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So this has come up a few times now, with different systems. Most recently the main issue has been with Dungeon World questions. We've had a rash of these, with answers from people that know nothing about the system who answer in a general, vague way. I generally supported the deletion of these answers, as the system is so far removed from Dungeons and Dragons that it made the answers useless at best.

Then, today we had an Eclipse Phase question, How do I make my hacking narration more interesting? A couple of answers were given that displayed no system-specific knowledge, and moderators deleted them. This one has made me feel a little less certain that we should be relying so much on deletion where perhaps we should allow voting to do its job. The question is fundamentally asking about how to narrate something as a GM and keep it interesting. I get that good answers will draw in Eclipse Phase specific expertise, but I am really unsure that a system-agnostic answer is so bad that it justifies being deleted as opposed to down-voting. In my view moderators deleting an answer should be a last resort.

So where do we draw the line here? It feels like the policy is slowly becoming stricter and more commonly used, and I'm not sure that's warranted or a good thing. What does the community think?

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 As a moderator who's been acting on these cases several times recently I'm happy to hear this out and see what gets worked out. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 9 '18 at 20:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Me too! “To delete, or not to delete” is always particularly difficult decision as a mod. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 10 '18 at 19:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ To add a bit of inside on the question use for example. I choose to tag it has eclipse-phase because I thought it was the way to ask for system specific answer. More general answer can sometimes help but they often will lack useful system specific information. \$\endgroup\$ – BinaryOverride Feb 25 '18 at 9:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BinaryOverride Tagging it Eclipse Phase is correct -- tags are for describing the content of the question for categorisation purposes; this question's content is about Eclipse Phase, therefore the tag Eclipse Phase belongs. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 25 '18 at 20:31
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I think that such answers should be deleted, because they don't answer the question as posed.

First, what is the criteria for deletion? From meta.stackexchange,

For answers, any post that is not an answer (should be a comment, doesn't answer the question, etc.) should be deleted. Answers that are wrong or that dispense poor advice should be downvoted, not deleted.

So what is "the question"? The question comprises both the question text and the tags used. For example, "What's the maximum AC?" is a very different question depending on whether the question is tagged for D&D 3.5 or for 5e. Likewise, the question "How do I make my hacking narration more interesting?" is actually, "How do I make my hacking narration more interesting in Eclipse-Phase?". If the question asker wanted a system-agnostic question, they could have tagged it that way.

Therefore, system-agnostic answers do not answer system-specific questions. If an answerer is not familiar with the system, they will likely be missing important context or information in their answer. Of course, sometimes the best answers are somewhat system agnostic, but even then, useful answers usually draw from some system-specific expertise. Critically, people who don't know the system don't know what they're getting wrong in their answers.

Additionally, I think that it's better to err on the side of being strict. Sure, an uninformed answer might happen to address the question, but then we run the risk of becoming like DanDwiki for less-popular systems. This risk is especially perilous for smaller RPGs, because drive-by voting might result in inflated scores for answers that are not actually suited to the system. On the other hand, we don't have much to gain from letting these answers stay, given that they would be downvoted if they weren't deleted.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So are you saying that we don't trust the voting system to deal with things like this? If this is the case, what is the voting system for? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Feb 10 '18 at 9:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Wibbs the voting system is for sorting answers; I'm reading Icyfire as saying these aren't answers in the first place. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 10 '18 at 14:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess my concern is that it isn't always so black and white. There are plenty of questions with system-specific tags that have good answers that don't reference the system at all \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Feb 10 '18 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Wibbs That's true, but there's a difference between referencing the system in the answer and knowing the system as an answerer. Also, if it really is a good answer, then it's sort of out of the scope of this question, right? The choice you present is between downvoting and deletion, which suggests that such answers have some kind of problem to begin with. \$\endgroup\$ – Icyfire Feb 10 '18 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think Icyfire is right here. "Know the rules well enough to break them" applies - without knowing a thing about the system in question, it's hard to offer credible advice relating to the rest of the framework of the game being played. Even such abstract concepts as "making a scene where character does X interesting" vary a lot between the various genres we play in. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Feb 10 '18 at 22:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ These answers make me really, really irritated, pretty much all the time. Especially given how often they get upvoted, and how that seems to happen in direct porportion to how difficult the question would be to actually answer. It takes the question out of the unanswered queue and makes it unlikely the question will ever get a decent answer and that's really annoying. Malus points if the answer chooses to start their answer with "I've only just googled it, but..." or some variation thereof. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Feb 22 '18 at 19:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ You seem to be assuming that everyone who adds a system tag to a question does so with the explicit intent to disallow system-agnostic answers, rather than simply to note which system they're using. It might be interesting, as a data point, to ask the author of the referenced question how they actually feel about system-agnostic answers (and about the big boldface note disallowing them that has been edited into their question by others). \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Feb 23 '18 at 20:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IlmariKaronen, I'm saying that "system-agnostic" answers still need to be informed by knowledge of the system. Seemingly system-agnostic answers can be wildly inappropriate for certain systems, and we should respect the presence of a system tag. If a querent really wanted a truly system-agnostic answer, why did they tag it with a specific system? \$\endgroup\$ – Icyfire Feb 23 '18 at 22:08
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I'd like to offer my perspective on what went on there.

