I'm thinking of asking and self-answering a game-recommendation question. I teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL/ESOL) at a foreign university. I had a great experience last semester running a simple rpg for several groups of college-aged students as part of their English-language tuition, and think rpg.se would be a good place to 'park' this information.

I think this might be really useful to an admittedly tiny group of people (EFL/ESOL teacher gamers) but I would have been glad of this information at the start of last semester. There is some stuff on the web, including a whole paper which I'll reference in my question, but that's of limited use as it's based around AD&D 2 (my 'native' system but not one I'd want to inflict on the innocent). Other references are pretty superficial "I played D&D with my class it was awesome."

I think I'm au fait with the way of writing a good game-recommendation question (specify genre, target audience, level of rules complexity, ask for personal experience), but the latter point could potentially involve a lot of pedagogy (how to introduce students to the necessary concepts and vocabulary, class and group management etc).

My question is: Am I in danger of my question or my self-answer being challenged as off-topic for rpg.se if I include a pedagogical part to the question and my self-answer? Is it a case of making sure that the majority of both is rpg material, or is pedagogical stuff legit if it is specifically "rpg pedagogy"?

I should perhaps also say that my question and answer will be a labour of love, which is why I want to get meta advice first. I'm not expecting to get much (or any) rep from it, but if there's any danger of mass downvoting or closure I'd rather not attempt it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What you have to ask yourself is this - If you did not already have the answer, would it be a good question? More detail about the target audience is good. Would your question be too opinion based? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 6:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tritium21 Sure. I didn't want to rehearse my whole question here, though having studied upvoted game-recommendation questions I'm pretty sure I can make my question "good subjective". My real issue is the level-of-pedagogical detail question. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 6:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can always edit the details out later if they are too tangential. You are not at risk of the question being deleted, just edited. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 6:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think though that this probably shouldn't be a game recommendation question. It sounds more like a "how to use RPGs in ESL/ESOL curriculum" or somesuch; your answer is necessarily going to be from experience with a particular game, but it sounds like you'll be going beyond just "this game is good for this because reasons". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 21:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie So what would be on-topic for this site? Just the pure game recommendation? I could narrow it down to that, and leave the pedagogy for another place. Would you like to offer a different answer to Brian based on your comment? \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 1:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie, the game I chose and used was particularly suitable, though perhaps not all that obvious (indie, and designed for native-speaker young children, but worked great with college age non-native speakers where time pressure was a big factor) \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 1:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, no, I voted up Brian's answer. I just think that maybe it might not turn out to be a game-rec question in substance. It's certainly topical. If you post it, I'd be better able to give an opinion on whether it's a game-rec or a... some other tag question. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 2:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Ok, I understand. I'll have a look at all the tags and see what other tags might make sense in addition. There will definitely be a game-recommendation element to it though. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 2:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Start from the question itself, and let the tags sort themselves out later. Tags can always be fixed based on the question, so make the question solid and tagging will follow its lead. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 2:27

2 Answers 2


No, interesting requirements are interesting. We've dealt with pedagogical requirements in the past, especially for ESL stuff.

I would however recommend that you start by asking your question, and waiting for community refinement. Then, if you find that your answer answers the question after it's refined by the community, you're welcome to contribute it.


Am I in danger of my question or my self-answer being challenged as off-topic for rpg.se if I include a pedagogical part to the question and my self-answer?

A pedagocial part is fine. However, you artificially narrowed it down to basically not ask for relevant experience, but instead ask for being you.

As an example what I'm talking about: I am a certified instructor. I did have courses with 20+ people that never roleplayed before. And due to foreign exchange students that did not have a strong enough grasp of our language yet, we did it in English once or twice, a foreign language and certainly a good learning experience to all of us.

But how dare I answer your question, not being an actual clone of you.

I don't mind open questions with self-answers. What I do mind is questions that are blocked for others. This is a community site. Where people talk to each other. If you want a place where you can talk to yourself, I'd suggest you find a blogging service.

