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I can only guess, but for me it looks like people put their own playstyle as a measurement what is good and what is bad for this site. Wake up. Your playstyle is not the only playstyle. Stop being so close-minded. This site is used to create a knowledge base on roleplaying games in general and not a style guideline for your personal table.

I'm talking about an answer to this question:

Is there any way to reduce a weapon's category from one-handed to a light weapon?

Answer:

Easiest way to do so is to take a smaller weapon size, so if you are a medium creature, take a small weapon.

That's absolutely correct by any measure we have. "Easiest" may be opinion, but I think as this rule is from the players handbook and the ingame cost and time is negligible, this does indeed qualify as "easiest". Not "best" mind you. Just "easiest".

But two people have decided, this site would be better of if this answer was gone. They used the gamification of this site to send the message that all parties would win if this post was deleted.

I don't mind people playing min-max games to the extreme. That's fine. It's not my table, I won't comment on their way to have fun.

But can we please stop to downvote factually correct answers based on what we would do at our tables with our characters?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am locking this question for a day so all involved can cool off before discussing further. Calm down, let this lie for a day. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 27 '15 at 15:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth noting that a poor answer (i.e., short and incomplete) was turned into a good answer (nuanced and covering important factors relevant to its advice) because of the downvotes. That's the voting system working quite well and as designed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 29 '15 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Yet those downvotes remain. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 30 '15 at 10:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan And upvotes have swamped them. That's functioning as designed: instead of requiring personal action by the original down voters, the system crowdsources corrective votes to overwhelm them. In the long run all original downvoters may eventually change their votes/minds, but the site doesn't need them to, to function effectively. Resilience in the face of individual weirdness is the whole point, and why people can vote for their own reasons without that breaking it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 30 '15 at 18:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, @HeyICanChan, not all of the downvotes remain. I retracted mine, for instance, after the drawbacks were included in the answer. Other downvoters may also still do so; it is the holidays after all. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 30 '15 at 23:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please be aware the role & purpose of DVs are debated at length. Your understanding of DVs as equivalent to delete votes is a widely contested opinion & usually won't be accepted as a given assumption on which to ground a proposal. I've noticed you often base meta discussion on that understanding, & it distracts from & undermines your otherwise reasonable suggestions. I suggest you read up on the meta material so you can come into it next time w/a sense of how to bypass the issue or be more persuasive about it as the situation demands. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 22 '16 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Being able to actually cast delete votes on other sites, I'm well aware of the difference. I'm just saying that a DV docks you red negative points with the option to regain green positive points when you delete your answer (or alternatively edit it to the DVters delight, but that's next to impossible when he doesn't leave a comment). So the message is clear: "remove this to gain good green points". The gamification as implemented means downvoting without a comment is a message that the downvoter would rather see this post gone from the site. That's mathematics. Green points versus red. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 22 '16 at 11:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm very familiar with your argument, I've seen it several times. I agree our downvote behaviour could stand to change, but if you're going to root the proposal in this particular view of downvotes, it will distract from the proposal unless the idea is presented in context showing you're aware of and responding to the extant dialogue on the subject instead of offering your idea in isolation. Not everyone shares your reading of the maths. Repeating the same explanation won't change minds. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 22 '16 at 13:33
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Your request is unreasonable and runs contrary to how our voting system works. We can't comply.

First, factual correctness isn't our only measure of whether to vote — our real measure is whether an answer is useful or not useful. I don't know if that answer's a wise idea (I don't have the experience to judge), but bad options, even if factually correct, are still bad options. Our experience-based wisdom in determining good & bad answers is why we're here to vote.

If someone considers taking a smaller weapon a bad enough idea to downvote it, they can; if you think it's fine and good enough to upvote, you can. Between you & the other person, the answer will develop a score that'll push it higher or lower. Exceptional flawless answers will rise to the top, OK but problematic answers won't, deeply flawed answers will sink. That's a feature of the system.

So: just cast your vote. Don't, however, ask someone to ignore their own experience in their own voting. They have different experience and judgement to you. If their judgement is different, insisting they stop voting the way they are is dangerously close to someone just being wrong on the internet.


