How to roleplay my character's ethics according to the DM when I don't understand those ethics?

I don't know what to add.

I can't see by any means how it's opinion-based. I am asking for ways to get around a specific problem and how to best roleplay it.

Actually, even the answers themselves show how little of an opinion is asked for. Right now, there are maybe 3-4 good answers, where only one of the dozen answers answers my question. There are a lot of answers that just contain opinions - but I didn't even ask for that at all.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "only one of the dozen answers answers my question" Which one? \$\endgroup\$ – Stop Being Evil Mar 11 '19 at 0:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sevenbrokenbricks: rpg.stackexchange.com/a/142616/15211 this one... Not a really satisfying answer. But the only one focusing on the core of my question. \$\endgroup\$ – Zaibis Mar 11 '19 at 6:26

The question is fine, it's the answers that are the problem

This is a tough thing to make the call for because the problem doesn't lie in the question itself. We handle these types of questions, and even encourage them.

What we don't do is allow bad subjective answers where this becomes just another forum of unsupported by experience opinions.

When a good question draws lots of bad answers, we tend to shut it down. While this isn't to the benefit of the asker, it is to the benefit of the site to keep us on mission here.

It's frustrating - I get that. But even when you specifically state what you're looking for it doesn't stop people from ignoring it. And that's where we are.

The closure was/(is?) the fault of those answering - not the fault of who asked.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1. It sucks when people on the site don't follow our rules. But when a question draws opinion answers with zero basis, and the community is unable to properly curate them, we close the question. All the other options (mass delete answers?) cause more consternation. Now, often, if questions are a bit more proactive about expecting experience-based answers they can head that off... But not always. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 7 '19 at 21:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I realized I made a similar mistake of not asking for good subjective in a recent question, but I think I got lucky with answers. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 7 '19 at 21:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk if the flood of answers was caused by HNQ, wouldn't protection be a suitable alternative? \$\endgroup\$ – JAD Mar 8 '19 at 14:22
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This (closing a question that is OK) seems backwards: the asker makes an acceptable question, the answerers post opinions, the answerers get off with little consequence but the asker is de facto punished by being denied a chance to get further answers, then told it's a non-punitive measure as if it's going to make things any better (when it's more likely to add insult to 'injury'). \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica Mar 8 '19 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jad It does not appear to me that it’s new users more than old users causing the problem. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 8 '19 at 20:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ And @vicky_molokh if the community would act appropriately on the answers I’d agree with you, but once it becomes enough of a swamp we’re not interested in spending infinite mod time on it. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 8 '19 at 20:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk When a question gets into the HNQ category, and the attendant explosion of activity, I am not sure that "the community" is the right target for your point there. (Agree with the close decision, for a very different reason. I think I am going to add an answer for the OP's benefit) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 9 '19 at 16:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Unless I'm reading the results wrong, there were only a couple of answers by HNQ related users (new to site). The rest of the problematic answers were put in by people not new to RPG.SE. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 11 '19 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I may or may not have gotten my impression in synch with the timing of events. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 11 '19 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Heh - gotcha. EVents aside, the HNQ may have driven upvotes/downvotes, but it doesn't seem like it really impacted the answers themselves. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 11 '19 at 15:34

