Based on the following question, which happens to be about a roleplaying game taking place within the (non-roleplaying) videogame of Terraria.

How to deal with erotic role play (ERP) frequency in a non-ERP setting?

Recapping the original question; the user has joined a special server for a video-game that has been set up to permit its players to roleplay within that video-game. The question is specifically about the interaction between the players of said roleplaying game. The entire fact that it is played within Terraria is, in fact, almost irrelevant to the question.

If this question was asked about a game played over Skype, IRC, or Tabletop Simulator, it would definitely be on topic. Even if it were played in a Neverwinter Nights module set up for roleplaying, it would almost certainly be considered on topic.

I do not feel that just because the roleplaying game takes place within the context of a more traditional video game, rather than a sandbox or a roleplaying game, it should automatically become off topic. I am very confident that people at Arqade cannot answer this question (and will almost certainly redirect the user back to here).

Fundamentally, the question is about the act of shared storytelling, which seems to be what we are here for. That the roleplay happens within a video-game is provided for context only.

As such, I feel the question should be reopened and questions about roleplay within the context of a video game, as long as the question is about the interaction between roleplayers and not about the video game itself, should be considered on topic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As I read the question, it appeared to be focused on role playing etiquette (should) and even group dynamics over the internet. Do you see the same thing, and if so, can you add that to your point here? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would note that the linked question isn't about an RPG; it's about open roleplaying. I have no clue if the site has already come to a consensus about whether we support that (I'm not sure how we would, honestly), but that may make a difference to the specific case. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 9:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818 Also called “freeform” roleplaying. We do include freeforming in our topic. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I was just about the link that question :). I feel like this topic is straddling the line between free form and MMORPG/MUD \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 20:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle we don't even know if they don't have internal rules for consistency. There can be very much a solid system behind it - on WoW, for example, you can do "skill checks" with the built-in command /roll, and use that as a guide for action resolution. Terraria in this case is just the media. And I can assure you - ERP was not built in in Terraria in any way. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 11:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle In other words, roleplay on a MMO is not that different from a LARP - except that people meet online instead of in person. All the other stuff - action resolution, rules for engagement, and so on, are there. If you want to know a bit more about it, look for the addon Total RP 3 for WoW, and you'll understand right away how that is on topic here. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 11:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ What about this question? As of its current revision 10, the question, in my opinion, seems to be more asking how to enforce a rule on their videogame server. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 4:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KumosAgosta It sure is-- it's asking how to enforce a RPG-specific social rule in a certain format of RPGing. Answering that question requires significantly specialized RPG experience that you don't have, but that doesn't make it off topic. Experience running an online RPG server (where RPG is our site's definition) is experience running an RPG, and questions about it are questions about RPGs and the tools we use to run them. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 17:57

4 Answers 4


The platform someone is using to roleplay will obviously have a practical impact on their situation and the relevance of solutions the answers might present, but that's par for the course here. Platform doesn't determine whether a question is on or off topic, so closing it because “video games” is part of the background context is unnecessary.

In practical terms though, the question may have other problems that would make it a poor candidate for reopening, so “no, it shouldn't be closed for that reason” may not be the only or even most important factor when considering reopening. If it stays closed that won't be a sign of what is on- or off-topic: a question held for the wrong reason, but still worthy of being held for other reasons, is a question that should stay held until all its problems are addressed.

