, because I personally don't think "what makes good roleplaying?" when restricting it to table top, and for the purpose of handing out xp for it, varies that much.)

If people do not believe it is of that quality, I would like to understand why it is worse than the existing opinion based questions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This post is a bit muddled and unlikely to get good answers because it is both a vote-to-reopen request and a challenge to the site's policy on the scope of a vote-to-close reason. Perhaps reading the official line on close reasons would help a little (for example, it seems that you're unaware the "too localized" close reason has been removed, and I'm not sure I've seen any support for the idea that "opinion based" is primarily for quashing flame wars). \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Aug 24, 2014 at 2:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW challenging the "vote to close" reasons would be futile. I'm fairly sure I disagreed with it, when I found out about it as a mod on Unix SE, doesn't change the fact that questions that realistically actually only apply to one person are still a bad idea, especially when they're unfocused and commenting in 3 directions where it's like asking, "should I leave my wife"? I'm simply trying to give examples of the fact that other questions seem to not be considered "opinion", or "close worthy", and that it might be worth consideering what is. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 2:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ You've been advised in the past that trying to prove a close reason is used erratically is a good way to challenge our general policy on the close reason itself, but not a good way to get support for re-opening a particular question. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Aug 24, 2014 at 2:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW the community doesn't control close reasons, neither do the site moderators. Rather I'm looking for a good reason that it's different from other opinion based questions, or reopen if it's not. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 2:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Proving relative excellence isn't going to be very helpful here; that approach is more likely to get other questions closed than to get yours re-opened. Why not try to argue your case on your question's own merits, rather than on the unequal application of the rule to other questions? Take your third sentence and use that as the thesis for your appeal, and be open to suggestions on how to modify the question to get it re-opened; nobody wants to keep your question closed if it's a good fit for the site. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Aug 24, 2014 at 2:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW because that violates my theory of moderation. On Unix SE I would always compare whether a question would be considered offtopic as a general rule when the community closed it. I've reopened questions there simply because the closing violated a standing position of the moderators. That's my way of dealing with reopen requests, and if someone provided me with evidence that we had been letting other things through I would either go through and close them, ask another question about the apparent problem, or reopen the existing. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 2:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xenoterracide BESW has a point there. Regarding the (invalid) Pokemon Defense, on Wikipedia (from whence it comes) its persistent misuse eventually resulted in the nuking of the Pokemon articles that were being used as examples. Consider that your theory of moderation might not be shared here... but if it is, you should directly challenge the subjects you think are being let slide wrongly. Contrasting your question with them does a good job of demonstrating why you're confused, but it's... not very productive? It will only get you explanations aimed to clear up confusion, not change policy. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 4:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie if someone wants to fix those then they should bring it up, I'm not really sure I care. I admittedly will say I have no idea how to discern at this point what is on topic here, and what is considered acceptably subjective. Actually asking that question though would just result in a FAQ pointer. This is also considering the surprising number of votes to close my questions get even if most aren't closed, and not all of the questions are remotely opinion based (could just be rules as written) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 5:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xenoterracide One of the things I've noticed myself as a high-rep user on some SEs is that when I go to new-to-me SEs my experience usually causes me more harm than it helps. Might that be happening with you? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 5:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie possibly, I think that it might also be a side side effect of them showing your site ranking, not your SE ranking, meaning people on here see 600 and will say X, because of it... they don't see 12K and a diamond, because that doesn't apply on this site. people are treated differently due to that score. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 5:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @xenoterracide It's true, but is that invalid? I have blustered around on History.SE as if I had 50k, and I was shot down in flames. Turned out to be justified, because I was mis-applying my RPG.SE-specific culture/knowledge to a completely different site culture. I did something similar at Arqade, before I learned how to use the site on the community's terms. I've tried to act my rep on new sites since then and it's been going better. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 5:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie it is both valid and invalid. Lecturing people about SE is not valid, lecturing a moderator about good and bad subjective in general, is not valid. I'm sure there are valid cases, but even a 100k user can be wrong (pretty sure I've corrected Gilles on Unix SE at least once). So I'm not saying it's not possible for me to be wrong here, and I can see that my question is opinion based, but not why it's any worse than any of the rest. They seem about the same to me. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 5:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @xenoterracide The difference comes down to your question being (whether you know it or not) a matter of Bad Subjective: its answers can't be backed up by anything more authoritative than taste. I'll submit an answer since the comments are getting long. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 6:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ As for rep elsewhere... Rep is site-specific for a reason—community standards differ and external experience can be inapplicable. Standards differ especially around types of questions that have historically been problematic. "Soft" sites like RPG.SE have to admit an amount of subjectivity, and we draw the line where it works for our subject, which will be different. So no: a mod diamond elsewhere only means having suitable experience for that elsewhere. It doesn't mean much where its absent, because community standards vary a lot, by necessity, due to the sites' subjects. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 6:59

2 Answers 2


Because there are a lot of different games and theories of play - too many for an answer to this without narrowing it down more.