I can't speak for everyone who voted, but I voted to close for exactly the reasons you've given here: Most of the answers are just opinions. That's not necessarily the fault of the question, of course. It may well just be because you were unlucky enough to get into the Hot Network Questions list.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like the question was fine and asked a perfectly answerable question (How do I do X? or How do I handle X?) which, BTW, is the basis of many, often highly upvoted, questions and answers on the site. Just because there is more than one answer to a question, does that mean that it's too "opinion based"? \$\endgroup\$ – colmde Mar 7 '19 at 9:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @colmde: No, its the part that many answers give there opinion about what the gm should have done or could have done better or how alignment should be handled and so on. If I had been asking for that I agree the question would be offtopic. But its just meant to be background info so one understands the frame due to which I ask. And why I disagree with the close is simply: You cant judge a question by the answers it generates, if the answers clearly are not what has been asked for. \$\endgroup\$ – Zaibis Mar 7 '19 at 9:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis: To cut down on unsupported opinion-based answers, it might help to edit a reminder into your post that all answers must be supported by evidence or experience, per the Good Subjective guidelines. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 7 '19 at 9:32
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis I'll quote directly from the close vote dialogue description: "Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise." \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Mar 7 '19 at 11:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ At this point I'm getting worried that the GSBS Disclaimer risks gradually becoming the Please Don't Close Tax / boilerplate for roleplaying questions. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica Mar 7 '19 at 11:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman yeah, that is a refference to the question generating this kind of answers by whats being asked for. If people just ignore whats being asked for and start writing their opinions in answers, thats not the question being asked generating them. In this case the answers need moderation. Not the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Zaibis Mar 7 '19 at 11:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I made an edit that should help the content it generates. Still I think, tho... That shouldnt have made the answers valid in the first place at all \$\endgroup\$ – Zaibis Mar 7 '19 at 11:17
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis The question being closed isn't some kind of judgement. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the question. But the answers it has generated are primarily people throwing out random opinions, so I (and 4 others) tried to stem the flow of said opinions. It's open again now, so all of this is academic anyway, and you can look forward to getting more random opinions. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Mar 7 '19 at 11:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman but I dont want random opinions. xD And I actually downvoted all answers that had no focus on the asked question, but yeh whats wrong about academic discussions for future cases?:p \$\endgroup\$ – Zaibis Mar 7 '19 at 11:21
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis Nothing wrong with discussion, academic or otherwise. I'm just a bit fed up with people trying to argue me out of having done something I already did and other people already undid. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Mar 7 '19 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh That’s not a thing to worry about. When used as a talisman against opinions it often simply doesn’t work anyway. The nature of the question is a stronger factor by far. Since it rarely works, we won’t see it become a tax. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 12 '19 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie In that case there probably shouldn't be pressure to 'pay' it on questions like the one under discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica Mar 12 '19 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh "Should" is a value statement that doesn't really have a place here. People can decide that they want to put a statement in, based on their evaluation of whether it will help, just like every other bit of text they can choose to put in their question. They don't need to, and evidence is that few questions contain them. Questions getting closed because of an avalanche of opinion-based answers is not a new dynamic, and looking at our database of questions shows that few subjective questions felt a need to include the statement. That's unlikely to change. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 12 '19 at 19:32

A possible contributor to the high noise level: HNQ+Alignment

There is a meta here about the problem of Hot Network Questions that I hope you'll take a look at to understand how the situation seems to have taken on a life of its own.

The other problem that cropped up which you noted in your last edit,

removed the alignment sentence as it was not relevant to the question
and apparently generated a lot of opinion based answers that not was being asked for.

was that your GM had raised the alignment issue with you in the course of your interaction. A number of people glommed onto that element, with the predictable result that their answers ran into the problem that a lot of alignment issues raise in this format.

  • I don't think that removing that necessarily helps us understand the situation, as it looked to me that the alignment consideration between the two of you was an integral part of your at table disagreement.

    You have now discovered how prickly the alignment issue can be in questions covering some game systems. I ran into something similar when I first started participating here. That meta helped me get a better feel for where alignment does and doesn't fit on this particular site.

Let me share with you how I experienced your question, as I dropped by during the day, since the situation you raised isn't an uncommon one -- a mismatch of assumptions between player and GM. I was interested to see what the answers would be.

The votes to close should have come sooner, mea culpa

As the answers came rolling in, I noted a number of low quality answers from low-to-no rep users, and I thought to protect the question. It had not been open long enough for that action to be taken, so I made a comment (since deleted) that I thought this needed protection and posted a flag. A mod dropped in (@SevenSidedDie) and replied to my comment with something like "this early in the question's life, if you see a problem a vote to close is the better choice, flag for protection wasn't the right way to go about this." In other words, I'd have served your question better by getting another close vote in sooner, not later.

  • The point in closing a question, sculpting it, and the opening it again (with caveats on GS/BS as eventually arrived) is to reduce the kind of churn that a question attracts and that is often amplified by the HNQ effect.

    A bit later the question did get protected, and then I noticed another comment from @SevenSidedDie that the question was on the HNQ list. I am not sure how long after it was closed the first time, but it isn't uncommon for the HNQ phenomenon to add to the churn, or multiply it, and increase the noise level. Those who voted to close it the first time were correctly protecting the question in that manner.

