This is not about venting about the downvotes on my post. Let's agree that my post does contain mistakes and that my comments down the road were driven by frustration. I'd like to share why I was frustrated and ask your opinion.
I see a large gap in voting and commenting behaviour between RPG.SE and the other SE sites I frequently visit. Obviously this is only my own experience, Stack Overflow for example is huuge so if you check different tags, maybe you have a different experience.
With the other sites my voting experience is:
downvotes are for factually wrong content beyond salvaging or content that did not show any effort.
Example low-quality answers:
"The level limit in D&D 5 is 17, only Orcs with Cyberware can obtain level 21."
Comments are used when the post does show effort, but got things wrong.
"The table for levels in AD&D 1 went to 29, not 20"
"Mentioning Level 9 characters and level 9 spells in the same paragraph may confuse people. Can you be more precise?"
If people do not share the opinion, they either upvote another post or write their own.
This post however (and this is not the first time this happend) received a lot of downvotes without anyone getting constructive about what was wrong. It's impossible to actually correct any mistakes on the base of "you got all the details wrong". Well what details? What is wrong? The last comment finally got into details. If that comment would have been the first, before the downvotes, I would probably have improved and corrected my post. Without it, that was pretty much impossible.
I do make as many mistakes as anyone else. And I absolutely look up to the senior members of other sites. I share a tag with a 700K rep user on StackOverflow and I have been corrected by him more than once. But he wrote constructive comments. Comments where when I read them I was like "D'oh he is so right". Right now, I cannot say this from this community. All I get is downvotes and broad "that's wrong" statements.
It feels like random favoritism. I'm not saying it is. I know fully well that everybody can vote as he likes and no comment is necessary. But just because it's possible, that does not mean that it builds a good and constructive community with respected members.
What do you think about this site's voting behavior?
What are your experiences?
Do you see differences between this and other SE sites?
As the comments have been deleted and no longer visible, here they are:
I'm not passing judgement on whether 20th level should be a hard limit or not — I’m just trying to ascertain what the rule actually is. The PHB seems to imply that 20th is the limit, and if that’s 20 character levels then it inherently limits multiclassers, in as much as you can't have more than 20 class levels in total. Eg. If you're Fighter 7/Wizard 8/Bard 5 then that's it. You're done. – Rick Lecoat 2 days ago
Yes, right now, 20 is the limit. Voting behaviour of RPG.SE gaming kids aside, that is what both answers say right in the first line. – nvoigt 2 days ago
@nvoigt: The other answer doesn't say that 20 is the limit, it says that the rules don't tell you how to progress past 20. – Charles 2 days ago
@Charles Where is the practical difference? The rules also don't explicitly forbid having a pink flying elephant as race. But we implicitely assume that you should play only the races available, until another book brings new races. Same with level 20. – nvoigt 2 days ago
@nvoigt: The practical difference in answers is that yours says it can't be done and the other says the rules don't specify, which is a big difference in the context of your comment. The practical difference in gameplay between continuing to gain levels through multiclassing (using existing PHB rules) and pink flying elephants as a race... I'll let you work that one out. – Charles 2 days ago
@Charles Tell me how much XP you need to build a Level 10 Something/11 Another? What exactly do I need to work out there? No rules exist for that. Sure, you can houserule that. And I could houserule pink flying elephants. But that's not the point, is it? The point is, for all practical purposes, the rules go to level 20, no matter how you distribute the levels. – nvoigt 2 days ago
This also gets a lot of details about AD&D wrong. – SevenSidedDie 2 days ago
@SevenSidedDie Mind to explain the "lot of details"? – nvoigt 2 days ago
Maybe @SevenSided Die was referring to my original question, in which I did generalise regarding the ability to progress to unlimited levels in AD&D (I neglected to mention that certain classes and certain class/race combinations did have inherent level limitations). – Rick Lecoat 2 days ago
The details of levelling and Name level in both 1e and 2e are either wrong, or vague and misleading in what they seem to suggest; the comments on balance are eyebrow-raising, and mentioning wish and 9th level in the same breath (is maybe unintentional but) creates a false impression. It's just sloppy or wrong in all the points that it tries to set up as the basis of its argument. – SevenSidedDie 2 days ago
My desire is not to pick all the nits. Just to point out that there are more issues with this answer than just a quibble about how to word what 5e implies. Dismissing the downvotes as merely "voting behaviour of RPG.SE gaming kids" is doing yourself a disservice, when there are other issues that could be fixed. – SevenSidedDie 2 days ago
I cannot fix any issue on the basis of "I don't like it" or "it's wrong". I have the very books we are talking about right in front of me. Please point out what is wrong. My comments on balance are my personal opinion, declared as my opinion and with a mention that this is just an opinion and your experience may vary. Voting on that is mind-bogglingly stupid and not worthy of an SE site. But we already had the discussion on professional behaviour and how this cannot be expected from every site in the SE network. – nvoigt 2 days ago
Cheap shots at the community here aside, here are some of its issues: it suggests 1e and 2e are different in ways they are not; there is no prescription in either that 9th level is the end of adventuring; wish and power word: kill are not available to a 9th-level wizard. These inaccuracies (or vaguenesses that look like inaccuracies) further sink an answer that is already on shaky ground by not really answering the question. Crafting a good "let me show how your question is wrong" answer is hard enough, it can't survive other weaknesses. – SevenSidedDie yesterday
Another big issue is that the framing of the answer is (paraphrasing) "all D&Ds limit max level, but some lift them in the DMG." However, the most relevant edition, the edition the asker is most familiar with, doesn't accord with that: AD&D already has infinite levelling (for some race/class combinations) described in the PHB, the DMG doesn't add it. The answer is off on the wrong foot and keeps stumbling; but if those details and framing could be fixed, the core assertion that 5e is limited to 20 levels (which I agree is true) might stand a chance to get through. – SevenSidedDie yesterday