For what reasoning was this question (What to do about a player who takes risks and dies (without consequence)?) with 21 upvotes and no downvotes On Hold as opinion based and most of the (IMO more interesting/agreeable) answers marked as needing evidence on unspecified points?

It seems to me an interesting question with some interesting answers, whereas this other question ( Dealing with "fearless" players ), to my mind rather similar and perhaps even a duplicate. (It has 53 upvotes and 0 downvotes.) I wonder how the people who put the first question on hold feel about that question.

I note too that the accepted answer to the second question, with 80+ upvotes, and second answer with 20+ upvotes, seem to lack citations while expressing similar opinions to the answers being warned about possible deletion for lack of citation on the first question. Why are those answers marked, and what are the answerers expected to do about them?

I really don't understand, and without explanation, greatly disagree with shutting down the question and proposing to remove content without seeming good explanation. I would think it would do well to leave it open a bit longer for people to finish adding interesting things to it, and then mark is as a possible duplicate to the "fearless" question, but not delete it, as there are interesting perspectives all around.

But then again, perhaps I ought to just avoid this site altogether, as it seems like every time I think I've made peace with the policies, some new level of weird censorship in the name of improvement comes along and deletes interesting content and/or considerable effort. I wish I understood better - as it is it seems really bizarre and disrespectful to people trying to contribute.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure you want to ask “why?” Because the answer to “why?” is pretty boring and will probably seem kind of dismissive (spoiler: “because handling thousands of questions identically at every precise moment is impossible, so inconsistencies are guaranteed”). Is there another question hiding under there which is more interesting? Or an assertion that things should be different, which you might want the community to debate? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 5:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll try to be more clear... editing... \$\endgroup\$
    – Dronz
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 5:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain more about “without explanation … shutting down the question and proposing to remove content without seeming good explanation”? There are multiple comments providing explanation, one of which includes a link to the FAQ relevant to the closure that contains a lot of detail. So that's not without explanation… Is that not good explanation? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 6:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Although, considering your last paragraph and your other posts on meta which are also all objecting to the policy of closing discussion and opinion questions, perhaps an RPG Stack simply isn't what you want. The Stack design really isn't intended to appeal to everyone, and if it's turning you off this site, is it possible that it's just not your cup of tea? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 7:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think I just disagree with some of the policies and how they're often applied. I don't usually take issue with the similar problems on other StackExchange sites. It's frustrating because I'm interested in RPG's, like other SE sites, and sometimes there is interesting content here, but then sometimes content I like is getting shut down or even deleted. Sometimes it seems like something to point out, other times like it's a waste of time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dronz
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 7:53
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Most Stacks don't allow subjective questions. The basic policy at work in this case is our policy on how subjective questions can be allowed here at all, which is the Back It Up policy, also known as Good Subjective/Bad Subjective. Do you object to GS/BS being used to determine how we handle subjective questions, or are you objecting that we're applying it wrong? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 7:56
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I see the Good/Bad Subjective "gold standard" for SO... and I think it's a mistake to apply it without modification to RPG.SE. I also read meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/50/… and agree with the majority of the answers (not mxyzplk's answer), which say much what I feel. Most interesting RPG questions are at least somewhat subjective. I think the effort to police objectivity is dialed too high and is impairing good content and participation. I could go add a bunch of "in my experience" to my post, but fear it or the Q being deleted/unappreciated so won't. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dronz
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 8:11
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ We're not actually policing objectivity — that seems to be a misunderstanding of the policy — since objectivity needs only voting, not policing. GS/BS isn't used on SO, either. Unsupported subjective opinion is the problem that GS/BS was invented (by Parenting.SE) to solve. We're looking for precisely what you're for some reason not wanting to do: back up answers to subjective advice with evidence that it worked for you, when you used it. By the way, questions are not generally deleted without major cause (there is no major or minor cause in this case). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 8:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note the meta you link is from 2010, & for years RPG.SE did go very easy on subjective answers. Experience over the following three/four years showed GS/BS is more important to healthy site function than we originally thought! The policies shifted (gradually w/much discussion & great reluctance) in face of that experience, & continue to shift with new experience. Do we get overzealous sometimes? Obviously, & it's important to call that out when it happens so we can add the behaviour to the Stack's aggregate learning when making decisions about how to move forward. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 8:38
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 because I think this sort of discussion is good to have periodically, and this one is well-stated. Not passing judgment on whether the two questions referenced should be open/closed, nor any judgment on the application of the post-notice. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, thanks folks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dronz
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:26
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ My problem with the GS/BS is that you can take any "bad" subjective answer and make it "good" by adding three words at the beginning: "In my game...". Doesn't even have to be true because it's obviously not provable. If I was asking questions about games that push objectivity and RAW, like 3e/4e D&D, then it would be fine. However, now that I primarily play 5e D&D (a game that champions subjectivity) I find RPG.SE a complete waste of time. I can't ask questions because none meet subjectivity standard. The site has essentially become, "Can you read the PHB for me?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Bacon Bits
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:58
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @BaconBits That's not actually the case. Simply claiming experience doesn't make a Bad Subjective answer into a Good one. Some of the answers on that question already claim experience — but they don't share the experience. As in, the experience is mentioned, but not provided to support the answer. “I have evidence for the charges before the court, but won't show it” obviously doesn't work. Same here: to be Good Subjective an answer must actually lay out the details of the experience, so that readers can personally see, and attempt to reproduce, the solution successfully. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BaconBits If you've seen folks commenting/voting on GS/BS situations as if it were the way you describe (a ritual phrase rather than a codification of the understanding that good answers explain how and why), that's important and needs to be seen and addressed! Perhaps with flags for moderator attention? \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 9:32

3 Answers 3


This is gonna be long. You've asked some very important, very complex questions and I'll try to do them justice--but you don't have to take my word for it. As we get deeper into the material I'll be offering links to references, histories, and further explanations of various themes and topics. I highly recommend using those links as jumping-off points for your own research.


You're absolutely right that sometimes folks are overzealous about curating the RPG Stack. People get excited or anxious or just plain crabby, or a particular topic strikes a little close to home. We can misread a post, or misunderstand a policy, or just be so thrilled about a new tool that we overuse it for a while. This behaviour needs to be called out --kindly!-- so we can improve both as individuals and as a community.

What happened here specifically?

The examples you've invoked are, to my eye, edge cases which can swing either way. There is no “close questions exactly like this” memo you didn’t get, people are just making judgement calls from experience-based site principles. Our community usually makes reasoned calls and is open to reasoned challenges--I've successfully argued for reversals myself, but arguing a specific vote reversal is different from challenging a general principle. Trying to do both at once usually accomplishes neither.

As the community and its policies grow and change, we don't do active witch-hunts for older questions no longer consistent with new policy or understandings of what works here. Older material was handled in ways out of sync with how we currently operate. One question was asked two and a half years ago and the other was asked yesterday; different members of the community responded to each according to the era. Questions like yours are often how older questions get modern curation applied to them!

Mxy's comment explains what new learning was applied to the newer question: experience shows that even if a question seems superficially fine, serially poor answers indicate there's some underlying problem which needs addressing. (You may not feel the answers are poor; that's something I'll talk about downstream.)

Closing policies in GS/BS: A Big Topic

Your broader question is about closing policies in general and GS/BS in particular, and that's a really big topic! I've taken years to feel like I've wrapped my head around it. [deep breath] Okay, here goes.

The first thing I had to figure out is that each Stack site is a dynamic organism. They've all got the same skeletal structure of site mechanics, and the same broad directives and guidance from the network, but it's a living process to learn how a particular Stack's community and subject matter best weaves those elements into a good Stack site for their topic. RPG.SE is always learning more about itself and shifting its behaviour accordingly. What it looks like today is radically different from five years ago, and it'll be just as different five years from now. I expect this question will influence that future!

Early on RPG.SE was eager to accept every kind of question even vaguely related to our hobby; later on folks realised this wasn't always viable.

Also RPG.SE has learnt it's different from other Stacks because many RPG experts are used to traditional RPG forums. And, well, a lot of those forums have a reputation for caustic behaviour which is not so normalised in many of the other Stacks' wider related communities. Over the years this community has clung increasingly to the Stack network's central principles and guidelines --much more than some other Stack sites-- because it's sadly necessary. This isn't unique to RPG.SE, but you may not spend a lot of time in Stacks like Christianity.SE, parenting.SE, or gardening.SE (yes, really!) which have had it even worse than we do at some point and/or have had longer to figure out how to deal with it.

Moderation and curation are organic processes that need to adapt to emergent conditions. As Mxy points out, sometimes a bit of extra zealotry is necessary in the face of an influx of newcomers who are taking a while to process how this Stack is different from what they're used to. So when current policies get discussed, proposals for change should take into account both the history which brought us to this point and the current condition of the site. I'm glad you've asked about the background of these issues, and I hope this answer can help give some context for your concerns--and please do check out the links I'm providing, too! Don't just take my word for it.

