Yes, that's what I read today in comments on an answer to this question. Again:

Players who see it differently are simply wrong

Someone downvoted me, based on the fact that his playstyle must be the only correct playstyle (tm).

The fact that different players in different campaigns might put a different weight on risk vs. reward (or malus vs bonus in that case) does not exist in his world.

Way to go RPG.SE, because that quote is from a nearly 100K rep user.

This user calculated that trading +2 to hit for +2 armor class is not worth it. Never. Anyone doing this is wrong.

The thought that in a different campaign, this may be well worth it does not even cross his mathematically inclined mind of average and default calculations. No. If you don't fit in the standard, default, average, vanilla textbook campaign:

You. Are. Wrong. Period.

You cannot play a siege campaign where not getting hit is better than hitting yourself. That simply cannot be. How dare you play a fantasy campaign that is not kicking in the dungeon door and rolling to hit for the first orc.

You cannot play a dwarven tank with the best protective shield he can get. Because that would not be optimized the way the min/max thread tells you to. And not being optimized would be wrong.

Could we please clarify (again) that there is no one true roleplaying style and that something that ends in "... depending on your playstyle" cannot be wrong as long as it's not against the rules?


3 Answers 3


Flag such comments for moderator attention and we'll take care of them. Comments are fragile, expendable things that we have few compunctions about deleting, and inflammatory ones have even less chance of survival than most when they fall under the gaze of the moderators.

Once flagged, it's best to disengage entirely. If you feel you must say something to halt a flood of argumentative comments, consider restricting it to simply posting the URL to “Can we affirm that RPG.SE embraces a plurality of playstyles?” as a reminder that speaks for itself. But it's best to just flag silently and walk away, since the temptation to “score points” with a righteous rebuttal is often very great, but neither productive nor actually feels good in the end.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The link to embracing a plurality of playstyles is inappropriate because no criticism of any playstyle was ever made. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 1, 2015 at 22:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan It is relevant. Not criticising foreign playstyles is only the ground floor of what that consensus asks of site users. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1, 2015 at 22:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Regardless of whether that's what you did, it's part of the meta question. Ignoring that would make this a poorer answer, and people coming to this for insight on later issues will be less helped. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Jul 1, 2015 at 22:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ By @BESW's argumentation, that is a fair point. Fine, I'll leave this meta alone as a generic answer to a valid question, even if this situation in particular was completely different from how it was described. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 1, 2015 at 22:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I think you may have misread the comment your “is simply wrong” comment was replying to at the time, as it was indeed invoking playstyle's relevance to balance judgements. As a rule of thumb, if you're tempted to make a blanket statement that a group of people are wrong to think something about a detail of a game, re-read what has been said already very carefully, wait 10 minutes before clicking “Add Comment”, and then perhaps ponder the variety of more productive activities the site, and world in general, has to offer than clicking “Add Comment”. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1, 2015 at 22:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie While I accept there are a variety of ways to enjoy the game, “but my playstyle!” is not a catch-all panacea to all criticism. I didn’t say any playstyle at all was wrong – I said it was wrong to consider a given option optimal, regardless of playstyle. Even if my claim was inaccurate, it was not a judgment of any playstyle. It was a statement that even within the context of any given playstyle, a given option is mechanically suboptimal. That doesn’t make the playstyle bad, nor does it make taking the option bad. I never suggested either of those things. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 1, 2015 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan As a rule of thumb, when you are tempted to say literally “Players who see it differently are simply wrong”, you should very strongly reconsider and instead do something else. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1, 2015 at 22:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie This is a Q&A site. A place to get answers. The entire point is to determine which answers are right, and which are wrong. People can be wrong. That is a thing that happens. It is not an insult to point it out when it does, and I absolutely do not agree that I should “strongly reconsider and do something else” rather than engage in the precise premise of this website. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 1, 2015 at 22:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Pointing out that someone is wrong can be an insult or not depending on delivery, not the base message. As a rule of thumb, if you feel the need to say that an entire group of people are wrong, you can be fairly sure that it's way outside the bounds of propriety. You're right that this is a Q&A site and the entire point is to determine which answers are right and which wrong. Remember that that decision is collective and not individual, and that there are convenient voting buttons that allow you to participate in that process. For clarity, the buttons are not labelled “Add Comment”. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1, 2015 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kryan you did it again, recently, in a comment to one of my answer about the approach being (the word you chose) "hideous" ... we got into a dialogue in comments ... but it sure would be nice to see you stop using such insulting language in comments. You are very articulate, and are able to leave extremely valuable comments/suggestions/points in comments (you've helped my answers many times in so doing) that are on par with some of your detailed and superbly reasoned answers. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12, 2017 at 16:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Looking through your recent answers, I cannot honestly recall the context—which implies you are absolutely correct, it was a careless word choice that should not have been used. But it’s difficult to apologize for something I cannot remember, and more difficult still to try to learn from the experience. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 12, 2017 at 16:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like the context is this answer. (Most of the dialogue is still there.) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12, 2017 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Quite possibly cheesy of me to bring this up, as we did have a dialogue after that opening, I think the comment got removed, so please accept my apologies if I appear crude or impolite in raising this. (We also had a good discussion in the chat room on a different topic that I found productive). It's a style thing and I have made my own set of errors, or made snarky or edged comments that in retrospect I should not have. So, I actively try to be more neutral in comments these days, and I hope I am succeeding. If not, then feedback on that is appreciated. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12, 2017 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast No, entirely appropriate to bring it up; it’s not only something I appreciate being called on if necessary, but also fairly topical. At any rate, the only thing relevant to the question that I’ll defend calling “hideous” are the comments attributed to the first problem-player in the question, so if my use of the word was applied to any other subject, then my sincere apologies. That is precisely the kind of careless wording I do not want to exhibit or encourage. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 12, 2017 at 17:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan OK, thanks, and as it worked out you helped me to improve the answer, so once again your comments on the whole helped. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12, 2017 at 17:13

"You are absolutely wrong."

