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This concerns What have designers said for why they made worn items fireproof?

Short summary of events:

  • The question was asking what the RAI was behind worn items being fireproof.
  • An answer arrived providing reasonable speculation without citation.
  • After some brief back-and-forth with the asker, the question was clarified. (At the time of writing, all comments remain undeleted, so the full history of that brief exchange is visible.)

According to prior discussions on this topic (primarily Are questions of designer intent on-topic for this site?, also Rules-as-intended and designer intent) our community stance is that when a question is investigating designer intent, we expect answers to cite clear evidence of what the designer intent is. Reverse-engineered speculation is generally not accepted. So, that question now requests citation. That's standard practice.

In this case I gave the benefit of the doubt that maybe "they haven't said anything, here's the obvious reason" might be a reasonable way to answer the question, sort of like a frame challenge. That might have been a bad call. I was also interested in seeing whether it would be well-received, but that's been distorted by the question having hit HNQ.

There have been a handful of comments and flags (all from different users) raising concern about the question's quality and its current course.

So I'd like your input on what to do here. Do we:

  • Leave it open as-is?
  • Purge the answers that don't provide citation (all of them) and carry on as we normally do for questions investigating designer reasons (strictly require citation as a baseline, reject uncited speculation completely and remove it)?
  • Revert the question to its first revision and close it as not workable on the site?
  • Something else?

I don't personally care about purging the answers if our site quality materially stands to benefit — if we deem they're not above our quality bar we don't stand to benefit from keeping them, and reputation points can be replaced some other time.


Following up on this: the question's been community-reopened. Only one answer remained undeleted, and was removed for not providing designer citation & consisting of speculation.

My take-away is the community here has affirmed a desire for cited designer reasons on questions that request designer reasoning/intent/etc. We cannot accept personal speculation. As an extension of that, we also cannot accept answers of the form “they didn't say anything, so here's my speculation instead” since it simply becomes an avenue to provide speculation we don't want to gather. If there's no designer commentary available, the question can remain unanswered until it is available.

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    \$\begingroup\$ the concept of a frame challenge on a designer-reasons question doesn't make sense to me. It sounds like if the frame of the question is "what reason did the designers have for making this decision?" then a challenge to that frame would be something like "The designers didn't make any decision: somebody else did" \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Mar 12 '18 at 18:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adam Right, it's not really a frame challenge, but it's sort of like one in that it declines to take the question on as-asked and instead answers it differently. Possibly badly, in the process. Maybe I shouldn't have it in that thought category at all though, and just enforce our policy strictly. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 12 '18 at 18:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Becareful that you do not allow a small number of very active users to determine the course for the whole site. I know on the workplace we have less that 2% of the active users that are active on meta and in chat. But those are high rep users and their voice carries alot of weight. The rest of the community's will can be drowned out by these users and you can destroy what you already have built. \$\endgroup\$ – user2015 Mar 13 '18 at 13:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chad That's part of why I opened this meta, to give more visibility to this discussion than a single comment thread (which I also linked to this meta in). It's difficult to make this more visible than that, and I can't hear out people who aren't speaking up, but I'm also looking out for answers that express in a principled way what we should do based on precedent and policy, and the answers here are providing that. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 13 '18 at 14:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chad: I must say that concern is on my mind as well. As I mention in my answer, the number of upvotes (and maybe more indicatively, lack of downvotes) on the answers might be construed as the community as a whole having a different opinion than the one I expressed. However, I am not sure how much weight to give that versus some clear principles I see as being fairly vital to uphold in this situation. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 '18 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can we maybe get an update on why the question was closed as opinion-based? I know it was closed by @mxyzplk not by you, but I'm not sure where else to have this conversation. I have my opinion on this, but really I'm just curious to hear what the rationale behind it was. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 '18 at 15:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose At a guess the reasoning was something like "people were answering with just their opinions, so it's an opinion question." (One method of moderation thought is that the answers that are attracted will show us what kind of question a question really is.) That's the nature of any "why did they?" question, really, unless people cite evidence to make it factual. I'm leaving it alone for now, but if it gets reopened I'm going to nuke the answers. The community can have this closed as an opinion question, or open as one that follows citation expectations. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 13 '18 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would almost say that if we are already going to have it closed as opinion-based we should consider reverting the changes that (rightly) added designer reasoning explicitly into the question wording. Thus the question fits what we usually just close as opinion-based, it then wouldn't be able to be reopened. It seems a slightly better option to me at least, but y'all can take it or leave it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 '18 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose That's a fair third option, one Mindwin brought up too. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 13 '18 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener: As a clarification (not to drag this comment chain out longer, sorry) when I said "slightly better option" I meant than the current state. I, personally still prefer the open-and-nuke option, but if we are going down the close-as-opinion route we should commit and just let the question actually be an opinion-based one. Right now it is sort of a half measure, an opinion-based tag on a question that meets site standards for not being opinion-based. Seems like worst of both worlds. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 '18 at 16:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose On the other hand, the current state leaves open the possibility of being reopened, more than reverting would. If we want to see how the community moves on this, leaving it in a more reasonable question state helps. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 13 '18 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think we may be missing the point on what the question is: the question is one about gamism versus simulationism, and is IMO related to various questions on called shots/attacking body parts in this edition of the game. (Some previous editions had that feature, some didn't) I don't think it's about designer intent, per se, on "something being fireproof" which is part of the problem with the question. I think this question need a frame challenge. It's not about items being fireproof. You don't need to be a dev to figure this out; you need to be familiar with this and other editions. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 16 '18 at 12:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with @KorvinStarmast. Most of the questions I've seen on the site that ended up asking for designer reasons started with asking 'why is it so' with no mention of designers intent. My guess is they were more concerned about the effect of the rule on the gameplay, but the question as is was unclear and eventually turned to designers intent (not without the influence of the comments). \$\endgroup\$ – Ols Mar 21 '18 at 12:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Worth linking this in the FAQ post? rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/q/7064/23970 \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 23 '18 at 12:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ols In practice we get lots of questions about whether some existing rule is unbalanced or whether a proposed change is balanced. I don't see any people having difficulty asking those questions, when that's what they're actually wanting to know. It makes sense that when people ask about balance, balance is what they want to know about, and when people ask about why, why really is what they want to know. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 23 '18 at 15:49
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My opinion is that we should purge the answers.

