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When we get a question asking what others have done as GMs or players in their games, the question is almost always closed as “primarily opinion-based”. Sometimes they’re not put on hold, but they’re still edited to ask the same things but slightly differently.

What’s wrong with asking what others have done? Don’t we want people to share their experiences?

What’s the difference between the wordings that get held and the wordings that stay open?


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    \$\begingroup\$ (The need for an easy-to-link explanation is most recently inspired by How should I punish my player for getting his character killed? and its author’s comments, but it’s come up often enough I think a FAQ is overdue.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 18 '18 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ A lot of the time the difference is the tone in my experience. It may not be a good thing, but I've seen some people chose not to hold questions they want to answer and close ones they should just downvote (fmpov). I've probably done it before too, though I try to stay objective). \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 19 '18 at 14:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast It’s a matter of substance and meaning (and close reasons), so it wouldn’t be the province of an established style guide. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 19 '18 at 18:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, got it, looking forward to seeing how this gets answered. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 19 '18 at 18:31
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Ask us to solve your problem, don't only survey us for our experiences

As a Q&A community, RPG Stack Exchange focuses on practical problems you may face. We're interested in questions and problems that can have a single best or correct answer or solution. We have voting mechanisms for sorting answers as better or worse (or more correct/incorrect), and an “accepted answer” feature for marking which answer solved your problem.

In contrast to forums, we don't handle discussion or surveys on peoples' thoughts (“let's talk about X”). We also cannot handle questions where every answer is equally valid (“What's your favorite ____?”) or where there is no specific problem to solve. Our Q&A features aren't set up for this and they invalidate our voting and acceptance features.

This means avoid asking just for what we've seen or done:

I have a problem with ____ in my game. What have you done when running into this problem?

Has anyone seen/run games where ____ has happened?

There is a situation or a problem presented here, but we're not being asked to solve it. Instead, we're just being surveyed for arbitrary things we've seen or done, regardless of what outcome it has. Every answer of what someone's seen or done is equally valid.

Instead, ask us to solve your problem:

I have a problem with ____ in my game. Here's the situation that's happening. How can I resolve that problem so that I can get this specific outcome? How have you managed it in your games?

This presents us with a specific problem and a specific kind of outcome you're after. It prompts us to share our experience on how that solution has worked out in practice as part of asking for that solution. This means we can present actual solutions to your practical problem, and we can judge the best answer among them by which one seems to have presented a desirable outcome in actual practice.

You can also just ask this:

I have a problem with ____ in my game. Here's the situation that's happening. How can I resolve this problem to get this specific outcome?

You don't need to prompt us to explain how we've handled it—we usually should be telling you that anyway.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems like a rather mechanistic edit—the kind of thing we should be doing for new users, rather than prompting them about it. Leaving a comment explaining why the edit was made is good, both to ward off bad feelings and to teach them for the future, but this does seem like the kind of thing where it’s a little rude to close a question for what will appear to new users to be a technicality that could easily have just been handled rather than closing the question. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 23 '18 at 22:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Part of that though is it's not always clear what needs to be solved or what outcome they want, so such an edit isn't always straightforward enough to do. :/ I agree though, that's good to call out and I'll look out for opportunities to do that. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jul 23 '18 at 22:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Then I think this answer could use an example that’s a little more unclear to show how it causes issues. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 23 '18 at 22:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Youre right. In my experience, most often the problem will be already stated, or the survey wording just be trivially rephraseable, and a hold isn’t necessary. In those cases, my hope for this meta is that lining it will help explain the edit. (In the rare cases where the asker insists they want to run a survey, the link can also help avoid them seeing “just someone’s comment” and thinking arguing might work.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 25 '18 at 5:51

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