So, I have noticed several high-rep users edit perfectly good and upvoted questions containing language like "Is this good" or "Is this a good way of approaching this issue/solving this problem" or "Is X good for/at Y". I think that many of these questions are excellent questions and I wish we got more of them because they suffer from the XY problem much less frequently than other questions do. However, it appears that these kinds of questions are considered subjective, and so special language avoiding the words 'good' and 'bad' are encouraged to avoid VTCs. I have some issues with this:

1) 'Good' is not necessarily subjective. If we claim to be experts we ought to be able to, as a quorum, tell people "No, that is not a good way" and "Yes, that is a good way" for at least some subset of method questions pertaining to RPGs. Even when the terms are used on questions that are subjective, people seem to assume the language makes the question Bad Subjective, which seems wrong.

2) Sometimes the 'equivalent' language isn't equivalent. As an example one common replacement for 'good' is 'best', which can make good questions of the form "Is X a good way of handling Y" different and probably worse.

3) I worry that an aversion to such language might be based in or seemingly condone artistic relativism with regards to RPGs, which is, of course, antithetical to the nature of this site.

4) The actions of these high-rep users are in-fact helpful; questions using such language typically end up closed for no good reason as "primarily opinion based".

Examples (will be added to over time):

Limiting player freedom in introductory scenarios

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I only have one example I can find right now, which always makes for bad meta questions. I don't really know how to look for them so I think I'll just keep a tally and add them as I get them. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12, 2015 at 2:57

2 Answers 2


Because it's not very good.

"Is this good" is a "read my mind" statement. We don't know how the querent operationalises good. We know how we operationalise good and project that onto the querent.

Unfortunately, this site's mind-reading attachments are still in alpha, and haven't been pushed out to the general population.

Editing the question to be the question such that there is a direct question and answer is always preferable to a chunk of content followed by "is this good". Not least because we don't know which statement in a block of text "this" refers to.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this still true for "is this good for X"? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12, 2015 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's still true for that, since that's not a useful question. Unreferenced "this"'s are confusing qua themselves, and entirely subjective. It doesn't provide us a criteria for saying that one answer is better than another. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12, 2015 at 4:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer "Is X good for Y?" can be a good question statement, if X is clear enough to understand and Y is something that can be objectively judged or measured, or Good Subjective. It's bad when Y is just a more specific opinion prompt. E.g., "is X good for maximising DPR" (objectively measurable) is fine, as is "is X good for avoiding railroading" (Good Subjective judgement). "Is X good for my players" is not useful, nor is "is X good for being an awesome character I'll enjoy". \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12, 2015 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I agree with that. I'm trying to ask the community if they agree with that, but I appear to not have done that well. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12, 2015 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer That might have gotten closed as duplicate anyway. Check out the [subjective-questions] meta tag for past community consensus-building. If you see gaps in that or outdated consensuses (consensii?), bringing them up in a new meta is kosher. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12, 2015 at 22:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I thought I had already read through all of those. Upon review, I had. Is there a specific question you're thinking of that covers this? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2015 at 6:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer I think it's covered by What questions are “subjective” and what does “Good Subjective, Bad Subjective” mean to the community. It doesn't explicitly cover "Is X good" vs. "Is X good for Y", but the principles there seem straightforwardly applicable. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2015 at 8:06

"Is it good" is not an objectively answerable question.

"What are the effects of this" is.

"Does this achieve my specific requirements" is.

"Is this good," "Do you like this," etc. are subjective questions that are a poll at best and noise at worst. Go read Good Subjective, Bad Subjective. Every gamer thinks they're an expert and their opinion is true, or that since they and some other folks like something it's true. That's not how we do things here. Q&As are not polls. They are not intended to just "have the group of experts vote on what they like best" - there is intended to be either objective or Good Subjective grounding behind answers.

We do not care about your purely subjective opinion, either of one person or of multiple people. That is what separates SE from the beasts (and forums, and reddits).


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