At the time I removed answers, that question had two low-quality answers that don't meet our citation requirements. One was from a user saying “I've never played this game but try this, I'm sure it will work”; the other was from a more established high-rep user posting another answer also without backing it up as remotely workable. (If a thing in a game is fundamentally boring, colourful narration usually doesn't make it interesting — it makes it boring and a drag.)

That high-rep user should know better. High-rep users set an example for other users to follow (whether they want to or not) and this was setting the example: “yes, it's fine, come post your arbitrary untested zero-expertise answers.” The longer those posts sat there, the more likely we were to get other answers exactly as inappropriate and low-quality as these.

There were two outcomes here: the posts get downvoted and/or removed, correctly signalling their inappropriateness. Or, the posts get upvoted, which is not only damaging to our site's viability as a useful resource, it's damaging and misleading to people facing this issue in Eclipse Phase. This second route is bad for everybody.

I chose to fast forward down the first route and remove those posts early to reduce the chance of attracting more crap. I also posted a warning comment on the question specifically to avoid getting more crap. One of the answers didn't include explicit statements they'd never played eclipse phase — I left them an offer to revise their post and flag for undeletion, an offer they haven't taken up.

Our site needs to remain one for expert guidance.

This meta discussion is pretty healthy to have. The actions I took were examples of cleanup activities the moderators have been doing just because it's the kind of thing RPG.SE diamond moderators do — it just sort of worked out that way in the site's early years. Revising whether and how we want to keep going with that is pretty good.

I am open to moderators continuing along our current practices, or leaving things to the community to downvote and sort out. Either one can work well and I have faith in the community's ability to overall sort things out effectively and make good decisions.

However: we need to remain a community that curates expert guidance. That means, at its simplest, advice and solutions from someone who has any clue at all what they're talking about. When someone is suggesting a homebrew solution, or custom subjective solution, Good Subjective suggests they should mention their experience with how that solution actually worked out in practice. This isn't a burdensome request: it takes a sentence or two to mention it worked effectively and did so-or-so thing.

Those who play Fate or Dungeon World or other non-D&D games might emphathise with me when I say: seeing zero-expertise attempts at solutions from people who haven't even played our games sucks. Normally they come in the form of a D&D player assuming our game has zero difference from their game so whatever works there will work here. (Not always D&D players, but usually. Non-D&D players seem to generally get that other games have huge divides and expertise isn't necessarily transferrable.) Normally, those solutions are completely wrong. Such a post amounts to crap and clutter, if it isn't actively annoying that someone can conclude they can guide us on our game's function without even so much as cracking open one of its books.

