Two questions in quick succession,

Do Hexblade warlocks choose their spells from the Hexblade spell list or the warlock spell list? and What’s the right calculation for the Homunculus’s hit points for the 2019 UA Alchemist Artificer?

Were both posted without a system tag. Guessing on a system is a no go, but something caught my eye about the Hexblade question. It was edited, adding in the tag, with the justification (paraphrasing, comment deleted) "given the question has 5.0 in the title, I don't think dnd-5e is guessing".

I edited the second question, adding the tag dnd-5e. I concluded as such because of the combination of

  1. "UA Alchemist 2019"

  2. The quote given, matching the exact text from the Unearthed Arcana "Revised Artificer", posted in 2019

  3. The unearthed-arcana tag

With all 3 of these in unison, I didn't think the system was a guess either.

What makes the second instance a guess when the first was not? Or were both guesses, or were both not?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The hexblade question was clarified in comments on an answer before anyone could rollback the edit. To me both were guessing and should not have been done. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin Mod
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 5:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ To clarify, I deleted my quoted comment on the Hexblade one because OP confirmed the system in a comment on the answer (which also "guessed" the system), and edited the system into the question itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 5:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin: You should leave that second part as an answer, and explain your logic. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 5:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I've tried to cultivate the habit, when tagging based on a comment, of leaving an edit summary "based on OP's comment [under post_link, if it's not the Q post]". IIRC you can't provide your own summary if using the "edit tags" inline function; you have to do a full "edit." That way it both heads off people thinking you're guessing and teaches new, observant users that system tags are only added based on OP's input. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60: Technically I was "guessing" based on the 5.0 in the title when I edited the tag in, but OP commented on the answer to confirm it less than a minute after I did it. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 18:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? What should I do when a question does not specify the game system being used? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 14:12

3 Answers 3


Both examples are guessing and should not have been done

Though both had legitimate reasons for being exceptions to the general rule it sets a precedent that we probably don't want and gains us very little. In both cases waiting an additional 10 minutes would have been enough for OP to clarify.

The UA Alchemist Question

As I commented after my rollback, UA could mean something completely different in a different system. Alchemist and 2019 are only useful to confirm a belief not determine the system to begin with. Between the three you could be 95-98% confident but that still leaves room for error.

The 5.0 Hexblade Question

DND 5e is not the only 5th edition of an rpg. Guessing a system based on a 5.0 in the question title is not a good idea. Though likely to be right based on hexblade and additional information this isn't something we should do.


As I said above, not guessing only costs us time. We can wait for the OP to respond and then give quality answers. If they never reply then there's nothing lost, since they wouldn't have seen the answers anyway and it's better for the question to be closed and eventually deleted as abandoned.

If we guess the system other users may weigh in with answers based on that guess. In the 2% of cases that you made a mistake these answerers have wasted their time. You have also wasted the time of the mods who have to clean up the post once the OP does return and edit in the correct system.

It is always better to close a question and wait for clarification then to edit or answer an unclear question.


Guessing the system is bad, but adding a system tag is not always guessing

I recognize that I'm challenging the consensus here, but in my opinion, if the question contains enough information to uniquely identify the system, adding the system tag to it is not out of line.

I've seen people say "don't guess the system" to someone adding a system tag to a question when the asker quoted the rulebook, with a page-number citation. That is ridiculous. I could confidently say that there is only one RPG where that exact quote appears on that exact page of the rulebook. Pretending that we don't know what system people are talking about because they didn't put it in a tag serves no one.

Add a system tag if:

  • The question has enough information to uniquely identify the system
  • You are confident enough in your own breadth of RPG knowledge to be sure that the question isn't about a system you've never heard of.
  • You are confident that the reason the system tag is missing is because the asker forgot it or didn't realize it was necessary.
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You may be interested in seeing the debate on this meta: Revisiting our “never guess the game system” policy \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 1:08
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ In theory I agree with this—it matches my personal stance. In practice though I notice that since the community has gone zero-tolerance for any kind of guessing, even the harmless kind described here, I’ve also noticed a dramatic drop in the kind of bad guessing we used to suffer from (and suffer from arguments about). So though I think it’s more strict than theoretically necessary, in practice zero guessing appears to have significant benefits that I appreciate a lot, for only a small drawback of some ridiculous cases that are quickly resolved by the author responding. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 4:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ From that debate, it seems like the strongest arguments in favor of not guessing is that it teaches the asker to tag their questions better in the future. In that case, I still disagree. It doesn't seem consistent with our other practices. If I asked a question about how to breadcrumb traps when narrating,,but forgot the [gm-techniques] tag, someone would edit it in and no one would think twice about it. If someone asked me in a comment if I was asking about gm techniques and suggested that I add the tag if I was, I would learn "don't edit," as much as "tag your questions." \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim C
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 7:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I like the majority of this, and it is likely experienced users could apply this well. However SSD's comment highlights an important point. I also don't like the message: "You are confident enough in your own breadth of RPG knowledge to be sure that the question isn't about a system you've never heard of." That is a dangerous message to send. There are thousands of RPGs and the over-confident users are the ones most likely to cause an issue in this area. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin Mod
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 23:30

If the querent hasn't stated it themselves, it's guessing.

In every case, it is up to the asker of the question to either state what system or add the tag themselves. Anything else will be guessing on our part. It's a pretty easy metric to look for, but does always require the asker to provide it.


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