The question How can a nonpsionic character use the power hostile empathic transfer? later yielded another question, How can I bring an evil NPC back to life after the PCs think they've killed him? The first answer to the first question is, essentially, Make it up yourself. The first Comment (now deleted) on the second question was Why not make it up yourself?

I feel like Make it up yourself could pretty much be an answer to most questions site-wide, therefore often adding little to the conversation. (This is not to disparage indigochild's answer, which otherwise makes some good points about rules-lawyering players.)

But I wonder if there is, like, a tipping point or something wherein a question goes from This certainly deserves a perfectly reasonable, rules-based answer! to Dude! Just make it up yourself! and, somehow, this two-question series reached it.

That is, when a querent asks for a rule-based answer—even on a question lacking the tag—, when is Make it up yourself appropriate?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Sometimes I feel like those are XY problem questions, where making it up is the obvious solution so what real problem aren't they telling us? Asking what's stopping them from just making it up often doesn't result in any clarification though… \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2015 at 0:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have answered with a "Make it up Yourself," type of answer here, but I tried to explain on why it would be best to do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Dec 5, 2015 at 7:46

1 Answer 1


A good "make it up yourself" answer makes effort to demonstrate exactly why "Do it yourself, I can't help" is the best possible answer. A great "make it up yourself" answer gives some examples of making it up; the answerer's own experience with similar situations would be valuable.

You're effectively talking about a challenge to the frame of the question, and we've got policies in place for this.

Specifically, the answerer must first show why other solutions are unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate before suggesting that the querent simply make stuff up on their own. This is simply part of the Stack's ever-present expectation that answerers will provide support to show why their answer is good: whether through citation, experience, evidence, or analysis, an answer should defend itself. The further from a "typical" solution the answer is, the more it needs to justify itself.

Without that justification, "make it up" becomes a generic and lazy answer which insults the querent and undermines the Stack's goal of providing answers which draw on citizens' expertise and experience: it effectively says, "Solve it yourself, I can't be bothered."

  • \$\begingroup\$ For a comment that suggests Make it up yourself would suggesting instead that the commentator challenge the frame with his own answer be appropriate? Or should the querent try to address such an issue himself? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2015 at 2:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Usually it's ridiculous to ask a querent to justify why they're looking for answers inside the system before creating their own extra-systemic solutions. In the rare instances where it's not silly, then the querent can be asked to talk about it. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Dec 4, 2015 at 3:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. "What does a L2 fighter with an 18 STR roll to hit" is not best answered with "make it up yourself." "I want a monster with these exact properties and I can't find one" - just might be. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Dec 16, 2016 at 15:13

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