You wrote a great question. But it's not actually a question, it's just the first half of your paper. And as such, I will vote it "not useful" for this site.


Sorry for having been a bit harsh but your question really rubs me the wrong way and I finally think I know why: You asked a question, denied 99% of the community the chance to answer, mentioned you already knew the answer and then did not even share it with us. That is, step-by-step, the anthithesis of StackExchange.

What you should have done is write a self-answered question. The way you wrote your question, I think that would be great. That means you write a question, free of artificial restrictions. And free of any mention of already knowing the answer. And then you write an answer with your experiences. And then you post both. I think there even is a checkbox somewhere that allows you to post your question with an answer already attached.

I'm looking forward to your self-answered question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok fair enough. I'm more than happy to modify my question to make it more answerable. I just didn't expect for there to be other people who could answer it. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ My more considered answer: This is really useful, @nvoigt . I accept the criticism that my question is artificially and exclusively narrow, and that it precludes others answering. To be honest I'm still getting my head round the "self answer" thing, and you have given some useful pointers here \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @harlandski I added some points. \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt bear in mind that established etiquette if you are going to self answer is to post the question, then leave it for a while before posting your answer rather than doing so immediately. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 16:23
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Phil I never heard of that and it sure goes against the SE system. There even is a checkbox after you click on "Ask a question" that is for exactly this purpose. To post an answer at the same time as the question, also known as self-answer. If the established etiquette says the StackExchange coding is wrong, I don't give anything on this established etiquette. \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @harlandski The best way to get one's head around the self-answer thing is to assume that someone else has a solution that's even better than the one you already know. And wouldn't it be awesome if that was true? You wouldn't want to prevent them from giving you their amazing answer! So write the question to attract that person's notice and to give them the information they need to give you their awesome, amazing answer. Once you're happy with the question's ability to attract better answers than your own, only then self-answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt The etiquette is there for exactly the reason you object to the question in this answer: to avoid writing self-answered questions that aren't real questions. If the question can only be answered by the writer, it's not a real question. By introducing the etiquette of waiting to self-answer, questions have a chance to get beaten into shape before they get self-answered and die on the vine. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt I've edited my question as per your original comment, which I now see I didn't take seriously enough. The offending wording now reads "people who have run a tabletop rpg adventure with large groups of people with no previous experience, and can give a game recommendation and share experience relevant to most of my points here. If the students were not learners of English, the game should be sufficiently simple to be usable with such students." I genuinely hope this means you can answer my question, and if not let's continue to work on it. It's midnight where I am so I'm done for today. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @harlandski I think that's actually too general. Now you waste 2 pages of text to say "hey some rules light RPG that new people can play" - we have questions like that already, and most are too broad. I think a detail about playing, if not specifically with ESL students, at least people with differing english skills and/or mixed foreigners would be good. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 23:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I've edited the 'experience' criteria in line with your comment and would be grateful for feedback from you and others, especially nvoigt on whether I've now got the broadness/narrowness right. I've deliberately done bullet points to allow for easy editing :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thanks for your advice. The question is certainly getting better through criticism.and edits and I am now excited that it might be possible for others to answer before I do. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 3:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Do you think my current bullet points about experience are narrow enough? nvoigt is clearly ok with them not being too narrow as has answered now and removed downvote. If we're all happy I'll remove the link to this discussion from my question, and then give my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I'm sorry to bother you, but do you know how to contact mxyzplk? He suggested my requirements for my English teaching question were too broad, so I've narrowed them but now he's not getting back to me. I wonder if he's not getting my messages because of that diamond in his name. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 4:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @harlandski Replying as you did is the way to contact someone. There's no messaging feature for SE otherwise. (The diamond isn't part of the name, it's a marker that identifies mods, so it's not interfering.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 4:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie That's helpful thanks. So I can take it that the 9 upvotes and lack of comment activity means the question is now 'polished'. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 5:58

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