The specific question I'm talking about is: Does D&D 5e have a rule for character knowledge about monsters? and for what it's worth I'm not trying to start a flame war or call out users for doing something bad or wrong, I'm just bring up something I see as potentially problematic.

Within the last month we've gotten three new answers to this question. However, these answers are personal rulings; how these specific users use skills to allow PCs knowledge about monsters.

I feel this is slightly problematic for 3 reasons:

  1. Though it's not actually, specifically stated in the question, I feel like the spirit of the question is asking about official rules or at the very least guidance using official rules. These answers do not provide this.

  2. (And this may then be a problem with the question). These answer could potentially encourage even more answers that are only "here's how I use skills" with little to no provided backup. And if that happens then eventually the signal-to-noise ratio on that question drops significantly.

  3. These answers don't provide any guidance. They just state the end result.

As is though, I'm conflicted about actually flagging these answers as "not an answer". Mostly, honestly, because I feel users won't see my reasoning behind those flags but partly also because I'm not sure if there is actually a problem to begin with.

And so I bring this to meta.

What, if anything, should we do in this situation?

Should we remove these answers because they don't answer the question? Should we edit the question to specifically ask for official-guided answers? Should we ask the OP to clarify what they're looking for (it's worth noting that the OP hasn't been active for over a year though)? Is 'downvote and move on' sufficient here? Should we ask the answerers to add details to their answers (which can also be done if they get deleted)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ My gut tells me this is related to the RAW meta question in some ways - which also tells me to back slowly away. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 4, 2017 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


Voting should, and probably will, take care of this

So far, voting appears to be working as intended. The accepted answer has a rules citation to support the answer, and various other answers address that you have to use your judgment to apply what is in the books.

I Don't See A Problem.

For Dnd-5e, an answer that advocates Rulings over Rules is consistent with the game's build unless a question is explicitly RAW, though for this question, RAW is vague at best, and as I've read the books it appears to be Intentionally So. There's a lot of descriptive versus prescriptive writing in the 5e rule books. (See also Captain Jack Sparrow on things that are guidelines more than rules).

What do any of us as community members do?

The usual. Make comments to the lower quality answers on what needs improvement, if we feel so moved. Vote, or don't, as necessary to indicate answer quality.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Meta Effectâ„¢ happened to those posts. I'm glad voting is taking care of it. \$\endgroup\$ May 4, 2017 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just gonna say: If the voting doesn't take care of something like that, there really isn't much point to having it. That's pretty much straight-up the point of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Nate
    May 9, 2017 at 3:21

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