Back when I joined RPGSE, I of course noticed how big the D&D demographic is here. And at first I thought, 'Hey, I can just Ignore all the AD&D tags and Watch tags of my games and everyone has fun without negatively impacting the other'. However, then I noticed that there are effects whose source is the D&D5 demographic, but which actually or potentially affect other demographics, to a large extent due to the way RPGSE is set up as a single 'pond' in which everyone swims. Examples of effects that I can clearly remember recently:

  • Pushes to table policies which are inspired by the D&D5 experience, but are meant to influence the whole site, including demographics which are not D&D5 (e.g. assuming/guessing a system when one is not specified, shutting down questions about reasons/reasoning behind a given design choice of a system etc.)
  • Newcomers getting the impression that this SE is dedicated to a single family of systems, and thus being more inclined to seek answers elsewhere (in a way this effect can be self-perpetuating even when nobody does anything wrong).
  • Differences in relative-per-tag reputation vs. absolute reputation, meaning that the top 10 members who are active in a 'big' tag will quickly attain moderator privileges, while even the top member of a 'small' tag who answers every new question will still take a long, long while to unlock significant privileges.
  • People answering questions not by describing the way things are/done/etc., but by describing how they aren't this-or-that-D&D-expectation.
  • I'm inclined to believe that there are other similar effects which I either forgot or didn't notice yet; feel free to add to the list.

Now, I must say that from what I've seen, the community mostly reacted favourably to the objections of small-fandom members when objections were brought up. And yet it looks like an unconscious 'pressure' that still exists.

Given the above observations, my question is how can the quality of SE life of small-fandom members be protected from being accidentally diminished by broad generalisations of politics? How can newbie misunderstandings like the one above be avoided (especially since they can only be corrected personally after a newbie creates an account, which may not happen at all for someone who makes the wrong conclusion early)? How can the relative-vs-absolute reputation discrepancy be accounted for - can RPGSE be 'federalised' or something like that? What other things could be done for these concerns?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7278/… \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 27 '18 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your inclusion of “shutting down questions about reasons/reasoning behind a given design choice of a system” as something to blame D&D for is not borne out by the voting on the relevant discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 28 '18 at 13:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note, but the policy of requiring explicit declaration of the game/system being played seems to me an example of a change which 1) didn't really originate from 5e and 2) actually helps in teaching new users that we aren't D&D.se so I really don't get why this is included as an example of an issue here. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 1 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose The policy for explicit declaration is fine. But at some point I found people arguing for assuming D&D5e when not stated explicitly. That was what the example was about. Maybe my wording was unclear. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh Jan 1 at 22:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I rarely even read RPG.SE anymore, because I definitely got the feeling "It's becoming almost all D&D-specific rules questions." What changed? I don't recall there ever being a huge number of system-specific non-D&D questions, so the decline I perceive is presumably in system-agnostic questions. I can see two main reasons. 1: Group dynamics, etc. questions. Because they're so generic, maybe the easy/likely ones have all been asked already. 2: The ban on system recommendation questions. Think about it -- those two categories make up much of the discussion on most generic RPG forums. \$\endgroup\$ – Tristan Klassen Jan 3 at 0:50

Be the small-games advocate on-stack you want to see on-stack

D&D is overwhelmingly represented on the site, but I don't believe it's a result of any artificial mechanism to monopolize the stack for D&D. It's more a combination of:

  • the actual larger audience for D&D - if you look at a general-audience convention like GenCon, D&D&Pathfinder outnumbers the next most popular system 10 to 1
  • a disproportionate frequency of questions about D&D by the average D&D player; among other reasons, D&D is a mass-market RPG and more D&D players are first-time players who have no community to turn to for answers


  • be a voice in discussions on meta, otherwise people with "the average experience" will predominantly weight D&D
  • if you refer players of your preferred systems to the site, mention how they can filter by tags and ignore D&D
  • if answering a question from your preferred systems, or heck, even seeing a D&D question, sparks an idea for a Q&A combo in your preferred system, jump on that sucker
  • if people are taking their D&D experience and being Dunning-Kruger experts in a question about your preferred systems, downvote them and comment about how it doesn't look like their answer is about the system in the question
  • if a fairly new user (like, hand-wave new) tries to answer a question about your preferred system like it's a D&D question, do the usual "welcome to the site take the tour" bit and also mention that this site discusses a lot of systems, not just D&D, and you can tell by the system tags what system a question is about.

As someone who's worked the score for a year and would still be in four digits if not for the occasional D&D byblow, I can't really speak to concerns there, other than to say that I came in expecting a marathon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for saying much better some of the thoughts that were kicking around in my head. tips cap \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 27 '18 at 23:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for point #3, especially. I am absolutely merciless about purging D&D-ism answers from non-D&D questions. It's the right thing to do. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Dec 28 '18 at 0:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ By what reasoning do you say DnD is not disproportionately represented? \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jan 2 at 10:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @kviiri It's a mass-market RPG system with a lot of players and the questions reflect that number, rather than being a coordinated attempt to dominate the site. If you look at, say, the GenCon events schedule, you'll see D&D (and Pathfinder) outnumbering other RPGs 10-to-1. \$\endgroup\$ – Glazius Jan 2 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Glazius - Still, without some proper mathematical evaluation, it might be a little premature to say that D&D is not disproportionately represented. \$\endgroup\$ – Obie 2.0 Jan 5 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Obie2.0 It’s not possible to get the numbers needed for accurate math. Despite that, we can observe that D&D is the most popular game to play, so it’s roughly proportional that it’s the most asked about here. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 5 at 20:46
  1. Ask questions about non-D&D games you're interested in
  2. Answer questions about non-D&D games you're interested in
  3. Contribute answers without "D&D bias" to more general questions as well, noting that different games have different approaches (I do this)

There's no value, and SE central won't support I'm sure, 20-question fragment SEs for low volume games. And even if they did, D&D players would show up there too because the chance someone playing another game is also steeped in D&D is high.

I find that we're still the best place for focused Q&A on non-D&D games; I ask and answer questions on them myself and I tend to get good answers. Since that's the goal of the site, I find that well enough - we're not a "fandom" really, there's a bit of community formation here but that's not the goal of the site. High quality Q&A is.


Lobby to restore game recommendation questions

Yes, that is something that you can do. No, it won't be easy. Change never is.

How to improve/maintain the quality-of-life of small fandoms in the face of a dominant big fandom on an open Stack Exchange?

Game recommendation questions had a difficult time, and eventually died. One of the Great Features of Game Rec Questions when we still had them was how often non-main stream, or even just non-D&D, games would crop up in an answer. This would lead me to look up those games and see if there was one I was interested in. The ripple effect of that could lead to more questions from more users of more other games.

I have noticed a significant reduction of exposure to other games since that final decision was made (the meta on that explained why). If you can convince the community that restoring game recommendation questions is a sound policy, then greater exposure to other games will follow.

Yeah, it's a long shot, and we've always been at war with Eastasia.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Game rec here was actually really good - though I understood the decision to kill it, it basically drove me off the site as an active contributor - I don't play D&D. We did the job a helluva lot better than reddit, where we field the same "wut rpg 4 <insert video game here>?" question it seems like twice a day - the SE format keeps good answers viable and visible far longer and allows updates to be made as systems are released and / or understood. \$\endgroup\$ – gomad Jan 9 at 21:56

The best thing you can do is be the change you want to see

Encourage the people who you interact with on RPG.SE to play those other games.

In those cases where your encouragement is successful, the chances are that people new to a given game will have questions, and they already know where to ask for good answers to them. There is at least one high rep user here who does just that. (Drop by RPG.SE chat on any given day and see BESW's latest offerings).

Elevator pitch as a tool to sow the seeds of success

This is a great opportunity for you to refine or craft an elevator pitch aimed at an on line audience. Pick two or three games that you want to spread the word about (dare I say evangelize?) that you love to play. Refine your pitch. Spread the good word.

Here are some answers on how to focus an elevator pitch for an RPG


You want to federalize RPG.SE? Hmm, seems an unproductive line of attack.

  1. this isn't politics SE, and
  2. I don't think that's compatible with the SE model.

    I'll be interested to see other responses to that thought in your question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You can do that among your little circle of friends and fellow roleplayers, but how do you encourage people on RPG.SE to try other games, and how do you tell passerbys and browsing people that this SE isn't D&D.SE given the fact that you often have 100% of the question you see when first happening upon the site be about D&D in it's various forms? \$\endgroup\$ – Sava Dec 27 '18 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sava I have already done that one in comments: how do you tell passerbys and browsing people that this SE isn't D&D.SE Two out of three times the person never popped in again, and on another occasion I think the account got cancelled but as i am not a Diamond mod I am not sure. In one case the question was self deleted . \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 27 '18 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what comments you are referring to... Unless the italicized sentence in your comment above was supposed to be a link to another question? \$\endgroup\$ – Sava Dec 27 '18 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sava I was replying to your words in your comment that I italicized, and nothing else. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 27 '18 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, ok, my mistake, I misunderstood what you meant. \$\endgroup\$ – Sava Dec 27 '18 at 17:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sava no worries, I am sure I could have been clearer. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 27 '18 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast 'Just preach more and get a bigger fandom' seems to be tangential to the main thrust of the question, which is about what to do while the fandom is small. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh Dec 27 '18 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh The answer to that is grow the fandom \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 27 '18 at 23:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Maybe I should rephrase. Realistically, growing the fandom to a size that can compete with the D&D fandom would take decades, and that's assuming a successful at all. Meanwhile, the issues above won't go away until that happens. Also, even if one fandom grows, there will always be smaller fandoms on RPGSE. And they will keep facing the same issues. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh Dec 28 '18 at 7:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh suggest you read this. And suggest you offer an answer to your question, since you think it's a problem to be solved. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 29 '18 at 3:30

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