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After asking this question, I received a comment which troubled me, and is the source of this question:

There was some conversation about the veracity of your story in chat during your last question, and I voiced the opinion that you deserved the benefit of the doubt. This question, however, makes me wonder if I was wrong. Are these real situations you're describing, or are they just made up? Either you've got the worst GM ever, and you should walk away as I suggested on the previous question, or you're making these scenarios up. I can't be sure anymore, and the benefit of doubt has been consumed.

The commenter makes a good point - the situations I have been facing recently have been extreme, and certainly beyond the realm of my expertise playing DnD thus far (hence my questions).

To provide some background, I met my current group at a popular game shop in Toronto. I am easily the least experienced player, having only began playing 5e with this group. While I do have some experience in 3.5, and am learning the game through playing and asking questions here, as I'm quickly realizing, a lot of what our group deals with is beyond what my experience in DnD so far is able to handle. My ~1 year of experience playing DnD is dwarfed by the decade(s) of experience of the other players, with the exception of our DM who is more experienced than me, but undoubtedly less experienced than the other players at our table. This has resulted in some, erm, dysfunction in our group.

Regardless of why it is happening, it has resulted in me posting a few questions in recent weeks which, when taken together, do seem extraordinary:

With the frequency and similar issues threaded throughout these questions (thanks to SevenSidedDie for pointing this out!), I was going to post an ultimate question about malicious behaviour by the DM targeting PCs, and my PC specifically.

But before I do this, I want to see if there are ways that I can head off this disbelief. While I recognize that RPG.SE is a community, I do have concerns that in posting this culminating question I will not be believed, and as such will suffer downvotes (not really my main concern, such is life on SE), but more importantly that the quality of answers will be harmed or individuals will simply not answer, since I am now aware that there are suspicions surrounding the truth and motivations behind my questions.

Thus, how can I assure the community that the group I am in does exist, and that the unique situations we face are real? More generally, how can I deal with this doubt?

Is there anything I can be adding to questions (I've been trying to link back to my previous questions where appropriate), clarifying in my phrasing, information I could be providing (maybe more background info about our group's dynamics?), or doing more generally to (re)gain the confidence of the community? Should I be waiting longer to space my questions out, or even finding another community in which to ask my questions?

Or is suspicion of my questions and my motives for asking them just a part of life on RPG.SE, understanding that there will simply be people who doubt a poster's motives?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I want to cop to being the guy who started the "conversation about the veracity of your story last time". As I mentioned in another comment to you, I don't believe you're lying to us, personally, I just believe that the facts you lay out and the value judgements you give them don't line up, based on my experience as a DM. Does this affect the question you're asking here? \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Jul 7 '17 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @godskook Appreciate you owning starting the conversation, and thanks for clarifying your position. If I'm being honest I still think the question stands as is, since while you've articulated your position, I suspect there are still others, like the commenter I quoted above, who are suspicious of my motives. That being said, a potential answer could be address how to better attribute my value judgments so that they are better aligned. I'm doing my best to articulate my feelings and my interpretations of events, but I think any suggested improvements/changes would still be valuable \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 7 '17 at 18:26
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In Stack, one of our principles is to take everything at face value. I think we should not assume malice and stick to the text. I have engaged with you in comments on several of your questions, but the real issue I have with them is:

You are spending too much text "getting stuff out of your chest" with what basically reads like a rant, and too little with the actual question. The questions are too subjective and very often you punctuate them with personal remarks.

As mxyzplk stated above, those personal problems are related to RPG, but are actually not a strict RPG problem. There is no rule in any tabletop rulebook regarding social interactions between people. There are LARP rules (don't run, don't touch, etc...) but they still don't cover social attrition.

So in the same coin we don't take the stories you post in the question as lies - being personal and subjective is still truthful - you also can't take the interactions of the community as personal prosecution.

For these already asked and answered questions, the best you can do is

  • Do not take it personally
  • Read the answers given at face value.
  • Don't dwell too much on comments. Comments are noise.

On future questions,

  • Keep the walls of text to a minimum.
  • Try to separate facts from your opinion. Post the facts only.
  • Don't seek validation of your point-of-view or your actions.
  • Don't attempt to answer the question yourself in the body of the question. It is totally fine to post both question and answer yourself, but separate them.
  • Avoid subjective qualifiers at all costs. "Dealing with immature players (..)" is one, for example. We can't validate those subjective qualifiers without meeting your group in person, and it won't happen.

Also, Q&A in the stack are better treated like one night stands. You come, post your question, get your answers, and move on to the next question. So it takes some work getting the best question out as the first move. Work the text of the question for some time, before posting. Once posted, it should receive very little change aside from adding extra details or correcting typos.

But to do that, you need to first post a good answerable ontopic question.

Good luck, and remember we are here to fulfill two things:

  • Help you get the best out of your RPG gaming
  • Build a collaborative knowledge base on RPG

So the questions and answers are not about you. they are about RPG. Don't take them personally.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, and I hope it doesn't come across as taking it personally (I'm not). The text advice is good to know - I've been adding as much detail as I can in the hopes of providing the greatest reference from which to draw an answer, since these answers tend to be drawn from personal experience of other players. But from your answer I can see how this could be problematic, and I can definitely try to cut out the subjective parts and try to keep the questions more independent in the future \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 7 '17 at 19:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've accepted this answer since I think it best addressed my concerns, namely how to improve my question asking in the future while also addressing what has gone wrong with my previous questions. \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 10 '17 at 13:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Keep asking. But also browse around stackexchange.com to see how to improve question quality. And feel most welcome to the site, even though some attrition happened; it is all past waters, as they say. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 10 '17 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Already asked another question today - thanks for the advice, hopefully my question quality is improving/will continue to improve! \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 10 '17 at 15:28
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It's part of life.

The pattern of questions does seem suspicious, and, to be frank, with a username that starts with "B.S.", that trips people's troll meter. There's no way to validate this online, so the best you can do is post in good faith, allay fears in chat, etc. like you've already done. But I'm not sure "disbelief" is the primary challenge facing your questions.

With such a litany of complaints about your GM and all the rest of the players, it starts to seem inconceivable that you are not just finding another group, and so some folks figure even if you're not making it up, you're hapless to the point that answering isn't going to help any more, either because:

  • you are fundamentally misreading the situation (frequently a problem when EVERYONE but YOU in the WORLD is BAD and OUT TO GET YOU), which means the questions we get are so far from the actual situation the answers are off base, or
  • you're not taking the advice you've already gotten, so more is a bad investment of time.

Assuming good faith and that these questions are legit (I personally believe they are), you're having a hard time asking these as independent questions because they're not really independent questions - you have a lot of life-experience to learn about social interaction in groups, and while the community's been trying to answer the points one by one, it's not within our power to do that here. Stack Overflow can answer a programmer's questions, but it can't teach anyone to become a programmer.

Even without the same asker behind them all, these kinds of questions are often frustrating because the only real answer tends to be "Talk to the GM/players and ask them to stop . Enlist the GM/other players in this enterprise if possible. If the situation is intractable, deal or leave." You've been told this in various ways in a whole set of questions and answers. Before asking your "culminating" question - ask yourself, is there any meaningful answer other than that?

Are you just looking for validation? This isn't a community who's here to "sympathize with" people, we're here to answer focused questions. Mindwin's point about these seeming ranty is a good one - on Workplace.SE they have a category of off topic questions they call "agony aunt" questions that are basically people complaining about how work life is treating them without any truly actionable content (talk to you boss... deal... quit... sound familiar?).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Senpai, did you really have to call that out about the user's username? I commented on almost every question of his, and had not once associated him with that before reading your text above... {/sad_face} \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 7 '17 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's fair for him to know - in my experience sometimes troll accounts are overly "cute" and put tells in their username, and so stuff like that can raise a flag of doubt in people when they see it, especially in conjunction with content issues. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Jul 7 '17 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the response (and I had never noticed the troll aspect of my name)! I think a big part of this is not wanting to turn my back on this group, since we've been at it for quite a while, and letting go of a long-time character can be tough. But given your response and the general feedback I've been receiving in chat and beyond, I think it may be time to hear the bardic music and just deal with it or walk away. \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 7 '17 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ In light of that I now understand why Brian Ballsun-Stanton opted to not initialise his name. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jul 9 '17 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @B.S.Morganstein if it makes you feel any better, I'm always reminded of the fictional author of "The Princess Bride" (S. Morgenstern) more than anything else =) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 9 '17 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener: But what's wrong with using the initialism for bulletin-board systems? :P \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jul 13 '17 at 18:08

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