This question, about the fairness of a 7-sided die, troubles me.

It is in my opinion well-thought out and well-formulated. It is asking if a particular die has had any sort of rigorous analysis (physics-based or statistics-based) performed to test its fairness. That is simple, direct, and if such analysis had been done would lead to an answer of, "Yes, see this link," and a paraphrase.

It also seems directly on topic: We have tags for dice, for statistics, and for scientific-validation, all of which apply. (Although... why do we have a tag for scientific-validation? That is the only question with that tag. What's up with that, exactly?) Two of those tags, at least, are properly employed, so I will view, "This is off-topic," somewhat skeptically.

On the other hand, to the best of anyone's knowledge, the analysis does not exist. But negatives are hard to prove, so a technically correct answer is wishy-washy and time-limited at best: "So far as we know, as of the date of this answer... no analysis, so we don't know."

Further, the answers generated are really poor. In particular, there is an analysis that is really a series of assertions, with no source or reference, and which is basically wrong. A peer-reviewed article can show that the assertion/analysis is wrong, but can't (and doesn't purport to) provide a real answer to the question other than, "It could be."

I am qualified to summarize that peer reviewed article, but haven't done so because I still can't answer the question, I can only attack an existing answer. Perhaps I am wrong, but this seems out of bounds for an answer.

What to do?

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    \$\begingroup\$ About the scientific validation tag... Well... There was some talk about it in chat. It was created specifically for that question. Most of mods seemed to disagree with its existance, btw. I do as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 7:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint Yeah, I’m not a fan of it and see it having questionable utility, but… folksonomyyyyyyy! ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I removed it a few hours ago actually after mulling it over for a day. I felt it was a type-of-answer tag -- it categorised my question not by my question itself but by what was expected of answers, which isn't what tags are for. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not agree with that tag, and I am in no way an expert on tagging. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 23:15

2 Answers 2


What to do: Wait for a right answer to be submitted.

Let’s talk briefly about closed questions. Closing prevents answers, and it’s done for a host of reasons. But one thing closing always means: no new answers can be submitted.

The complement of this is open questions. No matter how old an open question is, it’s never too old to answer. It’s a gap of knowledge patiently waiting to be filled, possibly years later. A question doesn’t ever need to have a wrong or poor answer submitted — it’s not going to be made better by filling that gap with garbage.

A question like the one you’re looking at might not have an answer that seems right, right now. It might never have a right answer… but it also might one day. That’s fine, it’s an open question and will be there when and if that right answer ever exists. It’s not going anywhere.

It doesn’t need fixing. Just a bit of trust in the system. It’s not a hole that we need to anxiously shovel something — anything — into so that it stops being an uncomfortable hole.

Make peace with the unanswered. Sit placidly with it. Let the worldly concern about its emptiness fall away. Be one with the emptiness, to see that empty is right for it here and now. Be at peace.


  • \$\begingroup\$ What about a bounty? \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 6:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW For a concern that possibly no right answer exists, it doesn’t seem to be the tool for the job. It may be useful to attract attention in case there is a right answer and it just hasn’t been connected with the Q yet, but leaving a bounty and it being unsuccessful I think wouldn’t soothe the particular concern behind this meta Q. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 6:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie The extra problem here seems that the question got an answer, but the OP (of this question, the one I'm commenting) thinks that that answer is simply wrong. Letting it there, with people possibly upvoting it due to lack of understanding of the topic, could be harmful. In that scenario, does your answer change somehow? \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 8:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hellsaint That gets resolved by a diligent voting community being willing to downvote. FWIW diamond moderators don't delete things we feel might be wrong, nor close questions on the basis they have wrong answers present. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 9:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, there is an explicit flag dismissal reason entitled “flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies or for an altogether wrong answer.” That’s a community voting job. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 11:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ironically, I think this meta-answer serves as the answer to the mainsite question: d7 is demonstrably fair and balanced. Just read that last paragraph again, and be at peace. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 11:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have no issue with a problem being left open until an answer emerges from the real world. But in this case, there's no way I see for a good answer to crowd the bad answers out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 15:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ And seeing that the commentary has been moved to chat, I consider the situation even worse: There is no mechanism to point out defects in the answer, because the arguments showing the defects are purely critical, not constructive. The rebuttal can't go in the comments, by fiat, and can't go in a new answer because they aren't an answer. Sometimes, the best improvement to an answer is rebuttal and retraction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 20:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Amen. The short attention span thing is a thing. Your response is IMO and IME correct: it's OK to wait for a better answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 23:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some support from a sister stack: This question scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/2937/… stayed open for years before finally finding an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 15:04

There is a right answer.