This question is like asking "How do I know if someone's programming style is good so I can promote them?" Do you not think you'd be met with a cavalcade of "what language? What kind of programming? What's important in your environment?" Similarly, there are a lot of very different RPGs and they go about defining and rewarding roleplay very different - trad games vs Apocalypse World or Fiasco are very different in their approach to a character, even.

This question is both too broad and, as it's very broad, any answer would be totally opinion based. Provide some more criteria, and it will narrow and a less randomly opinionated answer might become possible.

Other than that, subjectve questions are fine within bounds; we use Good Subjective, Bad Subjective to analyze both questions and answers for legitimacy.

We also encourage people to ask about their problem here. If your problem is how to award XP for RP in WoD, ask that. Artificially widening it does no one any good; you'll get worse answers to your problem and others will be dissuaded from asking the question in a more appropriate context later since a general one seems to exist.

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    \$\begingroup\$ hmm... I'm tempted to ask that question on programming SE... I would hope it would be met with more reasonable criteria, with the answers almost correcting the question (I would also argue that perhaps assigning experience based on "good roleplaying" might actually be a flaw in the game design because it might be subjective, but that it's probably a fairly common problem... might make it a reasonable question, how do you deal with the fact that it's subjective without being unfair. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 3:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm also tempted to ask, how does narrowing it to world-of-darkness actually help? my experience playing a few of the systems I've played, and I don't, sadly, have years, is that the "role playing" aspect is largely the same. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 3:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's like having experience with two different machine languages and assuming it's the same as Python. There are RPGs wildly different from WoD. Anyway, here we don't "correct in answers," it's SE best practice to put on hold and correct before answering. Anyway, if you want help we can help, if you want to disagree with our approach, we're pretty happy with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 24, 2014 at 4:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think "hold and correct" depends on how severely off it is, and whether or not correction makes sense in the context. sometimes answers and comments can bring the real question out. Solving the problem they need to solve not just what they say they do (though sometimes people do too much of it too, god knows sometimes I wish people would stop saying don't try to do that, do this instead, when the answer is still interesting, happens on tech sites often) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 4:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @xenoterracide To be honest, narrowing it down to [world-of-darkness] probably wouldn't help. Even one game can be played in myriad ways. Consider: is metagaming good author-stance, or bad actor-stance? Is "but my guy would kill you all in your sleep" excellent roleplaying or being a huge jerkface? Is speaking in purple prose good roleplaying or bad hamming? How about 3rd- versus 1st-person speaking? All those options can be considered "good roleplaying" in every permutation, making it specific to your GM and group what's "good". Hence, primarily opinion-based. Also super-broad. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 5:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ One critical thing I forgot to mention: since all those variations are a matter of taste, questions that hinge on taste (as opposed to best/good/acceptable subjective practices), make the Good Subjective/Bad Subjective doctrine inapplicable. GS/BS being applicable is what divides our subjective questions that are open from our subjective questions that are closed. Our [gm-technique] questions must contain an objective aim (and [problem-player] has one built-in: achiving functional play), so the advice in answers there isn't merely taste. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2014 at 5:33

What is good roleplaying is a matter of taste

The reason it's closed is because it can't have objective answers or Good Subjective answers. Any answer to what is "good" roleplaying is, inherently, a matter of taste.

Not only is it a matter of taste and therefore completely (not even just primarily) opinion-based, it's also incredibly broad. There are myriad axes alone which to slice "good roleplaying" that focuses on different behaviours or experiences, and there are even more ways of judging those axes, again according to personal taste. And they're all valid slices and judgements, because there is no accounting for taste.

Consider these options, all equally valid: is metagaming good author-stance, or bad actor-stance? Is "but my guy would kill you all in your sleep" excellent roleplaying or being a huge jerkface? Is speaking in purple prose good roleplaying or bad hamming? How about 3rd- versus 1st-person speaking? How a person answers these has no basis in objective reality, just in taste. Each of these alternatives is "good" roleplaying to someone and "bad" roleplaying to someone else. There isn't even a way to make an answer to these choices Good Subjective by providing experience with them working — "working" for this purpose isn't quantifiable or qualifyable except with "it resulting in play that was to my taste."

"Good" roleplaying is, therefore, completely a matter of what you want out of roleplaying. You can't even built that into a question as constraints on the answers, because once you give your criteria, those criteria are your taste in good roleplaying and answers have nothing left to do except nod and say, "Yes, those are your measures of good roleplaying. Use those." And then it gets closed as "unclear what you're asking" or a custom close reason to revive the "this isn't a question" close reason.

GM techniques and how to deal with problem players are not a matter of taste

There's opinion in and in , but the opinion is susceptible to being Good Subjective because it can be backed up by experience with them satisfying play objectives that the questions are (presumably) specifying, rather than reducing to a matter of taste. The rubric of these questions are also not self-answering once written, unlike questions of taste.

That's the real dividing line here: things that are susceptible to the Good Subjective guidelines are going to be answerable, even if they involve some degree of opinion. Being able to satisfy criteria, according to experience or citations, is enough proof against rampant opining that we'll field the question. If a question is subjective and can't be made Good Subjective, then it'll be closed as primarily opinion-based.


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