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I have been reading on the Harpers (a faction in the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons and Dragons) a bit, and I have seen quite some comments online of people not liking them a lot because of the things they have been doing.. I want to ask a question about this, but I do not want to phrase it in a way that makes it a non-subjective question.

  • Asking it like "Why do poeople dislike the Harpers?" is of course a no-go.
  • Phrasing it like "What have the Harpers done to gain out-of-universe dislike?" is still a bit iffy.
  • "What canonical events have contributed to a negative image of the Harpers?" isn't quite it yet.

How should I go about phrasing this particular question?

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This sounds like a question for an expert, but you might be that expert

A question like What canonical events have contributed to fans' negative feelings about the Harpers? then the question's body containing perhaps a description of the Harpers and its role in the Realms and some links to places where folks are disparaging of the organization sounds like a reasonable and valid question that an expert on the Forgotten Realms should and can answer.

I disagree with Brian Ballsun-Stanton's concern that this question is not a good fit here. This question isn't better addressed by a message board conversation where static from fans and worse will lead to confusion and frustration but is better addressed here by a lecture from a well informed Realms historian who can confidently speak to fans' reactions to canonical events.

Thing is, unless there's a Realms historian who frequents this site or you can encourage one from another to visit to answer the question, you might be in the best position to answer your own question, having already done some research, assessed the impact of some events, and gauged fans' reactions. While it's totally okay to answer your own questions, it sounds like you don't want to. So there's that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't avoid asking just because no one will answer it. Pragmatically unanswerable questions are fine as long as they are theoretically answerable. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Mar 9 '15 at 23:27
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I think the core of this is what your question really is. What is the problem you're trying to solve?

"Why does some set of people on the internet believe something" is always a crappy question. It lacks clarity of who 'those people' are and frankly even a good answer doesn't help anyone. And you read their posts, I'm not sure why you'd ask the question here.

If you or your players have a problem with something, that's a better question because it has standing and is actionable.

Thinking about how this impacts your play and asking a question like "How do I make having a pervasive goody-goody organization like the Harpers not derail campaigns set in the Realms because my players will be tempted to hand every threat above CR5 over to them" is a good question too.

But why does anyone believe anything on the Internet? it's full of psychoes and reason has little to do with it. Not very relevant for here.

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This seems more suited for discussion on a forum somewhere. Some questions simply are a poor fit for our venue, and "primarily opinion based" is one of our close reasons. We're also, unfortunately, stingy with our telepathy.

We view this sort of "knowing what we're bad at" as a feature, instead of a bug.

With that said, the way to think about this sort of question is: "can there be a single best answer to this question?" In this instance, the best answer can only link to and summarise the comments you've already read.

If you absolutely must, you could ask for author intent and where the author has discussed his or her intentions, but that... wouldn't be a very good question in this context.

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