Designers are the only appropriate source for designer questions

If OP wants designer reasons, the only authoritative answer we can give them is going to be based off of designer guidance in some way. Designer guidance directly addressing this issue (or an answer based off of related designer guidance) is the only way to offer an expert opinion on matters asking why the designers did something. Thus, any answer that does not contain this is not answering the question up to our standards.

This is the best standard that we have right now for

I can see no way to clearly and consistently handle these types of questions in a way that maintains their usefulness as a stack Q&A other than being very strict about this requirement. I can think of no enforceable guideline that would allow answers without designer evidence that wouldn't create a situation that was incredibly confusing to the point of making moderating these questions a nightmare.

Part of the problem is that it is so easy to come up with a reasonable and logical-sounding explanation by guessing and much harder to dig up designer guidance on any specific issue. Thus, this type of question will always have issues with people speculating unless we have a clear guideline on what is allowed and what isn't. My line right now is that it must contain directly cited evidence from designers. If the community can come up with a clear but more lenient guideline I'm all ears, but, until then, non-supported answers should be downvoted and/or deleted with prejudice.

I do not think this a proper frame challenge

Regarding the frame challenge, I do not even think the question being referred to really can be considered one. You can't reasonably say to the OP that you think that they actually really don't want designer guidance but would rather just hear your opinion. There is no justification ever given for this besides the fact that designer guidance is hard to find or that the answer seems really obvious, neither of which I find compelling. The former because sometimes allowing a question to sit for a long time in order to get a right and useful answer is always preferable to just having a quick answer. The latter because it is incredibly subjective.

In fact, I think it is much more like the answers that try to answer a D&D 5e question with a D&D3.X rules explanation. A 3.X rules explanation might give an accurate answer to a 5e question, but it is essentially a guess and, maybe more importantly, not what the querent was asking for. Same goes for .

Addendum: Why so many upvotes?