You're absolutely right that the Stack can sometimes seem cavalier about our contributions to the site, and disdains fascinating opportunities related to a site's subject material. This can be very disheartening, but there are a few notions which may help explain why it happens and how it's often a feature rather than a bug (however bitter a feature it is to swallow). To that end, I'd like to take some space specifically addressing some of the mechanics and policies you alluded to in your question, and some references to RPG.SE's history with them. For whichever of these things you already totally get, just consider me nauseatingly thorough.

  • Subjectivity is awesome and we like it. However, over the years RPG.SE has learnt what the Stack network already knew: subjective answers need to be backed up with someone's relevant experience (not necessarily the answerer's own!). Unsupported speculation causes a lot of problems, from comment arguments to sorting difficulties to just plain useless answers. Besides, really good answers explain why and how their proposed solution is a useful one. GS/BS is just a codification of that principle. The Stack wants to draw on its users' expertise with whatever situation is being asked about, rather than collect a bunch of untested guesses that may not work or may even cause serious harm to games, interpersonal relationships, or people.

  • Up voting and down voting are wholly unrelated to close voting and to delete voting. I semi-regularly upvote questions which I also vote to close, because each kind of voting has separate unique criteria. The Stack network's goal is to provide well-sorted actionable answers to problems people are really facing, and up/down voting is (alongside tagging) how we do the "well-sorted" bit of the job. A well-upvoted question or answer should be useful (probably well-researched, clear, and interesting), but that doesn't make it any more or less in line with, eg, the site's topicality guidelines. It's also important to know that while there are guidelines for voting, everyone is free to vote as they see fit with no repercussions or oversight except for automatic checks against rampant vote-spam abuse.

    • Closing is not a punishment, it's a reprieve. Closing a question gives the querent space to improve the question before they get inundated with answers that don't quite match what they were after (thus wasting everyone's time). It's also a firm flag to the querent that they should improve their question; we can't just hope somebody gets lucky and guesses a useful answer, it forces us to do our bit keeping up the site's content quality if we want solutions. Which leads me to the next bit...
  • The Stack optimises for answers, not questions. Questions are a dime a dozen and we can afford to be picky about 'em. The Stack wants good answers, and experience has slowly taught each site what sorts of qualities in questions attract more chaff than wheat. Please read the linked article; there's a cost/benefit analysis at work in the network which errs toward quality over quantity. You may have also seen some Stack sites where that priority is not given its due, often out of a desire to be welcoming at the cost of being useful. This causes problems because...

    • Our questions define our answers. This is implicit in our advice on questions to avoid (admittedly a weird place to put this): "Constructive subjective questions: inspire answers that explain 'why' and 'how;' [...] tend to have long, not short, answers; [... and] invite sharing experiences over opinions." If all the answers on a particular question are poor in the same sort of way, we should look to the question to see why.
  • Deletion is not automatic, nor (with one exception) is it an escalation from being closed: it's a different mechanic entirely. (When questions are put on hold, they switch to "closed" after some days but it's just a cosmetic change and they aren't in danger of being deleted simply by virtue of having been closed.) It’s reserved for only the most egregious cases, usually spam, offensive content, or obviously non-Stackly answers. The stock notice about adding sources or the answer will be deleted is addressing those extreme cases so folks can't say they weren't warned: it's not a common or casual thing. (There was a period on RPG.SE when deletion was wielded more liberally for a very specific subset of poor answers to a very specific kind of question, but that era is past; it was a last-ditch effort to retain our ability to usefully answer game-recommendation questions.)

And now, some harsh and often unpopular parts of the Stack Exchange philosophy. These are the "love it or leave it" bits where a user can either live with it because the results are effective, or can't.

  • The Stack Exchange is not and never has been interested in being a one-stop-shop for all questions on a Stack site's target subject. There are many great forums which handle certain kinds of questions very well, and the Stack is mostly interested in filling some of the gaps which more discussion-y sites don't handle well.

  • Similarly, the Stack isn't interested in everyone's participation. Maintaining and growing a well-sorted stack of actionable answers to practical questions can be daunting, difficult, and requires cordial disagreement. Folks who aren't interested in doing that for free... well, we're okay with losing them quickly because it wastes less of their time.

Understanding what’s going on now

I'm gonna speak to your last two paragraphs directly now.