The real issue here is that, lo and behold, comments effectively saying "this is wrong/bad", without providing any actionable improvement, are prone to starting arguments and causing discord. The person who left such a comment this time, who I'll leave unnamed, leaves a lot of these and is probably well aware of the repercussions and arguments they'll start. I've flagged the comment as too chatty, like I'd do with any of this nature, and it's very likely to be removed quite soon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But then we are at a popularity contest. It's neither my nor the downvoters job to hold an opinion on this. Because that's it, an opinion. The drawback may not be worth taking for the downvoter... but what the hell? It's not even his question. The answer is correct, if the OP wants to take the drawbacks of this is completely up to him. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 11:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt The answer doesn't advise of the drawbacks, which is a flaw, but more to the point, we are also here to sort wheat from chaff. If you think it's fine and can be worth the drawbacks (whatever they are), upvote it, and leave it be. Your job isn't to make sure everyone agrees with you. You think the answer's perfectly good, great, others don't, and either side arguing that the answer must be voted on only one way is not OK, and just someone being wrong on the internet. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 27 '15 at 11:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ And if you read the criticism, it's not about not mentioning the drawbacks. Apart from the fact that they are well-known basic rules and don't really need explaining, the comment says this option is so bad, nobody will ever use it. That's cool, right? Somebody has a rule question and somebody is answering it. Correctly. From the basic book. And gets downvoted, because some people think actually using this option would be bad. There is no option to improve the answer, it's not like he made that rule. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 11:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt And thus I'm flagging the comment for removal, as comments like that are starkly unhelpful and cause situations like this. They're a problem, the user who left it persists in leaving them despite causing problems, of which this has merely been one. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 27 '15 at 11:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Incidentally, you're forgetting the -2 penalty to hit, which actually is a big deal and a significant drawback. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 11:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt This is a case of you not thinking it's a big deal. Others might disagree, and they're free to do so and vote their piece. If that answer didn't have any significant problems, rest assured it'd excel. We're talking about a game where people have many different perspectives on what's useful & a wise idea, and from some of those, these are big problems. You need to chill and let certain people enact their differing judgement; the whole site can't always agree with you on what a good solution is. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 27 '15 at 12:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt No, they're saying that that option is not useful. Again, that's exactly what downvotes are for. Right there in the tooltip. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 12:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman I'm not talking about upvoting it. I'm talking about not downvoting someone for stating something correct. I would not mind if that answer sat at zero while all the others were upvoted. Nobody is entitled to upvotes. I just think we aren't doing this site a favor to vote on playstyle rather than information. This is good information. Regardless of different peoples different views on how to use this information. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 12:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt If it presented the full picture, I'd agree. But while it sucks that D&D is full of trap options, proferring them without mentioning that they're traps is bad information. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 12:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman I would not even agree on the trap part. The OP has never mentioned why he wants to know this, so thinking of this as a trap or bad option is taking your judgement over to the OPs question. I agree that it's better with more information, but if it's a trap or not is totally up to the OP, as presented, it's just information. Good and useful information, because it's correct. If it's useful for you is not part of the downvote arrow. I'd be dv'ing the whole site, just because to me it's not useful, I already knew most of it. It's supposed to determine if it useful to the site. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 13:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Right, I'm using my judgement. I'm judging that the OP is probably a player trying to build a character, and further judging that they're probably inexperienced. I might be wrong, but I'm fine with that, especially since most of the people who find that question will probably be players trying to build characters. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 13:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener So I should downvote the Fey option? I don't own the DMG2 and as it has never been translated, it is not an "official book" at my tables. So the answer is "not useful" for me? I mean I "cannot use it" literally! Does it deserve my downvote? \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 29 '15 at 11:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt I think you already know the answer to that, and that it's beside the point for this entire discussion. You seem to be deliberately misconstruing things for the sake of angry argument at this point, and it's not doing anything constructive for anybody, least of all yourself. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 29 '15 at 11:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I know it, but you don't seem to. So what would be your answer? Should I vote as an individual ("not useful for me") or as a site member ("not useful to me, but useful to the site")? I don't see why it's besides the point when it is the entire point of this discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 29 '15 at 12:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Neither; it's what serves as a useful solution to the question. Whether it's useful to you and/or the site are factors worth considering, but not the ultimate factor it all comes down to. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 29 '15 at 13:27
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The answer by doppelgreener says most of what I would say on this topic, but one point I feel needs to be addressed is:

But two people have decided, this site would be better of [sic] if this answer was gone. They used the gamification of this site to send the message that all parties would win if this post was deleted.

That's not what a downvote means. If you hover over the downvote button, you can see what a downvote does mean:

This answer is not useful

That's it. That's all a downvote means. We all like to read more into them, and there often is more to a user's decision to place them, but equating them to a delete vote or flag is pretty extreme, and not useful for discussion of this topic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Miniman, please understand the gamification of the site. A downvote is a signal to the voter and the votee that removal of said post will grant them both virtual internet points. So a downvote is a message that says "please remove this". It could potentially read "please correct this", but if it's already factually correct, only the "please delete this to gain points" remains. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 11:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt If you get 1 upvote and 4 downvotes then you are still net +2 rep, so your argument falls over pretty fast. An answer has to be truly terrible to have more than 5 downvotes for every upvote... \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Dec 27 '15 at 11:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt The effects of a downvote may encourage deletion, but it doesn't inherently mean "please delete this". Maybe when you downvote something, you mean "please delete this", but it's a generalisation to assume that everyone thinks the same way. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 11:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimB I assume everyone votes based on his own intent. So a downvote still conveys this messages, no matter how many people upvoted. That I'm "immune" to this message once I receive downvotes does not invalidate the message. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ The fact that you don't understand what downvotes mean suggests you need to think about your understanding rather than want everyone else to change to match you... \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Dec 27 '15 at 11:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ And yet your question is at -4, the answers disagreeing with you are at +3 and +2. It does seem possible that one of us does not understand gamification but I'd suggest you evaluate your position before assuming it's someone else ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Dec 27 '15 at 11:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt As far as gamification is concerned, the answer in question has gained its poster 16 rep. They have no incentive to delete it. Gamification is a red herring here. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 11:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimB You mean the other two are more popular? Yes, that's right. The same way the technically wrong answer to the question we are talking about sits at +3. The voting system on RPG.SE has nothing to do with what is correct by the rules, it only says who's popular in the community. Which does not mean that their answers are wrong, just that being correct is not measured in internet points here. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 11:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Mate, calm down, go for a walk and do something else for a while. You're frustrated and you're better off returning to this later. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 27 '15 at 11:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener You are correct. I would like this site to be something like SO for RPG, but every time I return, it's just a gang of cronies voting their playstyle. I'm questioning whether I should return at all. Please note that this time, it's not even my question or answer. I don't know either guy, I only know this is not what I want this site to be. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 11:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Your idealised view of SO is odd in this case. If someone posts an answer on SO that fulfills the asker's requirements but is a bad method of doing it, that answer is usually downvoted. How is that different to this? \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 11:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman A bad method on SO can be improved through editing. What do you suppose the user should do here? Write a mail to WotC that their rule sucks? \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 27 '15 at 12:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Point out the drawbacks in their method, just like the other 2 answers on that question. Note: I haven't downvoted it, but I haven't upvoted it, either. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 12:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Yeah, the rules do suck in this case. Nobody expects the option to get any more improved. Someone suggesting on SO that someone brute-force in a million loops what they could do in a one-millisecond one-line library call doesn't have an option that's expected to be improved, it just sucks, and we'd downvote it. There are different options which don't suck, like the one-line library call. So, we're taking this option, as it was suggested, not expecting improvement, and voting on it accordingly. If it's not the best option, voting will reflect that. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 27 '15 at 12:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Well he said "i.e.", not "e.g." - it's probably what he actually cares about, not just an example. Not sure what you mean by "show me one". \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 27 '15 at 12:17
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OK, now that the lock is off, here's the real bottom line.

Should people not be voting down answers because it's a legitimate answer but doesn't fit their particular playstyle? Probably, especially if it'll be helpful to the OP and/or other viewers.

Can or should we somehow enforce that? No. You know the score, you should vote down something that's "unhelpful" but different people have different perspectives on that and vote their minds. We have no Big Brother-esque power to affect how and why people are voting.

Look, we have an issue especially with our D&D 3.5e questions that we can't really do anything directly about. We have a cadre of "our way is the right way" users that have a deep love for 3.5e optimization and any question or answer that mentions in a positive way monks, rogues, Sean K Reynolds, the D&D FAQ, Weapon Focus, using larger/smaller weapons, critical fumbles, and a list of other items that are "hot button" to that clique will get instantly downvoted and sassed as "never good" by members of that group.

This behavior presumes that every poster wants that kind of optimization, which is inaccurate (and in the case of the noobs, it's pretty clear that these issues are down in the noise in terms of weird choices they're making). We the community can intervene when comments are actually rude, but other than that people are free to vote however they want, even if it's just because they're grumpy that day.

These kinds of answers will never be deleted, because the community and/or the mods certainly won't allow playstyle advocates to censor others - downvotes aren't delete votes, however, and there is no mechanism (nor should there be) to override them.

I would recommend that people who consider an answer to be Advocating Suboptimal Play to find mildly more constructive ways of expressing that - "This is a legitimate option but you might want to note that it's going to almost always be mechanically less optimal than X" is a comment someone might actually incorporate into their answer and serve your actual goal. We know that just "YOU ARE WRONG" comments will get deleted eventually. They also cause fights, like this one. Such commenters are partially responsible for these fights, and can't just give that "who what me?" line when they are knowingly making absolutist statements and piling on people legitimately answering a question. Don't contribute to fights: even if you are right, you're still part of the problem. And "He was rude, but he was right about games" is a reasonably unfulfilling epitaph.