It is worrisome to me that the community as a whole upvoted several answers on the mainsite question despite, site standards aside, ignoring a major part of the question. I think the ramifications of this disconnect between community perception and moderation guideline may be something that has to be addressed. But I think this is another discussion unto itself.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a little confused though as to what "major part of the question" we're ignoring. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Mar 13 '18 at 14:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adam: All the parts specifically requesting/requiring evidence of designer reasoning is what I was referring to. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 '18 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is that last paragraph in reference to the answer on the main-site question, or your answer here on meta? That's what's really got me confused I should say. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Mar 13 '18 at 14:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adam: Mainsite. I absolutely see how that would be unclear (undefined pronouns). Fixing that now. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 '18 at 14:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe the reason for the upvotes is that the answer was written in a charismatic fashion... I think people are 'Like'ing (as Facebook) it instead of 'Upvoting'ing, as is done in the Stack. Essentially "I enjoyed reading this, have a Reputation." I do agree its a problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Mar 14 '18 at 20:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Purging the answers makes no sense to me, when they are at mostly correct. The problem is partly with the question, as Chad pointed out. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 16 '18 at 13:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast You cannot claim they are correct. You cannot claim that the reasons stated are what the designers intended. You do not know that. That is the entire problem. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 17 '18 at 1:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Sorry, my friend, but they are in fact correct. Only been playing this game since 1975. You Don't Need A Dev Comment to explain the "why" to the question. The addition of that tag was extrinsic to the person asking the question. That is the point that Chad has been trying to make. Nuking the answers is patently wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 17 '18 at 2:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ The other option is closing it as opinion-based, because no, you don’t “know.” \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 17 '18 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Which appears to be how it worked out in the end. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 18 '18 at 0:13
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The argument that adding the tag makes it hard/impossible to give an answer to the question should not be allowed as a reason to ignore the tag's existence on a question.

Equally, allowing answers that challenge the need for this tag is dangerous. We generally accept that the use of the [designer-reasons] tag makes answers much more difficult to give, but some users struggle with this idea. By allowing answers that argue 'well its so obvious that we don't need to ask for designer reasons' we are effectively invalidating the whole purpose of the tag, allowing answers to speculate as to why something is the case without any clear evidence to back it up.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Point of order -- the tag doesn't do anything at all. The tag describes the content of the question. I don't want people to take this as a magical rule-introducing meta tag; we realised that was bad with rules-as-written. This tag only categorises this question as being about designer reasons, because it is asking for designer reasons/intentions. As part of being a question asking about designer intent, we expect answers to cite designers, so the question text itself requests that too. Don't focus on the tag! Focus on the question's text. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 12 '18 at 18:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Okay then @doppelgreener. The questioner has specified that evidence used has to be come directly from designers of the game. Answers are either ignoring this requirement or arguing that it isn't needed because the 'answer is so obvious'. This is no different from an answer ignoring the system tag in a question. If we allow these answers then we are allowing answers based on speculation that ignore important aspects of the question given. For that reason we should delete them \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Mar 12 '18 at 18:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer's stance is fine. I just don't want the idea that the tag is the thing introducing the rules to catch on (... more than it already has) since tags aren't supposed to be doing things like introducing rules, or really anything other than categorisation. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 12 '18 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener sorry - my comment was a lot sharper than I intended it to be. I'm just a little confused between this situation and that which I highlighted here:- rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7753/…. The fundamental issue is the same. We're talking about tags that imply certain expectations in terms of the content of answers and those expectations not being met \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Mar 12 '18 at 18:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem I have with the highest voted answer is that it explicitly says 'the designers haven't said anything, so I'm going to speculate'. This is not good enough. We have plenty of examples where people have gone away and asked questions to designers using twitter etc. Just because the specified evidence is difficult to get, that does not mean we can justify allowing speculation instead \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Mar 12 '18 at 18:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm leaning toward that as well right now. As said, I was interested in giving this the benefit of the doubt to see how it went, and that may have been the wrong call to make. The community's endorsed removal in that related Q, but I was interested in seeing what came from not removing yet & leaving things to community judgement. This meta is an extension of the very same. (My take-away from this won't be "well I'll never bother trying to leave it to the community again!!" -- waiting and seeing very often brings good results -- but it is a learning experience for me as a diamond moderator.) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 12 '18 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to upvote this reasoning too, but I also can't really while it's using “tag” to stand in for “(on) topic”. That equivocation has caused too many headaches on the site to look past it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 13 '18 at 3:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair points which I agree with. I think @Rubiksmoose has given a better answer than an edit of this would provide, covering the same ground, so I'm going to leave this unedited to preserve the logic of the comments thread that it spawned \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Mar 13 '18 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ The tag may be a red herring. Please see my comment under the question. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 16 '18 at 13:02
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When it comes down to it, there's two things we can do with questions like this.

