I attempted to answer a question about group dynamics today, which I did by talking about how I think this issue would be best resolved. I received two comments, suggesting that I should provide whether I had personal experience on the matter, in order to create a more cohesive, less speculative answer. Also, SevenSidedDie wrote:
We do prefer answers backed up by specific experience. If it does not exactly match, to be honest that is helpful for the reader to better validate its relevance, evaluate its effectiveness, and adapt it to their particular circumstances. It also helps separate the sounds-good-but-questionable-worth armchair advice from the hard-earned wisdom.
I'm willing to accept that and edit my answer accordingly, but I can't find a way to do that without - in my opinion - lessening the helpfulness of it. My answer is based on personal experience, but that seems like an irrelevant factor to me because each constellation of players will be different, so talking about experience just makes the answer unreasonably complex for no gain to the questioner (unless they're from my group themselves), and while I can add "this happened to me before" (I'm paraphrasing), the answer doesn't get any better by adding it.
Let me give you two example paragraphs, of which the first is something like what my answer contains, and the second what I believe bringing personal experience into it entails:
- The DM might be equally affected by the issue, or might escalate the situation even further if they adjust the adventure according to the problem
- I've experienced a DM adjusting the scenario in the attempt to solve a specific social problem, which did not have the intended result and everyone - including the player originally addressing the issue - ended up disappointed and less satisfied than with the original situation
The second sentence is longer and more convoluted, therefore less easy to grasp it's statement. It includes personal experience, but in turn sacrifices the "this may happen" clause, possibly suggesting to the reader that this is what I think will always be true. Specific to this sentence, it seems to always put the blame on th DM because they were in fault in my experience, while this doesn't have to be true - assuming this is valid advice, the questioner might discard it because they take the specifics from my personal example, skipping over the point I originally tried to make.
Therefore, I believe that the second answer is the less optimal one. I'm thankful for any advice regarding where I'm "wrong" (or at least not following the guidelines), or even specific feedback to the example.
I would like to also add one of the comments to this question, which very well describes my own viewpoint:
I think an important question might be 'Why does everyone assume that an answerer has no experience?'. There shouldn't be an absolute requirement to back every answer up with 'proof' unless that answer is somehow lacking in other aspects.