This question refers to the closing of a question I submitted a few years ago.

Is the omission of a racial +2 to wisdom intentional?

At the time, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition had a gap, in that there were no player races with a +2 Wisdom modifier.

I didn't know why this was the case. Was it an oversight? Was it a game balance issue? Was it prohibited? Was there errata I had overlooked, or a supplement that would fill it? Particularly in the context of January 2015, the question of whether 5th Edition allowed, prohibited, or merely overlooked allowing a +2 racial bonus to Wisdom was something I thought was fair game. The manner in which I asked strictly discouraged speculation. I was seeking a published statement. Rules. Confirmation. In the first few months of 5th edition, a lot of rules were clarified and defined by statements from the designers.

The question is now closed, because the verbiage of the title and some of the discussion rely upon the opinions of game designers. I disagree with the closure. The question can easily be rephrased as "Is a +2 racial modifier to Wisdom prohibited?" without changing anything else, and it would seem to me to remain on topic. The question has a clear answer, now, in that there are publications--that is, not designer opinions--with racial counterexamples.

So, then, why do I not simply rephrase the question and submit it for reopening? I consider it a bad move for three reasons. The first is the relationship between the title and the URL, and it seems a shame to interfere with that after nearly two and a half years. The second is that rephrasing the question adds little value to a conversation that took place years ago. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if I overhaul the question, it may interfere with the quality of the responses, which were so well written for the original question.

For these reasons, I would like to politely challenge the notion that questions touching upon designer intent should all be considered off-topic. Questions for which the gist is to understand whether some detail is by design have value. To me, an answer of, "The designer explicitly intended it to be this way, and here is the tweet/errata/website/supplement that confirms this as a rule" means the same thing as, "These are the rules."

Should the definition of on-topic for this exchange be relaxed somewhat on questions such as this, or does the community agree that questions like mine no longer have a place here?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just FYI, if the title changes, URLs auto redirect just fine. Basically the server ignores that last part of the URL altogether and in fact it's entirely optional. For example, here's that question again with an altogether wrong title in the URL: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/53972/how-do-i-mess-up-this-url \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 20:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Following this discussion, there has (finally) come a declaration from the mods regarding designer-reasons questions being allowed – see the latest Meta post: Are questions about rule intent on-topic? [2022] \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 0:03

2 Answers 2


You say

Questions for which the gist is to understand whether some detail is by design have value.

Absolutely. Agree. However, the problem isn’t that they have no value, the problem is that asking and answering questions about what designers intended is fundamentally broken in RPG.se’s Q&A design, and since it doesn’t work, was decided by community consensus it would not be something we would keep trying and inevitably failing to do.

That’s why they’re off topic. Not for being valueless, but for being unworkable.

For some of the history that lead to that decision, see How do we save designer reasoning questions?. For the final decision, see Are questions about rule intent on topic?


Your question did not need to be closed

For a number of reasons:

  • It has an accepted answer that clearly and concisely answers the question: Was X intentional? No, X was not intentional, here is the source.
  • You also call out in the question that it could be definitively answered with the release of new content, which did happen, and someone did then post such an answer.
  • It had no activity for 11 months prior to being closed.

What this shows is that the question is unlikely to attract the sort of speculative answers that caused designer intent questions to be declared off topic in the first place. Importantly, such questions were declared off topic because the volume of speculation was such that it frequently required moderator intervention, and the community agreed that this is not a good use of their time.

This is not to say that the question did not at one point attract some speculation: it has 2 such answers. But the down voting mechanism is sufficient to deal with that, as it can be used to signal that these simply aren't answers. If we saw a sudden flurry of speculative answers to this question today, my answer here would be different, but that is hardly a serious risk were the question left open.

It is entirely appropriate to ask questions like this on Meta

You ask if the definition of on-topic should be relaxed, and if the community agrees on whether questions like yours have a place here. The best way to address that is to ask questions like this so people can weigh in, because the answers aren't cut and dried.

I'm not saying we need to re-litigate the entire discussion from the beginning. What I'm saying is that your question is an edge case in a number of ways that we didn't discuss:

  • Should we go back and close any/all old questions that were asked when designer intent questions were very much on topic?
  • Is every question that references intent/intention a "Designer Intent" question?

We could consider handling questions like yours the way we handle questions that attract a lot of opinion-based answers. Even if all parties agree a question could be answered with "just the facts", we'll close it any way because of the poor answering behavior we observe. In your case it got some good factual answers, and since then there's been no bad behavior, so it's safe to leave open.

I think the community consensus is still forming about designer intent. Note that the Meta question Are questions about rule intent on topic? that you've been linked to was asked after the decision (no) was already made, and some less frequent users have since weighed in that they feel differently. But the comment period had already been closed, as it were.

In short, rather than reading the linked Meta strictly as we should close anything that, as you say, 'touches upon' designer intent, we should insteads be using Meta to suss out "Should this question have been closed?" issues around designer intent when there is ambiguity.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just so you know, our current way of doing things as I understand it is that we do treat old post according to the current rules of the site regardless of how old they are. Informal procedure is to only close these questions when they come up or become active again though so there is never a need to go on a closing spree. But we do close older designer intent questions and this was not the only one. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ ^ Correct. Content curation is timeless, meaning we apply current rules regardless of content age. Additionally, a question having good and/or accepted answers has no bearing on whether it should be closed or open: an off topic question is off topic regardless of the response it received. (E.g. consider that an answered question about video games or bicycle repair shouldn't be left open here.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 21:57

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