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Over in another meta thread, there is a conversation about a particular question regarding dice-rolling outside of an RPG context. I suggest you read that thread first, but to boil it down to the basic points: RPG.SE is probably the best place we know of to get an answer for that sort of question, but outside of an RPG context such a question is probably off-topic.

One point that I haven't seen any significant disagreement on (and which I agree with myself) is that if a person wants to roll some dice and get a number with a particular statistical distribution with a minimum of fuss, there's probably no better place on the internet to ask about it than here.

Given that, should we explicitly expand our site's scope to include questions that are about rolling dice, regardless of an RPG context?

A good Yes answer should probably include information and guidance on how to determine if a particular Dice question is a good question. A good No answer should show why expanding our site's scope this way would be harmful to the site.

This question is generally unconcerned with the outcome of the linked meta question. Whether all dice questions are implicitly part of our purview or not doesn't change whether or not they should be included explicitly.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not quite sure what you mean by "RPG.SE is probably the best place we know of to get an answer for that sort of question". What do you mean by "that sort of question"? Because I can't really see that conclusion coming out of the answers to that question (or at least no kind of overwhelming support for it) for any definition of "that sort of question" that I can think of. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 7 at 16:41
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No, we should not.

We think we're the best people to answer all kinds of questions, because on the Internet I am always the smartest person in the room.

However, our site is about role-playing games. That's its appropriate scope. That makes us tangentially good about a lot of things. Dice! Desktop publishing! Fiction! Weaponry! But we have to draw the line somewhere. We're not board and card games. We're not arbitrary historical questions. We're not genre fiction questions. We are good at all these things, but this is a site for RPG players and we owe it to them to stay focused on RPGs.

General dice stats are not our exclusive domain and, whether or not some other stack answers those question well, they are not on topic and should not be unless specifically in a RPG context.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I might add that achieving an RPG context is ridiculously easy and can involve simply just mentioning that "I am playing [insert RPG here] and I am wondering about [dice question]." Not a particularly high bar to meet and really not a lot to ask for questions being asked on a site called RPG.se. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 8 at 1:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Not that people should be artificially adding fake RPG context to make non-RPG questions on-topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman May 8 at 4:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman absolutely! People should be absolutely honest about the context of their issues. My only point is that if it is an RPG issue it's not at all hard to make that clear. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 8 at 11:42
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One point that I haven't seen any significant disagreement on (and which I agree with myself) is that if a person wants to roll some dice and get a number with a particular statistical distribution with a minimum of fuss, there's probably no better place on the internet to ask about it than here.

I am indifferent to whether or not RPG.SE wishes to expand its scope to cover dice questions. However, rolling dice to achieve a particular distribution is squarely within the domain of statistics. Questions about rolling dice are 100% on-topic at stats.SE. We only ask that the question be well-framed so that it is answerable. When a user on RPG.SE asks about the rules of D&D, you require users to specify which edition of the rules to use as a reference; likewise, stats.SE needs to know what rules the question-asker is imposing on answers.

An example of a question which is on-topic at stats.SE is "How can I use fair D&D dice to make a uniform distribution on 1, 2, 3, ..., 150?" (and then explain in the body that D&D dice typically have d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20 and a decile die). Someone could even further specify that (1) they don't want to roll more dice than necessary and (2) they don't want to do any math except addition and the operation that maps a d6 to a d3 or similar.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My counterpoint: I read the question and answer posted to stats.SE for the 1d150 question. Even with some basic statistics education, both the question and answer were totally opaque to me. While it's possible to ask a dice-rolling question on Stats and get an answer, it appears that the number of extra details needed to frame the question correctly are non-trivial. Here, we already assume you're using a standard set of polyhedral dice, and that you don't want to do lots of math to count the dice, and you can't count in base 6. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 7 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ To phrase it differently, it looks to me that a layperson who doesn't have any stats knowledge will have an easier time getting a good answer to a dice-rolling question here than on Stats. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 7 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suppose it's up to question-askers to decide what kind of an answer they want, and therefore choose the right place to ask, in the same way that you can ask DYI.SE about how to build a fence in your backyard and you can ask law.SE whether building the fence might have adverse legal consequences. However, there are now 4 answers to the d150 question. My answer is, so far, the least-efficient method; however it is also the simplest, requiring only knowledge of addition, subtraction and multiplication. Like I said, I'm not here to tell RPG.SE what to do, but stats.SE can answer dice questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Sycorax May 7 at 15:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ To be clear: I'm not claiming that people can't get questions about dice-rolling answered on Stats.SE. What I'm saying is that, if the definition of "simple" there is that multiplying a number by 36 in your head counts as simple, then someone with little to no formal math knowledge will need more effort and editing tine to frame their question right than they would here. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 7 at 15:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you're missing the larger point, which is that asking about polyhedral dice is also on-topic. Nothing about stats.SE is restricted to d6. A person can ask about using fair (or unfair!) polyhedra to simulate any distribution if that's of interest to them. I asked about d6 because that question is interesting to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Sycorax May 7 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ We definitely have a miscommunication here. I understand that people can ask questions about various polyhedra on Stats. My point is that there are a number of things that you don't have to specify on RPG that you have to precisely specify on Stats. Based on the answers to that question, I would need to know that I need to specify: what dice I'm willing to use, how much math I'm capable of doing in my head, etc. For a lay person, asking simply "how do I make a 1d150" is simpler than the level of detail needed to ask the same question on Stats. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 7 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DuckTapeAl: Given that this Meta question asks "should we explicitly expand our site's scope to include questions that are about rolling dice, regardless of an RPG context" [my italics] it'd perhaps be wise even here on the RPG site to require that questions provide some information about context, goals, & constraints; rather than assume that e.g. some standard set of dice is available or obtainable, or that random numbers must be generated singly & not in batches. And I don't think it's an especially onerous requirement in any case. \$\endgroup\$ – Scortchi May 12 at 11:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just because it's 100% on topic for one stack does not mean it should be off topic for another. I can think of 10 questions related to something I'm working on right now that would fit on Stack Overflow, Security.SE and DBA.SE (among others). Equally I can think of dice related questions that are on topic here, and elsewhere. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 16 at 12:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @illustro You’re objecting to an argument I never made. I never even took a stance on whether dice should be on-topic at RPG.SE or not. My only point is that dice questions are on-topic at stats.SE. The first sentence I wrote in my answer is I am indifferent to whether or not RPG.SE wishes to expand its scope to cover dice questions. I only wrote my answer to correct what I felt was a misunderstanding by OP. \$\endgroup\$ – Sycorax May 16 at 12:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are bringing up a point (something is 100% on topic somewhere else) as an answer to the question "should dice be on topic here". People will make inferences in that context, like I did, that you are saying they shouldn't be on topic here. My comment was that you should address that more explicitly in your answer if you don't want that inference to be made. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 16 at 12:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think anyone who makes it as far as reading my first sentence (I am indifferent to whether or not RPG.SE wishes to expand its scope to cover dice questions.) will understand that the context in which I am writing is the block-quote immediately before it. \$\endgroup\$ – Sycorax May 16 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I read your first sentence and I still made the inference I mentioned. If you don't think the point of it being on topic somewhere else adds to the conversation on this question why make it. What you personally are indifferent to or not is irrelevant, which way you think your argument swings the conversation is, however relevant. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 16 at 12:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Why make it" -- to correct OP's implicit claim that dice questions do not have a home on SE. That's why I included the block quote. My only purpose in writing this answer is raise awareness among RPG.SE users that dice questions are on-topic at stats.SE. Full stop. If you read something else into that, I hardly see how I can be responsible for it; I plainly state what I mean in black and white. \$\endgroup\$ – Sycorax May 16 at 12:58
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Asking questions about dice should be on topic

