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This meta is about the mainsite question How I can I roll a number of non-digital dice to get a random number between 1 and 150?

  1. It was closed by five users,

  2. then reopened by five other users. (Many of these first ten users are very high-rep and -experience users--you can see them all in the revision history.)

  3. Then it was closed by an elected moderator with comment-reference to not really being about RPGs, but just a pure math/dice question. I tend to agree, and left the following comment:

    This is one of those cases (it seems to me) where "we have expertise in this" runs up against "real questions have real answers." If someone's running an RPG and they want a good way to generate 1-150 at the table we'll answer that question. Because the answers to clarifying questions like "how much math are your players comfortable with?" and "can the die be different colors?" and "how quick does this need to be?" and "does this happen once a session or every couple of minutes?" all of which could impact answers and votes, have answers in the real case and don't here. – nitsua60♦

  4. Five more users reopened it.

So I've gone ahead and locked it and opened this meta: we have two close-reopen cycles with plenty of rep/experience on either "side" of the disagreement. We also have an existing meta--Are general statistics or dice questions on topic? seems (to me) to clearly point in the "close" direction.

Let's hash it out here, then apply the result mainsite: Should this question be open or closed?


Some other related metas:

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason not to let nature take its course? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 3 at 1:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just my vague feeling that a cumulative half-million rep voting in different directions means we probably need more space for hashing it out than just votes and comments on the question itself. But I think "let nature take its course" would be an interesting answer to see in the fray. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 3 at 1:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. However, I'm not certain what mod powers are available nor if one mod can unilaterally close a question multiple times. (By the way, it's kind of a shame that the asker said what he wanted the numbers for because I'm pretty sure if the asker just posed the question How can I generate a random number between 1 and 150 in the fewest number of steps using at least one die? the question would've stayed open. :-)) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 3 at 1:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Even without the (laudable, IMO) real context there, without any RPG context I think it'd still be off-topic for the reason I mention in my blockquoted comment. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 3 at 1:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ the only reason I responded to mxy in my comment was my point from a previous comment, in concurrence with Seven's previous comment: we don't just serve the querent, but all users who have a similar question in the future. I get why it was closed. I was not a reopen voter the second time around, as I accepted Mxy's point. On the first time around, these are the reopen users: KRyan, KorvinStarmast, SevenSidedDie, PixelMaster, Wyrmwood. But I guess we're wrong. So it goes. Not critical to flight safety \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 3 at 3:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Quite frankly, I'd reopen it in a heartbeat. Especially since the migrate targets that have been brought up so far are practically alien. stats.SE went "use 3(d6-1) in base 6". \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck May 3 at 23:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Stackstuck: Leave that as an answer, not as a comment. (To some degree, this also applies to your comments under Rubiksmoose's answer attempting to argue against it.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 4 at 4:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Comments like that are OK on meta. We can have discussion on here, including people voicing what they want. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 4 at 8:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Though it's certainly the case that if one wants to impact how people behave/think around here, an answer post is going to be a much better way to communicate than scattered comments. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 4 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Stackstuck As I mentioned in my answer, the lack or presence of a migration target simply has no effect on how on-topic something is at RPG.se. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 5 at 16:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I’m also on the fence. I voted the once and I’m happy to see how it shakes out in aggregate. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 5 at 17:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ With respect to the dice-rolling problem, I've asked and answered a similar question on stats.SE. stats.stackexchange.com/questions/406723/… \$\endgroup\$ – Sycorax May 5 at 18:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: I asked a question about whether non-RPG dice questions should be explicitly on-topic: rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/q/9082/3195 \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 7 at 5:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 So, given that the scores seem to be inconclusive (+10 vs. +8, with the statement that people are wrong being heavily downvoted), how do you interpret the community's stance on the matter (including the at least slight discrepancy between the halls of meta vs. the ground floor of main)? Let nature take its course, or keep the reins? \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh May 14 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh thanks for the nudge. I agree that the scores below don't really add much clarity: +16/-6 vs. +13/-5 doesn't seem like a huge signal to me. And I went back and took a closer look at the (close/open) votes and flags on the post and see it actually comes to a perfect dozen voting open, a dozen voting closed. (Including half of our top-ten mainsite rep-holders on either side.) So my instinct is just to unlock it and see what happens.... \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 15 at 12:22
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Open. Polyhedral dice are within the purview of roleplaying games.

Polyhedral dice are a piece of equipment integral to tabletop roleplaying games. The primary use of those dice is for tabletop roleplaying dice, with only a minority of alternative uses such as board games inspired by tabletop RPGs.