I tried to help a few of the answers with edits, and in one case helping an answerer with a citation (from the PFSRD), so that their answer wasn't just unsupported "this is how alignment should work" ... but that didn't and couldn't solve the core problem. Most of the answers didn't meet GS/BS standards, and that eventually drives us to the root issue, which is that ...

SE sites are designed to have a better signal-to-noise ratio than anywhere else

When a Question attracts that much noise, it generally needs to be closed as a form of damage control. That's part of why it needed to be closed: too much noise. As NautArch pointed out, that's more the fault of the answerers than of the question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ -1. Blaming HNQ is disingenuous. We have plenty of questions like this go south HNQ or not. Questions can be better scoped to not be asking for opinions, answerers who are high-rep on this stack and who know better can be backing up their answers, and voters (esp high rep ones with vote and delete privs) in this community should do better in curating them. Blaming outside forces is passing the buck, hard. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 9 '19 at 18:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk As I experienced the question, I believe that the avalanche of input is related to the HNQ problem. The other answers cover a lot of ground, well, but that piece of it wasn't covered which is why I offered this answer from that perspective. Asserting that I am trying to "pass the buck" looks like a clear misread of this answer. Not sure why you are offering to nag me about the close vote, since I offered a mea culpa right there in the answer about what should have been done, and seven already pointed that out to me. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 9 '19 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not nagging you about anything, the leading premise that HNQ is the problem here I disagree with. Same thing is happening on other questions not on HNQ. HNQ may have amplified in this case but the way this answer ins constructed makes it seem like it's the problem, and it's not. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 9 '19 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk OK,maybe I need to re-craft that title. Will do so anon. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 9 '19 at 18:57

Personally, I believe it shouldn't be closed. Currently highest voted answer is objective*, and I don't really see the question to invite subjective answers. Not when question is read in full. The only "fault" of this question was to become popular and attract people too much.

* Based on the very first sentence of the rules as seen here - does not quote it directly, but hey, it is the first sentence of the rules, so expectation that people interested in the game knows it is very reasonable.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ That answer is definitely not objective — it's a subjective recommendation. Objective means true regardless of people's perspective. Books objectively have the words they contain regardless of our perspective or opinions, maths objectively has its results. What's being offered there is a stance, and although many of us may agree, and it is quite logical, it's not an objective fact. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 7 '19 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener what is subjective in recommending that player should have all required knowledge before he decides on action, not after? Cause before effect is subjective only for most extreme philosopies. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Mar 7 '19 at 12:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener also, d20pfsrd.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2017/01/PFRPG_SRD.pdf - first sentence of the game rules confirms that game master describes first, and then players react to this description. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Mar 7 '19 at 12:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Consider that I can disagree, provide a different perspective on how players and GM handle common sense, and there is no independent truth in the universe that would contradict me — only people's perspectives might. That makes it subjective. There's nothing wrong with it being subjective, and it's a very workable perspective, but it's not objective. That a perspective on how the game dynamic should unfold is very workable and highly recommended does not make it objective fact. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 7 '19 at 13:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Core of the answer was that DM should describe first. Answers on this site are expected to follow the game rules, and the very sentence o the game rules says DM describes first, so no, you cannot really disagree without breaking rules of this site. Unless, of course, obeying game rules is inherently only a perspective - then each and every question here is PoB and should be closed. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Mar 7 '19 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ If we're referring to DaleM's answer, that one is not citing (or even explaining) the rules that GM describes first. It is asserting the GM is the player's window into the common sense of the world. You may see similarities but it's nevertheless not busy talking about objective fact of what the rules say: it's adding layers and talking about communication styles which are not objectively correct. Now, it sounds like both of us find this stance agreeable, but that's also subjective—it's still not an objectively true stance. An alternative stance is the players define common sense. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 7 '19 at 13:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ He omitted citation. That doesn't meant it is his opinion. It only means he omitted citation. Also, you misquoted his answer and built rest of your comment on that misquotation, so no point in discussing it anymore. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Mar 7 '19 at 13:43
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Statements without citation are opinion. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 7 '19 at 14:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .