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I get why the rule exists. However when I ask about how healing interactions happen in game, in a very specific format (D&D druid healing in wild shape, if it affects the normal form), those aren't two questions. Those are continuations, and anybody asking the first is definitely wondering about the second. Consider the future readers, would they benefit from having those two very closely related questions together or not?

I truly get the reason for the rule, but this is not the first question I had edited, locked or deleted because of this. It just feels like bureaucracy.

My question is: shouldn't mods consider "hey, would somebody asking the first question benefit from having the second question together in one place", instead of just sticking to rules that are actually counter-intuitive?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you point out where someone else has locked or deleted a question of yours because it contained multiple questions? Edits are normal, but locks or deletes would be unusual and likely inappropriate; but I can't find anything on your account here that looks like that happened. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 18 '15 at 3:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've read your question only after it was edited, and the deleted part never occurred to me in the slightest. In general, you should not act based on assumptions that people will think the way I think because the thought process of each individual is as different as is their experience on the subject. \$\endgroup\$ – DaFluid Nov 18 '15 at 7:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaFluid it didn't occur to you. It might occur to others. Also, perhaps it didn't occur to you, but reading it would make you go "oh yeah, what about that?"... anyway, I'm giving up on this debate. I truly understand the reason for the rule, and all reasons cited in the answers below are legit. But as a reader, (not a question asker) this rule is silly. I can't count how many things I learned from piggy-back questions that didn't occur to me but I faced in game time. \$\endgroup\$ – user24050 Nov 18 '15 at 8:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ If a rule designed to make sure different but related questions get individual attention and good answers is silly, we are happy to be silly. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 18 '15 at 15:38
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I don't agree that "anybody asking the first is definitely wondering about the second."

But I do agree that anyone asking the first would likely benefit from seeing an answer to the second. That's why I hope you post the second question separately and slap a "related question:..." link onto each of them.

The benefit I see to splitting them is that someone searching for your Wild Shape+hit die question is more likely to be able to find it through search if it's separately posed, rather than as a tag-along to a Wild Shape+healing magic question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 If each of the questions is good enough to stand on its own (and I think that both of these are), than it's better to post them separately, so that each can get its own respective, best answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Henderson Nov 18 '15 at 4:46
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The biggest benefits here have little to do with questions. It's about the answers.

1) When I post an answer to a 'question' that's actually a bunch of related questions, I have to address them all (at least, if I want to be a good site member); that's more work for me, not always possible to format smoothly, particularly if your 'related' questions turn out not to be related after all, and especially when they're only related by a 'people are probably thinking about this now, right?' kind of logic train. This makes your question harder to answer, but it's not because your question is uniquely challenging, it's because your question sucks (warning: TV tropes links. The analogy is, in fact, illustrative, though, so I suggest you read the article intros at least). This is bad.

2) When I post an excellent answer to a question, I am rewarded by upvotes. When I answer any number of related questions posted as a single question, I still get one upvote. That is bad.

3) When I am reading an answer, I have three primary voting options: upvote, downvote, or don't vote. When an answer actually is a single answer, deciding what to do is easy; I upvote it if it's useful/right/etc, downvote it if it's bad/wrong/etc, and don't vote if I'm not expert enough to tell the difference/need clarification/etc. If your question forces answers to have multiple parts, it is normally the case that I find myself wanting to upvote an answer for one part, but wanting to downvote/abstain due to another. This is one of the biggest cited reasons not to do the 'related question' thing, and, while the same thing can happen even on regular questions, substantially increasing the risk of putting voters through this is bad.

4) When I post questions like this (We higher-rep people do things wrong, sometimes, too), I usually find (at least) one of my questions ignored, in favor of another one, as in this case (the top answer is just straight up not an answer to the question at all; ignore that one. The rest are good examples, though). This is frustrating, and while it usually feels like the answerers are the ones doing things wrong, the blame shouldn't be entirely on them; I should have posted the question as separate real questions to start off with. Not doing so is bad.

5) Answers are supposed to stand on their own. When I answer a question like this, I may find myself needing to repeat an entire other answer in whole or long-part, because it is the right answer to most of the question. This makes my answer more of a comment on a part of that answer and there is no real good way of dealing with that when my answer is completely identical for entire questions. Leaving a comment might work, but it doesn't if the answerer is not persuaded by my arguments, and I shouldn't be using comment-arguments to persuade an answerer to change their mind anyways, ideally.

So, basically: No, we should not change the policy here


P.S. We are the mods and we make the policy. I mean, there are elected mods, too, but even more than SE in general, this site is really and truly community moderated. SSD is an elected mod, but the editing of your question was well within the purview of regular normal user activity. Not trying to call you out or anything, just a heads up, in case you hadn't realized how we do moderation around here.

