Recently, this question about Eladrin's Fey Step brought some confusion because Eladrin is "talked about" in DMG as an Example Subrace (for creating new subraces) while the actual, playable/official subrace was published in MToF.

In D&D questions (in particular for 5e, which I'm obviously more active), it's also common that the asker uses some random Homebrew content from the wiki, or simply states "the feature X of monster Y" - without quoting the feature X or telling us where the monster Y can be found. While it might seem laziness from me, I would prefer the asker to tell us where he found that. Also, it seems obvious that the Ancient Red Dragon he's talking about is the one on MM, but people might not remember instantly where the heck Boneclaw was published, and at first google glance the top result is a bad link for a homebrew in dandwiki.

Point being: Asker stating his sources makes the question more clear, easier to answer and requires less effort from the asker than from the answerer to remember/guess the source. We have high standards for source-citing for answers, but questions seem to be at some lower steps.

So... Can we encourage the asker to put that in the question? Can we, ourselves, edit the questions and add that info whenever possible? And do we have other options to encourage that behaviour?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking if ALL questions should include sources? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jun 19, 2018 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I'm saying that (imo) questions which include monster/classes/spells/races/features/items/w/e (named "things" in the lack of a better word) as part of the question are better stating where they found that thing, and asking if we can encourage that behaviour. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jun 19, 2018 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's pretty much all questions, no? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jun 19, 2018 at 18:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Essentially every rule question, yes. RPG.se is not only about rule-lawyering though. Some are not about specific things, either, or are "where can I find a/the rule for this thing?". Note that I would also not use the word should include sources, as it might lead to people thinking I want to close (or massively downvote) questions that don't. I'm asking for encouraging a behaviour that I find positive for everyone and the site. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jun 19, 2018 at 18:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a saying in law that "bad precedent makes bad policy" so I'll suggest that making a policy in response to that question isn't something what we should be doing. I'd like to see less link only to D&D beyond and more putting the short text into quote blocks to make the points ... as we do with printed material. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2018 at 21:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related meta: Should I ask a poster to quote the rules he or she is confused about? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Jun 19, 2018 at 23:09

3 Answers 3


This is the classic "easy" case for voting to close as unclear.

You read a question about Eladrin in D&D5e and thought "I wonder if it's the DMG eladrin or the MToF one--it matters." Or you read about a monster and thought "I don't recognize that, and I own all the books...."

Vote to close as unclear. If you've got a moment leave a comment which may help others with the privilege of close-voting notice the question's deficiency.

Those sorts of comments are the #1 way that new users learn the site's practices. (Only something like 1% of registered users ever look at meta.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. So are you saying that if a question isn't absolutely clear about its sources, even if that doesn't impact on how answerable the question is, then its a justifiable reason to VTC? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Jun 19, 2018 at 19:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm saying that in the example OP asked about there are multiple, conflicting sources of what an Eladrin could be, so definitely VtC if you're reading it and think "hmm... which Eladrin? That matters." Or if you find yourself thinking "they're referencing a statblock I've never heard of despite owning all the official materials, I wonder what they're talking about." \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Jun 19, 2018 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's worth clarification, as my reading of the question is that it is suggesting a much more general policy than just cases where there is specific ambiguity \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Jun 19, 2018 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why do we even have that meta? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2018 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ As I mentioned, while I did want to encourage some policy on quoting/sourcing decently, I didn't intend to vote close or downvote any question where the lack of source won't make it unanswerable. I still can't see how adding the source to the question would make the question any worse, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jun 19, 2018 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint The situation where it makes it worse is when adding the source encourages off-topic side-conversations, or does really bad stuff. The example that comes to mind is our response to rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/a/6416/14848. Adding back in the sources we removed from those questions would be... bad. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2018 at 23:17

Source Requirements are more of an edge-case

If we require/recommend that questions regarding specific rules be accompanied by either tags or citations for the books that the focus of the question includes, things will likely get squirrely pretty quickly.

I think the few examples where this presents a problem is magnifying the problem. Overall, there are few examples of either Playtest content that has been revised or published officially with changes. When these issues come up, it's loud and clear, but I think making a site-wide push for better sourcing of questions will be problematic and possibly offputting to users.

We don't have a strict policy for even quoting the rules/books within a question and leave correcting misunderstandings of those rules up to the answers and not put that on the querent.

A better policy would be for us to put a question on hold until the Querent states which source they are referring to if multiple sources are possible.


Orthogonal to the good point about voting as “unclear”, the community is always encouraged to improve questions and answers when it’s useful. It’s just not required. Permitted and recognised as good, but not required.

Adding sources, or asking for the addition of sources, seems to me like a solid way to improve a question, both for the benefit of answer-writers and for posterity as the question ages. I don’t think we need any additional policy on top of that.

Go for it. Just don’t feel the need to punish questions that don’t. (And of course, a vote to close as unclear is not a punishment when the question isn’t clear.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think that last paragraph is key. I have no problems with people adding sources to questions as long as clear questions without sources are not punished \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Jun 20, 2018 at 4:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Last paragraph was essentially my point - as I mentioned in a few comments, I never intended to vote close or even downvote questions simply because they didn't have the source. I just wanted to encourage people to add that info when possible and other people edit into the question as well. Maybe the linked example and my wording didn't express it decently though. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jun 21, 2018 at 17:58

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