In this question, I was downvoted a lot. As far as I am aware, I did not do anything wrong. Can someone please explain to me why I was downvoted?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: Why is an answer being downvoted without any comments? (...That said, I think the question might have had some comments on it originally that were later cleaned up.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 2:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast There were two comments: one was someone (not OP) saying "why the downvotes, seems thought out to me?" and the other was OP saying "thank you" to the first commenter. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 2:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, the only comment besides the OP's on the question, I deleted right now. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 2:12

4 Answers 4


I would assume all the downvotes are for people agitated that you seem to be deliberately trying to reinterpret English, logic, and/or math to rules lawyer an advantage.

I’ve downvoted it for the same reason. The question is not helpful content for the site.

Did you “do something wrong?” Other answerers say "no" (IMO just because they don’t want to get drawn into an argument about it); I’m going to differ on this and say “yes.” You're not breaking any site rule, site members are just expressing their unhappiness with the usefulness of the content. Even our pretty RAW-friendly crowd thinks poorly of your question and its frame it seems.

This is an opportunity to introspect and understand that your approach will garner the same kind of hostile reception when you try it in a game. RPGs aren’t a word game of twisting rules till they give you what you want. Your gaming will be happier if you take the feedback from these downvoters to improve your approach.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, personally I think is the most likely reason. (...That and, uh, frankly, it's not a very good attempt at "rules-lawyering an advantage".) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 2:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's why I just added a downvote to it. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 4:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Everyone is dancing around the "legalistic" head of the pin instead of helping the OP, hence my answer. While mine says "you were wrong," it's as an opportunity for him to improve. If people just keep saying "no... it was fine... must be cosmic rays, who knows why people downvote it's a mystery..." how does that help them? \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree it's helpful here to outright point out that they did something wrong. The Q was at -8 even before this meta, you don't get to -8 doing nothing wrong. The Q proposed a far-fetched loophole (as mxyzplk and Korvin both describe) and trying to convince people of it in comment discussion didn't help matters. MrHiTech isn't a bad person, just pressed a matter strongly and people gave equally strong pushback with the signalling methods made available to them. Rules were not broken but this is a learning opportunity about potential social faux pas and what TTRPG players will push back on. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 23:25

You didn't do anything wrong. Voting isn't about that.

Our help page on why voting is important explains the purpose of voting well. The parts I want to highlight that are more relevant to votes on questions (as opposed to on answers):

Voting is central to our model of providing quality questions and answers; it is how …

...good content rises to the top
...users who consistently provide useful content accrue reputation and are granted more privileges on the site


Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information. The more that people vote on a post, the more certain future visitors can be of the quality of information contained within that post

The point of voting is to rank the site's most useful content toward the top and the least-useful content toward the bottom.

(As a side effect, voting encourages people to post high-quality content more and low-quality content less, by attaching reputation gain and loss to each. This nudges the site towards generating more high-quality questions on average.)

Voting is about usefulness to others

The primary purpose of voting — actually, the primary purpose of the whole site — is to generate and rate questions and solutions by their usefulness to future people with similar problems. For questions, this means that votes reflect how likely it is to be a problem that anyone else has in the future.

A question can have high usefulness to future readers for a variety of reasons: it is a common problem, it's an important problem, it's a problem that many people don't know the answer to, and so on.

The flip side is that a question have have low usefulness for future readers: it isn't a common problem, it's not an important problem, it's a problem that many people feel has an obvious answer already, and so on.

Your question, seen through what the voting system is for

By the measure of what our voting system means, the site system has assigned your question a low score of likely usefulness to others.

It's impossible to know the exact reasons why your question was given a low score of future usefulness, but once you know that's what many negative votes measure, you have a guide to figuring out what it might be.

