This question about spells that are on the ranger spell list and not on the druid one had some contention early on, but its voting has settled down now. Some were saying that it was easily researchable, while others were saying it was not and therefore valid.

Is this bounded list question acceptable in the Role-playing games stack exchange?


1 Answer 1


Bounded list questions are currently on-topic

But that doesn't necessarily make them 'good' questions. But 'good' is also a very subjective thing.

For some, these may be akin to "read the book to me" as there is no expert analysis needed, just time spent to parse and list.

Folks can think "Hey, I like this, it's useful" and give it a +1.

Others may think "Hey, this person is just asking us to do the work for them" and give it a -1.

No one is right or wrong. It has nothing to do with how simple or how difficult the task is.

The key is just in whether or not it's a bounded list (and even that is a bit subjective), but ultimately you can ask bounded list questions here.

A bigger concern is that those lists may become out of date upon the publication of new materials that could add to it. And that's where it's frustrating because few of those answerers return and or/know to update their answer. And then you've got incorrect answers.

How to create the necessary bounds

They key in making this on-topic is in defining your bounds sufficiently that it is not an endless list. That means asking for answers to contain all the options and specifying what options are available and what aren't.

Keeping it loose on either send will lead to unbounded or partial answers that have no differentiation.

But answers should be complete

The problem with bounded lists is that it is easy to just give a couple of examples and call it an answer. I do not agree with that. If you are going to answer a list question, the list should be complete. Otherwise would represent an incomplete answer and it becomes impossible to differentiate between multiple partial answers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ closure has nothing to do with how simple or difficult a task is, but voting totally does. 'lacks research effort' is a stock -1 reason, and a good one. We get enough completely trivial questions on this site as it is. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2019 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil That may be so, but partial answers are banned in comments and partial answers in answers are downvoted/deleted. This means that if a question requires a lot of research there is no feasible way to do it on the stack. In the past, I have created community answers to answer these questions, but it's not really a good solution, it just means I don't have to suffer the consequences necessary to answer the question. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2020 at 5:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae If an answer requires a lot of research effort, it gets one when someone is willing to put in the necessary effort, which is then hopefully rewarded with upvotes and/or a bounty. People are willing to take the time to answer difficult questions here. If questions requiring research went unanswered you would expect us to have tons of unanswered questions but we, in fact, do not. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2020 at 6:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil I'm not sure I would be comfortable making that assertion. We do have unanswered questions, and there are examples of list questions that are unanswered. What's more, we do have a lot of questions with no accepted answers. Plus, even if you considered the accepted answers, how many lists are truly complete? I think that logic is on incredibly shaky ground, as is the assertion that answers that require a lot of research garner upvotes/bounties (let alone more than low effort answers). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2020 at 6:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ We have 180 "unanswered" questions on the site at present, of which several are not old enough to really be considered abandoned yet. The tumbleweed badge has been phased out, but our engagement metrics are extremely strong. That we still get bad list questions isn't a reason to change how we deal with list questions in general-- the bad ones are pretty solidly in the minority here, and we are pretty good about shutting them down most of the time. There's a notable recent question that might seem to be an exception, but it's gone from +9 to +3 over the last 12 hours so I think it's working \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2020 at 6:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil I feel like downvoting hard questions is probably not the best way to deal with them. While the stack was built to answer quick and dirty easy questions, there's no reason why it couldn't also answer tough, research-heavy questions that require collaboration and ongoing effort. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2020 at 7:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae I think using "hard" is an incorrect descriptor here. The questions aren't necessarily 'hard question', just time consuming. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jul 23, 2020 at 12:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae That's not a hard question, just a really really bad one for this site. Well, it's a bad question in general since it's not a question, it's a request (akin to "anyone got any 1600s clothing?" Or "pictures of dolls plz"), but it wouldn't necessarily be a problem on a forum. My point is that we are serving difficult questions well while shutting down poor quality list questions like that example. That the example is still net positive and open is a point against my position, but I'm hoping that changes in time. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2020 at 15:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil All questions are requests, I don't think this kind of simplification is productive. I don't think it's a good idea to be making belittling comparisons about the question too. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 24, 2020 at 3:14

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