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So, I recently read Brain, mxyzplk, and CRoss's excellent paper which can be found here, in Brian's answer. I migrate through the different divisions of the RPG space when performing different tasks, but I have come to notice a trend in a particular type of question I ask being rejected by this site as too broad. After reading the paper I have identified the sections of questions which are rejected as those I ask from a Magic-User prospective, i.e. both those which I ask expecting some kind of created system that is applied to existing rules to produce a range of desired behaviors and, with much more prejudice, those which I ask to ascertain the effects of a general mechanic on gameplay, expecting an overview of what is possible to accomplish with said mechanic, the relevant factors influencing its effects, and (for a best answer) examples of published material using the mechanic to accomplish that effect (I did this and this is how it turned out is also ok).

Obviously sometimes these questions really are too broad ("In what kinds of games are rules for encumbrance useful?" Answer: idk, lots. How do you define "kind of game"? Also, list question so on thin ice already)

Other times, they aren't (at least, I really think so) ("What impact would changing the d20 to a d24 have on a D&D 3.5 game assuming all players are provided dice?" Answer: crit less often, modifiers matter slightly less, qualitative effects and multipliers matter more by comparison, crit effects less good due to crit chance decrease)

I don't really have this problem with spell asked from other perspectives (I actually use the Cleric perspective much more than the Magic User one because I find it cooler and more fun. I also have developed a significant degree of expertise with the Thief perspective because I GM groups that 'should not work' according to the Same Page Tool and other various resources and have put special effort into learning and researching how to do this, with the Thief (or 'Casual gamer/Social gamer' (both of which are misnomers)) perspective presenting me the most problems. I never encounter this issue when asking from a Cleric perspective (because Cleric questions are the least subjective and most naturally specific of all RPG questions), and I don't ask questions from a thief perspective because I'm not an expert in using that perspective myself.

With that being said, how can I ask good Magic User questions, and how can I tell them apart from bad ones? Is this the place to ask Magic User questions or are they all inherently and necessarily in violation of Good Subjective/Bad Subjective or some other aspect of the site's question paradigm? Is this something I can do without knowing the answer to the question I'm asking or should I just go buy a mithral keyboard and hope for the best?

Thoughts so far:

These questions never are about a 'specific problem' the way other people see 'specific problems' because the specific problems of a Magic User are nomothetic, and people only accept idiographic problems as specifics. (X thing happened! Fix it! v.s. I believe X to be a underlying principle governing the occurrence of problems for me, how do I make it not a problem (Cleric) or what do I do to change it (Magic User). Worse still is the nomothetic impulse to ask "T,Y,Z,P,Q, and R happened and appear to be similar, what is X, the underlying problem which I have?", which is a guess-my-problem question and thus bad)

Nonetheless, these questions do each have an answer, and answers can vary in quality due to both correctness and writing. The questions are less subjective than many other allowed questions on the site (Thief perspective questions come to mind).

We have recently affirmed that the site is inclusive with regard to playstyles, which seems like it ought to mean that each of the four presented divisions of the design space (and any other outlying groups created by failure of the system's underlying model to accurately model people, if this is the case) ought to be free to ask and answer questions pertinent to their playstyles so long as they do not violate MSE requirements.

If MU questions are allowed, it will often be the case that a question asked from a Magic User will be unanswerable without the MU having any way of knowing without asking. (Finding no material on a topic via internet searches could mean that the thing you are searching for can't be done for some reason you are unaware of or just that it hasn't been done/asked about before and written about in an accessible manner. Both are frequently the case, at least for me.) For example, I might wonder "Since static spell effects can be modularly combined for novel purposes anyways, what's the difference between a system that is designed statically with the understanding that provided spells may end up serving as modules in User-created spells and a system that is designed modularly at the presented level the RAW?". I really don't know if that is an ok question or not. I can find no information about this online at all (besides a million or so indie developers insisting that their "unique modular spell system" is better than all other spell systems because flexibility, with no real support. Is this because the question is either to hard or 'too dumb' to be answered or because answers, while provide-able, are not readily available? Is wanting to know the answer and being unable to find it after 2 seconds effort a good enough 'problem' reason to post a question (probably not)? 2 minutes? 2 hours? 2 days? 2 years(Yes. Also I'm probably obsessed and should probably deal with that)?

