# Dungeons and Dragons is dominating the site in terms of page views

Yesterday, in a bit of boredom, I wandered upon SEDE and wrote this query (since corrected by doppelgreener) to see just how dominant is the Dungeons and Dragons scene on this site, using the metric of total page views - one that I find provides a good estimate on each post's total impact. Here's the query data (made a bit more legible):

$$\begin{array}{r|r|l} \text{D&D Views} & \text{Total Views} & \text{Percentage} \\\hline 34{,}202{,}874 & 42{,}286{,}900 & 80.88290699\% \\ & & (\approx 81\%) \end{array}$$

The ratio of DnD question views to all question views was higher than I expected: a whopping 81% of our views are to DnD questions. This worries me a bit.

Now, DnD has some really good reasons for being on the top. It's a very popular system, with several editions that are still actively being played, and each of those editions has its own, reasonably complex rule-set and lore for players to ask about. Answers also come quick and accurate, as DnD has a sizeable, active pool of experts who know the rules by heart.

However, the numbers have a grim side: system-agnostic questions and non-DnD system questions, all of them, share only 19% of our total page views. That seems way too little - it's as if everything not DnD was niche here, and I fear good questions may be neglected or even be left unasked because of this. With this number in mind, I raise to you the following questions:

• Does the page view count indicate a problem, in your opinion?
• Are we attracting enough quality content for non-DnD systems? If not, what should we do?
• Is the content accessible enough? Should posts pertaining to non-DnD systems be promoted somehow to improve visibility (and possibly attract more experts)?
• Is there any way we can get some numbers on how much of games played in general are D&D? If that's similar, then there might not be much we can/should do. (Here, at least. Outside of Stack we can always encourage people to try new games) – Erik Jul 4 '17 at 10:44
• >it's as if everything not DnD was niche here. That's because everything not D&D is niche. I recall Vincent Baker making a post concluding that after attending a con panel on indie games. It'd be nice to have some play stats, but I'm pretty sure it's true. – Slow Dog Jul 4 '17 at 10:47
• @Erik I disagree about the should. The main site should be a comprehensive knowledge repository, and for that, we need experts on all systems. Having more experts for just for the biggest ones will yield diminishing returns. – kviiri Jul 4 '17 at 10:51
• I think we have experts for many systems, actually. What we lack are questions, but if these games just aren't played much it would make sense that not a lot of questions exist. – Erik Jul 4 '17 at 10:53
• @Erik Assuming no duplicates, less-played systems should have more questions proportional to the player base, all other factors being equal. I don't have a large sample, but I'm pretty sure DnD doesn't outweight the rest of the RPG world combined by that large of a margin. – kviiri Jul 4 '17 at 10:56
• Oh, and because I'm here entirely for "Dungeon World", I can say the quality of the answers to "/questions/tagged/Dungeon World" is very high. But there's no point in promoting those to a wider audience who won't be interested – Slow Dog Jul 4 '17 at 11:09
• @SlowDog How do you know they "won't be interested"? We might be missing out on questions and answers from less-popular systems. – kviiri Jul 4 '17 at 11:22
• Does the 19% represent the prevalence of other systems in play, which seems suspect? Or are there just more questions regarding D&D than other systems, which seems unlikely? – Imperator Jul 4 '17 at 11:33
• @Imperator I think there is certainly more incentive to ask and answer DnD questions here than there are for most systems - they're easy karma. Heck, my rep's tripled since I read the DnD 5e rulebooks last winter! But I think barring that, newcomers who come to this site are likely to see plenty of 5e and other DnD questions, which might lower the threshold of asking about the same system in particular. – kviiri Jul 4 '17 at 11:36
• Do I assume correctly that you're folding PF into those D&D numbers? I think that'd certainly be reasonable to do, but that you should be explicit about that in the post. – nitsua60 Jul 4 '17 at 13:06
• – nitsua60 Jul 4 '17 at 13:09
• @kviiri I don't really know that everyone won't be interested in other system questions. But I know I'm not. I just looked at the top "Dresden-Files" question (picking an unknown RPG at random), and it was entirely irrelevant to my concerns. Likewise the 5e question. The Pathfinder one is at least amusing. And I also know from past experience that I find D&D questions mostly tiresome. Also, though, I've seen (purely) D&D players answer Dungeon World questions, and it's best avoided for all concerned. – Slow Dog Jul 4 '17 at 14:11
• I feel like it's worth mentioning that most of my activity on RPG.SE comes via the HNQ sidebar, which (naturally) shows popular questions. If only a small section of the user-base asks/answers about other systems, those questions will never make it to "hot", so the D&D questions get additional exposure that may slightly skew your data. Is it possible to use SEDE to filter out HNQ clickthroughs? – Joe Jul 4 '17 at 14:20
• Just want to note that you wouldn't even necessarily expect % questions to be closely related to % player base (or % playing time); I think inexperienced players will have more questions, and it seems likely that 5e is a "gateway RPG" for new players, in which case it will be overrepresented. It will also depend on how rules-heavy the system is - on this alone I'd expect Pathfinder to generate more questions per group than Dungeon World, for example. – tardigrade Jul 7 '17 at 12:57
• Does the fact that a new edition came out within the past two years, two new supplements came out, and the usual "how does this work" kinds of question arising not explain a lot of this? (And it being the single biggest title in the market?) – KorvinStarmast Jul 10 '17 at 20:28

