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The question is here.

Note: I have altered the question. This alteration happened after it was closed.

I did not mean to cause an argumentative situation. However, "Indie" was (and is) a label that is used for RPG's. It has a history. Perhaps the question should have been CW (but given the historical aspect, a true answer should be possible, with a note that there's discussion about fringe cases).

In a similar vein, a question might be "What what the hype surrounding FATAL?". Neverthemind the abberation that FATAL is: the question is valid (IMHO).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just noticed the (semi)duplicate meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/21/…. \$\endgroup\$ – Tobiasopdenbrouw Aug 21 '10 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the life of me I can not determine the meaning of the CW in the question. What does the CW stand for? \$\endgroup\$ – shaneknysh Aug 23 '10 at 0:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have since figured out that CW stands for Community Wiki \$\endgroup\$ – shaneknysh Aug 23 '10 at 4:23
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My feeling is that Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is about RPGs, not about role-playing. That means people should ask about all aspects of RPGs. RPG history has a place here, and some of the history questions have been very popular in terms of votes and activity. It's clear the community wants to discuss game history.

I think when someone asks what an "indie" game is, there are good answers and bad answers, and thus up and down votes. This makes it a good question.

Many questions that some deem "argumentative" have two or three different objective answers, but not an infinite number of subjective answers. Group A thinks indie games are games that aren't like D&D. Group B thinks indie games are author-owned games. Group C thinks indie games are games with a certain DIY feel. Most everyone thinks that one of those three definitions is okay, though they may vehemently disagree with the others.

I say let people ask this kind of question. Let people answer, and let the best answers rise to the top via votes. The very best answer would include all three definitions, right?

I'm not advocating the blessing of every subjective and argumentative question. I'm saying that some of these questions may seem to be troll bait, but that doesn't mean they don't have a few very good answers.

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I think this could be re-asked as a new question about the origin and evolution of the term "indie" and the disputes over it, instead of asking for us to settle the whole dispute here. Answers on its history could be supported by facts and references (though digging some of them up may take some work, it's doable). A brief history of the term would end up being incidentally informative about various definitions "indie" has had without needing to argue for any of the definitions. The good answers would also end up showing why it's such a disputed term, just by describing how the definition has changed or been debated.

Answering a question about a debate fits our format and doesn't fall afoul of the Not Constructive close reasons. It isn't likely to turn into a debate itself, since most people can agree on the existence of arguments even when they can't agree on their substance. Any comments/answers making actual arguments for one definition or another would qualify as off topic, so they'd could be deleted without harm or fuss.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And in what way does this for the site scope of "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face"? Asking just to ask, or "to have an answer here instead of wikipedia," is not constructive. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 13 '13 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Given that people do debate the term "indie" pretty often, it would solve their problem of naïvely thinking it's simple, and fix their problem of getting into stupid arguments about what is and isn't "indie". I think that's a problem that the wider RPG community would benefit having a solution to, too. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 13 '13 at 17:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thinking an answer here would fix that is probably equally naive, is my take. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 13 '13 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Knowing the history of something often dispels a goodly amount of assumptions that feed naïve views. Though, this answer here is more about how the OP could have written a constructive question, which is useful for how to fix future such questions. I doubt the OP is coming back soon, and I'm not going to ask the question myself. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 13 '13 at 17:52
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I didn't vote to close it, but I woulda, based on three factors:

  1. It's not really about roleplaying; it's about the history of roleplaying.
  2. It's been a source of serious flamewars elsewhere in the past.
  3. Answers will be subjective.

None of those would make me want to close it on its own! I'm not afraid of past flamewars; I have very high hopes that we can create a culture capable of discussing some touchier subjects without getting all cranky. I also think we need to allow for a bit of slippage; roleplaying is a social activity, so the history matters. And I've said elsewhere that I think we'll allow for some subjective.

But the cumulative problems of those three factors would tip the scales for me.

Thank you both for asking the question in the first place, and thank you for starting a meta question about it. This is exactly the sort of thing that's going to be very important for our self-definition.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That sounds like a fair exposition. Point 3 is however sufficiently tackled by CW, is it not? Point 2 should not be an argument at all (imho). Point 1 - this, combined with the broad nature of the question, does seem to 'miss' the SE purpose. If the question had been more specific: "this game xyz seems to fit the "indie" label, would that be because of publisher characteristic XYZ of game system ABC?", would the question then be valid? Is the "Indie" label equal to SO's "best practise" or "beginner"? \$\endgroup\$ – Tobiasopdenbrouw Aug 21 '10 at 18:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ "I have very high hopes that we can create a culture capable of discussing some touchier subjects without getting all cranky." Yes please! To be a successful RPG site we have to be able to talk about touchy issues. I'm thinking about a post on the topic. \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Sep 24 '10 at 20:09
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I voted to close it, and it's because there is no real answer. It's a label, like "indie music." There are no end of arguments over what qualifies - small press? (Given that every RPG company except for Wizards and White Wolf has a couple full time employees at best). Story games? (And what does that mean?) Only games approved by Ron Edwards? Only game sold on indie press revolution?

You may as well ask, "What foods are desserts?" The ones that are obvious are obvious, and the rest is people arguing. It's happened a million times before and doesn't need to happen here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I, you will not be surprised, disagree with this. "What foods are desserts" begs to analyse all foods. The question "What characteristics are commonly associated with deserts, and why?" is a worthwile question, which may have a broad answer that does not try to pin down all the specifics. Or am I missing part of the SE mandate? \$\endgroup\$ – Tobiasopdenbrouw Aug 21 '10 at 18:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ And that theorizing is all well and good, but there have been 1000 flame wars on RPG.net, ENWorld, the FORGE, etc. about "is this game indie" or "what makes an indie game..." Practicality and experience >> theory and opinion. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 22 '10 at 5:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tobiasopdenbrouw - I think 'desert' and 'indie' are kind of different; 'indie' is sometimes used as a buzz word by marketing execs and fringe/radical-chic types. As such, its definition is much more debatable and flammable. \$\endgroup\$ – LeguRi Aug 24 '10 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps then it would be good to actually have one good answer to that question, and only THEN lock the thing off? \$\endgroup\$ – Tobiasopdenbrouw Aug 25 '10 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ But, you see, the whole problem with subjective questions is that there is no "one good answer." That's the whole point. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 26 '10 at 0:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't a way to dodge the subjectivity be to rephrase the question as "What is commonly meant by referring to a game as "Indie?" or somesuch? The term is out there, and the question would then be about what MOST people mean by it. Upvotes and downvotes basically create the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Numenetics Sep 21 '10 at 0:45
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I think a detailed answer on the different opinions about what "Indie" means could be an OK answer to that question, thus the questione would be answerable and good for SE, provided it complies with all the other SE rules.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Lots of questions that get closed as Not Constructive could have good answers, but that's not the test that's been established. The test is (emphasis mine) "this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion." The point is to shut down questions that, though a good answer might be possible, will very likely generate a lot of bad answers, comment arguments, edit wars, and general mayhem that the Q&A format is intended to avoid in the first place. Not much point in designing to avoid debate if we invite it in the side door anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 11 '13 at 18:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie So, would it be fair to say that this is a site for RPG players who don't like debate, discussion, or mayhem? ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – Dronz Feb 10 '16 at 5:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dronz Not really. It's just necessary to check those habits at the door. (I'm dodging the humour in order to serve accuracy.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 10 '16 at 5:22

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