5
\$\begingroup\$

How should we treat "trivial question" questions?

There are a number of questions coming in that seem like exercises in laziness IMO. "What is a macguffin," "What is railroading," etc. At best these should be wiki entries, but really they are "I don't feel like checking Wikipedia, let me make someone answer it for me." I don't know if they're exercises in trying to pull rep or what, but they should be OT. Just like on SO, it's not tolerated to ask "What is Perl?" There's a difference between being newbie friendly and allowing that - and it's not "unfriendly" if someone asks "What is a roleplaying game?" to point them at the CW (or wikipedia) and close the question.

\$\endgroup\$
8
\$\begingroup\$

I figured the assumed level of knowledge about rpgs for someone coming to this site would range from complete newb, to sage-like veterans. Having a site that is the go to place for rpgs seems like it should cater to as broad a range as possible.

Simply providing a link as an answer isn't a good enough approach to answering a simple question. The answer that was chosen for the macguffin question was done so because of it's relevancy towards role playing games. It was a shorter, concise answer that allows the reader to quickly learn what the term was, and how to apply in a role playing game. The wiki link has excess information that has nothing to do with gaming.

I haven't participated in any of the other stack exchange sites however, so this is just my initial views on appropriate basic questions. If community consensus proves otherwise, that's fine as well.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's definitely not a clear-cut issue--perhaps editing a question like the Macguffin one to something like "How are Macguffins used in campaign/adventure design?" would help clarify more. \$\endgroup\$ – Numenetics Aug 21 '10 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I also went ahead and deleted my answer--my posting it and votes related to it are actually more of a form of this conversation that can be had more clearly here. \$\endgroup\$ – Numenetics Aug 21 '10 at 16:54
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I say we should be a comprehensive as possible and provide answers to both complex and simple questions. \$\endgroup\$ – RS Conley Aug 21 '10 at 18:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Numen - I agree it would be a good question if it were more "How to use McGuffins in adventure design." That's a legitimate question. @RS - but it has to stop somewhere; this site can't and shouldn't be a dictionary or repo for all game rules. Why not have the whole d20 SRD stuffed in here too for the sake of "completeness?" A SO is not supposed to be a replacement for wikipedia, a dictionary, or a manual. Besides, I think that a lot of the problem right now is question seeding. No one actually has these questions or wants answers to them, so the questions tend towards the trivial. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 23 '10 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ You know what, that makes more sense actually. A better position would be, how do you turn a trivial question into a legitimate question which is what I intended it to be. I got a very good legitimate answer out of a supposedly trivial question. \$\endgroup\$ – wizard Aug 24 '10 at 6:07
3
\$\begingroup\$

Disclosure: I posted at least one of these questions (RailRoading).

Yes, I already knew what railroading was. However: we're trying to establish scope here, as such, I thought the question valid (and there are plenty of 'new users' who will benefit from a description of railroading). One man's "trivial" is another mans... etc.

\$\endgroup\$
3
\$\begingroup\$

The FAQ needs to define the guidelines of what kind of knowledge is expected of a user before they interact here. This would help define what is trivial and what is not.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It should also be noted that aside from rules as written mechanics, role playing games are subjective and abstract by nature. We are not dealing with computers which can have technical questions with concrete answers, but other humans. \$\endgroup\$ – wizard Aug 22 '10 at 1:00
-1
\$\begingroup\$

It seems to me that if the answer can be found almost effortlessly by just checking wikipedia or a dictionary then it doesn't need to be a question.

What is railroading / sandboxing are maybe more difficult to find definitions for than macguffin, though.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed - maybe CW for the actual RPG domain stuff and close for wikipedia/tvtropes definable answers? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 21 '10 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you think that would an OT close, then? \$\endgroup\$ – Numenetics Aug 21 '10 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, or probably in about 2 weeks they'd all be "already covered" closes. The problem isn't simple questions now, it's the same simple questions filling the site up later. Whether it's a wikipedia or local community wiki post, at best it's a link and a close - there's a difference between newbie and lazy that's recognized by all the SE sites. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 21 '10 at 17:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Isn't the purpose of this site to provide the definitive source to find your answers? If I wanted a link I have google and wikipedia to help me out. However sifting through irrelevant information can be bypassed with a simple question and a clear answer. Simply posting a link without any helpful guidance is lazy. Posting a clear and relevant answer and expanding on it to cover angles that may not have been considered by the questioner is much more complete, plus the alternative views and opinions(the best of which are voted up) are invaluable even if not the accepted answer. \$\endgroup\$ – wizard Aug 22 '10 at 0:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ IMO it's lazy to make other people "answer your question" when it's an easy lookup. It shows disrespect for them. On any SE site, no one likes it when someone asks something that's "in the manual." You can ask for techniques or advice around it, but go ask "what is a constant" on SO and watch your question get closed so fast you won't know what hit you. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 23 '10 at 13:34

You must log in to answer this question.

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