We're a useful site because we specifically curate expert guidance. If we just accumulate crap and don't filter it effectively, we're not much different from Yahoo! Answers or forums. We have a quality bar and it doesn't take very much to meet it — it just takes actually having a clue, and sticking to answering where you have a clue. Curating this means the community needs to downvote, and push for substantiation, where none is provided and someone seems to be just shooting a crap guess from their chair.

The question Players skipping side quests just to have a laugh at the DM was sitting with an answer whose author said they'd never even played an RPG before at +3/-3 yesterday. That was worrying to me. It is a relief to see it at +3/-5 today. RPG expertise is kind of important here... because an RPG player would hopefully spot that the answer is predicated on “prepare material for both choices!” when in an RPG players can make up their own third or fourth choices and engage with neither prepared choice.

I wanted to ask this person to back their answer up... but they admitted they couldn't, and I didn't have the heart to call them out on it. I want to go to that question, request everyone provide any subjective substantiation at all for their solutions (when those solutions are subjective), and clean up the ones that don't — this meta's giving me pause because I want to see how the community can work out situations like this without moderator intervention. So far it seems to be working out OK.


I've been meaning for a few months to create a meta question asking what our post substantiation requirements are, or what the subjective substantiation requirements are at the very least, so that our community can collaboratively express & establish our standards together to then point people to when substantiation is needed. Currently they're just expressed in the super-generic Good Subjective, Bad Subjective post (which talks more about questions than answers) and in super-specific contexts like this one about homebrew. I'll take a look at asking that later this week.

Side thought: on the importance of downvoted posts

So a couple of things occur to me around the voting dynamic on the site.

First, content that is present and strongly downvoted is instructive to users. It sets an example and warns people not to do the same thing. It's kind of like that Pirates Ye Be Warned sign that Captain Jack Sparrow sees at the start of Pirates of the Caribbean:

The corpse of a pirate hanging from a noose, long since delayed. Beside him hangs a sign: "pirates ye be warned."

“Don't do this thing.”

Moderators erring on removing inappropriate content removes the examples of badness users should be avoiding. (Users are free to take down their own low-quality content, but moderators don't necessarily need to do it for them. This is something nvoigt is getting at in their own post.)

This requires judicious downvoting though. If moderators are removing a lot of stuff, it could mean the examples of “don't do this” go away and users don't get trained on what they shouldn't do as much. It might also lead voting users to give things too much of the benefit of the doubt, since anything left behind can't be too bad right, the terrible stuff is already deleted right?

I'd definitely encourage users to downvote to set examples of the content they do not want on the site (such as unsubstantiated or crap posts that don't appear to convey any game expertise at all) and we'll see how we can work with that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the main argument against "just leave it and downvote" is that, while we say each answer should stand alone, the answers taken together are still a conversation of sorts: each informs how people will read the others (as well as how they interpret the question), and persuasive/effective answer writing is very much guided by what the preexisting answers already say. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Feb 27 '18 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean "both choices" as in "players choose to follow side quest" and "players choose to skip side quest". I think that's fairly obvious from the context of both the question and the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Micheal Johnson Feb 28 '18 at 9:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichealJohnson You express that in your answer as preparing material for "players visit village" and "players visit cave" expecting they'll choose one or the other. The players can choose neither the village nor the cave: if they are choosing to skip content, they can choose to skip both. I don't know what to tell you. Your proposed solution is predicated on a fully breakable dichotomy. 🤷 If it does in fact work well and is manageable, cite experience demonstrating how it works in practice to demonstrate that. If the experience conveys how to handle "I choose neither" all the better. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 28 '18 at 11:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I lifted that example straight out of the question, which stated "they could hike the mountain and invade the village through the front gates, or try to sneak through some caves that would lead them directly to where they wanted". Clearly only two options. Don't think I don't know how an RPG works, as I said in my answer I have read a lot about RPGs I just haven't had the opportunity to play. Even if you've never flown a space shuttle or worked on one, you can still know about how they work and suggest a way for your friend to fix their space shuttle. \$\endgroup\$ – Micheal Johnson Feb 28 '18 at 14:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Micheal Then I invite you to update your answer to meet our citation requirements and prove me wrong. The same paragraph you appear to have pulled from says they avoided the caves because they saw prepared content, show us they wouldn't avoid the village because they saw prepared content there too, based on people's experience using the solution you're describing which demonstrates how the solution works out in practice. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 28 '18 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ "It might also lead voting users to give things too much of the benefit of the doubt" From my perspective I would describe it as the opposite: with the really crappy answers already gone by deletion, people have a very different perspective on voting. They tend to give as much up- and downvotes, but only between the surviving posts. So with the bad one's already gone, downvotes tend to be distributed among the good ones. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 28 '18 at 22:14
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Focusing on experiences where I was the person asking the question,

