Recently I posted a question which was closed, if I understand correctly, because it was asked out of a desire to have a specific, narrow topic explained to me rather than asking out of a desire to have a specific, solvable problem which I am experiencing solved. This confused me because I have seen several highly rated questions that are not problem-centered on this site, have contributed answers to questions that don't seem to be problem-based, and the help center seems to specifically condone such questions. Ordinarily I would assume the other persons involved in this incident were themselves wrong, but that seems presumptuous/arrogant in this case, particularly since the questions I am/have been asking recently have not been well received by the community and the person responsible for the closing of the question was a diamond moderator.

Are non-problem based questions allowed? If not, should the /help/dont-ask and the /help/on-topic pages be updated to reflect this paradigm shift?

Please note, if non-problem based questions are allowed there is a very good chance that I have merely misunderstood the reasons why my question was closed, but I would nonetheless want to know whether non-problem based questions are allowed at all, as it is still relevant to my asking good questions in the future (and such a motivation would not, in that case, be prohibited).

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    \$\begingroup\$ "specific, narrow topic" Er, no. It was an extremly broad topic which you asked about 3 different questions on. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Nov 15 '14 at 12:06

It was closed as too broad. I asked that you descope it by describing your problem. "I was just wondering" questions are very much at risk as being too broad.

Your question would require a complete enumeration, coding, and analysis of every monster, item, and class ability in two editions, sorting by all sorts of damage and healing capabilities, and then condensing it. And, on top of that, running a survey to figure out the average incidence of monster use per monster to make the previous analysis correctly weighted. Furthermore, any literature currently extant on the topic is likely to include most common resources, rather than core only, so a "what literature exists?" modification is... less bad, but still discouraged.

What you've asked for is a (mildly interesting) research project, not an answer.

Non problem questions are... suspect. They're allowed, but suspect, and can easily fall into discussion, subjective, or too broad.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is very difficult to ask a "I don't have a specific issue, but I was wondering" question, but it is possible. My recent question asking if it is ok to research rules and point out mistakes outside of gameplay could easily have fallen into the subjective category. But it would seem that I succeeded in getting across that I am not having an issue now, but my issue is that I don't want to cause an issue later. I'm not suggesting OP use my question as a template, just pointing out that some of those questions can be helpful to some people as suggested by votes. Just be careful. +1 Brian :) \$\endgroup\$ – David Wilkins Nov 15 '14 at 11:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidWilkins To underscore that point, when I began reading the question you're talking about, I was ready to vote it closed because "I anticipate a problem" often results in very poor questions, but by the end I decided it was well-explained and scoped. Effectively, it boiled down to "I currently have a problem in not knowing how to approach this issue," and explained well enough that we understood the relevant issues going forward. So it's a great example of how such 'anticipatory' problem questions are iffy but possible: it had a close shave with closing, but in the end a good question. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 15 '14 at 18:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @SevenSidedDie ... I knew when I was composing it that I was on thin ice and the first activity was a close vote. It ended up being in the top 5 hot network questions for about 24 hours even before it got 10 votes , by then I was sure I asked it well. \$\endgroup\$ – David Wilkins Nov 15 '14 at 20:32

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