This site is about fantasy role playing games. These games are games in our minds. Their worlds is the product of imagination.

If I ask something about these world, it is not like if I would ask, for example, is the pilot cabin door hermetically sealed in a large passenger airplane. This question has a clear answer: yes or no. It is not about how do we feel it better, should it be sealed or not. It is not like how do we imagine the cabin doors or a passenger plane.

It is a very clear thing: they are either sealed or not. Anybody working on planes, or knowing their technical documentation, can answer this question and it will be a clear, well-defined answer.

The passenger planes don't exist only in our minds, they are very clearly defined objects in the objective reality. It is exactly the opposite as the things are in the RPG worlds.

The case is exactly opposite if I ask, was the Ravnos antediluvian a wight. The idea that he was a wight, it was my invention. I knew very well, that there is no canon answer for that, and that probably even the RPG developers of the White Wolf didn't consider this possibility.

What I really wanted: people knowing better the canon, the rules, and anyways: the people having much better imagination of that world, to share me, what do they think about that. What I asked, was very clearly not what I asked in the first example. I asked for: how do we imagine that, how does this look better, what are the pros and cons in the case. Essentially, I wanted to validate my opinion against the opinions of others knowing much better the WoD as me.

Of course this was exactly what I couldn't ask. It had been closed on the spot as opinion-based question.

So I inserted a beautiful image into the question, and formulated it as a question for game mechanics or canon references. A close vote was - as nearly always - initiated, but fortunately the question survived it. The result was a popular question, which - on my opinion - added some valuable to the site and didn't harm it. It made the site better and didn't worsen it.

So, the topic of this SE site essentially differs from the other SE alternatives: most question what people would ask, don't have an "objective" answer here.

The engine of the SE can handle this. Everybody could write his/her, maybe contradicting answers, and then the voting counts and the pipes will decide, which is better.

Of course there are really opinionated questions, for example a question "Why is dnd4 so terrible?" shouldn't be allowed here.

So, I suggest to make the VtCs lighter.

The growth of the site, and the future of the site, depends on the newbies. And they need to work often irrationally hard to ask their questions on a site-conformant way because of rules invented for very different topics.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you fix my grammar/spelling, it is a honor to me. Thank you. If you don't understand something, ask me and I will answer and fix the post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gray Sheep
    May 19 '16 at 4:01
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ If the crux of your message is that it's wrong to use stock Stack-wide close reasons without considering the specific scope of this site, I think everyone agrees with you. Please read this FAQ-tagged meta post and maybe edit your question to address the specific considerations it brings up. There's an ongoing dialogue about this topic and your contribution will be most useful if you build on the existing discussion. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    May 19 '16 at 4:11
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ The fact that you eventually got your opinion-based question to a point where it could remain open and receive answers indicates to me that the system is working as intended. Not all opinion-based questions are bad fits for the site, but some questions simply can't be answered with a good subjective point of view (for example, most questions that begin with the word "should"). \$\endgroup\$ May 19 '16 at 12:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you expand on what makes the process you went through--and which it seems you're saying is representative of the experience of newbies--"irrationally hard"? I had plenty of early questions closed, workshopped, sometimes reopened and while it was a non-trivial process I don't remember it feeling irrational. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    May 19 '16 at 13:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Starting with "there are practically no objective questions..." when there are demonstrably thousands of such questions strikes me as both off-putting and unnecessary. I think this question would be much better framed as "there are really good opinion-based questions that are answerable by our experts; let's be a little lighter-handed about VtCing as opinion-based." Leave out the specious distraction. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    May 19 '16 at 13:35

I'm afraid I don't see the problem. Boiled down and paraphrasing, this is what I see this question saying:

  1. “I wrote a question that was looking for opinions, which was closed because the site doesn't answer questions that are looking for opinions.”
  2. “I edited it to be a question the site could answer. I think the new version of the question is a valuable contribution to the site.”
  3. “Therefore questions like my original question shouldn't be closed or changed.”

The first two points are great: that's the site working as intended.

The 3rd point is a contradiction: changing the question resulted in a Q&A that you think has value and the site's community appears to agree, but it's claiming that the change being a good thing is evidence that it shouldn't have needed to be changed.

And then you go on to suggest a change to how the site works — basically, to make it more like a freeform discussion forum — to support that invalid 3rd point.

The basic problem with the suggestion, aside from being supported only by a logical contradiction, is that the site's purpose is to be not like a forum in certain ways. Yes, votes can be used on opinion-based answers, but just because they can be cast doesn't mean that the result is valuable. The purpose of the voting system is not to simply show what people agree with, but to sort the answers by quality. This works only when the answers are not wholly opinion-based. When the answers are wholly opinion-based the voting ends up sorting by popularity, not quality, which defeats the original goal the site was created to achieve.

This comes back to the purpose of the site: not being like forums. What you're asking RPG.se to do with opinion-based questions is already served excellently by RPG discussion forums, which this site was never intended to replace. Quoting myself from another very related Meta two days ago:

Questions that work well here are those that can have specific answers that can be recognized as having a "best" answer. […]

In general, Stack Exchange focuses on excelling at what discussion forums do poorly: having an easily-summarised question that is about a specific problem shared by many, and providing its answer/solution clearly and prominently. Meanwhile, SE has sacrificed many things that aren't necessary for that goal in order to pursue it more effectively, and is therefore bad (sometimes really bad) at what discussion forums are still great at doing. SE aims to complement traditional discussion forums rather than replace them, and we recognise that this means some questions will fit the SE model well and some won't.

So if you want to ask for everyone's opinions, do it! Just not on RPG.se — pick one of these discussion forums instead. And when you have a question that's not about opinions, ask here because RPG.se works better for that than a discussion forum.

Just like a hammer doesn't work when used to slice onions, RPG.se doesn't work when used to get people's opinions — it's the wrong tool for that purpose. RPG.se is not designed to be, and can't be changed to be, useful for all questions of all types that all people might wish to ask.


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