Inapplicable answers force more work on the question-writer

My experience has been that when I ask a question and get an inapplicable answer, the story doesn't end there.

I have to go over and explain why the answer is inapplicable. If I don't, my question will tend to accrue more inapplicable answers.

Sometimes, this process is annoying but salutary, because it causes you to go back and clarify something in your question.

Other times, it feels like a colossal waste of time because you're just having to write personalized notes to the tune of "I'm not playing The World's Most Popular RPG right now, not every game is exactly like The World's Most Popular RPG" over and over.

And, if you don't take the time to do it — or maybe if you do, because not everyone answering reads every answer and comment before composing their own… more answers you can't use will come along, inspired by the first.


To the extent that some system-tagged questions have kinda "system-agnostic" answers, it's not hard to communicate you're paying attention, I think. If you're borrowing from another system or genre, it only takes a sentence to explain why it's relevant. (And I think you'd need that sentence even without the threat of deletion looming over you: it's important information on its own because it signposts where to go to get more ideas like this.)

It's also not hard to at least get a vague impression about whether your experience is relevant by researching a game you haven't played before answering questions about it, in my experience.

I know it's frustrating to have your answer axed, but I honestly don't see a lot of it happening just because. The answers I see getting deleted are the answers that would actually force me to do more work, as described above, if I were the question-writer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Inapplicable answers force more work on the question-writer" - well, I'd put it to you that if your questions are repeatedly attracting inapplicable answers then you do need to do more work as a question writer. \$\endgroup\$ – RyanfaeScotland Oct 24 '18 at 1:01
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Do not mod-delete content posted in good faith

In my personal opinion, nobody writing an answer here in good faith trying to help another community member should ever have their post deleted by a single person that thinks the contents of the post is not good enough.

I think SE makes it pretty clear in multiple places that that is a general guideline.

The main argument for using moderator tools to delete answers based on content seems to be that an answer that is too generic and broad is "Not an answer" and as such can be deleted just as the other NAA flags if valid.

But simply put, that is wrong. To quote from the policy (emphasis taken from the source):

Any post that attempts to answer the question—however badly—is still an answer! Do not use the "not an answer" flag for wrong answers. Moderators do not judge the technical correctness of answers.

You can downvote such answers as a signal that they are bad answers and not useful, but they are still answers, so you should not flag them.

Source

Or to quote a different source on the same topic, when not to use the NAA flag:

The answer makes an attempt to answer the question, even if it is wrong or inaccurate or you disagree with it

Source

The question was raised that if it's not NAA, would it count as a VLQ?

Again, there is already SE consensus on this:

The VLQ flag should be used for unrecognizable gibberish.

Posts that should be flagged as VLQ don't make any sense as a question or answer: it is not salvageable through editing. Every post that is human readable (it might still need extensive editing) can't be flagged as VLQ. It can be flagged as spam, abusive / offensive, not an answer, etc, if that does apply.

Don't use the VLQ flag for questions or answers that are not well-researched, unclear, or just plain wrong. A downvote and/or close vote in the case of a question will do then.

Source

Or a higher voted quote from a Tim Post, a Community Manager:

If an answer is wrong, but the author seems to have read and understood the question, use your down vote. Moderators judge the quality of posts, not the accuracy. Well, we do judge accuracy when we're knowledgeable, but we do that with our votes.