I think things are OK.

I'd like to offer an additional stat: we have 16,002 D&D family questions (which includes Pathfinder) out of 22,167 total questions, or 72.2% D&D family questions. (This means the view count is somewhat weighted toward D&D questions: they get an extra 8% share.)

These view and question statistics are unsurprising to me. They are reflective of D&D's dominance in our hobby. They're also reflective of the fact D&D just has so much content to ask questions about, and it's regularly confusing trying to put two pieces of content together.

You mentioned everything non-D&D seems sorta niche here: as a non-D&D player, I think that's sort of accurate for our whole hobby. In fact if you told me 20% of tables played games other than D&D, I'd be pleasantly surprised by that figure being so high!

# On the potential for us being D&D.SE

I think we're not in much danger here. The community is generally looking out for other games and are very thankfully expending effort to guard them from D&D centrism.

• Non-D&D views are at ~20%, and question proportions are at ~30%, which is awesome.
• When people answer a non-D&D question with a D&D answer (as if every game is just like D&D) they get slammed pretty hard by voters and NAA/VLQ flags. Yay!
• Our community is very mindful not to export D&D concepts across the site D&D-centrically. In metas like What should the dc tag be called?, there was a decision to just let games be each to their own tagging-wise. SevenSidedDie called out that exporting D&D verbiage to other games is probably D&D-centric, which I agree with.

People also avoid treating D&D as the default on things, and each gaming segment has plenty of room to define their own policy within RPG.SE's norms.

• I agree with this. As someone who actively avoids playing any variant of DnD, and almost exclusively plays Savage Worlds, the dominance of DnD on this site merely reflects the situation within the hobby in general. Doesn't mean I have to like it though, and I die a little inside every time someone inquiring about a good entry system into the hobby is automatically directed towards DnD. – Wibbs Jul 4 '17 at 11:35
• @Wibbs I agree very much in not having to like it, despite it realistically being the case, and similarly am dismayed by D&D being treated as a default entry point. – doppelgreener Jul 4 '17 at 11:36
• Ditto my comment on kviiri's post: when you say D&D family, are you folding in PF? I think that's reasonable, but that it should be explicitly stated. – nitsua60 Jul 4 '17 at 13:07
• @nitsua60 Yes, I am. I've made that explicit. Kviiri's current query folds in Pathfinder; so did the original. – doppelgreener Jul 4 '17 at 13:18
• You have a good point about the depth of content in D&D. When Fate Core dropped, I was excited, but struggled to find questions to ask, because it's so much simpler. – C. Ross Jul 4 '17 at 20:31
• This stack has as much chance to become dnd.se than anime.se has to become naruto&onepiece.se – Mindwin Jul 9 '17 at 17:30

Honestly, I think D&D has eaten the front page.

Here's what the site looks like if you ignore-list D&D3/4/5, Pathfinder, and D20. (N.B. I'm not ignore-listing "general"/"legacy" D&D questions.)

I straight-up used this site as an example of what "drowning out other content" looks like on B&CG Meta last year. I think it'd be very easy for a drive-by browser to pop by and conclude this is a D&D site.

But, well, what can you do?