  1. Close them as opinion-based, because they just get everyone's own pet logic-train as an answer. @korvinstarmast alleges that "he's experienced, so he can answer this question from experience" - that's a logical fallacy, appeal to authority. You may have experience with a game but you're still effectively guessing about the reason the game reads that way - "this version is simpler so it makes sense," "I had a character always getting his stuff burned off in 1986 and it was annoying so it makes sense," "I've always hated Mike Mearls so it must be his fault, that makes sense..." Answers need evidence or experience of the actual thing in question, not simply the hubris of being generally experienced. We should close as opinion-based when the question is at its heart opinion-based, and effectively saying "I (or my players) don't like this rule, justify it to me." That's forum fodder, like "sell me on this game." In most cases even getting a designer reason doesn't make these people happy, because their core problem (they don't like the rule, it breaks immersion/is too simplistic/is too complex) isn't solved by a quote.
  2. Require designer commentary, as per Back It Up! This is the only way to legitimately answer a question like this. "Frame challenge" is for when someone's not asking the question they have, not a way to subvert standard site Good Objective rules. In this case, if the OP was saying "I really want to be able to destroy items on a PC, so I'm trying fireballs, but they won't burn their stuff, why not?" a legit frame challenge would be "Yeah that doesn't work but here's some other ways to destroy items on a PC." Not "whee here's my opinions on that" - that's not a frame challenge to the question, but a frame challenge to the site rules, and they don't like that. We should edit to add designer commentary requirements and keep a question open when that's really what's going to help the OP. Most commonly this'll be because they're designing themselves. "I'm making a magical flask of oil that will burn someone's gear but not their flesh. But the usual rules say you can't do that, I'd like more information so I don't screw up balance too badly - has a designer said why that is?"

Obviously we as a community have tried to "be helpful" and keep questions open by adding designer-reasons to them. This is now backfiring as people can't follow that rule (much like with recommendations) so we probably need to stop, close the questions as opinion-based, and save designer-reasons and reopening and enforcing that rule for only the cases where it really is the solution to the OP's problem.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure why you personalized this answer, perhaps the frustration with the now deleted argument. You will note that I have not yet provided an answer. There is more than one reason for that: the time it takes to peel back the details on the design commentary on general design principles; both offered answers are about half way there already; the question on whether the question stays open or not. I think in my answer here I should, as you have, also referred to "back it up" because without at least citing the general design points, any analysis comes up short. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 17 '18 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the record, this is the comment I left under Lino's answer: I think this answer would be improved if some citations from the designers' on the overall design philosophy of this edition was edited in. That citation would fit into your opening paragraph, in terms of "they don't address this spell explicitly, but since X is the overall design approach, this gamism fits into that approach" (Or something like that). Then your example illustrates why that is the case \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 17 '18 at 17:03
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I believe that this may be a place for experience based answers

I think that experience is the basis for the answer with a lot of up votes. There have been a couple of design decisions in this edition of this game that remove additional die rolls, fiddly bits, etc, that had been present in the attempts at greater simulationism in other editions. Being able to compare

  • "they used to do it this way, and
  • if you look at the design intent statements (not necessarily on this spell) of streamlining the game, this is a logical implementation of that intention"

makes this an answerable question on the basis of showing how this feature, or lack of it, reflects a balancing between gamism and simulationism.

It takes two things to do that in the answer, I think:

  1. Knowing what the impact was on the game when everything had to make that save. (AD&D 1e, or GURPS, or any "crunchy" game, for example)

  2. The overarching design commentary that we already have references to in various other questions and answers on what D&D next/5e is about.

This is similar to the 5e called shot questions

Designer quotes on the fire ball or fire bolt spell specifically are nice, but they are not necessary if one can form a well reasoned answer that fits together the pieces of the puzzle for where granular detail like that has been omitted. The lack of "hit that part of the body" feature is related to this bit about protecting mundane items on the character. We have a number of answers on the called shot. Previous editions had that feature, but this one does not. Here's one question on called shots. Here is another one.

Also, as I read it again, the question is wrong. None of the items are fire proof. Once removed from the character they are burned. What they are is protected by the player's mechanic of being the player. (A gamism) The answer needs to address that "This is a gamism" element. An approach including "There are elements of this game that are not attempts a simulating reality. This is one of them." (Similar to the lightning bolt issue ...) Comparing it to the lack of "hitting specific parts of the body" might be a good way to show similarity of intend to not be as granular/simulationist.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comment argument deleted. Quit it. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 17 '18 at 14:52
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The concern I have with Designer-Reasons Questions in general is this.

If the answer is available online it is probably googleable, and any answer given will be a simple copy and paste, link, or citation. If this is the case it probably indicates a lack of research on the part of the asker, or ignorance of canon source materials.

Most games have some kind of FAQ or similar Q&A type of method for finding the answers to direct "What do the designers say about X?" Some like 5e have things like Jeremy Crawford's twitter where you can specifically ask them your question. Most of the games even tell you what they consider canon. If a person researches all canon sources and doesn't find their answer, asking on RPG-se isn't going to get them a canon answer.