Source

So the examples given in the question here, would be neither NAA nor VLQ. They are readable answers of individuals that have read and understood the question and answered it in good faith. They might be wrong, but that is no reason to get deleted by a mod.

So do we keep those answers around forever? No:

Use Stack Exchange the way it's meant to be used

If the answer is not useful because it's not specific enough, that's the stereotypical "not useful". In other words, that is what downvotes are for. After three people downvoted, people holding the required privilege can even vote to delete. That is the way a post that is not good enough vanishes: through 3 (more likely 5+) members of the community casting their votes. Content is removed when the subject matter experts deem it "not useful", not when a moderator thinks is not good enough. (Not saying moderators cannot be subject matter experts at the same time, but they should not use their mod tools for something they aren't meant for. They can use the same process of downvoting we all use.)


On a personal note: for some people coming from forums, the quality of posts is what makes SE unique and they want that enforced at all costs. I'm also coming from forums, but obviously different one's. For me, a moderator ruling supreme over content is the one thing I want to escape from in forums. This site has the ability to actually have the community judge content. That's a privilege we should not give away lightly to let the moderators take care of that for us just because we are too lazy. Freedom is something we have to use or it get's lost. We have the tools to handle this. It's not a moderators job. It's our job.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Point of order, we're not deleting answers because they're "not good enough" or because they're "vague", but because they specifically appear to be answering a question from a vantage of zero connection to the actual question. The answers that prompted this question were specifically answering from a clear vantage point of zero actual experience in the system. (This is like answering a C++ question with "idk but this works in javascript".) Sometimes we delete answers that appear to have entirely missed the question's context. ("Here's how you solve this in javascript.") \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 25 '18 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ In saying that, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the positions you express -- those may work just fine here -- but you're putting them forward as "we shouldn't do X" where X wasn't a thing we were doing or which the question was about. Your answer would be improved by directly addressing what is/was happening or what the question is about. (Should we not delete answers that have an edition mismatch, or no demonstrated knowledge, or no citation and an apparent content mismatch? More specific feedback along those lines is going to be more helpful to us diamond moderators.) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 25 '18 at 15:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ My position is that you should not mod delete anything that isn't obviously junk (see linked sources for what junk is). If something "appears to be answering the question", then whatever hte problem with it is, be it zero system knowledge, or even completely misunderstanding the question, it is not something that needs the janitorial powers of a mod. Any judgement call that needs subject matter expertise (saying "this displays no system knowledge" obviously needs system knowledge to begin with) is up to the community, not for the use of mod powers. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 25 '18 at 16:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ For example, the answers linked in this question, both make a good faith attempt to answer. They don't mistake the answer field for something else, posting another question, comment or spam or try to rickroll people or post insults. I cannot judge if those are quality answers, I have no system knowledge. But I can see those people tried to answer and per the quote in my answer here should not be deleted except for normal community policing of downvoted answers. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 25 '18 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. That helps me better understand what you're putting forward. (Which is important if the community decides on this answer!) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 25 '18 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there harm in removing posts that are obviously off topic, e.g. “Use {Ruby code}” in answer to “How do I {x} in PHP”, or “Use {extremely cyberpunk genre visuals}” in answer to “How do I portray {x} interestingly in {extremely non-cyberpunk RPG}”? If there's harm, what exactly? And if so, how does it balance against harms (if any) to leaving those? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 25 '18 at 22:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie The harm is that it goes against SE policy. It's like saying "why wait for a jury, when the cop has decided the guy is guilty." What's the harm in that, even assuming the cop is correct? Due process is a value of it's own. It's there for a reason. On the other hand, I see zero harm in leaving a good faith answer to the judgement of the community. That's the foundation of SE. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 25 '18 at 23:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt If blatantly off topic answers are not suitable uses of a mod delete, what is? Perhaps more specifically: can a mod ever validate a VLQ flag? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '18 at 2:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Mods can absolutely validate both NAA and VLQ flags... it's just that neither applies. I have updated my answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 26 '18 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ A note: the MSE post you've quoted regarding VLQ flag use consensus is only score:3, and it's wrong. (VLQ is never for gibberish; that's NAA. This is according to the actual mod flag UI.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '18 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie well, take it from the other source then... basically the same, but higher vote and from a moderator. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 26 '18 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ That source is in line with current deletion practice here; the quote chosen omits context and makes it seem they have a more absolute position than they do. E.g., "If a moderator investigates a very low quality flag and sees an answer that is readable and seemingly relevant to the question, well .. there's not much evidence of a quality issue." That's the same mod endorsing the handling approach that resulted in the deletion that sparked this meta, because that's not what we saw in those answers. Rather, we saw well-written but obviously irrelevant—evidence of unsalvageable quality issue. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '18 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie If you deleted something despite it being a readable attempt to answer the question, because you think the answer is inaccurate, plain wrong or otherwise faulty (not enough system knowledge for example)... then your deletion practice is not in line with that source. I find it hard to understand how you think the very first sentence of the quote lines up with the current practice and I cannot even get the line you quoted in line with it. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 26 '18 at 16:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ First, a foreign mod isn't an authority, just knowledgeable. Second, they're advising someone about a post that they think is egregiously wrong, and how to use the VLQ flag. The mod's words are regarding that use of the flag being incorrect. So, in sum: the deletion here was not "because [we] think the answer is inaccurate, plain wrong or otherwise faulty (not enough system knowledge for example)", it was because it was off topic: no system knowledge. As your quoted source says, reading and understanding a Q invalidates VLQ (and I agree). Evidence of not understanding the Q is valid VLQ. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '18 at 16:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie That "foreign mod" that's not supposed to be an authority is an actual full time employee of the company providing us SE and has 100K rep and moderator privileges on meta.stackexchange, the SE site that's only purpose is to explain and clarify how SE in general works. If that is not an authority, I don't know. Doesn't mean we should obey every word he posts, but I don't think you'd find anyone short of Joel more qualified to be named an authority on SE policy. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 26 '18 at 19:09
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Honestly, it depends on the question