I think the best answer is pretty much, "carry on."

1. D&D is a huge part of the hobby. I'm not sure our numbers specifically match the current distribution of 3.x/PF vs. 4e vs. 5e play, but they match the general observation that a lot of people are playing these games.

2. These flavors of D&D generate a ton of questions. The D20/post-D20 D&D model involves:

• A lot of books with a lot of mechanical tidbits you can mix-and-match. Details galore. Often written in kinda-legalese templated language.
• A culture of play that often stresses technical fidelity to the rules.
• A significant and constant influx of new players, due to D&D's positioning as a brand within the roleplaying hobby.
• A few structural and conceptual quirks that are rather hard to understand without preexisting familiarity with the game and its history.
3. This site would be slow as molasses without D&D. There's just... not that much content. Especially within RPG SE's niche of focused answers to focused questions. You need the churn of questions and reputation points to keep a critical mass of regulars engaged.

4. The D&D content would be worse without the other RPG content. Building a user base of RPG players, many of whom play or have played a recent edition of D&D, is better than building a user base of exclusive-D&D-fan D&D players. The greater breadth of experience is great for generating more thoughtful answers to social and structural questions, in particular.

So, for the most part, there's nothing to do. The site reflects the focus of its format, the buying habits of the hobby, and the tastes of RPG SE's own user base. You can try to stimulate other activity, and it may benefit you to do so, but the site's likely going to be 80-90% D&D stuff for the foreseeable future.

I filter all D&D related questions out as I care nothing about D&D whatsoever whatever form it takes. This makes the site much easier to use (except in the truly abysmal mobile app) and I can focus on the questions that I am interested in. Those are varied, well asked, and generally attract many different answers.

Quantity is irrelevant compared to quality and the quality of non-D&D questions is great.

Are we attracting enough quality content for non-DnD systems?

The crux here is whether our humble site is the best place on the internet to find information about various RPGs, even for people who don't already know about us.

Science!

I turned on incognito mode, fired up google, and asked it a bunch of questions. I opened up the Tags page, sorted by popular, and took a random selection of 10 non-D&D tags from the first five pages, 10 more from the last five pages, and tacked on three systems I was just curious about. An x simply means there was no stackexchange result on the first page.

$$\begin{array}{r|r|l} \text{Questions on ____} & \text{How do I play ____} & \text{Tag name} \\\hline 3 & x & \text{world of darkness}\\ 3 & 3 & \text{savage worlds}\\ 4 & 8 & \text{fate}\\ 1 & 1 & \text{shadowrun sr5}\\ 3 & x & \text{dungeon world}\\ 2 & x & \text{vampire the masquerade}\\ 1 & 1 & \text{chronicles of darkness 2e}\\ 2 & x & \text{rogue trader}\\ 3 & x & \text{gurps 4e}\\ 1 & 5 & \text{star wars saga edition}\\ \\\hline 1 & x & \text{traveller 5}\\ 4/x^1 & x & \text{the black eye}^3\\ 1 & 1 & \text{the dark eye}^3 \text{ (alternate translation of "the black eye")}\\ 2 & x & \text{storyteller 5e}\\ x & x & \text{star wars aor}\\ 1 & x & \text{iron kingdoms}\\ 2 & 9 & \text{mutants and masterminds}\\ 1 & 6 & \text{deadlands}\\ 2 & 10 & \text{burningwheel}\\ 4 & x & \text{shadows of esteren}\\ 2 & x & \text{pendragon}\\ \\\hline 1 & 6/7^2 & \text{great ork gods}\\ 1 & 1 & \text{roll for shoes}\\ 1 & 6 & \text{lasers and feelings}\\ \end{array}$$

1 The 4 here was actually from workplace.stackexchange; rpg didn't make the cut here

2 A "let's play" meta was 6, main site was 7

3 Despite being common words and phrases, I didn't put these in quotes when searching because I don't believe it would be common to do so as a first approach. Incidentally, in a later test it made no difference anyway.

So overall, we clearly did much better on "questions on X" than "how do I play X". This seems mildly unfortunate, but in keeping with the site's overall mission of answering questions.

Does the page view count indicate a problem, in your opinion?

Based on the numbers I gathered above, I'd say page view isn't much of a problem. Others have hashed and rehashed the proportionality and popularity of D&D enough in this question and elsewhere that I can just say I generally agree with them.