In particular, it's unclear what help the asker is seeking, since they've already solved their immediate problem. What they're asking for beyond the immediate problem they describe can sorta be inferred from context, but questions with problems that can only be inferred tend to collect rafts of well-meaning but unhelpful answers that are just throwing darts in the dark. The asker would need to add a clear problem statement before we'd be able to judge whether that problem is enough not Too Broad or Primarily Opinion-Based to justify reopening the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it's entirely a theoritical point. If it's closed because RP within videogames is off topic, then this question cannot possibly be reopened (and asking for clarifications is pointless). If we agree that it is acceptable, then we can ask the user to clarify their problem statements without then afterwards having to say "thanks for clarifying but it's off topic anyway" :) I think the close reason can matter in these cases. But I agree with the rest of the post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Very good point, yes. I'll revise this answer when I get a few minutes free. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Revised! I think that's getting at the idea I meant better now, without accidentally implying something else. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 23:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's in interesting point, but the question seems pretty clear to me. The OP from that question, despite being a bit bad with words, wants to know how to deal with his expectations in a game being different from what was played there. This is basically a Same Page Tool problem - he wanted to play something different from the rest of the people on the server. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 11:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThalesSarczuk Clear to some and unclear to others means it needs work to be clear enough; work that needs to either be done by the OP, or done by someone else and then confirmed by the OP as still asking what they meant to ask. And since the OP appears to have done a drive-by in posting it (the posting time and their “last seen” time nearly match), it's possible they will never come back to even check if it got answers, let alone respond to requests for clarification. In which case it should stay closed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I would agree to that, but not on this case. It seems to have some prejudice in the community against this specific question - both because it deals with ERP, what some people consider iffy already, a because it's based on a video-game, which make some people see it as an impure RPG. I really think people are not making effort to understand the situation, to be honest. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 16:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThalesSarczuk I agree that those motives might exist, but I don't see them operating in the comments asking for clarification. (I also see a need for clarification, myself, and I don't share either bias.) The clincher though is that if the OP wrote the post and then disappeared forever, it doesn't deserve our time or effort to guess at how to fix it in their absence. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Your point about his absence is a good argument, and one that I have to agree. This question could be a really good source for something that it's so common on some areas of the internet, and, alas, it's there gathering dust. Maybe I'll take a tackle on this subject, later. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 16:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThalesSarczuk Absolutely! That's one of the other advantages of leaving such questions held/closed: doing so leaves room for future askers with a clearer question to ask and get answers without it being marked a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 16:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Does the fact that the OP leaved make this question have no chance to reopen, presuming that OP never returns? I think I have a good answer for his question, because I had faced such a problem before, and there is a very obvious solution. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bas As this answer and the comments already say, it has probably stayed closed because it's unclear. It might seem clear enough to answer, but if not even five voters can agree on what the question means enough to reopen it, one person's guess is as likely to be wrong as right and we have no way to know, since the asker has abandoned it. Such questions should stay closed, since we cannot agree on what it's asking. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Such questions should also not be edited with one person's guess at what it's asking, for the very same reason. (I've rolled back the edit to that question.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 18:33

I think it is obvious that the question being discussed is about role-playing games and should be on-topic. The video game is just a platform the asker is role-playing on, and has no real bearing here. The fundamental content of the question is not about the platform, it's about issues that could equally well happen in a forum game, a chatroom game or even a traditional pen and paper game.

Discriminating against questions using video games as role-playing platforms is counterproductive (such questions aren't well-covered on Arqade), arbitrary (we don't discriminate against other digital platforms either, do we?) and doesn't make sense to me (why close relevant questions just because they arose in a video game?). I think there's only one appropriate solution, and that is to reopen the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ But is it opinion based or too broad? I think the problem solved itself by the querent's leaving the game. I am a little unclear what the actual problem is. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since Be Nice also applies to Meta, I've replaced the inflammatory/insulting language with more moderate language that maintains the original argument's points. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast, then it was closed for the wrong reason at very least. \$\endgroup\$
    – kviiri
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kviiri There's no functional difference between closed as OT and closed as unclear or too broad. If the consensus is that it's on topic, then it's still unclear/too broad and needs to be edited before it can be reopened. (also keep in mind that it's just closed, 5 reopen votes and it's back live). \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 19:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @kviiri I left a comment in the question asking the querent to better explain the problem. Depending on how you read it, the last third looks like a request for ideas, but on the other hand it also asks for experience based answers on dealing with Erotic Role Playing. I think the intention is the latter, and I'd like that cleared up. If the querent won't return and either answer the comments or otherwise put in the effort to get the answer reopened, that's an answer in itself. (And another data point on how welcoming or not RPG.SE is ... ) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Re the parenthetical: not really. That's the SE system, not RPG.se specifically; i.e., anyone so discouraged by a hold and the requirement to clarify that they never bother is correctly being filtered out, by quite deliberate design. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 23:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Yes really, if we remember to view this as being on the outside looking in (new user) rather than on the inside looking out (those who have adopted this community as one of they joined). Yes, the filter is working. That doesn't make the result 'welcoming' by any meaning of 'welcoming' that I grok. I have come to peace with the fact that "this is how it is" in this community -- per policy. Each person will exhibit warmness, or not, via their own words and tone used (in text) in any posting or comment. (Apologies for the derail). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 23:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I take your point: yes, it's a data point. It's just not a data point about RPG.se being unnecessarily unwelcoming among SEs (which is what the discussion has had to boil down to over the years), since this particular data point falls into the “situation normal” part of the spectrum. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 23:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie "among SE's isn't the point" but "in its own right" is. That is the perspective of a new comer .... in its own right. (Again, apologies again for the derail. Note that I found it initially unwelcoming but still stuck around because of how I roll and the effort I tend to put into things. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 23:41