Also possibly all my MU questions are bad for some other reason and I'm just getting lucky with the non-MU questions. Or maybe it's just coincidence. Or something.

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Bradd Szonye, Miniman, doppelgreener, C. Ross Feb 7 '15 at 12:11

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure this is titled correctly? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 4 '14 at 6:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I get it. It's a reference (some might say sarcastic) to the "arcane" nature of the questions being asked and the proclivity toward having them shut down before getting to the answering stage — like Arcane Spell Failure, the queries fizzle on proposal, rather than through bad answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Dec 4 '14 at 15:36
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  1. We don't really deal with hypotheticals well: they require discussion and refinement, since the full details aren't available.
  2. Therefore: situate your problems in your experience. Solve specific problems. Discussion is great. Somewhere else. We need specific problems because we must give specific answers.
  3. We like simple problems. (note, simple != easy). Most answers should be short, well situated in experience and evidence, and well researched.
  4. We like questions which know what answers they expect. Your assertion: " are nomothetic, and people only accept idiographic problems as specifics." is absolutely incorrect both in assertion and use of terms. Rules questions are much easier to answer, have better answers more quickly, and have less argument.
  5. Our site acknowledges that different play styles exist. We however, have relaxed none of our requirements on question quality. Specific problems, situated in your experience, with criteria that allow us to differentiate a good answer from bad.
  6. "If MU questions are allowed, it will often be the case that a question asked from a Magic User will be unanswerable without the MU having any way of knowing without asking. " Yep, and therefore shouldn't be asked. You should have sufficient experience by now to have a feeling for what questions are trouble, poor quality, and worthless. Don't ask them. Not because they represent a bad "play style" but because they are bad questions that should instead be discussed on a forum.
  7. It sounds like most of your high level discussions want to be discussions. Go discuss them somewhere else. It sounds like https://rpg.stackexchange.com/a/8669/760 is a good question for you.
  8. "Since static spell effects can be modularly combined for novel purposes anyways, what's the difference between a system that is designed statically with the understanding that provided spells may end up serving as modules in User-created spells and a system that is designed modularly at the presented level the RAW?" Closed as too broad. subjective, and unclear what you're asking. Followed by days of edits and discussion. Again, the theme: "what problem have you run into? Where did you run into it? describe the problem well."
  9. "Is wanting to know the answer and being unable to find it after 2 seconds effort a good enough 'problem' reason to post a question (probably not)?" Wrong criteria. Assess can an answer exist, or is discussion and research required.

In your case, given your history and proclivities, err on the side of finding a better venue where you can discuss and theorize to your heart's content. Bring problems that you have run into in the real world to us.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand #7. It's a link to a question that's not only way too broad but also discussion-y, and also not at all the kind of question I'm asking about how to ask. I also don't post questions that I think will elicit discussion on this site, except on Meta. This subclass just ends up eliciting discussion that I feel is not only unwarranted but also unhelpful, and I'm not sure why. Hence this question. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Dec 4 '14 at 9:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I also apparently don't understand what simple or specific mean in the context of this site, as I see no reason why questions of this type could not be either and/or both. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Dec 4 '14 at 9:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ #7 is a link to a list of references to forums where this set of questions may be more welcome. Not a model of anything. Questions of this type often lack a specific problem that you've experienced, leading to discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 4 '14 at 9:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ To sum up. Go ask these questions somewhere else. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 4 '14 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Putting a bunch of this another way: "Is my question likely to be answerable without a lot of discussion?" Yes: ask, no: forum. "Will good answers create new ideas or new syntheses of ideas, but might require a lot of discussion to guide them toward usefully helping me?" Yes: forum, no: ask. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 4 '14 at 20:33

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