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I'm really interested to know if there are any gaming systems in which a situation described in a meme would be possible. It seemed like something interesting to ask here, and like a clear question pointing towards a verifiable best answer. So I tried. And it got downvoted and closed.

I have since edited it, but over more than 24 hours have had almost no change... What is still wrong with it? How can I fix it?


To clarify: In an answer, as well as linked as part of the hold reason, Are Game Recommendation Questions On Topic Revisited was referenced. The closest thing I could find to a passage that deals with what my question is was the "more focused question" indication in this quote:

This means all "shopping" questions are off topic. In many cases, however, instead of asking a shopping question (which game system/online tabletop/psionic subsystem/etc "is best"), you can ask a more focused question

Also of interest, that meta post was from August '15, and How to let my players fail their rolls intentionally but covertly (a question that is literally asking for a gaming system that will behave a certain way) which was asked in Feb '17 is protected. It also has a comment from a mod that calls it a great question and laments that it seems to be attracting poor answers- the reason given in comments below for not accepting questions of similar formats.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Glancing at it, I'm not sure how that question has remained open, but, in its defense, it does seem like it's been untouched for more than a year. By current standards, I think it would be closed immediately. Although it asks about "a rolling system," concluding with, "Does anyone have a system they have used or seen used that works given these criteria?" is a recommendation red flag. I think were it posed now, the asker would be advised instead to present a completed system for critique. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 30 '18 at 11:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan: Judging from the comments, SevenSidedDie did close it initially, but then said "Alright, since closure is apparently unpopular, we'll try just deleting the answers that already had citation-needed warnings." and reopened it (though it's protected). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 30 '18 at 21:13
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Often with off-topic questions, there’s simply nothing that can be done to make a question work. You want to know “are there any systems that do X?” and we have decided that we don’t answer questions asking “are there any systems that do X?” No matter how you reword it, that is still what you want to know, and still not something we are prepared to offer.

We are truly very sorry we cannot help you with your question—by definition, users on this site like answering people’s questions—but questions like this have caused too many problems in the past. And on this site, when we say “caused too many problems,” we basically mean “the questions aren’t getting answered, at least not well.” We tried support these kinds of questions, but it just didn’t work. We’re sorry, we really wanted to be able to help with these kinds of things. But we couldn’t.

Which basically is to say, making such questions off-topic is as a favor to you. It’d be nice to claim we can help with these kinds of questions, but experience has shown us that it wouldn’t be true. Closing your question is our way of being honest and up-front with you that we aren’t equipped to handle your question. Sorry.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I didn't know that we didn't answer those questions... would it be fair to assume that this is addressed in a meta post somewhere? I'm having trouble finding it... \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Jul 30 '18 at 1:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are Game Recommendation Questions On Topic, Revisited (Please note that this link was included in the closed-question notice attached to your question.) \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 30 '18 at 1:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I read it then, and re-read it now, and still can't see how it applies to my question as it stands. I'm not asking for a recommendation (just a qualifying example to prove the 'yes'), and that post doesn't address "is there a system that does X?" What it does say is: "This means all "shopping" questions are off topic. In many cases, however, instead of asking a shopping question (which game system/online tabletop/psionic subsystem/etc "is best"), you can ask a more focused question"... \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Jul 30 '18 at 2:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Isaac In practice, it turned out that that kind of difference never made a difference: such questions worked out no differently than plain recommendation questions, with the same unending list of “oh and here’s my idea” answers coming in, lots of quality issues, weird voting patterns, and no real way to judge better and worse answers (which explained the weird voting). \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 30 '18 at 2:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thanks. I guess I don't see why that's any different to any other question where the answer is identical but a slightly different source is cited. I get that this site has been around long enough to see differences in practice, but I really feel if we want to close questions based on that, it should be possible to find that out in advance. At the moment, I've been looking, and getting referred, but have yet to find any documentation to that effect. Would you say we need to add this "Is there an X that is Y" format to the Game Rec meta post? \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Jul 30 '18 at 2:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, and @KRyan don't apologise! Unless you're uniquely responsible for the fact that there is no documentation stating that "Is there an X that is Y" is off topic. If indeed that is a fact (perhaps the impossibility of proving a negative is something that applies to this meta section...) \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Jul 30 '18 at 3:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Isaac It seems specific to games, software, and other things that can be acquired: “is there a [game|tool|thing I can acquire] that does/is X” doesn’t work in practice. The way to read the current guidance is that “is there a game that does X” is a problem because it’s functionally identical to “what is the best game that does X”. No matter how many details are in “X”, those questions just don’t end up working. Fortunately, RPG forums are fantastic for that kind of question, so it’s not a hard block that they don’t work here. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 30 '18 at 3:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - If that's the way to read it, again I'd suggest making that clear. The way I'd interpret "functionally identical" is that the answers should be the same, whereas they shouldn't, in fact - one is a yes/no question, the other is explicitly open; the answers should be worlds apart: "Yes (X for example) versus "X (for the following reasons)" where the text in parentheses is there only to support the substance. It's for this reason that the content of the linked meta post does not meaningfully say that these kinds of questions are OT. \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Jul 30 '18 at 3:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsaacReefman So, in my experience, here’s how this would go: you ask if there are any systems that do this, and you’re very specific and exact about what you want. And it turns out that no system does it, or at least no system anyone knows. But people don’t just leave it unanswered (which they should). No, they start supplying “the best answer they can think of.” Which is their own personal opinion of the game system that’d be most amenable to such a thing. Nevermind that you required it be explicitly in the rules-as-written, they’ll give you something that doesn’t do that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 30 '18 at 3:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsaacReefman At that point, we have a problem: people are submitting whatever answer they like, the actual question’s requirements be damned, and they’re getting voted on. Some of them are being rated quite positively, in fact—because people like the idea or like the system or whatever else, not because they’re good answers. And then the mods have to come in and clean up, and delete popular answers, and there is much gnashing of teeth—and you still don’t have an answer. That’s what keeps happening with these kinds of questions, and why we close them. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 30 '18 at 3:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Thanks - that's really good to know. Shouldn't we make it available knowledge for everyone including people who don't manage to find their way down to this particular comment thread and haven't got their own experience of seeing that happen? \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Jul 30 '18 at 3:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsaacReefman Well, we are trying to—the discussion linked in the close notice is supposed to be making that knowledge available. I’ll be honest, I can explain these things to you here, but I don’t really know why my explanation is working better for you than the linked one is. I consider the linked explanation pretty good. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 30 '18 at 3:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I'm similarly perplexed as to how that's not clear yet... I couldn't find any reference to "Is there an X that is Y" in that discussion (or any equivalent variation) which is why I made the changes to the question I did. I then asked for further clarification, and only after all this have I got it, in the form of the experience of to ~200K rep mods. The closest I've got to a reference that actually addresses this instance is when I was told how I should interpret the discussion... If we need to tell people how they should interpret things shouldn't they be clarified at the source? \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Jul 30 '18 at 4:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsaacReefman I do not understand your confusion. I do not understand why you think the ban on “is there a system that does X?” questions doesn’t apply to your question, or why, from reading that, you would still think your question would be allowed. I don’t understand your confusion or what you are looking for. I suggest you write an answer to the linked discussion saying what you think should have been there, or suggesting additions to the accepted answer in comments. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 30 '18 at 20:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan is correct. There is no ban on Is there an X that is Y-type of question; the site has tons of those. However, there is a ban on Is there a role-playing game that does Y-type questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 31 '18 at 3:04

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