As a GM, what minimal geographic knowledge should I have to make realistic maps? was recently flagged for closure. Looking at it in vacuum, it appears (to me) to be off-topic: it doesn't seem to require any particular knowledge of RPGs to answer, even if its answers might be particularly useful to RPGers.

Should it be closed as off-topic?

Should it be closed and somehow locked/preserved for historical interest? (And how would one suggest/achieve that?)

Am I reading on-/off-topic too strictly?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Remember that “could conceivably be on-topic for a different SE” is not the same as “is off-topic for us.” Easy trap to fall in. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 2 '16 at 23:30

To answer your titular question (which doesn't really match the body): close voting has nothing to do with a question's age, score, or answers. If it's close-worthy by our current standards, we close it, that's it. Sometimes answers help us recognise a question is good & worth keeping open, or not, but that's about it.

This one seems on topic because it passes our rule of thumb about real-world topics featured in the middle section of our on-topic help:

Would an RPG expert give me a better/different/more specific answer to this question than a Historian, Geographer, etc?

There's some RPG-specific stuff to map making. Some of it just closely resembles what you'd do for novels or whatever, but the accepted answer does bring up what you need to make an RPG session tick — like they mention a session where they forgot a continental map, and the lack of one made problems for them. Doesn't seem egregious enough to close.

  • \$\begingroup\$ sorry for the meandering between the title and question--long day... =\ \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Dec 27 '15 at 18:27

I think it's on-topic.

Map-making for RPGs has challenges and solutions that map-making for other purposes doesn't have. If a question's primary issue is something that requires RPG knowledge to solve, it's within our topic. That's one reason why the tag exists.

The question at hand is about map-making on-the-fly during an RPG session, which is something only RPG experts could give expert advice on: practical mapping for RPGs isn't a knowledge domain available outside of the RPG community. The information the question needs to attract to count as answered just isn't generic: a general lesson in cartography and earth sciences that doesn't take into account what is (and isn't) important to a GM running a game won't solve the problem at hand (as pointed out to the one answer-writer who made that mistake).

There are a lot of skills that go into running and playing RPGs that are in theory generic, but in reality become specialised in order to be useful in RPGs. A good example is plotting: in theory it's a generic skill most often seen among authors and scriptwriters, but we all know how badly a plot can go in an RPG if it ignore the unique needs of RPGs as a collaborative medium. Map-making is similar in being a generic skill that requires a Map-making (RPGs) skill specialisation in order to be actually useful at the gaming table.


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