This question: Would Zorquan be a Unity domain patron?

As I said in a comment, given that the question includes "2e Forgotten Realms" (provided for background context for lore purposes) and "we're playing a fairly by-the-book 5e campaign.", isn't this confirmation of D&D 5e? Can we not just add the [dnd-5e] tag ourselves in this case? Is the policy really this strict?

Rather than having comments under the question be the place to discuss this, I decided to open this meta so that we can decide here whether or not adding the tag in this case violates the policy.

Those who know my view on the policy would be able to guess that I want to add the tag, since I don't agree with the policy in the first place, but in this case, I think even those in favour of the policy might agree with me that in this case, there is zero ambiguity. Given that the extreme strictness of the policy makes no sense to me, I find it difficult to judge cases like this where it seems insane to me not to add the tag.

Do we add the tag, or do we go ahead and close the question and force the user to add the tag, even though they've already stated 5e in the question and made other references to D&D? (Not to mention that they've also included the tag, the description of which mentions that it is a D&D 5e tag.)

Is it really the case that system tags are strictly hands-off unless you are the author of the question, with zero exceptions (diamond mods excluded)? (Note that I'm not asking for anyone to convince me that the policy is a good thing; that's what the other meta Q&A, linked earlier, is for. This is about clarifying the policy's use in practice, with respect to this specific question, linked at the top.)


I know I am likely to be the minority voice here, but for the sake of future reference, I have decided to add this answer, so there is at least one counter argument. Let me start by saying that I respect the never-guess-the-system policy. However, I believe that policy cannot apply here, as there is nothing to guess.

NathanS did not mention the following pieces of information in his question above. The question of interest:

  • Has already 5 tags, all of which are arguably more specific than dnd-5e.
  • Quotes paragraphs from Draconomicon and gives exact page numbers. [This is an AD&D 2e Forgotten Realms sourcebook.]
  • Gives a link to, and talks about a specific webpage whose title is 'AuldDragon's AD&D Blog' and whose content is discussing AD&D 2e speciality priests of Zorquan.
  • Refers to the Unity domain from Unearthed Arcana.

So when we read the entirety of the question, there is nothing to guess.

I understand that the strict followers of the no-guess policy might still consider combining all these data to be a form of guessing. After all, the D&D and 5th edition phrases are not being uttered side by side. They may be (perhaps rightfully) worried that this example could open the gates for individuals incorrectly guessing in the future, self-confident that they are not really guessing.

My feeling on this is that we are not modrons or androids or maruts. People come to SE to get expert advise. And as an 'expert', "I understand the question when I read it" (Jacobellis v. Ohio).

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    \$\begingroup\$ To this, you might want to add that one of the tags is itself a D&D-5e specific tag-- there really is no ambiguity here. So little, in fact, that I'd argue the question is sort of moot: The Question doesn't need the D&D-5e tag, because it already has a D&D-5e tag which is actually more specific. But that being the case, if there weren't already the maximum number of allowable tags, the addition of the tag would clearly cause no harm. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Jun 6 '20 at 8:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak I assume you mean the Unearthed Arcana tag? note that this term that existed before dnd-5e, though the tag description refers exclusively to 5e. There is this related question, though it's a bit different: "What to do when encountering a non-system tag that describes a system?". But also in the past the UA tag was not considered evidence enough of a question being about dnd-5e \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jun 6 '20 at 13:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ And I'll mention again, I'm just stating what has been discussed or done in the past and do not necessarily agree (or disagree) with those things myself \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jun 6 '20 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak: I did not write that as it was already mentioned in the question by NathanS. But yes, it is a tag that explicitly says it is for D&D 5e. \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Jun 6 '20 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ This kind of analysis doesn’t belong in an ephemeral comment and isn’t appropriate to perform as an individual user—if you want to make inferences, bring it to Meta where it can get appropriate oversight. Ad hoc individual editing is where we get into trouble here, because we have no way of ensuring that those edits are being considered by other experts and that the case is as conclusive as this one. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 9 '20 at 11:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ PS: The poster deleted the original question as he seems to have misunderstood the procedure, made a new question, deleted that, the original question got undeleted and reopened. He later commented: "I deleted the new one. Now I wonder: Will anyone answer this 3-day old question?" It was surely not a nice experience for him. \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Jun 9 '20 at 12:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ZwiQ I think close reasons state "You can edit the question or post a new one." with no indication that posting a new question is not what we usually do. I've seen this cause confusion in the past a few times. Even worse, if closed as a duplicate you just get "If this question doesn’t resolve your question, ask a new one." with nothing even stating to edit your question or explain why it isn't a dupe \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jun 11 '20 at 13:04

It is a violation of the policy, strictly speaking. There are many games that have five or more editions, so “2e” and “5e” could well be references to those systems—nothing in the question confirms that they are playing D&D 5e. Officially, the Forgotten Realms is a setting only for Dungeons & Dragons, but that doesn’t stop anyone from using it for whatever system they prefer.

The odds of it being anything but D&D 5e, however, are vanishingly small. Moreover, since it’s a lore question, and Forgotten Realms lore always comes from Dungeons & Dragons (even if you use it for another system), it doesn’t actually matter if they actually are playing some other system. In theory, they could want lore from another edition of D&D to inform their play in the fifth edition of something else, but that’s getting preposterously unlikely. Particularly since I don’t believe any other edition of D&D has anything called the “Unity domain.”

The problem here is less that we can’t be sure, and more that the policy is strict for reasons that go beyond merely getting it right. There are also pedagogical and meta concerns raised in the most recent argumentation in favor of keeping the policy strict (disclosure: that was me). To wit, there is merit in having everyone on the site know that we have to close questions without a game and system attached (when they’re about rules, of course, which this is at least a bit since it references the rules content of the Unity domain). The advantage of this consistency is that it teaches new users about our rules and needs, and it ensures we don’t risk ever getting things wrong. The big problem with loosening the policy stems from the simple fact that we have no way of guaranteeing appropriate oversight on these kinds of edits; the SE software has no notion of system tags or their being special, to highlight these kinds of changes.

All that said, a possibility raised in that most recent pro-strict-ness meta post (again, disclosure, mine). Namely, a Meta discussion could be an appropriate way to ensure we have the oversight. In that post, this possibility was largely dismissed as not really being worth the time, but since we’re already here, we have had the meta discussion, and I don’t see any plausible scenario where this particular edit could be a problem. The policy exists as it does because we don’t have the best vision on any ad hoc decisions made by individual users and that’s a problem, but this isn’t a decision by any individual user—this is a Meta discussion, where we can gather consensus.

Thus, my conclusion here is

The policy would not allow an individual poster to edit this question, but with Meta consensus, it seems near-perfectly safe and in keeping with the caution called for by the policy.

This cannot be generalized; we can discuss this question but not any broader category of questions that are in some way “like” this one. A Meta consensus is necessary for this kind of edit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This makes sense to me. Just to summarise what I think you're saying: generally the last question I ask in my post (meaning the last sentence with a question mark on the end) is answered with "yes", if it's a choice made by one user (again, mods are excluded from this), but once it becomes a discussion here on meta, the rules change a bit, because now it's a community decision rather than one person's opinion. I'm largely trying to clarify this because, as you know, I'm very much against the policy, but since it's here despite my stance on it, I want to know how to act in accordance with it. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jun 4 '20 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ In addition to that, what should now happen to that question? It seems rash to add the tag right now, since this Q&A is only a few hours old, but on the other hand, the question looks like it's about to be closed. Should I wait 24h, give everyone a chance to chime in, then add the tag (me or someone else, don't care who), or it is safe to change it now and "save it" from being closed? \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jun 4 '20 at 13:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS (at first comment) Yes, except I would not exclude mods from the rules. Mods are required to obey all the rules on the site. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 4 '20 at 13:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS (at second comment) I wouldn’t call 2 votes consensus, particularly not after so little time, so I wouldn’t edit it yet. And in the meantime, it should be closed; the existing answer is already a problem. If the querent adds the tag themselves before we get consensus here, then we can re-open, or we can re-open once we have a solid consensus. Again, closing isn’t a problem here, it’s what we need to happen. We shouldn’t be breaking with our policy out of a desire to avoid closing a question; we shouldn’t have any desire to avoid closing a question that needs closing. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 4 '20 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Re: first comment, I only excluded mods because a mod may have a good reason to act against the policy in rare circumstances, but I agree with the notion that a mod's opinion isn't any more valid than any other user's. Re: second comment, I did suspect that 24h would be better, and I can see that maybe I'm worrying over nothing regarding the closure; I'm just conscious of the fact that it's not very welcoming to a new user who seems to have put effort into their first question, but as you say, they can add tags themselves, then the problem goes away anyway, and if it gets resolved ... (cont) \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jun 4 '20 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... before they see it, then it didn't matter that it was closed and reopened before they checked back. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jun 4 '20 at 13:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS Unfortunately, we have to close questions. Users may perceive it as unfriendly, but we have to find some way to convince them that it isn’t. That’s just reality. We cannot not close questions. The reasons we close questions are simply vastly more important than the impression we give users. I don’t want to give any negative impression, I want to encourage users to understand this as a normal part of the site that isn’t any kind of indictment or infraction, but the only option we have for doing that is education. We can’t change the rules for it. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 4 '20 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's fair enough. I can see the value of closing the question (when I don't overfocus on how it's received by new users). Personally, I preferred it back when the "[closed]" suffix that gets appended to the back of the question's title was "[on hold]" instead; at least that does a better job of getting new users into the right mindset, since "[closed]" looks rather more final than "[on hold]", which implies that it's more temporary. But that's hardly the worst cosmetic change SE have made recently (and it's been "[closed]" for a while now... but now I'm just going off on a tangent...) \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jun 4 '20 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS Yeah, I preferred “on hold” too, but apparently it was pretty well hated by a lot of people for some reason? I think this is more of an “angry at SE for changing things without so much as asking for input” situation, but I don’t really know all the details. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 4 '20 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS and KRyan: I will say, one situation where a mod may have details that other users don't have is because only mods can see deleted comments - so sometimes a mod may notice the system being clarified in a comment, then edit in the tag accordingly. That said, I think generally we will explain that edit or the source of the info in the edit reason or in a new comment. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mod Jun 5 '20 at 1:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Fair, but why was the comment deleted? And if the author deleted it, does that suggest that maybe we should be hesitant to rely on it? (Impossible to answer hypothetically, I’d guess, but food for thought if it ever comes up.) \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 5 '20 at 1:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan: If the comment literally just answers the question of "what system is this?", then once that information is edited into the question (which any user can do, including mods), there's no inherent reason for the comments to stick around. It's the same as any other case of comments that add important clarifications that are then edited into the question; once the relevant information's in the question, the comments can be cleaned up. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mod Jun 5 '20 at 1:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Oh, derp, fair. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 5 '20 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Yeah, that was the kind of thing I was thinking of when I said "diamond mods excluded", although I couldn't think of a concrete example like that one. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jun 5 '20 at 7:39

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