I agree totally that the community can be lax in explaining clearly why questions are being deleted, or why certain guidelines are enforced for answers. We struggle with this constantly: if we explain too much, it's dogpiling and lecturing. If we explain too little, it's esoteric and elitist. It's a fine line to tread and you can help us. Perhaps you could start by offering improvements to this sadly underdeveloped resource, or suggesting some new strategies entirely?

It can be unwelcoming when my hard-worked content goes away, even if I understand why. Our Stack network overlords believe quality content is more attractive to experts than warm fuzzies--though our overlords are happiest when warm fuzzies are also available to the users, that comes a distant second to content curation. We attract and keep active users more through making sure our site has lots of great content.

That said, the closed question you linked to will not be deleted, nor do I think any of its answers are particularly likely to be deleted. The existing content remains, sorted and tagged for everyone to benefit from. The closure was just a plug to so more users won't spend their time and energy on creating and curating unsupported speculation--which while interesting, doesn't attract and keep experts. Closures are easily reversed when the cause is addressed, and I hope this one gets addressed. It's only been a couple days now.

I hope you find RPG.SE palatable and continue to help us create and curate this excellent stack of solutions. If you do decide it's not your style, though, there's no harm nor foul. Not all Stack sites are equally appealing to me either; there are a couple with topics I love but whose communities and/or policies don't mesh with me at all. It's a little sad, but very understandable.

It's important for folks to give (respectful, constructive, supported) feedback on how each site can grow, so thank you for yours. I recently gave another Stack an earful, myself. I hope I've given you some context for what's going on here, and I look forward to your continued activity. Thanks again for asking those questions, it's been good for me to re-examine this stuff too!


This question is complicated, because there's a lot of different things going on here.

  1. In general, "Why is question X treated different from question Y?" isn't a real good question. Well, they're nearly three years apart, different people participated in each, maybe a mod hadn't drunk coffee that day, etc. Proof by "but but another question did it" is never helpful. In fact, if you see something wrong with an older question please feel free to flag it or perform other corrective activity, as mods don't read every post on the site.

  2. In this specific case, the questions are not duplicates. The earlier one is about "I have players that don't bother to fear death, because I don't kill them ever." This question is about "A guy has a stack of character sheets and doesn't mind dying." Not only are they very different, they thus demand a different level of Back It Up!. Most every GM has had to struggle with the balance between killing PCs and not killing PCs and its effects on PCs' attitudes toward the world - I think it's fair to say that's a basic GM technique. Thus there's a lot less demand for Back It Up! on the first question (and some of the answers do cite experience). This second question, someone with a stack of character sheets, is obviously much more unusual and we'd like to hear from someone who's dealt with a serial character-suicider to understand how to handle that.

  3. Even the previous question you link didn't go down super smoothly, as you can see from the comments and edits and such on it, and I can see from the flags, deleted comments, and load of short/partial answers (these even generated an automatic flag from the system to us - "hey there's a bunch of kinda junky looking answers appearing on a question, want to go check it out?")

  4. The question hasn't been deleted, it's just put on hold for improvements to be made, which is not some crisis. I find most of the angst around stuff like this is driven by people taking "on hold" as other than what it's meant to be, a temporary hold to improve before we get even more junky answers.

  5. Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and Back It Up! are crucial to running a site like this. Gamers have loads of opinions, and they all think they're smart enough to answer someone else's question even if they have never done that thing. If this were my question, I would very much want to know that an answer was "I had this problem, here's what I did and here's what happened," not "oh a random guy brainstormed me something that might work or might backfire or whatnot because they have absolutely zero experience in what they're talking about." I am not going to argue here for why we use GS/BS and Back It Up! - we do, and we're not going to stop.

  6. The community, like any other, goes in waves. We've had times where everyone generally understands GS/BS, writes good gm-techniques type questions and answers show experience. Then we have times like now, where we have new users that haven't run across it yet from the sea of rules-questions, and an answer gets asked and we get a dozen answers, nearly all of which appear to be pure brainstorming speculation, which is off topic here per #5 above. So more enforcement is needed in the short term to train everyone. We encourage the rest of the community to participate to make that a quicker and easier transitional period.

  7. You like questions like this. Well, me too! Believe me, I don't stay on this SE for the min-maxing and rules lawyering. GM techniques is just about all I need/care about after 30 years of gaming. And since I'm interested in those questions, I want to hear people's real experience with that problem, not some half assed guess they just came up with in their basement. I can guess myself.

