RAW, RAI, and RAF muddy the water
As users who talk a lot about the mechanics of games, we often lose sight of the rest of the community. Terms like RAW, RAI, and RAF can be confusing for many users, not just newbies. To a certain extent they imply these are all equally valid answers, and even among knowledgeable members it can be hard to establish that the rules are more correct than random twitter posts, which are more important than your personal rulings.
On top of the inherent confusion, there are a certain number of users here that dislike D&D, dislike 5e even more, but most of all they dislike RAW. Plus there are some people who try to reuse existing acronyms, causing further problems.
Imagine the difficulty for new players when they see answers like "by RAW yes, by RAI no (with a link to twitter), by RAF kill the tarasque with a gnarly kickflip my dude." When they try to gain clarification they receive elitist replies claiming that RAW is just "one of many valid playstyles", differing opinions of what RAI stands for and what it means, and dozens of other equally cool RAF suggestions (with a footnote that "RAF isn't houserules!").
This is noise that doesn't need to be there. The answer was "yes", that's all.
Like it or not, RAW is the default
While this site does not exist to parrot rules back to askers, people generally want to know the rules. When someone asks a question about the rules, they are probably looking for an answer from the rules. They are looking for objective clarify and concrete answers. This is exactly the kind of answers that SE is equip to provide.
Most people are very capable of making up a justification for their opinion, and they are almost as good at searching twitter for a post supporting it. They don't need RAI and RAF answers, and even if they did, those are almost always primarily opinion based. They can exist on SE, but only in the margins around factual answers.
If a question asks "can I attack 5 times in 1 turn?" you should understand the question as "do the rules say I can attack 5 times in 1 turn?" not "how can I make houserules so I can attack 5 times in 1 turn?"
Unless it is actually relevant to the question, these terms should be avoided.
- "Yes" is preferred over "By RAW, yes"
- "No" is preferred over "By RAW, no"
- "JC on twitter says yes" is preferred over "By RAI, yes"
If someone asks about RAW, RAI, or houserules then by all means talk about them
By default answer with RAW, but if someone is asking about something else, then feel free to talk about it.