This question was put on hold as unclear what it's asking:

How Should I Change the Star Trek Phaser Table?

@doppelgreener Says in comments that this seems to be asking for (or would lead to) a discussion rather than an answer.

Now, if the people who put it On Hold had also explained how to fix it, that'd be constructive, but they don't seem to see a way to fix it, which baffles me a bit.

If the wording "The question is, what changes would you suggest?" were edited to "Is there errata for this, or good house rules, or how can these inconsistencies be fixed or explained?", would this be acceptable?

It seems to me, that each of the specific points listed could be answered well with limited answers with concrete reasoning. There are only four questions with the Star Trek tag, and this is about one specific table in one game system. The question is about correcting the apparent inconsistencies, and not just a general call for alternate damage tables. So I don't see this resulting in a wild spew of opinion answers.

Putting this on hold prevents people answering it. It seems to me that while in theory questions of this type could lead to a variety of answers, that in this case, these are pretty limited and specific and would not have many divergent answers, especially if there is errata, or if anyone has ever played this game and was bothered by the same wonky table and fixed it.

It seems to me counter-productive to block answers on this.

It seems to me like a case of what Moderator Election question #3 discusses:

We have a problem here, occasionally, when a new user will ask a question that doesn't quite fit our format, and thus gets put on hold very quickly. This often leads to the new user feeling unfairly targeted and leaving the stack soon after.

It also seems like a waste of time for me and others.

Or should we suggest people go to other forums (e.g. forum.trek-rpg.net) instead? Or will links to specific other forums be edited out, so also be a waste of time, so we should just give up on using rpg.stackexchange unless we have a one-answer question?

This seems to me like a much more specific and limited question than many many questions which are left open on this site, about house rules, where various opinions are given.

For example, check out Do weapons damage themselves? about Pathfinder. This question has many answers which are about people's opinions about possible house rules for determining if weapons are broken or damaged during regular use. Isn't that about 1000 times more wide open than this one about specific fixes to one damage table? Then there are of course all the questions under the house rules tag. Why is this one seen as any more wide-open than those?

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    \$\begingroup\$ To one specific point: No, we won't edit out links to other forums. We link to other sites regularly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 22:35

2 Answers 2


It was originally put on hold for being unclear, as it lacked any indication of what answerers were supposed to do with the question. After being put on hold it was edited (yay, this is the system working as intended).

However, it's not attracting any reopen votes. Likely, this is because it is now primarily opinion-based:

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

Unfortunately the close reason can't easily be changed (without mod intervention). Fortunately, the new problem with the question has been well-explained in the comments by doppelgreener. That should be all the guidance necessary for the original poster to decide what to do with their question.

It is a fact that is both unfortunate and by design that not every question suits the SE voting system. Currently this is one of those that doesn't fit — on purpose, because SE does not aim to replace forums as a place to have discussions and throw around ideas. Forums are quite good at that too, so we don't actually have to feel too bad about marking such questions as off topic — they're fine questions, just not here.

Part of the reason why we must block answers, even though sometimes it might seem easier to just help them already, why not? is because discussion is a distraction from the purpose of RPG.se, and that is the true waste of time. We don't aspire to attract and host excellent discussion, and from long experience we know that discussion drowns out the quality-focused Q&A that we do exist to host.

So, to avoid wasting everyone's time, we have procedures to quickly shut down questions that would waste the asker and answerers' time.

Could the question be edited to be on-topic? Sure. It could ask simply if there is errata, which would be a yes-or-no question. We won't generally do that for the asker though, since we can't read their mind to know if that is a question they care about the answers to. We try to leave it to askers to decide what to do with held questions. If they end up going elsewhere, that's okay.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good explanation, but it seems to me like this is a pretty clear question. If there is errata, or if I had experience with this system, I could generate a table addressing the points in the question. It seems to me that's only different from other house rule questions in that it has numerical detail. Other un-closed questions about homebrew and house rules tend to be at least as open-ended and opinion-based, it seems to me. But ya I'm sure he would have better luck on a good RPG forum. Seems though like this IS A GOOD Q&A question since any GM playing that game will hit this broken table. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dronz
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dronz The problem is no longer clarity; the problem is that it's asking for opinions. That is death to a question on SE. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ So it's just about the wording of the line about the question? If it read, "Is there errata, a well-written house rule, or a way to make this table mathematically smooth and logically consistent?" then because it would be expressed as if there were one logical answer and avoided sounding opiniony, then it might be taken as ok? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dronz
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 21:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dronz Probably. But it's up to the asker to figure out what they want to actually ask, if anything, once we tell them that suggestions are not a want we deal with here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 21:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @doppelgreener, that's the "change" I meant by that, but didn't notice could be misunderstood. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 22:36

The short answer to your question is:

Yes, your suggestion to change the wording to "Is there errata for this, or good house rules, or how can these inconsistencies be fixed or explained" is probably a good start into getting this question reopened.

Questions with phrasing like "what changes do you suggest" are almost always going to be closed. Posters need a better goal than "help me fix this." The question sets some of that up (better damage progression for energy used etc), but then undermines it by freely asking for suggestions. Asking for errata or well thought out house rules is an excellent fix.

To the larger point of "should this question be closed?" I have to say that yes, it should be. It's a question that as of right now is better suited for a forum (it's an open call for house rules without a lot of detail on what and why you want them fixed).

In contrast, the question you linked contains a very clear question about the rules. The fact that house rules are included as parts of answers indicates a lack of presence of rules for the situation provided and a suggestion of alternate rules that might add additional realism if that's what the OP wants.

As far as guidance for helping new users workshop their questions into something more appropriate for the site, I cannot recommend our site chat highly enough. A few minutes in there is often all it takes to turn a salvageable question from something closed into something that can be reopened. You can find chat right here

  • \$\begingroup\$ Other SE sites do use Meta for sandboxing questions; it might not be a bad idea to consider doing so here. But that would be best discussed as a separate Meta question, not here in a question ostensibly about a specific case. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie ack, I missed that. Will edit later to reflect. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 0:21

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