When it comes to questions about mechanics specific to a particular game system, then I agree that deletion of the answers regarding a different system is appropriate. There is no way to meaningfully answer a mechanics question without knowledge of those mechanics, and thus no way for an answer about a different system to be helpful or relevant.

However, the same cannot be said when the question is fundamentally about something which can be applied across systems. In the example provided, the question isn't actually about how to narrate hacking, its about how to narrate a task that should be tense/exciting, but doesn't feel that way due to the mechanical abstractions. For these types of questions, it seems possible that expertise in the system is not required in order to provide a helpful answer, and as such the answers should be allowed to stand and be judged by the community. The asker is of course well within their rights to downvote an answer outside of the desired system or to upvote/accept an answer that deals with the desired system. As the asker, that is their right. But to remove answers someone else may find useful because of system restrictions seems like it would be counter-productive.

Tldr: If the question is mechanics focused or otherwise requires system knowledge to answer, delete. Otherwise let the community decide.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't want to have a mechanical/not mechanical dichotomy: how do we know expertise isn't required for this question? Maybe it is: Are they missing something in hacking, steps they're not taking? Is it possible that zooming in and making hacking fun & exciting is the wrong approach, because it's not exciting and not meant to be and is best moved past ASAP? What tools do we have, whether in game mechanics or philosophy, to guide us on what we can and can't do? All those issues, game expertise solves, and someone who's never even seen the game won't have a clue. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 10 '18 at 3:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Fundamentally games matter at a level above "what do the rules say" — games come as well with a philosophy and set of expectations around how gameplay unfolds, how narration happens and what kinds, what the GM can actually do, what tasks like this actually involve and can/can't involve (like, what challenges are ideal to throw at EP hacking?), or where the player/GM power dichotomy sits in handling issues like this. All of that shapes the landscape of possible and effective solutions. If we expect game expertise from answers to rules questions we should expect it here too. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 10 '18 at 3:46

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