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I have a question about my Role-playing Games Stack Exchange post: What other benefits can the Mind Sphere 1st Dot have?

Why is someone who knows nothing about the game I am asking a question about telling me that my title and body do not go together? Wouldn't it make sense for someone with knowledge of the game, who can then make an educated decision on what does and doesn't go together, comment or edit it? And if he felt it was more of a discussion topic then question, why didn't he just make it a wiki?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a heads-up (since you haven't taken the tour and may not know): voting on Meta tends differently than main-site. On mainsite questions tend to draw up-and down-votes based on whether it's well presented, clear, and seems useful. On Meta questions tend to draw up-/down-votes based on how much readers agree with its implications or its assumptions. A perfectly readable and on-topic question on Meta--such as this one--sometimes gets downvotes not because there's anything wrong with the question, but people disagree with it. I don't know that's happening here, but it seems likely. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 18 '17 at 14:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note: at no point was there a concern that it was just a discussion prompt, or any mention of the wiki feature. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '17 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I posted a question in the title. In the body I made a statement about the question. and then I added a second question that fell under the over arching title question. You said that the body and the title did not go together. If you have no knowledge of the system, you shouldn't be making that call. I can tell you have no knowledge of the system because of your comment. Further more, you said I was asking a yes no question in the body, and a discussion question in the title. Which I didnt. \$\endgroup\$ – Mage tA Questioner Feb 18 '17 at 21:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Arguing about the content of the post is moot now, since you've deleted the question. The only thing remaining to do is put on a listening hat and learn how the site works, since that's not really optional while choosing to use it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '17 at 22:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ The idea of using CW for discussion-y questions ("I don't get rep for this, so it's totally OK to completely miss the point of a focused Q&A site!") is a terrible anti-pattern that was rightly rejected early on in SO's history, before RPG even really got started. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 18 '17 at 22:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem lies with "...and then I added a second question that fell under the over arching title question." SE expects that each question you post is a single question, so the question in the body should be the question in the title, not a question that "falls under" the question in the title. This is a matter of official policy. It's like someone writes a research paper on an unfamiliar topic and a reviewer corrects how the figures or citations are formatted. It's not about the topic or the content. It's just about having proper form. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Feb 19 '17 at 3:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MagetAQuestioner Even though I have a lot of disdain for the SE design and how it affects the 'community' I can see that you are approaching things badly. There are effectively very strict rules here that require YOU and not the people answering to learn how and what to ask in order to get an answer. If you can't get it right then I suggest trying the onyx path forums where a discussion can be had, stack exchange is not for discussion, just for direct questions that can be correctly answered \$\endgroup\$ – Still Not Happy Feb 20 '17 at 8:53
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Because they are a mod and understand how the site works. They are trying to teach you how it works, but you're being remarkably resistant to learning. Try listening instead of just insisting that your question is perfect as formed, when you are new to a site and its format.

  1. One question per question. This is irrelevant to game system.
  2. Don't repost to get around holds. This is irrelevant to game system.
  3. The title should ask the same question as the question (it causes confusion when they are different). This is irrelevant to game system.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please refer to comment on above post. \$\endgroup\$ – Mage tA Questioner Feb 18 '17 at 21:07
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Over the course of the revision history of your question (deleted, so 10k+ users and author only), there were five related but different questions asked. These were being mixed together, so that no author-approved revision contained fewer than two of them, until the last revision.

Unfortunately, that one final question was, even by itself, too broad by this site's standards to attempt to answer, so that revision had a different but still fatal flaw.

These are the five different questions that were asked, paraphrasing, with the first revision they appeared in noted, and with emphasis to help highlight the distinctions between them as necessary:

  1. 1 dot in the Mind Sphere lets you restructure your mind to do [Thing A and Thing B] — is there anything else that you can gain by the way you structure your mind?

    (revision 1)

    This question is fine by itself.

  2. Does anyone have any ideas on how to structure your mind to trap beings and gain access to their minds?

    (revision 1)

    This question was off topic, because asking for ideas is off topic here.

  3. How can I cage people that enter my mind, and/or gain targeting on them?

    (revision 3)

    Also a fine question. Clearly a variation on Q2, but thankfully asking a concrete question about what is true rather than soliciting ideas, making it on-topic. This is a specific question about what part B of Mind Sphere 1 already says it can do.

  4. Can I cage and/or target mental intruders with Mind Sphere 1?

    (revision 4)

    This is a variation on Q3. I wrote this during the attempted refinement of the post in revision 4. I include it only for completeness, only because “can I” is technically a different question than “how can I”.

  5. What is everything 1 dot in Mind Sphere can do?

    (revision 6)

    The fourth question written by you. Obviously, everything it can do is different than what else it can do, or how to use one specific part of it.

    This is also too broad a question. Although plenty clear, being too broad is one of our stock reasons for putting a question on hold.


How did one post spawn five different questions? Let's look at the revision history:

  • Revision 1 asked Q1 and Q2. Q1 is on topic but Q2 is off topic.
  • Revision 2 was me removing the off-topic Q2. I rewrote the post to focus clearly on Q1.
  • Revision 3 added Q3 to the mix with Q1, with heavy emphasis indicating that Q3 was the problem that needed solving.
  • Revision 4 was me removing Q1, since obviously Q3 was the real question, judging by the emphatic phrasing. I tweaked the phrasing of the question as well, rewriting Q3 (“how can I”) as Q4 (“can I”). I didn't consider that a major change, but will own that it's a technically different question. If it had been changed back to Q3 I wouldn't have blinked or bothered myself with the difference.
  • Revision 5 did restore Q3, but also restored Q1. Now the post contained two questions: Q1 and Q3. Q1 is about what other things Mind Sphere 1 can do than Thing A or Thing B, while Q3 is about how to use Thing B to accomplish a couple of more specific things.

    Now the state of the question was that two mutually-exclusive questions had been added in a most emphatic fashion. Rather than attempt to guess which emphatic question was the real question, I closed the post as unclear and simply asked which.

    At this point the comments went in circles for a while: I insisted there were two questions, you insisted there was only one question. Unmoved, I suggested picking the question before (Q1) or after (Q3) the ampersand (the ampersand appeared in a revision that only existed briefly, because of the editing grace period*, but was only a minor variation on revision 5), and I began to disengage and attend to other things, but not quickly enough before…

  • Revision 6 removed everything, replacing it with Q5, which superficially resembled Q1 but was different again by replacing “other” with “all”. Revision 7 edited the title to match, removing “other” from it.

    Finally, a single question, but unfortunately an unworkable one. I pointed out that this was too broad, so it wouldn't be reopened since it would just have to be closed again. You insisted twice in the comments that this was the same as Q1 (before ampersand) in revision 5 and accused me of shutting you down for something I just suggested for you to do, but Q5 (“all”) and Q1 (“other”) seemed to me to be clearly two different questions, and not at all what I suggested you do to revise the question. Had it actually been Q1, I would have immediately reopened the question, but that's not was I was seeing.

    I was somewhat confused that you would insist that this new Q5 was the same as Q1, especially since your edit to the title afterwards in revision 7 was clearly acknowledging the need to make that very distinction. However, at that point I was already disengaging and I declined to respond or engage with the inconsistency, and just suggested reading the tour — which I note you still haven't done, as of this writing — and the help centre, and closed the page. (Because this site is managed by the community, there was no specific need for me to solve the mystery of what was going wrong with your attempt to ask the question.) In response, you deleted the question.


So that's the whole story as I see it: each revision written by you contained either two questions, or finally one question that was too broad. My attempts to focus it on one question, and then to ask for help identifying the single question it was supposed to be about, were rejected. Comments explaining that too many questions was the problem I saw didn't go anywhere useful. There was clearly frustration on your side, and I could see that communication failure was the direct source, but I couldn't figure out why communication was failing so spectacularly and eventually gave up. At no point did you leave the question in a state that could have merited taking the hold off, so I was unable to un-hold the question at any point and was obliged to leave it on when I gave up.

