I have recently asked this question. In its initial form, it was very quickly evaluated to be too broad. Fair enough. I tried to narrow it down to a question about fixing/improving the stopgap solution I'm currently using, based on a suggestion of a commentator. But it seems like I didn't do a good enough job of it, judging by lack votes going in the other direction.

I added more detail about how I handle the mechanics of the matter in question, and about what I'm finding unsatisfactory about the results, and removed things that seemed most likely to be considered tangential. What else should I add, change, or remove about the question to give it a decent chance of being reopened?


2 Answers 2


It’s currently long enough to dissuade reopen voters from re-reading a niche question written about foreign (non-RPG domain) technical concepts. It’s also written at a much higher grade level than necessary, making it much more likely to exceed the recreational reading grade level of your desired audience (reopen voters with only passing interest in a niche question).

What would help is making it much more digestible. It doesn’t need an extensive explanation of what “reciprocal economies” means, it needs a short and clear description that voters can evaluate quickly, and trusts answerers to not need it explained in detail. Ideally, explaining it should be dispensed with in a single sentence.

It could also benefit from signposting: short, easily digested text that sets the reader up to anticipate and absorb later, less digestible text.

I’d rewrite the whole first section as something like this, with no header (my commentary in bold-italic parentheses):

I’m unsatisfied with how things like barter economies are usually handled in RPGs, and have come up with a homebrew mechanic that I’m trying to improve. (Problem statement. Signposts the entire body.)

Few RPGs give a way to handle “reciprocal economies” during play. Gift economies, barter economies, and reputation economies are usually boiled down to something tracked with points that end up making it work at the table little different from gold coins or dollars. Rubbing salt in the wound, they’re often overengineered for what little they do. (Both explains what “reciprocal economies” means, the distinction with market economies (without invoking the technical term), and explains how existing RPG mechanics fail you. Accessible language used.)

My homebrew is simpler while already delivering that same “only slightly different than a cash economy” that more complex mechanics offer. It works well enough in the two campaigns I’m using, but I want to improve it so it feels less like just another kind of market economy. (Bookends introduction by returning the reader’s focus to what the point is: a homebrew, and improving how it models reciprocal economies differently from market economies. The term “market economy” is added here at the end where experts will see it, without derailing readers early.)

I’m using this in Eclipse Phase and a far-future GURPs campaign. (Brief, necessary context for later.)

(Continue with existing text from “My Current Working Solution…”)

I think the later text could also be written in a more accessible style, but once the reader has got through the introduction, they’re more likely (if interested in answering) to read further, or (if considering a reopen vote) to have got a sufficient feel for the post to decide if they should vote now or read further to decide.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In your last paragraph, first sentence, my instinct is to suggest "the reader has gotten" for "the reader has got" but maybe usage has changed again. (PS, nice answer aka a nice clinic in making a readable question or answer on the RPG.SE site). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast No, you’re right. Usage hasn’t changed generally, that’s just my Canadian accent coming through. :) It’s accepted usage here, but informal. I don’t usually notice when I do it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 4:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I'm also Canadian and didn't even notice hahaha \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 17:36

It looks like a great question to me. I don't think it needs improving. Also I have an answer if it ever gets reopened, but you probably won't like it.

I think ultimately if you want to improve it, you need to make it palatable to drive-by voters as well as those actually qualified to answer your question. When people encounter a question they don't understand, they will downvote and VTC regardless of the merits of the question. In your particular case, the background economic knowledge required to parse the question is a good thing, because economics, like politics, is something that's gonna draw a lot of gut-reaction low-quality unsupported answers with lots of upvotes from like-minded folk-- don't explain what market and reciprocal economies are in your question. Having to Google that will forestall a lot of bad answers.

Your question is, nonetheless, really long. Each of the sections present seems pretty important, but there might be a way to merge some of your bullet points together into a short thing that's less accurate to what you're currently doing but gets the information across faster. Some of these shortcuts have to do with ways of understanding things that are more answer-like so I'm not sure how to help you with that but ideally if you could avoid repeating themes across sections in your question that would make the question less clear but shorter and thus more likely to be not-close-voted and/or reopen-voted. I don't think the trade off is worth it because I think your question will eventually crawl across the reopen line anyways, but you may disagree about that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ When people encounter a question they don't understand, they will downvote and VTC regardless of the merits of the question Where does this charge come from? What evidence do you have that this behavior is common? You appear to be engaging in mind reading over the internet here, and I've found that most of us are awful at that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ On a related note, as someone who often asks long questions, when I ask them, I think your point on the long question being a disnecentive to engage for some of the useers is on the mark. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Just my experience on this site. Re: VTCs it's less true now than it used to be, but regarding downvotes it's about the same, and the degree of RPG-specific expertise required before people are confused and upset is lower though the degree of expertise required for that in not-RPG stuff ancilliary to a question (like in this case) is the same or maybe higher. I'm less confident in all of that, though, than I am in the general statement in the answer, in which I am very confident having seen numerous examples from newer querents whose questions I've workshopped. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 22:30

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