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  • "What color are creatures in the Forgotten Realms?"
  • "How old do humanoids become on Faerun?"
  • "Is being left-handed in the Forgotten Realms seen as weird?"

All these questions should rightfully be closed as 'too broad', considering the Forgotten Realms are vast. There is no way to list the color of every creature, the age of every type of humanoid and let's not even get started on creatures with more than two hands for the last question.

Yet this question remains open: How common is homosexuality in the Forgotten Realms?

The question is, quite frankly, far too broad. It depends not only on the country (a human from Chult likely has a different view on it than somebody from the Sword Coast), but it depends even more on the species. Surface elves are very accepting of the practice, while orcs put such a strong value on men having sons that it seems likely that homosexuality would be a sign of weakness.

The top rated answer, while being great advice for general table-top policies to make certain everybody is comfortable at the table, doesn't even really address the actual question, instead quoting a few lines form the player's handbook that aren't Forgotten Realms specific.

This answer would be perfectly answereable if it was more narrow in scope. The original poster is asking about a gay human wizard, visiting a large sized city. In most cases for the Forgotten Realms, this'd likely be something on the Sword Coast; Neverwinter, Baldur's Gate or Waterdeep.

The question "How is homosexuality considered in metropolitan cities in the Sword Coast?" is a great, answerable question. "How do all the different cultures and species in the entirety of the Forgotten Realms consider homosexuality?" is not going to be answerable comprehensively without writing a 90 page manual.

Yet for some reason, this question remains open. Why?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Where does the assumption in the title for the reason it’s still open come from? I don’t see anything in the body that makes that an accurate summary of the post. Is something missing from the body, or is the title inaccurate and needing revision? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 19 '18 at 15:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ You cite the top rated answer. Have you seen the second most rated answer? I agree the first answer doesn't really address the question—and downvoted it accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 19 '18 at 15:51
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Those are by and large false analogies as questions.

Questions asked at a high level are not per se "too broad." If you asked about the racial demographics or religious demographics of the Forgotten Realms, there are clear preexisting summaries of that information, often in one-pagers in Realms products.

"How common are dragons in the Forgotten Realms?" "Can a kobold PC get along OK in human-civilized areas in the Realms?"

Those are questions I'd expect on this site and that should be answered pretty readily.

That's what this question is like. I get that some people lack the ability to summarize - then they shouldn't answer questions like this.

There are plenty of one-page summaries of sexuality demographics and/or response to it for the real world, it's easy enough to envision one for the Realms. Noting variation is good, but answers on this site don't have to be trivially simple and globally applicable.

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At time of writing, the question on homosexuality in the Forgotten Realms has four close votes for being too broad after being online for 22 hours. At this rate the question will probably have been closed by the time you read this. I wouldn't call that too lax.

There's a general problem that the highest rated answer tends to stay the highest rated, even when a later answer is better. See Can/should we do something about early answers getting the lion's share of votes? which concedes that this is considered a feature and will not change. Full disclosure: both that meta question and the well-researched current second-highest rated answer to the question on homosexuality in the Realms are mine.

Contrary to the close votes, I think it's a valid question. There's very little canonical information on homosexuality in the Forgotten Realms, due to social standards in the US discouraging books from including gay characters in print for many decades, and even in 5th edition it's generally left up to individual DMs.

A question like "How common is homosexuality in Baldur's Gate?" may well return no answer, while the original question can certainly be answered well and in detail—I did so myself.