Is the content accessible enough? Should posts pertaining to non-DnD systems be promoted somehow to improve visibility (and possibly attract more experts)?

Again, based on the numbers I'm seeing, rpg.se has excellent visibility all along the RPG popularity spectrum. I don't see a particular need to expose them any more than they already are on the main site, sidebar, and hot network questions.

• Our not turning up on the-dark-eye searches is weird. When I use incognito mode, I get us as #1 for "questions about 'the dark eye'". Were you searching without quotes? That's kinda a terrible idea if your system name is multipart and a common phrase. – Please stop being evil Jul 8 '17 at 22:13
• I'm not sure that “how do I play __” is a useful search for non-D&D games. The majority aren't complex/confusing enough that we even have people asking how to play — e.g., “How do I play Fiasco?” isn't a question we're likely to ever get, or get hits for, because it's not a hard game to learn. – SevenSidedDie Jul 9 '17 at 4:00
• @thedarkwanderer I attempted to keep the queries as simple as possible, so I went with "questions on the black eye", and just repeated my reported results. 'Black' with and without quotes gets no hits, 'dark' with and without quotes gets the tag page first. I currently believe I doubly biased myself. First, by only checking 'black', as that's how I recall questions being asked. Second, by knowing it was originally in German I wasn't expecting many results, and confirmed that bias when I didn't see any. I will update shortly with a note. – Joel Harmon Jul 10 '17 at 2:46
• @SevenSidedDie My intent was to capture two different groups; experienced roleplayers with detail-oriented questions and total beginners with "how do I ..." style questions. I also wanted to keep the questions general enough that they'd apply to any system, rather than trying to customize for each. I'd be happy to add in another column or two if anyone thinks a different data point would be useful. As a side note, I think "questions on" might be very biased towards us because we're billed so heavily as a Q&A site. I am just having trouble coming up with better generic questions. – Joel Harmon Jul 10 '17 at 2:51
• Ah, that does make sense. – SevenSidedDie Jul 10 '17 at 6:09

For the D&D family (including PF) there are several editions still played and supported by the community.

It seems to me that this is less the case with other systems. The few shadowrun questions I've seen around here, for example, have all been about SR5. And while I consider myself a SR3 expert the same is not true for later editions because I decided to stick to SR3.

The same is true for dark heresy. While I played dh1 frequently in the past and often consulted the designers at FFG about rules questions at that time the questions here are all about dh2 and thus my knowledge is "wasted".

And another point I see is that the wargame-like* nature of the D&D family makes it more important to know the exact interaction of various abilities than is the case with other RPGs I know and play/played. If you only have a hand full of special abilities there is less potential for unclear interactions.

Plus I felt it much easier to get rules answers directly from the designers for some other games (for example FFG) than, say, Pathfinder where direct feedback is very mixed in in the past was often plain wrong, condescending or even insulting.

So perhaps the D&D games just need more questions answered than other games in addition to being played more.

*It is my subjective opinion that the D&D family is wargame-like. If you disagree let's not derail this question with a discussion.

I consider myself a former rpg.se member.

If you look at my activity records, you'll see I used to be pretty active around here. But I don't play any edition of D&D or PF, so it felt like there was really nothing for me to contribute or to get out of being here.

I chanced to see an opportunity to answer a question recently because I came by to search for a link to an old answer to share elsewhere.

I understand that D&D is, as it has nearly always been, the 800-pound gorilla. But before 5e there was room for GUMSHOE, Fate, PbtA, and the rest of the indie scene.

• I think this response raises an important issue: if you're not that into D&D, or answering game mechanics questions about D&D, there's not that much to do here. We do see questions about other systems and generalizable roleplaying stuff with fair regularity, but it's still kind of a "pick through the site and see if there's anything you remotely care about today on the front page" scenario. My participation definitely sank like a stone when I cut back on answering "I still remember how to run 3.x" questions on here. – Alex P Jul 15 '17 at 22:33
• @AlexP I agree with that. When D&D 4e was active and I was playing it & had a compendium subscription, I pored through D&D 4e questions. Nowadays I produce about 1 answer a month, usually on Fate or Social questions. I wonder if there's something we can do about that -- tabletop tasting like let's play some great ork gods might help! – doppelgreener Jul 16 '17 at 0:20

Does the page view count indicate a problem, in your opinion?

No.

Are we attracting enough quality content for non-DnD systems? If not, what should we do?

There's no reason to assume that quality non-DnD content would be a greater proportion of our site than the overall proportion of non-DnD players. There's no reason to assume, with DnD being so fiercely popular, that non-DnD gaming accounts for more than 20% of on-topic gaming.

Taken together, there's no reason to assume there's a lack of quality content without statistics concerning things you haven't made an effort to prove in your OP.

Is the content accessible enough? Should posts pertaining to non-DnD systems be promoted somehow to improve visibility (and possibly attract more experts)?

Countering unfair* bias is one thing, but you've failed to make that case. And without an unfair bias, we should not show bias in favor of what is apparently a low-popularity topic.

*By unfair, I mean something such as the mean stack user downvoting non-DnD posts simply to homogenize the stack. A fair bias would be something like...an rpg who's system resulted in far fewer proportional objective questions compared to DnD.

I think we're actually doing better now than we used to be. On the 'How are we doing?' meta I talked about our success in this area a little, with:

## We aren't D&D5e.stackexchange.com

Yay! We still have a hugely active 3.x and 4e community, so our that-new-thing-only issues have somewhat diminished. We are still largely D&D.stack, but Fate seems to have carved out an okay market share with our users and Apocalypse World isn't doing bad either. Overall I think we've made some small positive motion in the direction of diversity

as a highly upvoted status report. Comments seem to agree and provide some also-highly-upvoted further insight into specific positive improvements and ways we got there.

This is an ongoing issue for the site, but it's one we are well aware of and have been tackling for a while

• Did you mean to link to a specific answer there? I'm not sure I understand what this post is supposed to mean. (Not my downvote.) – SevenSidedDie Jul 9 '17 at 3:54
• @SevenSidedDie Yes. Yes I did ^^; Should I elaborate further here? I know link-only answers are usually not good but it's meta linking to another meta and I'm not sure what else I'd say here, besides quoting the whole answer+comments. – Please stop being evil Jul 9 '17 at 6:27
• That adjusted link makes more sense! (If it was me I would also quote myself (for such a short post, the whole of it) and editorially mention that there's more goodness in the comments there, but I wouldn't say that's necessary, just what I would do.) – SevenSidedDie Jul 9 '17 at 6:33

This stack has aggressively-enforced norms which favor DnD. The same trends which keep the stack from dissolving in flame-wars lead inevitably towards strictly by-the-book games and explanations.

• In my experience, there are lots and lots of games that run just fine "by the book," it's just that they don't inspire endless questions about what the books say. Also, I've had some good luck getting RPG SE folks to create entire subsystems for me, but that's definitely something that involves a "power user" understanding of the Stack. – Alex P Jul 9 '17 at 16:37

Are we attracting enough quality content for non-DnD systems? If not, what should we do?

I don't think we are. Non-D&D questions are usually left alone by the community, even if we (self-labelled experts) could answer the question with some degree of design mastery of rpg systems and a quick reading of the rules on a game system we are not familiar with.

Personally, if I am not familiar with a game system, and I can spend the same amount of time I would spend searching for a d&d answer (aka researching), I give it a shot and try to answer it. I will lose nothing but a few internet points upon failure and will learn from it.

But what I noticed is that even if one or another person bother doing some research to answer non-D&D questions, viewers ignore those questions, either due to lack of knowledge of the system or because it simply doesn't interest them as a system, even if the answer is well-formulated and correctly answers the question.

That said, with a gamist perspective of the site, looking at the front page and the available questions, I would be much more inclined to attempt to answer D&D questions, which are solid game systems as far as we are aware, and obtain lots of vote-ups if my question is correct, than to attempt to answer a question about non-D&D systems.

As a community, we could do better on this subject, even if we don't want to learn a new game system, at least voting on those questions if they are of good quality and show that the person put some time and thought on the answer.

• In general, answering questions from systems we aren't really experts in isn't a great idea. I've experienced this first hand a couple of times when I've seen a question, looked some stuff up, amd written an answer I was pretty happy with, only to see it get slammed because I didn't really have a clue what I was talking about. – Miniman Jul 4 '17 at 15:07