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I agree that https://rpg.stackexchange.com/q/77169/23970 isn't a great question for the site. One step worse than a "read the book to me," it's a "read the ToC to me" question. However...

Would What are the official (WotC) playable races in 5e? be an acceptable question for the site? The obvious answer would be a listing table listing races and sources. Perhaps a community wiki? (What else are community wikis good for, anyway?)

Now I know we shy away from list questions. But the problem with list questions isn't the enumeration of the list, it's the lack of discrimination among list elements, when submitted as single answers (2). If the questions starts as CW, does that circumvent the problem?


Well, here's the question and answer. Enjoy.

It was Community Wiki for a while, but after months of getting comment-pings asking "should this be included" and "how's this edit look" I went ahead and reclaimed authorship. That doesn't seem to have done anything to dissuade good edits from the community.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would the fact the list needs constant updating as additional material is published be an issue? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Mar 15 '16 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ not according to meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/a/4987/23970, which is what got me thinking in the first place.... \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 15 '16 at 21:11
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I think this might be a good use of a single-answer Community Wiki, as the list would be relatively stable and wouldn't change simply by a drive-by reader's opinion, and would only need to be updated when new material is released. Having it be a CW would make it easier for low-rep users to do that updating, and also give a stronger signal that anonymous edits are welcome.

Regular users would, of course, do the normal thing and check up on the changes when someone edits it, so I expect it wouldn't get out of hand or messy.

The value add here, that makes it worthwhile hosting, is being a canonical list of playable races with sources. And remember: having a list as an answer isn't the sin questions must avoid, it's having an unmaintainable and indefinitely long list. At any one time, the list of this question would be finite, and very easy to maintain.

(That difference between Good and Bad lists is true regardless of whether the page is CW or not — a CW endlessly and opinionatedly edited is just as bad as an endless list of opinion-based answers.)

So yeah, it sounds good to me. It's far better than getting new “so what races are available now?” questions every time a new AL season starts…

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    \$\begingroup\$ My only thought with the CW aspect is that it even more-explicitly invites future readers to edit any additions into the top answer, rather than producing a long tail of "and there's..." posts. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 25 '16 at 1:05

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