There's a tendency to require changes to questions to be more specific than the asker wanted, to avoid a somewhat vaguely-defined standard of "too broad". There's a concern there that the resulting answer may not give the asker sufficiently useful information.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd point out, regarding the "laxness", that the probable point of comparison are the very routine closes that form the vast majority of closed questions on our site. Those get closed fast because they're easy cases and well known: missing system tags, designer reasons, shopping questions and obviously opinion-based ones. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Oct 19 '18 at 19:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ and even in 5th edition it's generally left up to individual DMs I suggest that you review the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist published adventure. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 24 '18 at 19:36
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I challenge the premise of your question. The question you are highlighting simply isn't too broad. There are many, many overview-type questions on the site that we have never had a problem answering before, and there's no need for this one to be a problem. Just because a question requires a broad overview rather than a laser-focused specific answer, that does not make it too broad. If we start closing questions like this as a matter of course it will greatly reduce the utility of the site as a whole.

There appears to be a general move by a number of site users to apply close criteria for questions increasingly harshly, and I think this is an example of that. As a general trend I believe it is damaging to the site and makes it far less useful as a resource.

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The title might not give this impression, but the body of the question makes it clear that the OP intended to query for practical advice for the campaign they are participating in, and that asking about Forgotten Realms as a whole was a vehicle for getting that advice. I might be inclined to argue that they have an XY-problem, in a manner of speaking: what they wanted was "how should we handle Homosexuality in our campaign", and asked the question "how is Homosexuality handled in all of Forgotten Realms", presuming that the latter would sufficiently answer the former.

My reason for thinking this is that they specifically stated that they chose to make their Player Character gay, but that both they and their DM weren't sure how much of an impact that should have on play (which means the advice they needed was practical). The title says "in the Forgotten Realms", but in their actual question, they say "in the default 5e setting" (meaning they were implicitly using FR as a standin for the 5e setting, and not making an attempt to distinguish between them). They're looking for practical, applicable advice for this edition of the game, and for their campaign as a matter of consideration. Explaining the lore of the setting as a whole is certainly one way of answering that question, but I don't think it's necessary or the exclusively correct way to answer that question.

In my answer, which you're obliquely referencing, I decided to focus on what the Player's Handbook says, because it's the one 5e sourcebook that nearly all players will have access to, and thus represents the only common ground most campaigns will have in 5th edition (as is the case for many campaigns for prior editions). Practical advice on how a 5e campaign should be run can be presumed to spring from that document.

I would also add that the OP specifically commented on my answer that it was helpful to them, which suggests to me that my answer targeted the root of what they were trying to consider, even if the question itself didn't necessarily express that need in the form this site expects.

I also want to pose a frame challenge: The question (and the answers) attracted a large number of downvotes and close requests, both before and after the attempt to change the title. It's pretty clear that users of this site were NOT being lax on it, as a lot of other "skirting the lines of being too broad" questions don't see that kind of negative attention. It is actually much more clear that as a whole, there was a much larger contingent of users reacting negatively to this post than you would otherwise expect from such a question (I leave it as an exercise to the reader to take a guess why that might be...). So claiming that it's being kept up because we're being lax towards it is a claim I strongly dispute.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My argument would be that they're clearly looking for a lore question because they've even tagged it as such, but at this point I'm not even certain if that was the original poster's choice or not. I'll have a look. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Oct 19 '18 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theik The OP did NOT add the "lore" tag, that was someone else's addition. You can see that in the edit history. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Oct 19 '18 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ That makes a huge difference, considering that it does make it more likely that your frame challenge is correct. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Oct 19 '18 at 16:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ The lore tag was added 'cause they're asking about lore—where "lore" means "information about the in-game world". \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 19 '18 at 16:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelspooker Which is fair—but like I said, there's evidence that for the OP at least, understanding the lore was secondary to the goal of finding practical advice to use in their campaign. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Oct 19 '18 at 16:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Even if they were asking about lore, it still isn't too broad. There are many, many overview-type questions on the site that we have never had a problem answering before, and there's no need for this one to be a problem. Just because a question requires a broad overview rather than a laser-focused specific answer, that does not make it too broad. If we start closing questions like this as a matter of course it will greatly reduce the utility of the site as a whole \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Oct 19 '18 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Xirema its done \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Oct 19 '18 at 20:58

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