  8. But you want freer discourse and brainstorming and no need to show experience on answers. Super, there's plenty of forums out there that do that. In fact, all of them. We can't have it both ways. The reason SE has such high quality Q&A is that we curate - we curate questions and answers, we close, we edit, we delete, we flag, and not just the mods, the community. It's why when you Google a question and get a link to a forum or Reddit or Yahoo Answers you're 90% likely to get total garbage and when you get a link to a SE you're 90% likely to get a high quality, community vetted answer. You don't have to pick one or the other! Spend some time crafting homebrew and "what if"fing on forums. Spend time asking specific questions and taking a little quality time to share your hard won experience in decent quality form here.

So the question becomes, what do we do in these cases?

We can:

  1. Ignore it, or at best pop in some comments about GS/BS. That results in questions that get out of control, like this one, turning into junk. As I read all those answers I see lots of untested opinion that it's a waste of time reading. Or add those post notices, which are a lot of work and just perplex people it appears. Doesn't work well.

  2. Delete answers that don't show experience and say they can be undeleted once they've been deleted to Back It Up! No one likes getting their content deleted, and it's definitely not something we intend to do regularly just because it's a lot of work on the mods. We will do this once in a long while as a "shock treatment" to get all the noobs aligned but it's not acceptable general practice.

  3. Close the question and say "it'll get reopened if this shapes up." Now, one can say it's not the question's fault... But usually in these cases the question could do a lot better about requesting GS/BS itself, where it goes into opinionland like this is when it's perhaps not as focused as it could be. However, it's unlikely everyone will shape it up. This is the least problematic of the three solutions so far, but it leaves a good question unanswered.

  4. Community members remember that GS/BS is what separates us from the animals. Downvote any answer that does not show experience with the situation in question, add comments explaining it should be added. This is turning into a "mod thing" because other folks aren't holding up their end. If all those answers were at -5, their owners would be falling over themselves to correct or delete them. This solution works and makes the site better.

