I didn't know there was a previous discussion on contests about making character sheets. The discussion there goes back and forth between the merits and demerits of allowing such exceptions to the normal rules, as long as they are tagged "just for fun."

The top rated answer discusses rules to follow when starting this. It also discusses how much confusion the tag created between users.

The second top rated answer says that it doesn't seem to be a good fit in general for the Stack. It adds no value other than what you would get in a forum.

I asked a similar question about a situation in 5e where you must use stats to arrive at the correct answer. While it didn't quite rack up as much attention or answers as I'd hoped, it does fall into the category of "just for fun."

Do these styles of question provide benefits for the site, in such a way that it is still differentiated from any other regular forum? What benefits are those, if any? Can we all agree on these benefits and reframe "just for fun" into something on-topic and useful, such that it is not just an exception to the normal rules?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You might want to split off the last half of this into an answer, since it's mostly answer material in the vein of "these are good because…" \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 25 '17 at 7:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Good idea. I put it in the Q because the style of defending a closed Q in Meta asks the arguments be made to open it, and those are usually in the Q of "why was this linked Q closed?" \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 May 25 '17 at 7:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I see what you mean. Yeah, then it could go either way and be fine. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 25 '17 at 7:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I think this particular Q can go either way, but a self-answer does highlight the problem asked more. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 May 25 '17 at 7:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems really vague, and the examples in your answer just reinforce that I don't know what "style of question" you have in mind, because I don't see what the swimming and coin examples have to do with the character sheet example. I can't have an informed opinion on something I don't understand. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 25 '17 at 11:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW I will remove the 2nd example. It is meant to be a separate type of list-style question that fills in the "education" perspective, unrelated to the 1st one except in that it is also a "just for fun" style Q. There are many "just for fun" types of Qs one can ask, all unrelated to each other except that you ask them "just for fun." All have the potential to be useful to the Stack, but I suppose one example at a time is the way to go. Edited the A. Please have a second look. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 May 25 '17 at 11:46

We should not do this.

While lists of cool things have value to folks, it isn't something that is well facilitated by the Stack format and therefore belongs on blogs or forums, not here. Our track record in curating posts over the long term is terrible, leading to even on topic uses of community wikis to fade away. And our experiences with recommendations is poor (and a list of resources is essentially recommendations with the normal Stack expectations of a best answer removed).

We were more avid about this before we, as a new Stack, had come to terms with the fact that there's certain things we do and certain things we don't do, and that it's OK to not be the answer for everything. Let's do fun challenges! Let's have blogs! Let's do other things that are not expert Q&A! How about, let's not. Let's focus on achieving our core mission well, that's not a solved problem.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. I like fun stuff, and I'd love to find the sort of fun stuff rpg.se can do well. We've had practical experience, though, that we're not good at curated lists of any sort. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 25 '17 at 12:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well exactly. Instead of casting about for "what could we do, you know, that we could call just-for-fun," maybe we should have specific things we want to do and see if they're otherwise on topic. Judaism.SE's Purim Torah questions are like that - they are jokey "RAW Judaism" questions but they otherwise adhere exactly to the Stack format. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk May 25 '17 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ And just a note - I run and play RPGs for fun. That's the fun I want from RPG.SE. I don't need gaming humor or thought exercises or databases of stuff, which there exist innumerable Internet resources for - I want expert Q&A about running the actual darn games. The reason we have SE is because other places decide to allow it all and then any specific query is drowned in the noise of the junk. How about we not make this place like all the others? If you want curated guides to D&D stuff, there are forums like Giants In The Playground where it's their stock in trade. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk May 25 '17 at 13:39

There is a potentially large value add to the Stack

I think that the Stack is unsure about how to go about making such questions, as well as their utility or value-add to the Stack as a whole. However, are are things that haven't been mentioned in the linked discussion thread before:

Big list questions in the "character sheet creation" style provides free, high quality, custom-made resources curated by experts. You will find nowhere else where you can go and know that you can grab free resources that receive this treatment. The closest is DM's Guild, but minus the curation.

Big list questions in this style establishes domain expertise in a way that tags cannot show. Tricks of the trade that is known to some of the users of this Stack may never be shared if a relevant question is never asked. And even if it is, if the user doesn't see it in time, or answer it quickly enough before it receives a lot of answers, they might not be incentivised to post their answer anyway.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Questions which rely on downloaded content for their primary value won't fly, because a primary design goal of the Stack is to gather value to itself--not to be a collection of links to off-site content. "Tricks of the trade" which need a relevant question to be asked... how is that a "just for fun" thing? Sounds like you're describing ordinary self-answered questions there. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 25 '17 at 11:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Not describing answers which are link-only. How did you get that from this answer? \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 May 25 '17 at 11:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ How else are you going to have a collection of "free, high quality, custom-made" character sheets people can "grab," if not by putting up links to users' Dropboxes, Drive accounts, and personal websites? \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 25 '17 at 11:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW By doing it like this. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 May 25 '17 at 11:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Right. "Post should contain: ...a link to a full version of the sheet." \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 25 '17 at 11:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Then remove that part where it provides links, or make it so that the rules are that the answers must stand on their own, and an external link is supplementary. Is that not how the rest of the Stack does it? See 1, 2. Are you claiming the rest of the Stack is going against the design intent of the Stack? Or are you claiming a blanket "nope" on the idea of big-list questions? \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 May 25 '17 at 12:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm saying that what you're specifically using as an example of obviously valuable fun isn't so clear-cut to me. Pretty pictures of text and vectors have full value by using the Stack's interaction with imgur; character sheets have an interactive element that image files can only scratch the surface of. Your support for an entire tagsworth of implied-but-still-unclear use ("fun" seems to be equating to "list" for reasons which are still mysterious to me) rests on a single example that doesn't seem strong enough to carry that weight. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 25 '17 at 12:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Instead of trying to make a broad case for the tag, how about following Mxy's suggestion and proposing a particular kind of just-for-fun question? You seem to be arguing for allowing a tag that is allowed, with examples of a kind of question that's historically troublesome regardless of whether it's for fun or not. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 25 '17 at 12:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW I'd rather not. I can already see it's not going to go through. IMO the Q was worth asking, but otherwise I'm not passionately arguing about this should exist. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 May 25 '17 at 14:42

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