RPG.SE is the primary site where you would expect to find experts on polyhedral dice. I would not expect Math Stack Exchange to know that there are 15-sided dice, or custom 3D printed dice, or to know about the practice of rolling percentile dice and how they are read, or to have practical experience of the pitfalls of rolling and reading very large dice. All of this expertise was critical in giving good answers to the question.

This particular question involves an unorthodox use of RPG tools and systems, but it's still about RPG tools and systems, and a good answer to the question relies on an understanding of those things which no other Stack Exchange can provide.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My earnest question is, if this is on topic, what is the limit for what we should accept here for pure dice questions with no RPG content? "Polehedral dice" is a broad and not well-defined topic that leaves me unclear about what we should actually accept. Should we accept "How do I model the diffusion of creamer in coffee using a pool of polyhedral dice?" or "What are the odds of me rolling a Yahtzee 18 times in a row using d6s?" or "What is the best material for 3D printing my own dice?" or "What is the minimum # and type of dice I need to roll any number from 1 to 1 million?". \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 5 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose In order: Clearly off-topic and absurd besides, migrate to board/card games SE, migrate to a 3D printing SE, close as too broad. IMO, at least. \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck May 8 at 0:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Stackstuck Maybe the examples, I chose were a bit too far-flung, but I think you missed my point: we need a well-scoped definition for what "questions about dice" means here and what is on topic and what isn't. You can poke holes in my examples all you want, but this answer doesn't do that, and I think it is necessary. But that is what the other question on this topic is doing. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 8 at 0:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Stackstuck beyond that I do disagree with some of your resolutions of the examples, but as I mention above, that really isn't the point. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 8 at 0:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ "It doesn't fit on any other Stack" has never been a valid argument for something being on topic on a given stack. Something can legitimately not be on topic for any current stack and that's OK. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk May 14 at 20:06
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We are not Dice.SE. It should be closed

(according to how our current site is scoped)

Here's what the tour has to say about the purpose and mission of this site:

RPG Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. We cater to hundreds of tabletop RPGs including D&D, Fate, GURPS, World of Darkness, and more. RPG Stack Exchange is built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about role-playing games.

Right now, we have defined ourselves as a site laser-focused on one narrow slice of Q&A content: stuff inherently about RPGs.

This question explicitly is not about RPGs:

This question is not actually related to RPGs but is more of a real-world dice rolling scenario I'm looking for help with, from dice rolling experts.

I'm currently memorizing the Book of Psalms, which is divided into 150 chapters.

I'm looking for an analog, elegant way of quizzing myself, by rolling some number of dice (or whatever means, really, just nothing digital) to get a random (equally likely) number from 1 to 150.

It is about dice and statistics for the purpose of memorizing psalms. This is a lovely and commendable question, but this site isn't built to field questions requiring only general expertise in dice just like we also don't field questions about graphic design not related to RPGs, social problems not occurring in an RPG context, and pure math/statistics problems.

This question again explicitly had nothing to do with RPGs. We are not dice.SE. We wouldn't handle questions about Liar's Dice, identifying what version of Monopoly a set of dice came from, or Statistics 101 homework problems about dice probability. Nor should we be accepting question about solving everyday problems with dice.

Changing the scope could allow these types of questions

Now, dice questions explicitly not about RPGs don't have to always be off-topic here, but by our current definition they are. If we want them to be something that is allowed and encouraged here, we are going to have to have a discussion about widening the scope of the site to allow them and come up with a proper definition of what is allowed and what isn't.

No matter what the scope of the site is, it should be widely understood and agreed upon such that we can manage the site content to remain focused on that scope. Doing so allows us to keep our noise level very low and to maintain a high level of interesting and relevant content for our target audience.

The lack of a migration target has no effect on what is considered on-topic

It is good to remember that even if a question may not fit on any other Stack, it does not mean we have to default to expanding our core focus to "adopt" them. The presence or lack thereof of a migration target does not at all factor into what we consider on topic here.