"Am not!"

"Are too."

"You're criticizing me!"

"No I'm not. But you're absolutely wrong in all circumstances."

"Stop criticizing me!"

"I'm not. Just your wrongness. Your absolute wrongness."

(continue ad infinitum)

Look, here's the deal. There is not a black and white answer here. My interpretation of the shades of grey are:

  1. KRyan is being uselessly stubborn. I know it's not your "intention" to criticize the playstyle or the person, but by continuing to repeat "I AM ABSOLUTELY RIGHT I AM ABSOLUTELY RIGHT YOU ARE WRONG" it sure starts to come off that way.
  2. Nvoight is whining too much. So he thinks you're wrong. It's the Internet. Someone always thinks you're wrong. Flag his comments and move on. SevenSidedDie's answer is completely correct in its advice to you.

It takes two to keep an argument up like this. At any point on RPG.SE, when you find yourself repeating the same point, that is the Universe's way of telling you to stop so that mods don't have to intervene with what you're doing.

While KRyan doesn't represent the community, so turning his comment into a "the community" question is a little overblown, KRyan, you are very high rep and are quite fond of pointing out the greater responsibility that comes with powers on this site, and I think if you reflect on this and put someone else into your spot in this argument (like say any mod), you might be quite incensed at their behavior and be chiding them about how "we expect more from you." Something to consider.

Continued argument on the question or here on meta is inappropriate and will stop. Clearly you both have strongly held, well-reasoned thoughts on the subject. Therefore you should both answer the question and move on. Comments constructively pointing out areas for improvement in your answer should be read and either edited in or disregarded, and they will get reaped either way.

With that, this is starting to become disruptive to the site, and further arguing of the point here or on main will result in mod activity that the violator won't like. This also applies to anyone else trying to escalate this conflict (Yes you, MrLemon). Drop it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Inciting was not my full intention, though I see it coming across like that. I deleted the corresponding comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – MrLemon
    Jul 2, 2015 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, it's appreciated. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 2, 2015 at 19:04

I think my comment is taken out of context.

The context was a question of balance. Of numbers and of opportunity cost. It was not a discussion of playstyle or preferences or characterization.

This was, effectively, my claim:

The option under discussion is, 100% of the time, suboptimal. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken about the effectiveness and the opportunity cost of the option in question. There does not exist any campaign, playstyle, or play preference in which this is not true, unless the rules are changed.

Certainly, that’s a big claim. Comments don’t leave room enough to more than assert it, and I don’t expect anyone to be convinced by me merely asserting it. That’s fine; I really was only explaining why I was downvoting: because I think one of the statements made was always, 100% of the time, bad, yes even then.

But that, large claim that it is, is still all that I said. I didn’t say, for instance, that anyone who chooses to take the option despite being suboptimal was wrong. I didn’t say it was wrong to use it, to enjoy it. I didn’t say that whatever playstyle or preferences that were being claimed as situations where the option was a good one were wrong or bad. I just said that, no, even in those cases, it’s still not a good option mechanically. I said that the statement that it was an optimal choice was incorrect.

And ultimately, the validity of my claim or the lack thereof is irrelevant to this discussion. It doesn’t matter whether I was right or wrong to think the option is always, yes-even-then, suboptimal: that opinion is not an attack on anyone’s preferences. The claims that I did so, that I was pushing my own playstyle as the only correct playstyle, are wildly unfounded and off-base.

The comments went back-and-forth too much; that was inappropriate, and they have been deleted as is appropriate when that happens. I apologize for not ending the discussion sooner, but I felt (apparently correctly, given this discussion) that my comments were not being understood.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ There's a fine line between your comments being taken out of context as what you technically meant, and being overbearing towards someone to an objectively offensive degree. A simple "not mechanically worth it" does not agitate other users to the degree that harping on it does, because they start to feel attacked whether that's your intent or not. Anyway, remember that the site guideline is "Be Nice" not "Be Correct At Any Cost." \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 1, 2015 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I agree that I clarified my position poorly, and that it was taken as “harping on” the point, but I honestly was only attempting to clarify precisely to explain that I was not insulting anyone’s preferences. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 1, 2015 at 22:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand. I'm just coaching you that in many cases carrying on despite the best of intentions is prima facie counterproductive. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 1, 2015 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ "The option under discussion is, 100% of the time, suboptimal." my point is: it's not. It's suboptimal over all campaigns on average, granted. But that means it will be more useful in some and less useful in others. Your blanket statement says my campaign is mathematically wrong. And it's not. It's fine. It's just not a min/maxers default reference frame. I could agree with you if instead of "100% suboptimal" it would say "subotimal for the average campaign". \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Jul 2, 2015 at 5:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt No, I maintain it is, even in your campaign, and that you have miscalculated its value or its cost if you think otherwise, but here’s the thing: it does not matter if I am right or wrong in my judgment of this option, my claim is still no judgment of you or your playstyle. This entire thread, including the dragging of my name through the mud, is completely off-base, because I did not say anything like “you’re playing the game wrong,” or “your playstyle is wrong,” I said “your analysis of the value or cost of this option is wrong.” That is in no way an attack on anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 2, 2015 at 12:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan See, there you are doing it again. Telling me that my campaign is wrong. That 5 people playing the game by the rules cannot do basic math right. Because you say so. Regardless of circumstances, regardless of campaign, you are right and I am wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Jul 2, 2015 at 13:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Time to stop arguing. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 2, 2015 at 13:47

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