The question, if refined, is on topic here. That doesn't mean this is the best place to ask it, however. As you can see from the way the question is developing, it's a whole different subculture, where abbreviations like "ERP" are not well known in the tabletop community, actual functionality about "servers" and "channels" that is probably relevant with how to deal with the problem, etc. This question would therefore probably get better answers on Arqade. If clarified, we could certainly answer it here, but there'll be a lot of analogy-drawing ("Well, if you had a real life tabletop group that was engaging in sexual RP that you weren't interested in, you'd...") that may or may not end up being on target and helping the OP.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Folks giving uninformed armchair answers because they don't understand the full context of the question, including both the terminology and the parameters of play? That happens quite frequently when you ask a non-D&D tabletop question here, too. Hardly a reason to axe the question, imo. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex P
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 22:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Read my answer again where I say it is on topic, so I am not saying "ax it." \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 0:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I realize you're not calling for the question to be off topic based on a comparatively smaller pool of experts, but I'm not really sure what point you are making. Additionally, as someone who does RP in MMOs, I doubt Arqade would answer the question any better. Most MMO players are not RPers, so they might get the technical terminology, but they wouldn't have any knowledge of it in the context of RPs. They'd be even less likely to get a term like "ERP." \$\endgroup\$
    – Pixie
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 20:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Seconding @Pixie here -- most MMO players do not RP, and do not understand the subculture that develops around RP-in-a-MMORPG/MP CRPG. (There are even perceptions among some that those who do RP in a MMO/MP CRPG are lesser players of the game than those who do not -- this smacks of the Stormwind Fallacy to me, though.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Shalvenay
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 12:45

Questions about roleplaying in video games should be off-topic.

How can that be, you ask? Is this site not for questions about role-playing games? Aren't these questions about roleplaying in games? Well, yes. But it's important to note that while those two things have a lot of the same words in them, they're not actually the same thing, much like the right to bear arms is only tangentially related to the right to arm bears.

Notably, this site is for questions about the content and use of rules systems for role-playing. If you're just free-form roleplaying, whether in person, over a forum or instant messaging program, or in a video game, you're not playing a role-playing game. The objectives and social dynamics are distinctly different, and a community of experts on D&D, World of Darkness, Fate, and other such games aren't going to be much help.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Excluding a segment of the gaming population because the rules for that segment's games are intuitive rather than codified strikes me as needlessly elitist. I do support drawing a line somewhere, but I'm unconvinced this is a good place. (n.b. I reserve the right to revisit this comment when the site's flooded with questions about the social dynamics of an improv comedy troupe.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 20:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a [freeform] tag for systems without rules; 5 out of 7 questions in it are not deemed off topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Elitist? Quite possibly, but I'm OK with that. Needlessly, though? There I beg to differ. RPG.SE has successfully attracted a group of experts on the topics that it pertains to. I don't see how expertise in those topics would be much help, if any, in answering questions originating from free-form roleplaying in Internet videogames. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Hmmm. I will investigate those later this evening. Without having actually looked at them, my initial guess is that they will prove to be mostly 1) older, from back when we allowed a lot more questions, and 2) either now off-topic for other reasons or social questions that assume an in-person meeting (which is to say, the RPers know each other). \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is LARP off topic here? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast LARP in on-topic. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 23:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ The point that we have few freeforming experts (note: few, not no) is a true point. But further to that, the point of the SE model is to generate quality questions that attract the kind of experts who can answer them. There's a chicken and egg problem there, yes, but the site's design answers which came first: questions come first, to attract and retain the experts. So deeming something off topic merely for lack of experts is getting the equation backwards. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 23:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I'm dubious that there can be experts in the area of the kind of freeform RPing that happens in videogames. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 0:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1 We are not exclusively about game systems themselves. We have freeform, social, props, system-agnostic, and many other tags concerning things just generally involved in roleplaying. Whilst I agree there may be a problem with topicality of questions about roleplaying in a video game environment (distinct from e.g. roll20 and other virtual tabletop environments), the reason is not that they're not specifically involving a roleplaying system. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 1:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage Many moon ago I was admin on two semi-popular text-based RP servers and got a glimpse of the related communities. Since then I've personally known forum-based freeformers and observed their cultural practices too. There is definitely a base of knowledge, within these populations, about best practices and social organisation issues for freeform online RPing that can be called “expertise.” \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 2:39

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