Is a firbolg's Hidden Step intended to deactivate due to spells such as Booming Blade? has a specific stipulation from the asker that the accepted answer must have a supporting tweet from a developer.

From a comment on one of the answers (emphasis mine):

Either way, both of us can only speculate what the designer's exact intent with the feature was, so unless you or someone else can provide a clear statement from any of the designers (doesn't have to be Jeremy Crawford), I won't mark any answer as accepted

This further confuses the issue by stating that a non-official twitter response from someone other than Jeremy Crawford is considered an official and valid response for the querent.

If an answer requires this type of response and the developers have not yet written anything like that, is it a valid question or should the asker simply try to get an answer themselves through Twitter directly with the Developer?

Otherwise, it becomes the responsibility of the answerer to try and generate that Developer Twitter response which seems to invalidate the question as stack-answerable.


3 Answers 3


Yes they are.

It's OK for a question to be unanswerable at the time it is posted as long as it meets all of the general requirements the site has for question quality. This happens most often for questions with the [designer-reasons] tag, which is generally included when a question asks why a system does things in a particular way. The only people who can answer these questions are those that designed it. There are a million reasons why a question might be difficult to answer though, and the querent is perfectly entitled to specify in their question the types of evidence they want their answers to be based on.

I don't understand why the need for a potential answerer to go away and get evidence would make this type of question invalid. In general, evidence for answers can and does come from all sorts of different sources, and this is just a type of question that requires a particular type of source.

As to whether the fact that the querent could do the research themselves, getting a tweet or whatever, isn't that the case for a lot of the questions on the site? Even if they could do the research themselves, that doesn't invalidate the question they are asking.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But if that's the ONLY source that will be accepted, why does it need to be on the stack? It seems like that the only way it can be answered is if someone else (not on the site) answers it. I guess this differs from designer intent questions because it's including "what happens here" and "what is the intent". Maybe they should be two separate questions? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ A bunch of my answers to Savage Worlds questions are effectively ripped from the Savage Worlds official forums, and mainly taken up by a quote from the Brand Manager. That's the only source for RAW outside the printed books. How is this any different apart from the definition of what RAW means for a particular system? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ In that all other instances of RAW that support the argument are of no value to the asker, mostly. For 5e, there are books, errata, etc. that can support an answer. Having access via Sage Advice with the developers is an added bonus, but comes with it's own issues. Requiring ONLY a twitter response from ANY developer (and not just the one marked as official response) seems like they don't want an 'official' answer, but just an answer that comes from the fingers of someone at Wizards (whether or not their response is considered official.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 19:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ And again I ask, what's the problem with that? This site is a repository for expert answers to questions. Quite a few answers are mirrors/copies/edited highlights of evidence from other sources. That's OK, because asking and answering the question on this site helps draw all that disparate expertise and evidence onto one, go-to site \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 19:16
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ THe problem is two-fold: 1)They are looking for both official and unofficial responses. An unofficial response is not really a stack-answer ; and 2) There is literally nothing a stackizen can do to answer this other than send a tweet to the developers. I guess if that's okay, then that's okay - but it seems low-value to ask a question no one here can answer. I still think it's two separate questions (How does this work, and what is the designer intent), in which case the primary can be answered, and the secondary can be asked by OP to the devs (and then answered) or another stackizen could. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 19:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Your intuition that it might be currently two different questions is, I think, on-point. They got one answer that answered “how does this work” and objected; but the question is still asking “how does this work” and “have the developers said it works differently”. So it's unclear what kinds of answers are even on-topic to the question. I suspect the question is meant to ask “I can see it appears to work like X; have the developers said it actually works like Y?”, but that needs the asker to confirm. (Due to this kind of unclarity I've put it on hold.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thank you - I think ultimately that's where I'm hung up, too. Although how do we handle designer inputs on rules (not just lore)? Does it need to be official sources or do we have lighter requirements? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 20:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Re: "2) There is literally nothing a stackizen can do to answer this other than send a tweet to the developers.": I'd agree that's the case in this situation. However, I think it's worth noting that in general for questions like this, people might not know what the channels are for developer updates/clarifications since the original launch of a product or might not know the entire history of what's come through said channels, and we're a pretty good place to find out about things in that vein. \$\endgroup\$
    – CTWind
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 3:56


The more general question, about whether we allow asking about developer statements which may or may not exist, appears to be yes. That's based on precedents and on it not transgressing any rules.

I think it's also fine to leave it as “yes” after meta discussion, since I don't believe it causes any structural problems that the site isn't equipped for.

Why: these can often be “long tail” questions, which SE handles well

To that point: one of the ways that the site handles questions gracefully is allowing questions to be “forever” both forwards and backwards, and the site rules are built to accommodate that. In the usual case, this manifests in our understanding that there are no questions “too old” to submit new answers to: questions are always open for new answers if they are still on-topic. Even if it's not obvious how new answers could be useful, people are allowed to make the attempt.

The rarer case is the “long tail” question, of which this might be one. “Long tail” questions are those that we don't know whether they have an answer. Whether they do or not can only be discovered by leaving them open forever, so that in the long, shrinking tail of their diminishing views accumulation, the right someone might discover it and have the answer it's been waiting for. There may never be an answer, or it might be answered soon (just, maybe, not as soon as the average we're used to). Either way, we allow and accept that answers may stay unanswered for a potentially long time, so that we can eventually collect the answer, if it has one, and add it to our hoard of curated solutions.

So I think that feature answers how we should handle questions about the existence of developer-statement that may or may not have ever (or be ever) made by the developers: leave them open, protect them from (off topic) speculative answers that add noise to the page and remove the question from the Unanswered Questions list, so as to leave it dangling out there until it catches the eye of exactly the one expert who can help, if they do or will exist.

Of course, this requires a certain degree of patience among the community that we're sometimes unused to, especially in a tag like where we're used to questions getting answers super quick.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ An example of perhaps the greatest (successfully-answered) long-tail question on Stack Exchange: Story where the number 3 is the monster? on Sci-Fi & Fantasy. The answer took four years to turn up, and prompted hundreds of upvotes and thousands of rep in bounties (the user currently has 7,356 rep there, all from that one contribution). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 3:10

I believe the answer is yes.

While I do not personally like the particular questioning of the RAW in combination with requiring a developer citation, it is a valid line if inquiry. The highest voted response is informative, and clarifying errata may arise in the future.

Additionally, digging through archived and cached copies of Crawford, Mearls, or Gygax could potentially turn up a suitable answer. Tweeting at the developers is not the only way to answer questions of this nature.


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