There was also some strong assertions made that a moderator of this site doesn't know what they're doing and shouldn't have been involved in trying to revise the question to follow our question guidelines, which I chalked up to legitimate frustration and didn't bother engaging with. Ironically, deleting the question prevented anyone else more acceptable to you from being able to make an attempt. I feel that mxyzplk's answer has addressed that subject well enough that I don't need to now.


* However, I'm surprised the revision was disappeared in the grace period. Adding a new comment is supposed to end the grace period for exactly this situation, and the revision that disappeared the ampersand revision was certainly in response to a new comment (10k+). I can only speculate that the asker already had the editor open at that point, and read the new comment without closing it. Perhaps that doesn't end the grace period, since the edit was already started.

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    \$\begingroup\$ [slow clap] That's some impressive post-game analysis, there. Thanks for your patience and diligence both in moderating the particular post and providing this retrospective for readers from the future. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 20 '17 at 4:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ See, it's things like this that make me glad I elected you :) \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Mar 7 '17 at 7:36
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(Sometimes it's good to also have a regular user's perspective on questions like these.)

Question: Why is someone who knows nothing about the game I am asking a question about telling me that my title and body do not go together?

Because the title and the body really may not go together. A user need not have any experience with a game to offer suggestions as to how to improve a question. A really good question should be clear enough, interesting enough, and make enough sense to attract readers who don't know anything about the system, and such a question should invite experienced players to offer answers to the question. A question that doesn't sync up with its title can backfire and fail to yield answers you want. (For example, this question originally had an awesome attention-grabbing title (if I do say so myself) but the top-scoring answer is absolutely not what I was looking for because that answer addresses that since-changed awesome title rather than the question.)

An unclear title leaves even those who could answer definitively, instead, guessing what you want.

Question: Wouldn't it make sense for someone with knowledge of the game, who can then make an educated decision on what does and doesn't go together, comment or edit it?

First, there's no way to judge a user's familiarity with a system unless the user states his degree of familiarity with the game system. Second, a user who's taken the time and trouble to try to help with your question now has a stake in a good answer to it—whatever those reasons may be—, even if the user lacks familiarity with the system.

The question, to some degree, is yours: You can accept or reject edits, edit it yourself, or do whatever with it. However, you can't mandate how other people interact with the question. Once it's out there where the community can get at it, it's only the question that's sort of under your control. Others have tried—and, mercifully, failed—to mandate who exactly can interact with their questions, and the site resists such attempts that mightily. It should: It's entirely possible that someone with no experience at all with a particular game system nonetheless possesses valuable insight.

Of course, bad edits from users that are unfamiliar with a game system should be rejected, but good edits from users that are unfamiliar with a game system shouldn't be rejected out of hand just because a user is unfamiliar with the system! Wrong information remains wrong information, but good writing also remains good writing.

(Also, bad answers from users that are unfamiliar with a game system tend to receive downvotes so such answers don't happen often, but good answers from users that are unfamiliar with a game system—while rare—can still be Useful or, at least, not Not Useful.)

Question: And if he felt it was more of a discussion topic then question, why didn't he just make it a wiki?

The Community Wiki label is applied on this site only in very rare cases and never to a conversation that's masquerading as a question. For example, I don't think I've ever applied the Community Wiki label to any of the 150-plus questions I've posed, and I think I've applied the label only once to one of my 1,100-plus answers (specifically, this answer). In the same vein, no moderator has applied the Community Wiki label to one of my questions or answers for me.

Rather than try to make the site behave in a way it's ill-equipped to behave, it's better either to rephrase the question so it can be answered or to have the conversation you want to have elsewhere, like a discussion forum.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please refer to comment on main post. \$\endgroup\$ – Mage tA Questioner Feb 18 '17 at 21:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MagetAQuestioner I think I addressed already many of your Comment's points, but I can tell you have no knowledge of the system because of your comment is unfair. A comment may make a deliberately leading (or misleading!) or obvious point so as to get the question's author to clarify; that's not always evidence of ignorance. And, honestly, I, too, read this question's title as calling for an expansive general discussion then its body asking for details on two very specific uses; changing the title to fit the body seems a valid suggestion. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 18 '17 at 21:35

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