As suggested by @doppelgreener I am posing this question here in response to the closure of How does surprise work in D&D 5e?
Please accept and remember that I do not believe and I do not wish to infer that the people I mention who hold different opinions from me are in any way acting maliciously or capriciously or that they are in any way not 100% admirable human beings. I just think they're wrong and they think I'm wrong :).
The Originating Question
The question is as stated: How does surprise work in D&D 5e?
As originally posed it referenced all the Questions I could find on surprise and suggested that they were specific instances of a general misunderstanding of the surprise mechanic in DnD-5e. The answer was posted Q&A style as a Community Wiki and is essentially original.
Both the question and the answer received a large number of up-votes a favorites.
It was then closed as "Too broad".
As currently posed (post-hold) it quotes the 3 paragraphs from the PHB about surprise and asks for an explanation of this mechanic with examples.
What this site says about "Too Broad"
- too broad - if your question could be answered by an entire book, or has many valid answers, it's probably too broad for our format
There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow down the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.
And at https://rpg.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic it says (my emphasis):
The best questions are those that have specific answers; RPG.SE is not a general discussion forum. In general, if you have a question which covers:
- A specific problem with playing or running a table-top RPG;
- RPG rules or mechanics;
- RPG adventures and campaigns;
- Tools and equipment used while playing table-top RPGs (including running them online);
- Information about RPG campaign settings;
- Techniques for running or playing RPGs; and
- Matters which are specific to table-top pen and paper RPGs,
then you're in the right place!
We want the questions on our site to be valuable sources of information for the whole Internet, not just our community members, so we try to keep subjective opinions out of our questions and answers when we can. Share your personal play experiences and viewpoints, but avoid argument.
Community members can and will edit your questions and answers to be clear and grammatically correct.
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You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.
Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.
If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK. (Discussions are of course welcome in our real time web chat.)
Please take the time to read the discussion that took place in the comments because it is really these that are the source of this question. I will attempt to summarize the positions taken by the protagonists; it is not my intention to put words in anyone's mouth or misrepresent what was said, you all have enough reputation to edit this question so I you feel I have done you a disservice please do so so that the summary acurately reflects what you meant.
- @GMJoe said the basis of the question as originally posed i.e. as a one-stop-shop for surprise with links to other questions was inappropriate for the forum. I accept that and as a result edited the question so that it stood on its own merits.
- @GMJoe suggested that it was "Unclear" as "It's trying to solve all possible problems with surprise without specifying what those problems are." and "this question isn't trying to solve a real problem that someone faces"; in this he was supported by @Miniman who said "questions of the type "how does this mechanic work" are too broad. The site deals in specific problems." Questions on how mechanics work are specifically permitted on this site; they are a permitted class of question that exists independently of those that are attempting to solve a specific problem.
- @SevenSidedDie & @Miniman both had variations on the theme that high up-votes on question or answer do not save a poor question. I accept that position but they surely must serve as an indicator; if 20+ people think a question is worthwhile then the 5 people who voted to close it should be open to having another look. As my father is very fond of saying to me when I express a strong opinion "Never overlook the possibility that you could be dead wrong."
- @Miniman & @GMJoe both quoted "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" from https://rpg.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask. I do not understand this at all. The question posed is practical (surprise is an inherent part of most DnD 5e combats), answerable (clearly it is because I answered it) and its an actual problem I face (until I looked at these paragraphs thoroughly, I was playing it wrong).
- @BraddSzonye said "The single, very good, not terribly long answer is strong evidence that this close reason does not apply. Voting to reopen." That's what I'm saying ;).
Compare and Contrast
As my English essay questions used to say ...
The answers I would like to see will demonstrate, within the guidelines this site provides how How does surprise work in D&D 5e? is too broad while the following are not:
- How can I suggest the DM stop trying to kill us?
- Without a magic item economy, what is gold for?
- How can I play monsters and NPCs up to their potential?
- Why does the experience-to-next-level not change between some levels?
- How do I get my PCs to not be a bunch of murderous cretins?
Not all of these are rules focused so answers can and should address if this is in itself a factor in deciding issues of "too broad".
Please specifically reference the relevant parts of the sites various "how to" pages and the specific questions cited as referenced above.