Perhaps your question was seen as unimportant, or of usefulness to few people. Maybe it had an error that made the answer obvious to voters. Whatever the reason, the site has decided that it's not the first thing that visitors need to find when they're searching the site, and it's been given a score that suits that evaluation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To your point that it's impossible to know the exact reasons why the question was downvoted, I find useful the observation from this meta answer that "There is no rule about what votes mean. In general, votes up mean that I find the answer well written or helpful, but I could vote a post up because it included waffles or dinosaurs. I could vote down because I'm having a bad day." \$\endgroup\$
    – screamline
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 3:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ While this is all technically true it also strikes me as disingenuous. We all know what’s wrong with this question and why people are downvoting it. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 12:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I think there are more reasons it’s been downvoted than only outrage at the exploit attempt. From the interactions in comments I remember, there was an honest misunderstanding of what the wording of the ability meant. My own vote wasn’t a protest vote, it was just for “the question isn’t useful because this interpretation mistake won’t be common”. Maybe I’m the only one, but it means it’s possible more votes were for that. (It’s also useful as a general explanation: whatever the specific fault of a question, a low score eventually boils down to “not useful to others”.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 14:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ We can however recognise clear reasons and point to them. This meta Q wasn't about why downvotes happen, but why these downvotes happened on this question. We as experienced members can see clear & likely causes of the dowvnotes—doubly so in your case and mine since we're diamond moderators and can see things not visible to other community members, such as the comments that were cleared away. Being in this position it's important we share the concrete details we're able to see so people can learn and self-correct, and it does a disservice to withhold them in favour of just the abstract. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 23:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I’m not being disingenuous. I honestly think my evaluation and perspective on the question is different. It didn’t occur to me that people were punishing its intent via voting; that’s not why I downvoted either. I wrote the above from that perspective. I might have been missing something, but I wasn’t deliberately leaving it out. And I do think there’s an important distinction to be made about how the first thing to take away from a big negative score isn’t “what site rule did I break?”, which is a common incorrect reaction and what I see being asked here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Ok, understood and fair. I apologise. I misunderstood and thought you'd spotted it but opted to speak to the more general case instead, missing something is OK (we're not all-knowing and our different perspectives are valuable). I completely agree with bringing up these concepts about downvotes and what they mean and that they don't mean rules were broken. I do think they did something wrong :) but it was wrong as in a relatively benign social faux pas rather than wrong as in anythig that's a serious problem they'd be in trouble for. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Ah, that kind of wrong. Yes, that makes more sense. (Thank you!) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 14:24

Here's why I downvoted:

Congruence of several factors:

  • The goal of the question was trying to find a loophole or exploit the rules (but there was no actual problem here that needed solving)
  • The loophole was not even plausible or realistic
  • The question was not useful content to others

The question is a clear attempt at trying to use a very very strained English reading to try to create a loophole that is clearly against the intent of the reading. It clearly goes against what the actual rules say in English as well as mathematical logic. In short, the question is basically a non-starter and isn't going to be of use to anyone (nobody is going to have issues with this loophole because none exists).

It doesn't mean you did anything wrong (as in you didn't violate any site policies or anything), but it is our job as voters to make sure the best, most useful content gets voted to the top and the rest settles towards the bottom. That way other users of the site can see the content that is most useful.

As a method of improvement it is worth noting that this site works best when you start from an actual problem that has occured at the table and ask a question about that. Theorycrafting in many ways is a poor fit here and is hit or miss with how well it is received or able to be answered.


Failure to do basic research often attracts down votes

Mouse over the down vote button and read the text there:

this question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

@mxyzplk has addressed the "not useful" piece of that.

One of the key lessons I have learned in the SO/SE world is that before asking a question, one must demonstrate having put some effort into researching the problem at hand. That's a powerful community norm. Evidence that such effort was not expended will attract down votes on most SE sites, regardless of topic. (I participate with some frequency in four other SE sites ... )

Any creature hostile to you that moves to a space within 10 feet of the guardian for the first time on a turn must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw.

Your step 4 calls on the guardian to attack an object. An object is not a creature in D&D 5e. Those two nouns have some fairly specific meanings as game terms. (A sword is not a creature (unless it is animated sword (a monster that is a construct); and a goblin is not an object (unless it is a goblin's corpse, apparently (we have a Q&A about using a dead goblin as an improvised weapon, which is mentioned in the PHB).

You need to have milk to make cheese

If one is going to try and derive an exploit, one must first invest enough effort into reading the rules very carefully, and then arrive at the oddball loopholes that actually exist. There are some pretty good examples of that process here. Good cheese is appreciated here. What you offered wasn't even the milk from an ivory goat.

Put differently, there is no loophole to begin with. (Beyond Miniman's answer regarding usage ...)

You didn't explain why you didn't truncate the fourth instance of damage (that got you to your theoretical 70) such that the guardian had dealt its full 60 before vanishing <-- which is in the spell's text. If you had explained that better, you might have had a shot at some cheese.

The guardian vanishes when it has dealt a total of 60 damage.

The most common ruling I'd expect to see at table would be something like this:

  • Having done 50 damage already, when the guardian would be about to do 20 HP on the next successful hit (a failed Dex save by a creature) it would instead only do 10 HP. Why? The way the spell is written, it is limited to 60 as the most damage it can do for a given instance of that spell, per a plain English reading of the text.

    So why didn't I write an answer to the question? Miniman had already addressed the other flaw in your logic train, and I didn't see any need to pile on as the down votes were piling up.


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