Not every question has a Stack that has the focus and expertise to answer it. And that is inherently a characteristic that comes from how the focused Q&A sites of Stack Exchange are built.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you suggest that we ask the Mods at Christianity.SE for a migration? I can predict that the answer will be "uh, not quite within our scope." All that it takes for that question to be an RPG.SE question is: "I am going to randomly use a psalm to trigger an encounter in an sandboxy RPG session" and it becomes an RPG.SE question. I am not going to go and edit that in, as I am not the querent, but that right there would make it an RPG.SE question. A year from now, someone with that idea stumbles across that question while trying to figure out how to randomize psalms. Cha ching, victory. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 3 at 18:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Long ago when I was first DMing, I used some of the OT books to randomly popluate some towns (char names) in my more sandboxy game world. Begatting was a very helpful thing, I guess. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 3 at 18:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast sure, even that small change would make it good for RPG.se. But the same thing could be said if many other questions as well. A bunch of friends fighting is not appropriate for us, but put that same question around an RPG table and it is. I think if a querent comes along and wants to know they can ask. We can't keep everything around just because it might possibly be useful in an RPG context eventually right? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 3 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ We can just as likely migrate to Cross Validated. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 3 at 21:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does Cross Validated even have a dice tag? \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck May 3 at 22:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Having looked, stats.SE does have a dice tag...that has 113 total questions under it...Compared to our 208 dice questions...Let alone that they also have less dice by volume. We're the experts here whether we like it or not, I think. \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck May 3 at 22:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, if this is off topic, why is this question (rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/147221/…) on topic? \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck May 3 at 22:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener preliminary inquiries in Cross Validated chat suggest that they would not find it very on topic. I have also asked a meta question stats.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5652/… here, which might have a more definitive answer eventually. \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck May 3 at 23:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Stackstuck it feels like you're getting hung up on "where does this fit on StackExchange?" But, frankly, it doesn't need to. The lack of a migration target doesn't in any way (IMO) impact how we think about what we think our scope should be. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 3 at 23:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast on your first comment, I agree that if someone (honestly) said "I need this to choose the psalm that determines <X> in my sandbox" it'd be on topic. And I suggest that this hypothetical would pass all the concerns in the comment I blockquoted, while the existing question doesn't. Do you have a feeling on the "not a real question" concerns? (Also, I agree about flight safety: this stack will neither stand nor fall on whether this particular question ends up open or closed. But I think it's a good conversation to have.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 3 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I had to laugh with your link to Cross Validated, given that the original question under consideration is one dealing with Christian things (though C.SE would not find it on topic) as its root concern. Unintentional humor is sometimes the best kind. :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 4 at 0:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Agree with this, of course. We can't keep everything around just because it might possibly be useful in an RPG context eventually right? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 4 at 0:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Because the question didn't have that qualifier that I proposed, mxy's point, in the larger sense, is consistent with how RPG.SE has evolved to determine question scope. Thus, your points I am in accord with. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 4 at 0:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Stackstuck I think if we want to be home to dice questions we need to face a serious discussion about expanding the scope of the site. Right now, it clearly doesn't fit with how we define ourselves. It doesn't mean that it can never be home here, but right now it isn't right. I don't think this will be a serious threat to the site or anything, but it sounds a lot like scope creep which should not be done thoughtlessly \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 4 at 1:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose the question linked in the 7th comment strikes me as not-obviously-on, not-obviously-off. And given that, we give the benefit of the doubt to the poster and proceed apace. (For me that's not scope creep, btw. That's "we know our scope, and we're not sure if this is in it, but we'll proceed anyway--there's nothing that'll be done that can't be fixed!") \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 4 at 2:21
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This question is off-topic, for the same reason many and questions are off topic.

Way back in the antediluvian days of 2012, we discussed an issue we were having centered around questions that only vaguely brushed against RPGs by saying that they were asked for campaign research. I suggest that you read the question and top answer, but to summarize: A question is on topic if and only if it is best answered by RPG experts specifically.

While many RPG players spend time figuring out how to make dice do interesting things, the specifics of this question do not require any knowledge about RPGs to answer. This question doesn't require knowledge about how dice mechanics work in play, how players react to different dice mechanics, the threshold at which a mechanic is too complicated to use in play, or any of the other RPG-specific metrics by which we could judge answer quality.

If the question was something like "my players have to roll on a table of 150 options several times a session, what can I do to make that work in play", there would be no question of topicality. This question is not about RPGs at all, and so should be off topic.

NB: It's irrelevant whether or not there is a better Stack for this question than ours. Topicality has never been, isn't, and should never be determined by whether or not the querent has a better to place to ask, either on a different Stack or outside the network.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "A question is on topic if and only if it is best answered by RPG experts specifically." How does that not rule out all dice questions, period? No one needs to be an RPG expert to answer questions about elementary probability and statistics, in any context. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak May 7 at 3:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak Like I say in this answer, a question about dice here is on-topic if part of a good answer considers things that are RPG-specific, like how dice mechanics work in play, or how to apply probability to an RPG context. If the question is just about raw elementary probability, it's off topic. If it's about how to accurately calculate average weapon damage, it's on-topic. The first requires no RPG knowledge, the second requires knowledge of critical hit rules, class features, and other game concepts. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 7 at 3:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ But to take your comment as I believe you intended it, yes, I think that we are way more permissive with allowing questions about die rolling on this stack than we should be. They're fun and generally not harmful, but when a question specifically says "this isn't about RPGs" as the first sentence, that's a bridge too far. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 7 at 3:17

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