This seems to make these types of questions useless as far as RPG-se is concerned. Since nobody can answer them until an official answer is published, and answers like "I looked here, here, here and here but didn't find anything" are not allowed. It does not allow any useful information on the subject. At least being allowed to say "I don't know" gives the asker the knowledge, that by and large the RPG-se community doesn't have the info they want.

My personal recommendation would be to refer the asker to the appropriate sources for official rules of the game in question, remind them that we are not the designers of their game and cannot answer their question of designer intent authoritatively, and either have them rework the question so that it can be used for constructive answers on the subject in question or close the question.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You've posted this to a meta discussion about a very specific mainsite question, and it's probably not the best platform to discuss designer reasons questions in general. Did you mean to post this to How do we save designer reasoning questions? instead which was posted an hour ago? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 23 '18 at 23:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I made a comment on the original question that was basically a short version of this. @mxyzplk referred me here. If this is not the right meta that he was referring to is there a way to move my answer to the right meta? \$\endgroup\$ – Duck Apr 23 '18 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ You’re in the right place. Duck commented on the fireproof items question which already had this meta. Since, I’ve opened a new meta about the future of all these questions which you are also welcome to contribute to. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 24 '18 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that discourse is something we want to prevent, so reworking a question “so that it can be used for constructive discourse on the subject” will just result in it being closed. SE in general and RPG.se in specific are not designed for discourse. We also don't reject questions for being answerable with Google — instead we aim to be even better and more useful than existing answers from Google, so that we become the best Google result. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 24 '18 at 0:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ That said, there is some merit to “we're not the designers”… \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 24 '18 at 0:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Discourse verb disˈkôrs 1. speak or write authoritatively about a topic. "she could discourse at great length on the history of Europe" synonyms: hold forth, expatiate, pontificate. RPG.se wants to prevent discourse? \$\endgroup\$ – Duck Apr 24 '18 at 6:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ You’re quoting the verb definition but you and I have only used the uncountable noun form of “discourse”. The primary definition is “verbal exchange, conversation”. (Discussion/conversation is what SE is designed to prevent.) The uncountable noun meaning solo, expository, is a rarer second in English usage (mostly academic usage), and the countable noun directly related to that verb definition is a distant third (also mostly academic). In your post, you might be better off just using “constructive answers” instead of a ten-dollar word that is easily misapplied. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 24 '18 at 6:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie good point. Done \$\endgroup\$ – Duck Apr 24 '18 at 6:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I understand now what happened. Thanks for your response then @Duck. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 24 '18 at 9:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! That substantially shifts what I understand your answer is suggesting. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 24 '18 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem is that "the designers haven't said as far as anyone here knows" is not an answer and doesn't solve anything. It's just as answering "Nobody here has playtested your homebrew material, so we don't know if it is balanced", although in the second case we can speculate based on experience, while here speculation makes no sense at all, unless you are friends with the devs or something (i.e. has some inside on their thoughts from experience somehow) \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Apr 24 '18 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ You say, “answers like ‘I looked here, here, here and here but didn't find anything’ are not allowed,” but is that so? Certainly such answers are allowed, and encouraged, in answers to questions that are of the form “is there some rule/feat/spell/item/whatever that handles this?” questions, which are among our bread and butter here. Such answers might even head off some of the useless answering, since people won’t see it as “unanswered.” Maybe. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 24 '18 at 19:25
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Revert the question to its first revision and close it as not workable on the site?

Edits to questions that invalidate existing answers - particularly answers with high votes always grate my gears.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Reverting this particular question isn't going to invalidate any existing answers. Edits to the question only clarified what it was already asking and added our standard citation requirements. The answers aren't meeting those citation requirements anyway, so removing them has no effect. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 15 '18 at 11:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ If anything, the proposed edit would validate the existing answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Mar 15 '18 at 17:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think Dale is saying that he opposes the original changes that were made to the question and thus he wants to revert it to the original form and just close it instead of keep it in its current state. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 16 '18 at 13:22
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I think that the question of why does it work this way, (RAI) questions are desired by the community at large, and that answers that speculate should be judged on their merits.

I think perhaps a better way to view these questions is "How can I explain to my friends playing the game with me as the DM, why this works this way?"

We can answer that question and the community can vote on the answers value. This is how the site is supposed to work. Becareful taking a SE about a creative process and trying to force it to become too much Wikipedia and not enough I have a problem and maybe solving it will help someone else in the future.

In other-words I suggest you consider backing off on the back it up rule for questions about RAI unless the original author specifically requests them. Let the community handle the RAI questions based on how the community feels about them. Remove any rules you have banning them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ “How can I explain this to my group?” is a very different question from “Why did the developers do things this way?” We can offer expert opinions on communication with a group, we can offer context and evidence for the suitability of things being a certain way, but what we can’t do is put words in developers’ mouths or insinuate that our own personal opinion or speculation is in fact what the authors intended, or is an answer to the question of what was intended. If someone asks about intent, but really wants to know how to explain things, they can and should edit their question. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 13 '18 at 20:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan - While I understand why you think so, most new users asking the question have that intent I believe. How do I explain it/why should I use the rules this way? \$\endgroup\$ – user2015 Mar 13 '18 at 21:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ This site, and the Stack Exchange network as a whole, is very much intentionally designed to be more than a little different from what many new users are expecting. Learning some about the functioning of this site is an important part of every new users’ experience. In the end, questions have to be accurate to what the user actually wants. Questions that are unclear will be closed, and must be fixed before they are re-opened. That simply is never going to change; it would defeat the entire purpose of the site. Eliminating ambiguous or misleading jargon like RAI is kinda the point. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 13 '18 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ That said, if you would like to propose that we change our response to questions about intent, that don’t make it clear they really are after intent, you could start that meta discussion. Currently our default is to just enforce our rules about evidence on such questions, but we could instead close them as unclear and then determine whether the clarification they need is to require designer statements (as we do now), or else change the question into asking about how to explain things to the group. I would probably support that but that’s a separate meta discussion you should start. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 13 '18 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ People have to actually ask that question explicitly though, or most answers won't try to help them explain it to their friends. We can only judge and answer the question actually written, not what we guess their intent is. Explicitly describing their intent is the one job the question writer has. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 13 '18 at 23:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Its not opinion based. Its explain this to me because I do not understand. \$\endgroup\$ – user2015 Mar 14 '18 at 4:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan - I am not an active contributor to this SE. I am trying to provide you with an outsiders view point based on my experience with SE's that I am a regular on. I fully expect it to be mostly disregarded. But I felt I had view point to offer that would benefit this SE which i browse casually \$\endgroup\$ – user2015 Mar 14 '18 at 4:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ It’s not “explain this to me because I do not understand” until the question is edited to actually ask that. We are not ever going to be in the business of assuming that querents are actually asking a wholly different question from the one they wrote. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 14 '18 at 19:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Chad, I just wanted to point out that I really appreciate that you took the time to give your opinion here. Even though I do find some parts problematic it is really important that people share their opinions about the way this site is run. So, I would encourage you to not be discouraged by the disagreement here and to not hesitate to contribute in the future. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 14 '18 at 20:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kryan - My point is that instead of just closing and saying follow our rules try to understand what the OP is trying to ask in scope and edit the question to ask that. Sometimes the only thing that a square peg needs to fit in that round hole is a little bit of sanding on the corners. \$\endgroup\$ – user2015 Mar 14 '18 at 23:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Closing is how questions get corners sanded. That’s the entire purpose of the close feature. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 14 '18 at 23:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chad Who has the intentions? The designers. Our policy is when you answer asserting the designers' intentions, you must cite the designers stating their intentions to demonstrate that your assertions are correct. Otherwise it breaks down into reverse-engineered speculation presented as fact (second issue here) which isn't acceptable. As a reminder to answers of this, we revise questions that are asking about designer intent to request these citations. Ipso facto "RAI" == "cite the designers" here. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 16 '18 at 11:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener - I understand how it got edited the way it did. It not that the edit was invalid the edit sets up conflict between the site power users vs people just trying to help and the victim is the OP who just wants to understand. When that happens it was bad edit. not an invalid edit. \$\endgroup\$ – user2015 Mar 16 '18 at 11:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some background: designer-reason questions we not common. People would (naturally) post questions about why a game was the way it was. These inevitably got answered with a lot of dubious opinions and only sometimes with some well-reasoned answers—and even then, these good answers usually resulted in long arguments. That pattern demonstrated that "why" questions were Primarily Opinion-Based: unworkable here. So we closed them. At one point we started edited them to asked for cited designer statements of reason, sanding square pegs into round holes. And now people don't like that sanding effort. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 16 '18 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chad Saying people are looking for opportunities to attack others is a rather uncharitable interpretation of people's motivations. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 18 '18 at 21:42

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