I am in favor of #4, but it is not under my control. When #4 fails, we do 1, 2, or 3 based on our judgement and amount of energy at the time.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I mentioned the score as evidence I'm not the only one who finds the question interesting. I agree there's a tricky issue sorting the actually experience-based answers from the invented ideas, but in this and some other questions I find it hard enough to get some people to even understand, and having to rewrite with examples combined with the other negative feedback tends to make me want to leave rather than try to improve answers that aren't appreciated to fit certain standards. OTOH I wonder if certain unchallenged answers are based on anything that makes any sense. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dronz
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:40
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "In general, "Why is question X treated different from question Y?" isn't a real good question." It's a perfectly valid question. It should be an easy question to answer, such as, "These questions were asked 3 years apart and the site has changed significantly in that time." That the question is easily answerable doesn't make it a bad question. The real answer is that the site is run by humans, and humans are inconsistent. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bacon Bits
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:46
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Dronz I like that question too. I even like some of the answers, and in a moment of weakness, upvoted a couple because I thought “Yeah! That is totally what you should do.” But whether we like a question or an answer isn't what we're supposed to be measuring with votes, we're supposed to be measuring usefulness. As a community we don't tell people how to vote (that wouldn't work anyway), but we can make sure that questions/answers that are obviously getting “we like this” attention instead of “this is proven useful” attention are temporarily held, until redirected into proven experience. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BaconBits It's a valid question, but not a good/useful one. That easy “the site is run by humans” answer isn't useful: it isn't a revelation to anyone or actionable in any way, and does nothing to resolve the real problem hiding behind “why different?” questions. That's why it's not a real good question. Good questions are “What's wrong with this question? How can I fix it?”, “Should we be more consistent? How?”, “Are our policies misfiring here? How do we fix that?”, “Should [Old Question] be put on hold? Why or why not?”, “Do we need to revisit our on-topic policy?”, etc. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I like the GS/BS policy, but I don't like the policy of closing good questions that attract not-so-good answers. Maybe the answers did all have a problem, then it's needed to work with the answers, not just close the question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 1:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Baskakov_Dmitriy Keep in mind that closing is about preventing new answers, so if most of the answers are a problem, closing is the right tool for the job. As well, a question that's attracting a lot of poor-quality answers is a sign that there's something wrong with the question. Closing is a chance for that to be inspected and, hopefully, fixed. Finally: there are lots of good questions that will never work here; if they are asked, we might like them, but they still need closing. Goodness isn't a relevant consideration, only whether the question is on-topic and shown to be working. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 1:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie "Keep in mind that closing is about preventing new answers" You no say! But I don't think that it's appropriate to decline a question just because it gets bad answers. I find it better to edit/remove the bad answers. And yes -- I don't find any problem with the question itself, it was just that we all, those who answered it, according to your warning, forgot to explicitly show what kind of experience are we relying on. I don't understand why this question might be treated as off-topic. Sorry if this comment seems rude -- I am not very good with using different styles of English. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well so @Baskakov_Dmitriy that's the horns of the dilemma we find ourselves on. Do I just delete all the answers, and say "Flag them for undeletion when they're Good Subjective?" I suspect that would upset an equal number of folks. Do we close the question and use that to encourage folks to shape up their answers? Doesn't seem to have worked so far. It's not "the question's fault" - but it seems to have poked the "everyone loses their damn mind and decides it's opinion day" button pretty hard. "Don't do anything" is off the table because it severely lowers our quality. What to do? \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 21:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I would personally prefer "Delete the answers and flag them for undeletion when they're Good Subjective" way, as it: 1) Marks that there isn't actually something completely wrong with the question itself 2) Gives others, those who did not attempt to answer it, and equal chance to participate. Why am I priveledged to have such a chance? Just because I happened to enter a bad answer on time? Why others are? And if everyone forgets about some rule, a comment should probably be enough to remind them, maybe personally. Of course, I mean a comment under the deleted answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 21:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Baskakov_Dmitriy Needing the mods to patrol all questions to remove or edit all “bad” answers puts a fairly large workload on us. It's probably not practically feasible. (It's actually part of why we had to re-ban game recommendations: we couldn't keep up.) And nobody can see that a question's already attracted many “bad” deleted answers, so people will keep answering the same way, requiring more deletions, so it solves nothing. (Again, we speak from experience trying this: it didn't help stop bad answers to game-rec questions at all, and just made lots of people angry at us.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 21:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean, I'm not averse to doing that once in a while - I think we did something similar once before, and maybe this question is another time to do it - but I agree with SSD that basically we have better things to do; that can't be the answer for every gm-techniques question going forward. Of course it would help if the community would flag/downvote answers not using Back It Up! \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 22:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I see. Well, I personally think of mods on such sites as of exception handlers, not a usual tool to fix things. If such a thing becomes frequent, it's clearly no longer an exception. Maybe this task should be given to community if it isn't yet? One of the problems of closing the question is that people who gave bad answers didn't learn from it. If some time was spent to teach them how to fix their answers, it would generally help the site in the long run. Or maybe more mods are needed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 23:25
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Baskakov_Dmitry The task has been given to the community. That's what Back It Up and GS/BS are. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 1:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Added more about the solutions to my answer based on this comment thread. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 2:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1) Is unacceptable for obvious reasons. 3) Should I insert the "don't forget about GS/BS!" in all of my answers, so a blob of noobs (like me) doesn't ruin a good question? 4) Maybe the community didn't really agree with you on every single answer in this thread and thought that some answers were OK? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 14:28

If we're optimizing for expert answers, I can understanding needing some way to prevent sloppy, subjective answers from being submitted when the question sort of "baits" them out. I don't think that's what happened here - I think the question is fine, but the community should be more diligent about downvoting answers that don't meet GS/BS.


Closing a question prevents someone who might be able to submit a good answer from doing so. I don't think it makes sense to solve this problem at the question level by closing it - if we're trying to optimize for expert advice, closing a question when it gets a few poor answers is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I think there's desire in this community to be able to have these subjective questions - we aren't optimizing for some kind of rulebook database, where all the questions are primary keys with exactly one correct answer. Sharing experience is specifically called out in how to make a Good Subjective question on-topic, and we should strive to be able to do that in a way that makes sense as a Stack site.


Poor answers that don't meet GS/BS standards, or don't back it up should simply be downvoted rigorously. Let the mechanics of the site sort them to the bottom. I think the underlying problem is that we can't rely on the community to do that - sometimes, we want to be a forum so bad that we simply accept and upvote everything that we like on these sorts of questions, instead of on their merits.


For lack of being able to completely change the community, the mods have to respond by closing the question. I don't think anyone is going to be really happy with that solution, but it's the only one we'll have unless there's some consensus from the community on helping curate poor answers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm hoping this doesn't come off as presumptuous, given that I'm a newish user, but please let me know if there's some sort of etiquette on Meta that I scrape against in my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eidolon108
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 23:21
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ No, this is fine. Basically this is what should happen, and when it doesn't and becomes egregious we're forced to "do something else", whether that's a question close or answer deletion. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 3:32

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