In this scenario, how do I determine whether the enemies are surprised? was originally a series of related by (arguably) separate questions linked to a common example scenario. The question was closed as too broad presumably because voters felt the question needed to be broken up. The question was then edited to be a general question which (arguably, though I had reservations) contained all the specific questions that OP wanted just wrapped up in a very general question.

I commented that the post should not be reopened unless OP approved the drastic edit to their question.

OP indicated that they wanted to break up their question into separate questions instead of one big general one.

Perhaps a good candidate to split off is the question (Q1) for other rule sources, other than PHB 189. Also, Q2 and Q3 can be stand alone questions. – svenema 18 hours ago

Despite this, the question was reopened and answers came in.

Now OP wants to know how they can ask their question they way they wanted to.

The question is no longer on hold. I would prefer to repackage as a few more precise and stand alone questions. What do I do? Should I keep or delete this question, because there are already some answers? 4 hours ago

Moreover, the answers the answer has gathered thus far have not addressed the questions that OP originally had specifically laid out. Thus, the current iteration of the question is not getting the answers to the questions that OP is trying to ask.

How should this proceed forward so as to give OP the chance to ask their question in a way that they want and that fits the stack?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just as a technical note: OP will not be able to delete the question, as it has an upvoted answer on it. An elected mod could, if that's the consensus desired outcome. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Mar 22, 2019 at 15:37

2 Answers 2


Close the question and let OP reask the question piecemeal

It's still asking too many questions, just with less detail now

The question started as a series of specific linked questions and the community closed it because it was too much for one Q&A. Nothing has really changed about the question except that all the individual questions are now hidden by a broader, more generic question with a directive for answers to figure out all the specific questions and also to answer them:

Good answers will include consideration of stealth, passive perception, whether or not a creature can be surprised at all, the differences between group vs individual stealth, and anything else I may have missed.

This, in turn, has made it very difficult for anwerers to focus on the correct specific aspects of the scenario that OP was asking about. Essentially, the question is still asking more than one question, just in a very disguised way and that is showing itself in the quality of the answers.

Close it

Regardless of the validity of the current answers or status of the question, the edit made to the question changed the question such that OP is not able to get the answers they want and it thus should not have been reopened. While it is open, any of the actual questions OP wanted to ask are effectively duplicates of this one.

Close it and allow OP to ask the question in individual pieces which OP thinks (and I agree) will give them better, more focused answers than what they are getting with the current answers (which don't answer even all of the original sub-questions).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm worried about the community often ignoring the Respect the Author principle of edits, and am glad that this is the first proposed way of dealing with the situation. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh What principle is that? Are you getting that from our help center, or are you importing an assumption from outside? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie From Atwood himself (last bullet of point 2 and point 3): stackoverflow.blog/2009/03/04/the-great-edit-wars. There's also the consideration of treatment of moral rights, which AFAIK SE's version of CC does not touch. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 19:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah. @vicky_molokh, compare the list in that old blog post to its counterpart in the help center article on the edit privilege. Note that that fifth bullet is absent: it was never part of the formalised rules. Authors don’t have any special authority over their questions. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 19:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh it's also important to note that I don't think it should be closed because the author didn't approve the changes, I want it closed because it changed the question such that the author is not getting the answers they wanted and is preventing them from doing so in new questions. I made an edit to my answer to try to emphasize that more. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I find said omission concerning, but the full treatment of the matter would derail this meta. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 19:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh The site infrastructure has changed in fundamental ways since that blog post was written. That bullet existed as a very early, first approximation of how best to finesse a problem—edit warring—that is solved differently now. (Meta didn’t even exist then!) There’s no longer a need to defer to the author at the expense of our primary content principles, since we can now more effectively defer to the collective. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 20:17

Add Do Not Open notice to top of question and Request Mod closure in the cases of major edit review

As the edit author, I'll take responsibility for what I did.

The question was kind of all over the place and seemed needlessly complicated, but I felt I had a good handle on what they were trying to ask.

Throughout my process, I did comment to OP, but they were not actively responding in a timely manner which the community took as approval. In fact, OP did respond post-edit, but did not react to the edits or do anything to roll it back. While that isn't approval, the community may have taken it as tacit acceptance.

Even though both Rubiksmoose and myself left comments not to reopen, the community did reopen. Unfortunately, OP did not respond until many many hours later stating that they'd like to just repackage as single separate questions. That isn't their fault, but it does raise an issue of how do we handle edits when OP isn't responding.

I'm not sure if we need to close the question, but honestly the answers aren't great so I'd be fine with closure and letting OP ask their questions piecemeal.

As I think more, a possible solution would be to:

  1. Add bolded notice to top of question stated not to open prior to OP approval of removal of notice
  2. Flag for Mod close until OP responds. It's putting more work on the mods, but we may have to as this shows a risk in trusting the community.

Number 1 is the key here: Maybe not everyone reads the comments, but everyone reads the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Fwiw, I hope you didn't feel criticized by my question. I think what you did was well meaning and potentially positive and the edit itself was not the issue. In my mind your edit was fine, but it was the reopen votes that were problematic \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Not at all! I agreed with it in the comment chain as well - but I still felt like I captured their questions and simplified their approach. But I clearly didn't because of the answers that came in (everyone ignored what was stated as necessary for a good answer.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 22, 2019 at 16:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good just making sure we were on the same page :) as a note I did flag preemptively for the mods to watch it while it was still closed, but obviously there is only so much the mods can/should/want to do and the community should be disciplined enough not to need mod intervention here in the first place I feel. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Interesting. Added an update to my answer to reflect that and add an idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 22, 2019 at 17:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, our patience for keeping flags saying “watch this question there might be problems” only lasts a couple days, flag (or better yet handle) real tangible problems instead... \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 23, 2019 at 12:54

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