I've noticed that in some cases people vote to close as Primarily Opinion Based when they think the only possible answer is "Up to the DM". There's a slight twist in this community where it's not always the opinion of the Asker; its often the opinion of the Dungeon Master / Game Master.

In those cases is the answer really "Primarily Opinion Based" or would the actual answer be, "You'll need to talk with your DM." Hopefully with some elaboration about possible rational they'll come up with and discussion.

Primarily Opinion Based stock definition reads:

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

Which is quite different from "Ask the DM"

However, if "Ask the DM/GM" is widely considered equivalent to "Primarily Opinion Based" on this community, than a slight adjustment to the close reason to indicate that could be beneficial. Or giving it its own custom close reason (space permitting).

Return to FAQ Index


1 Answer 1


They're not the same

This is a common equivalence that I've seen applied too, but it's a false equivalence. The idea seems to be that every GM could rule differently, so the answer is as diverse as the number of GMs in the world, so it must be primarily opinion-based, right?

But that doesn't quite pan out in practice in regards to how to use our Primarily Opinion-Based (POB) hold reason: If everyone agrees that the correct answer is “Ask the GM”, then it's hard to see how the answer here — that everyone agrees on — is a matter of diverse opinions.

Our hold reasons are based on what happens here on this site, not what does or might happen at the many play tables out there. If the answer is singular and objective here — “that's up to the GM” — then it's not a matter of diverse opinion here and shouldn't be held as such.

The exception

Naturally there's an exception: when the correct answer is that it's up to GM ruling, but the question is nonetheless gathering piles of actual opinions about how to make the ruling. We can't always tell why a particular question is inspiring people to directly submit their opinions, but when it does, that's incontrovertible evidence that — for some reason — that question as written matches the “will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions” for the Primarily Opinion-Based hold reason, and should have it applied. (Maybe during the hold the problem can be discovered and fixed.)

But if a question that is correctly answered with “that's a GM ruling” isn't drawing actual opinions, it should not be assumed that it will, and shouldn't be held for with the POB reason.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah - frequently it's the answers that are the problem. One answer saying "no RAW ask your GM" - fine. 20 answers giving their own unsubstantiated opinions - not fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 25, 2017 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ This "answer gives a solution based on opinion" is the problem. If people would stick to "The Rule says nothing, so the GM has to handle that" it would be fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Jul 25, 2017 at 16:59
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish Even when that's the rules situation, there's room here for well-supported non-opinion answers that aren't just "The rules says nothing, so the GM has to handle that", so it's not quite so black-and-white. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 25, 2017 at 17:45
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ The voting on those answers is also a good indicator. If there's a good answer with 20 upvotes and 20 bad answers with negative scores it's more likely the question will be protected than closed. Alternatively, if the good answers are sitting around with 1-2 upvotes amidst a pile of popularity-contest answers with extreme voting, the question is much more likely to be closed (in fact, extreme voting in general is likely to attract attention/suspicion). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 25, 2017 at 23:07
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Nice to have this pointed out. Worth noting that I've seen several questions up for closure on these grounds only to be resolved absolutely by a Sage Advice article or something of the like. "No RAW answer in the rules I have access to" != "No RAW answer". If the question is well-scoped it should stick around even if it sticks around unresolved. \$\endgroup\$
    – Conduit
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .