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There is a big crossover, with indie RPGs, between playing, designing and publishing. Can we ask questions about publishing RPGs, such as:

  • What instructions should I give playtesters?
  • What is the best way to pitch Kagematsu?
  • What is a "colour profile", as used by a printer?

I'm expecting the answer to be no. However, there's some sense in questions like this: they require expertise; they tend towards a fairly specific answer; and they can inform discussions on play. So I wanted to raise the question explicitly.

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I say absolutely yes. I think "Role-playing games" is a great restriction and we should stay within it, but given that, author/design/publish/play/GM/whatnot is on topic.

As usual the rubric should be whether it is a question that could be answered independent of the RPG domain. "How do I set a printer's color profile" is off topic, but questions about printing of RPGs specifically would be on topic.

Here's the diagram programmers.SE always uses.

enter image description here

Analogously, if a question is specific to RPG publishing, as opposed to "everyone" or "everyone trying to publish something," then it's on topic here. If it's of general nature to all publishing, it's not. But the RPG ecosystem has grown to where there are definitely RPG-specific venues and techniques for art, design, development, editing, and publishing, and those are on topic.

(The omission of the "just you" in that diagram may or may not be wise, but that's not the main point of this answer.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would say questions about things like playtesting and making a pitch are great, on-topic questions. Questions about how to make your color printer work would probably be better off on serverfault.com. \$\endgroup\$ – RMorrisey Oct 16 '10 at 22:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ To clarify: it's not a question on how to make your colour printer work. It's a question about getting your RPG professionally printed. \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Oct 16 '10 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd tend to think of printing-related questions as being outside of RPG-specific discussion and in the realms of general book publishing. However, SE doesn't appear to have anything that covers that - there's ebook publishing, there's writing/editing, but there's nothing that seems to cover traditional book publishing. As such I'd be tempted to say "using a printing firm" could be covered, at least until a better alternative SE site for those questions exists. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Thomason Mar 14 '14 at 3:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Having another SE site is not relevant to being on topic here, but to the degree which there are publishing firms that specialize in RPGs or there are RPG-specific elements to publisher acquisition/interaction, it'd be on topic. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Nov 10 '14 at 17:13
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There are two sides of this coin, first developing the game itself, which should definitely be on topic here, and preparing, printing, licensing or distributing a book, which are better handled elsewhere in the stackexchange network.

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I'd recommend no, in general. Having worked on an RPG, the questions that arise are far outside the scope of this site, if we take the limiting of LARP and story-based euro-games as outlawed.

However, questions about theoretical RPG mechanics being about games themselves, even games not published yet, are fine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would someone asking questions about what to put into Perl...8 or whatever the next version is be a) shunned by stack overflow as lame and off topic or b) very interesting on stack overflow, and seen as a great opportunity by the people usually there? I submit the latter. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 16 '10 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that's why I said "Mechanics are fine" but formatting questions and what not are far more off topic than LARPing. I'd prefer a more inclusive approach that allows for basically any vaguely RPG question, but I can't reconcile the various boundaries. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 17 '10 at 0:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ How about "we vote to close it if it seems annoying". We don't need to eternally hand-wring over the guidelines that no one reads when they come here anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 17 '10 at 1:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I will absolutely support that. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 17 '10 at 2:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ I partly agree with that, but I think it's good to have guidelines in place. If we don't want publishing questions (or don't want something more specific, like printing questions), then I'd like a general rule about that, rather than down-voting every publishing question. \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Oct 18 '10 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps we need to make a distinction between game development and game publishing, the former being the creation and the latter being the details of physical/digital publishing and distribution. I would think game dev is naturally on-topic, and publication/distribution is off-topic. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 1 '10 at 21:14

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