In my brief experience with this site, I have encountered problems with asking for balance on homebrew items. Every single time I have posted a homebrew question, it is downvoted, regardless of content. Just recently, I posted a homebrew, and, within 5 minutes, I had 1 downvote.

I really do not understand why this happens. It seems to me that the negative attitude towards homebrew content on this site (which is apparently controversial) is leading to these downvotes, which, in turn, leads to more downvotes or at the very least less views and good answers.

Homebrew questions are on-topic, and they are useful to the homebrewer in question. It seems inherently wrong that they should be downvoted almost immediately because of somebody that just doesn't think that these questions should be asked. If anything, those people should just leave these questions alone.

Furthermore, assuming the downvoter has a specific problem with anything actually in the homebrew content that is to be critiqued, they should be critiquing it. If they do not, they are essentially stating that they think something is unbalanced or broken in the content, but refuse to specify what it is they do not think should be there.

The way I view things, people that do not even leave a comment on homebrew balance questions are just hating on my content, making me, well, frustrated. As I said before, downvotes lead to less views, which leads to less constructive answers and more "hate downvoting" of homebrew content.

I personally think that this is an abuse of downvoting solely in homebrew questions, and the downvoting definition backs me up:

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information. The more that people vote on a post, the more certain future visitors can be of the quality of information contained within that post.

Should I automatically assume that they think I did not already compare this to existing content? That I did not do enough work? Or perhaps they think that my work contains wrong information, even though homebrew is about creating new options?

I understand that these people don't really have to leave a comment on normal posts, but I would like to know why they downvote these homebrew questions almost immediately and do not leave an answer or comment, even when the question explicitly asked for written critique.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: the top-voted answer on our 2019 check-in is about homebrew questions, and suggests that we need more meta hashing out how to handle it well. So thank you for bringing your experience to meta! \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 3:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think a secondary question to this is, "why do homebrew review questions typically only get 1 answer?" I've found that most of these question, regardless of how good the are, fail to get multiple answers unless the first one is very poor quality. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin Mod
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 12:00

1 Answer 1


Often times, it's lack of effort

While not everyone has necessarily read the meta on how to ask homebrew, we nearly always link to that in the comments for the initial posting.

If someone doesn't adjust their question based on our recommendations, I'll generally downvote.

As for iterations, the same very much applies. Those guidelines should still be followed, but most importantly I generally expect the homebrewer to take some time to think about the recommended changes and how to apply them. If a new variation pops up quickly, I think it is being rushed - especially if it hasn't been playtested yet. Theoretical issues are one thing, but once you start to get feedback there should be a play test as per Step 3 of the meta on how to ask a good homebrew review question.

In your specific case of iteration 3

Here, as I've put in as a comment, you had a previous iteration that has already been judged as ready to playtest. But you don't show that you have or, if you did, what the results of that playtest were.

The iterations are also coming pretty quick, which suggests that you haven't spent a lot of time thinking about the effects of those changes might bring. That's why I've downvoted.

I'm not hate-downvoting, but I do want to improve how these questions are asked

When I do downvote, it is because of the above. It's not that I dislike homebrew questions, but I do feel that we need to have a good standard here that separates us from forums. With the meta we have on how to ask, we should hold the questions to that standard. It'll provide better initial homebrew homework and better iterations - and it will hopefully teach people how to approach creating homebrew.

Quickly puttting together something without serious thought, or without really thinking about the implications of any change requests, or without playtesting reduces the quality of the homebrew and of our process.

Don't get too upset about downvotes

I definitely understand wanting to know the why behind a downvote. But you really won't always get it. And in general, you'll get more upvotes than down - and the system rewards those upvotes much more than you're penalized for the down. While this feels more impactful when you're lower rep, I recommend trying to be more focused on resolving your issue/improving your homebrew then the votes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ At what point do we downvote because of lack of playtesting? The last revision of the question in question may have recommended playtesting, but it also said that there were several low hanging fruit changes that could be made to improve it. I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing that OP wanted one more shot to incorporate those recommendations before playtesting. I'm also not sure that just because one answer says it is ready for playtesting that means that OP has to agree with that. It is also possible that playtesting is not possible for them at the time. Thoughts? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2019 at 13:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I'm not sure about playtesting isn't possible. If you can create a scenario, you can playtest it. You don't necessarily need another person. But trying out the homebrew and getting out of the theoretical cycle I think is very important. For me, it's a mix of not spending enough time thinking about brew or the changes and having too fast of an iteration up for review combined with not spending time to try it out and get off the paper. And while they may not have agreed it was ready, they did accept the answer, which implies they did. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Playtesting is always possible even at early stages with just the author present. By “early stages” I mean very early—all the homebrew review requests I've seen have been far past those early stages. People just usually don't know how to actually do it. There's other stages and types of playtesting that necessarily involve other participants and later-stage design, so a solo author can't do literally all playtesting, but they can do some of it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2019 at 14:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Do you think it'd be helpful to add instructions on playtesting to the meta? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 15:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I think that would be a big enough topic for its own meta, or possibly even main site question "how to playtest homebrew?" Which we could link from the instructions for asking a good question \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin Mod
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 15:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ We do have playtesting questions and one or more about playtesting D&D 5e content could be workable, but it's questionable. Playtesting's a big topic: what kind of playtest do you want to do, at what stage? (System matters as well, hence why I'm scoping this to D&D 5e here.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2019 at 15:23

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