Just because there are other stacks that may also fit a topic does not mean asking about that topic should be off-topic here.

For example, questions about problem players and GMs are inherently interpersonal issues, and there is a stack for that. Should we relegate all those types of topics to the interpersonal stack?

Many role-playing games use dice as the mechanism for arbitrating the outcome of actions. Asking how you might adjust or change those mechanics will alter the game and should be squarely on topic here.

As an example, the question asking if 1d30 would be an appropriate substitute for the advantage mechanic in D&D 5e of rolling 2d20 and taking the highest should be on topic here. Changing the dice in that way fundamentally alters how the game works, and introduces some additional questions that need to be addressed in order to not completely break the game mechanics (to the point of being unplayable).

We have many users here who study and use statistics at a deep level and are qualified to answer dice based statistics questions.

If you were to ask about a dice distribution in the absence of a game, sure that question could be addressed on the stats SE, but it could equally be addressed here.

If you ask about a dice distribution in relation to a specific game, that question would likely be offtopic for the Stats.SE (due to it being about the interaction between the dice and the game rules). Having that question here makes it easier for someone looking to make a similar change in the future understand the ramifications for their game of doing so.

Do there exist edge cases that should be closed?

Sure there do, but we shouldn't use that as a justification for saying "dice related questions are off-topic here unless you come up with some justification as to why it's RPG related in your question". We should tackle those questions on a case by case basis (as we are with the linked question).

People ask these questions here because RPGs use dice, and as such dice is a Lingua Franca here, and you are likely to get people who will answer with that knowledge.

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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI since I feel it may have been misunderstood: this meta Q is not about all dice questions and no outcome of it would rule all dice questions off topic. Specifically, we will definitely always accept people asking questions about dice within a tabletop RPG context; the 1d30 question you cited is completely safe. This meta Q is instead specifically about whether we want to accept dice questions that are outside any RPG context — questions completely unrelated to any tabletop game or any gameplay — solely because they are asking about dice. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 16 at 13:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I understood the point you were making. I'm saying in my answer I think that dice questions should be on topic in general, regardless of whether or not the querant has stated a specific RPG link in their question, due to the expertise this community has with dice. This is because I feel general dice related questions are useful and valuable for our community. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 16 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ I downvoted this because I disagree, but also I feel like you're not supporting your case well. Your first 4 paragraphs (up to "being unplayable") are not relevant to this discussion. Whether or not a question is on topic for another stack has no bearing on whether or not it's on topic here. And questions about dice in an RPG context are always on topic, and not under threat. Your argument outside of that boils down to "people could get good answers here", which is not a good argument. People might be able to get good writing answers here, but that doesn't make writing on-topic. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 16 at 23:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ For example: Running a D&D game is like writing a book, in that you care about character motivations. If a person came here asking us to help write their book by asking how to get their characters to care about some plot point, it would be off topic, since it's not related to RPGs. If someone asked how to get their players to care about a plot point, or how to show their players that the NPCs care, that would be on topic. It doesn't matter that they can get a good answer, it matters if it's part of our purview. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl May 16 at 23:57
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It should be on topic.

RPGs and RPG tools should be on topic. Dice are RPG tools. Therefore, they should be on topic.

I will admit that this is not, perhaps, as well-spoken as the other answers here, but it's certainly my opinion on the subject.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Dice are used for many things not RPG-related and are certainly not exclusively RPG tools. What limits on the type of dice questions would you be recommending? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 11 at 22:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose: I'd say "close it if you're asking for high math (e.g. stats.SE's take on the d150 question) or about an obviously-other-stack thing (e.g. Yahtzee)". \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck May 17 at 17:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Additionally - our symbol is literally a d20. We are dice-flavored. We should own that. \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck May 17 at 17:39

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