Should citations of designer intent alone be sufficient for a valid answer to questions? That is, in the absence of any description of actual play experience?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Despite the view I've registered, I think this is a great question to get clarity on. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2015 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given it's not actually in question whether people are allowed to cite designer intent - we've always done it - perhaps it's better to ask if it is sufficient to cite designer intent (as opposed to experience). After all this is going down in our RPG.SE archives, might as well be accurate and not make people think it's forbidden to cite designer intent. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2015 at 7:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener good idea, done \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 13, 2015 at 11:48

2 Answers 2


No, game-rec wants what actually works, not what is supposed to work

The game-rec rules rely on one simple premise: you, or someone you can point to, has actually tried what you recommend, and it actually worked.

A statement of designer intent is a statement that something should work, but that does not mean it actually does work. And "actually does work" is the basic requirement of a game-rec answer.

Designers do, of course, play their own games. Designer statements describing their own play of their games are fine, great even. But the statement alone that they meant for a game to be good for some purpose is insufficient.

  • \$\begingroup\$ is that second-to-last word a typo? Perhaps "is"? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Apr 14, 2016 at 2:02

Game-rec guidelines allow citing other people's experience using a game for the exact use described in a question. Designers are people too.

In practice it's very rare for there to exist clear, citable statements from a game's designer that it functions usefully for X, where X is an exact match for something in a game-rec question, so it's not really an issue. If someone did cite an exact match, it would make for a very good answer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Citing a developer's experience is different to and better than citing their intent. You're conflating these two in this answer. Intent is theory & motivation, experience is the system actually put to practice. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2015 at 2:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ The distinction made by @doppelgreener is crucial, and exactly my objection to citations of intent. I need to know whether or not they followed through. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 13, 2015 at 2:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener In practice though, whatever an answer literally cites will weigh on its voting. "Designer says it's great" is not excellent experience to cite and won't get votes, while a detailed play report via a designer will carry lots of weight. In sum, I'm really not worried about making up an airtight rule here, because practical application in our site context has got us way covered on that front. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2015 at 2:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Sure, I agree with all of that, but to stay on track, this is a question about whether citing intent is ok, and you've responded saying citing experience is ok, which doesn't make for an answer (it isn't in question whether developer experience is ok). Designer intent has typically been neither here nor there: the minimum requirement is experience, go nuts with quoting whatever intent you want as long as it's a good answer and you've also provided experience. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2015 at 2:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener However, the context was a couple lines from Voluntary banners for game-rec answers that are now deleted, so this question has become very hypothetical. I'm comfortable being cavalier/imprecise about this until there is practical relevant examples to deal with. We're much better at deciding things with concrete issues at hand. Lacking concrete relevance, "citing designers is OK, be sure to do it well so the voters don't mangle you" is about as precise as I think this needs to be. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2015 at 3:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SSD: even better is to be able to cite a designer's intent and compare it to how the game gets played (or what loopholes exist). This aids GMs in understanding what is "between the lines" in some of in print material that leaves GMs scratching their heads. (Why did AD&D 1e come to mind just now?) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2015 at 21:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast That's a good point. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2015 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, my question comes down to this: an answer of “I have heard game XYZ would be good for this” would be deleted (unless they cite where they heard that, and the person they cite didn’t just hear it, they actually did it). Why does this change if the place they heard it is the developer rather than someone else? Because that is what a citation of intent (sans experience) amounts to. Why should that answer be treated differently. Also, no, this is not hypothetical; the rule about what is and is not acceptable for game-rec is independent of the banners (the banners should just match the options) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 16, 2015 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I agree on that expression of it. I am thinking more about games that, by structural analysis, are obvious matches for a request's criteria. This happens more with small games, where the focus makes such analyses trivial. But, I don't know how to phrase such a thing without opening the door to exactly the hearsay you're concerned about (and I agree is warranted), so I'm leaving that tiny case for now. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2015 at 18:47

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