Are they rules, recommendations, convenient places to hold discussions? How are they to be used? What expectations are there when you link someone to a meta thread? Are meta top answers a suggestion on how the site should run? What is the expected lifecycle of meta threads and their effect on the mainsite?

For example, take the first FAQ on writing answers, Is homebrew an acceptable answer to a question? in the first answer by Brian Ballsun-Stanton

If, after well articulated research, you can reasonably suggest there's something missing for what's being sought in the originating system, and the querent doesn't explicitly forbid homebrew, you can answer with a "Your system doesn't support your request, but here is some homebrew I wrote, and here's how it played out in a game I ran."

Suppose you see a question where the top answer does not display 'well articulated research' and does not 'reasonably suggest something is missing from the system'.

Clearly a lot of people thought that was a good answer. Does this mean that the meta is obsolete, or does this mean that the answerer and everyone who upvoted the answer need to review the FAQ?

What is the best way to deal with this situation?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2: I'm assuming it's related to jgn's other recent meta - The correct way to ask about RAW/RAI - which relates to their own experience asking questions about rules and getting suggestions of house-rules/rulings in response: "Whenever I ask a question I get a lot of replies in the vein of "at my table...", "when I dm...", "in games that I've played...", "a common houserule is...", "most dms...", few replies directly referencing the rule, and often none actually quoting the rules." \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Oct 19, 2019 at 3:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast correct. When I complained of this problem I was told the problem doesn't actually exist because the FAQ/meta policies state that these answers are 'offtopic' and will be downvoted. In practice this is not the case, otherwise I wouldn't be experiencing it and I wouldn't need to complain :) This question is about how to resolve the gulf between how I am being told the site should function and how it does function in practice. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 19, 2019 at 3:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Alright; the argument going on here is not OK. Assume good faith of your fellow community members and treat them with respect. I've removed several comments. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 20, 2019 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


This meta site is for many things, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Asking about content on our main site, Role-playing Games Stack Exchange (RPG.SE)
  • Discussing policies for using the main site, such as how to (and how not to) ask, edit, tag, and answer questions
  • Polling feedback from the site moderators and active users
  • Asking about using the meta site itself (like this exact question does)
  • Asking for silly pictures of holiday hats

While RPG.SE has somewhat strict expectations for formatting and structuring main site questions, meta site questions tend to be looser. Many of the meta site questions are framed more like a discussion or proposal, and less like a direct Q&A. Our help center page "What's Meta?" has a more complete explanation of how this meta site works.

Sometimes policies (which are crafted here on the meta site) grow old. Perhaps they were established by a prior core group of active users with a different expectations, and have become obsolete with newer users. Or perhaps they were proposed with certain goals, but did not work as expected. However, they usually aren't crafted with a specific lifetime or expiration date. Policies are assumed to hold indefinitely, until later changed by the site users.

Meta site policies are agreements for how to use the main site, and are proposed, discussed, and modified by site users. Sometimes policies are enforceable, such as via actions or edits by moderators or privileged users. Other policies are just agreements on practices and standards, which can be cited when gauging whether a question or answer is valid.

Note that upvote and downvote patterns are not enforceable by meta policies. Upvotes and downvotes result from the individual judgments of many users. They do not necessarily reflect the standards established by meta site policies. Users are allowed to downvote answers that comply with meta policies, or upvote answers that don't.

If a policy isn't working, or users repeatedly ignore it, or if it's causing unexpected side effects, then the protocol is to post about it here on the meta site. The post could ask why users aren't following it, or propose an alternative, or otherwise bring attention to the issue.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer MikeQ, thanks for writing this! I have a question though, could you elaborate on what a "policy" is, how they are formed/defined and how users are expected to interact with it? You talk about policies a lot in the second half of your post but I'm not really clear on what the concept means here. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21, 2019 at 0:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might also be worth noting that many (or even most) users that use a Stack Exchange site never even check that site's meta. Not sure if there's data on that, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Oct 21, 2019 at 7:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast that's because the site UI arguably discourages it. Inarguably, the site UI does nothing to help it. By the time something registers as a "Hot Meta Post" on the RPG.stack front page (and there is no guarantee that will happen for any given post) it is likely to be a bit stale anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak: You're not wrong... \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Oct 23, 2019 at 22:30

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