...it's just that nobody has provided it yet.

The right answer is a well-controlled experiment in which someone acquires a bunch of those dice, rolls them many times, and then does the statistics to determine if they're fair.

If you look closely, the question is not about any general 7-sided die; it's about the specific 7-sided die that GameScience produces, which presumably has a specific geometry. Therefore, doppelgreener's question is fully testable, and we just have to wait for someone to do that test. Doppelgreener alludes to this experiment by citing a youtube video that attempts to do this test but ends up being inconclusive.

Given that those dice are out of stock on GameScience's website, we might have to wait a long time for this true answer.

After a bit of digging, I have made my own attempt to provide an answer to the question. While my answer is not exactly original statistical analysis, I hope that it's closer to the ideal correct answer.

Downvote wrong answers

If you think an answer is bad, you should downvote it. If you think an answer is wrong, you should explain in a comment, too. I've completely reworked answers in the past based on commenters telling me I'm wrong, so critical comments and constructive comments are not mutually exclusive.

It's unfortunate that your "informed" downvote only counts as a -1 against a flood of "uninformed" upvotes. This is a problem for many other types of bad answers, too. However, I don't see much of an alternative to this system, given that it would probably be a bad idea to let non-moderators unilaterally delete answers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I did explain why the answer was wrong in a comment. The entire comments thread got removed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 16:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak Hm. There may be a worthwhile meta question along the lines of “How do I write a feedback comment that's less likely to get deleted?” \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 16:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie the discussion-removal comment itself was pretty clear: "...further comments should solely address how OP might improve their presentation of their position." That is a high-minded, noble and workable sentiment in most cases, especially since there is a subjective element to many questions, and I understand why we want to stomp down on open-ended discussions. But that said, this isn't subjective. It's groundless speculation that happens to be wrong, presented as fact. How do you comment with intent to improve something that's wrong? \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie to come at this from a different angle: If this were an openly subjective question, held to the good-subjective/bad-subjective standard, would this answer pass muster, or would it get deleted? \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak By the time mods got involved in cleaning up the comments it was way too late to somehow prevent comments from being removed. (That’s something a hypothetical meta Q would probably explore further.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak The problem is that the site is designed such that just one person cannot decide which answers are right or wrong and make the site obey that one person’s judgement. That’s the position you’ve found yourself in, and the system is deliberately designed to prevent you — through mechanical design and rules — from enforcing your judgement beyond your one vote on the answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie But the system isn't just preventing me from unilaterally deciding what is right and wrong. It is also preventing good information from challenging bad: It can't go in comments by moderator fiat, and it can't go in an answer, because the good information does not constitute an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak I think this answer's virtue is substantial. In the header and in the first sentence. The rest is gravy. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 23:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast in other words the "price" of rebutting or contradicting one answer (which is a cost-free groundless assertion which can be shown to be incorrect) is to go buy some dice and do a laborious physical experiment and statistical analysis? Please explain what virtue you see, here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 0:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ That if we are patient, a good answer will arrive, and in the interim we hammer bad answers as needed. Simply by looking at the die the answer is to me obvious due to lack of symmetry \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 0:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast We are going in circles. Again. How do we expect bad answers to be hammered when the cost of pointing out a counter-intuitive flaw is so high? (I also can't tell if you think the answer is correct or incorrect.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 0:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Novak, I have some troubles with the question in the first place. I have upvoted this answer on meta because it says that the right answer has not arrived on the main site question. We again see an example of "none of us is as mistaken as all of us together." See mob psychology 101. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 0:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak FWIW I've now tried to submit an answer of my own. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 4:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that this is moot in my mind, since @Icyfire found patent data indicating test for fairness had been done, which is an outstanding answer. However I still consider it bizarre that the price of pointing out a logical flaw in an argument is not just showing the flaw, but actually providing an answer. That is entirely counter-productive. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 17:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Icyfire we are used to being able to see vote tallies, but it's important to remember that not everyone can do that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 17:32

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