Separately, deleting a question because of this is excessive and silly, and that probably shouldn't be happening, so I'm with you on that one. Locking makes sense in a content dispute, and deleting makes sense for old questions that we have reason to believe are abandoned, but it's very scary-looking and not something we should be doing without serious consideration, even if it is easy to reverse. But I, at least, haven't ever seen a question deleted because of this without signs of abandonment.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I said it before, and I'll say it again. I understand the reason for the rule, and everything you cited is true. However, the points above are about rewarding the "answerer". I get how the site works, but don't believe that the focus should be on the person that asks, or the one that answers. I believe the focus should be on other people that land on the post many days and months later. Divergent questions are bad and need to be broken up because it doesn't help those people. very-related questions perhaps should remain together. \$\endgroup\$ – user24050 Nov 18 '15 at 8:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ anyway, I'm giving up on the debate. Just trying to show my point of view. The question was answered, and there's nothing that will be changed here. \$\endgroup\$ – user24050 Nov 18 '15 at 8:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Faisal There are other, supported, methods of providing that functionality. No need to resort to this (extremely flawed) tactic. Note that having all the answers on a topic in one place doesn't help very much if all of those answers are garbage and most of the questions are irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 18 '15 at 9:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ questions are irrelevant: I said, divergent questions need to be split up. All answers are garbage: that's what voting is for (how is this different in a single question scenario anyway?). extremely flawed tactic: what's extremely flawed about it? also what other functionality is there? please elaborate. \$\endgroup\$ – user24050 Nov 18 '15 at 9:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Faisal We agree that closely related questions should stay together. We often take those and leave them intact. Just that in this case, the two you're asking don't pass the "closely related" bar we tend to use, which is fuzzily defined but usually we consider whether the questions make sense asked separately and simultaneously, and whether doing so would require 90% rehashing the same concepts. In this case, the questions seem like they'd make more sense asked separately, and they won't mostly involve 90% rehashing the same stuff, so they're better off separate. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 18 '15 at 9:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Faisal Asking multiple questions in a single post causes the answers to be lower quality; that's one of the reasons we avoid doing it. The biggest tool for doing what you are asking for here is the 'linked questions' sidebar, which you activate by linking the separately posted questions in the body of your post. The flaws are detailed in this answer; you won't improve the end experience because signal/noise decreases and average answer quality as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 18 '15 at 9:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Furthermore, one of the bigger problems I think you are facing is that SE has a different definition of 'related' than normal; 'related' questions (of the okay to ask at once variety) don't trip the problems I warn about above; answering one of the questions essentially also answers the other one. Questions that 'go together' or are about the same thing are not considered 'related', nor are 'follow up' questions. Questions that are SE 'related' get to stay together as per doppelgreener's reasoning. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 18 '15 at 9:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your input \$\endgroup\$ – user24050 Nov 18 '15 at 9:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ +10 because this is very accurate in whole and in part. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Nov 18 '15 at 21:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it a false dichotomy to say you don't know if you should upvote or downvote an answer to a multiple parts question? I mean there could be a question with 1 part, then an answer to that could have several points made (on that single issue) and you might agree with some of those and not the others. I mean just because a question is a single sentence, does not mean the correct answer won't have many parts. \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Aug 10 '16 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also you say it is bad to get only 1 [group of] upvotes for answering a multiple part question. Well I've seen answers for single part questions (usually about RPG etiquette) that were many pages long and answers for multipart questions that were basically "yes, yes, no yes, no" and 5 proper links to srd rules and still good answers. If you're implying the effort put in deserves more upvotes then the situation is not completely clear against multipart answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Simanos Aug 10 '16 at 12:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ So I just tagged rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/q/6453/23970 as faq-proposal but I'd love to see this answer on that question. (Really, I'd love to see this answer in the FAQ, but this question seems kinda poor for the FAQ index.) Perhaps copy-post this answer there? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Oct 3 '17 at 23:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 answer copy-pasted. I do think this question is a good fit for FAQ, though, as I imagine it's a frequent question on the part of newer users, similar to 'why'd my comment get deleted!?!?! D<' and 'Why du u close any questions evar, you tyrants! D<' \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Oct 3 '17 at 23:25
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Piggybacking makes it easier to accidentally stumble across questions we didn't know to ask, but makes it harder to find questions we're deliberately searching for. However, that doesn't mean we miss out on stumbling across related questions.

When two questions are intimately connected such that each can't be wholly answered without addressing the other, they should obviously be united as one question; two questions that are closely related but could be answered wholly if kept separate, should generally be kept apart to make it easier to find them.

Here's the good news: there's a "Related Questions" sidebar on every question page. It's pretty good at finding related questions! This is the mechanic you're looking for to find questions that you wouldn't have thought to ask on a subject you're already curious about.

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