I would recommend that people who find those folks and their votes and comments obnoxious to just vote and comment (ONCE!) their mind and move on. As you'll note on this question, as more eyes not part of the 3.5e Quick Response Team land on the question, those other answers start to get voted up too. I know it offends your sense of justice in the universe, but part of participating on a social site with people with wildly varying belief systems is accepting that there will be some subgroup with strongly held beliefs that work counter to yours. Flipping out every time they do it doesn't help anyone. You don't need to 'wake up the sheeple,' we all know it's going on, but given the democratic nature of the site it has to be allowed to go on. Counteract it with positive acts (answers, votes, etc.).

For everyone else, especially new users who contribute an answer that runs afoul of this debate. remember that any one given comment is only a statement of opinion of one of... looks like... 14,000-ish users of the site. Four downvotes is a pretty damn small clique on a site of this size. Evaluate the worth of comments, determine if your answer really could be improved by incorporating something from them, and then just let 'er ride. Consider what someone says, but don't feel the need to overreact to it. Those comments will likely go away soon enough, remember. And upvotes are worth way more than downvotes rep-wise, and you'll get some ups as long as your answer really does make some sense.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, the original comment was fully intended to simply be a push to include relevant drawbacks in the answer (which has happened, and the answer is better for it). But I commented in a rush and just threw my opinion on there without explicitly making it a suggestion, for which I apologize. This was certainly not the intended effect. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 28 '15 at 16:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @KRyan and that's a great point - everyone should cut everyone else some slack, not every answer/comment/vote on this site is or needs to be part of a hour-long deliberation over the exact right way to do things or put things. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 28 '15 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Just in case you came late and had no chance to view the comments as I saw them: the answer was downvoted twice standing at -1 at the time and two other people had agreed with your comment. While I would agree with the need to put in more detail, more detail has not managed to remove the downvotes and the people agreeing with you obviously did not want more detail, or they would have chosen another comment to support. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 29 '15 at 10:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only thing I can conclude after the edit is, that people (not necessarily you) wanted to punish for "not my playstyle". They downvoted without constructive criticism, using your "this is bad" comment instead and did not acknowledge the improvement. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 29 '15 at 10:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh and @mxyzplk I might respect you more as a mod if you wouldn't call me a dick. Where I come from, mods don't do that. But I maybe I'm wrong here, it feels like I went from the professionals right into the kids arena every time I come here. Like I'm the 40 yo freak in a disco for 20-somethings. Maybe I should leave this SE to those that like it as it is. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 29 '15 at 10:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or people with better reading skills, since ironically I was using that term with respect to the other side in that argument above. It is an easy mantle to take up, however, especially if you insist on being so thin skinned about everything. I'm not here to coddle any of you, I shoot straight. This problem (and it's not the first time with the same people) is a standard issue "one person was a little bit of a dick, and the other is being a little bit of a wuss about it." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 29 '15 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are no amount of site rules and meta posts and etc. to fix that basic interpersonal problem, except for both actors to realize it and tone it down. The person you're complaining about has responded accepting his part of the blame in a very mature manner. If you are "the mature one at the disco" maybe you'd do the same thing. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 29 '15 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Maybe you are right. I assumed since this is an answer to my post, "you" would mean me. Maybe it didn't. I've read it another time and I'm still not sure who is referred to as "you". \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 29 '15 at 21:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hint, the "I would recommend that people who" that leads off each paragraph establishes the target audience. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 29 '15 at 22:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt That's a legit problem with the post as originally written. BESW went through and fixed some of the pronoun shifts that made it easy to misunderstand who was being referred to in each paragraph. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 31 '15 at 20:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seems that it was easy to misread as a non-native speaker, thanks for improving it! I guess I agree with you @mxyzplk. But acknowledging the facts does not mean I have to like it or be happy with how it is today. I don't believe one has to endure a problem and "tolerate" intolerant people. If other pastures are greener and have less thorns, I'm not into eating my share of thorns everyday because that's somehow the democratic way of grass. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Jan 1 '16 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would have liked the people using the lawn to agree on some principles even if they cannot enforce them. Other stacks have unspoken (and unenforceable) rules that are way more friendly and constructive. But if even agreement on basic principles is not possible among the rest of us, then I guess moving on is more productive than this. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Jan 1 '16 at 14:18
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I can choose to up vote your questions and answers if I like you, down vote questions and answers if I dislike you, and anything in between. (That isn't how I roll, but how one acts is a purely personal choice).

The system as designed puts no burden on any of us who pushes that button to have a criterion. This comment from @Cubic to this answer suggests to me what the community attitude is:

@KorvinStarmast Downvotes don't mean anything in particular, just like downvotes don't. "Useful/not useful" are pseudo metrics some people use, but generally speaking there are no hard rules like that on Stack Exchange (just like there's no actual rules on what answers should get accepted). – Cubic 3 hours ago

@Cubic is not a moderator, but is active on a number of SE sites and has 7k+ rep at SO.

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