Jeff's Final Blog post discussed the issue of identification questions. We've gotten them from time to time.

I support banning them for the following reasons

  • RPG questions are often potentially incredibly localized ("I remember an adventure I played back in the 90s with these elements" - "Ummmm did your DM home brew that?")

  • These questions can often just be a repeat of information already readily available on Wikipedia or some other general reference source.

  • They tend to be incredibly vague with the details

  • They are not useful to anyone but the OP (questions should be useful to at least some set of RPG gamers).

In short, should we allow these or not?

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3 Answers 3

I don't think we should ban them. They are legitimate needs in my eyes. If a specific one is too vague ("A fantasy game, we played elves or something") then it should be closed like any too vague question. If it's specific, it is helpful and in RPG-land I think it's a reasonably limited set compared to books/movies.

I'm not sure that I like the progression of "we're getting older and crustier and don't like content that's been part of the site a long time" happening every 2 months. Them providing guidance is fine, but if something's not a problem here (and these are not a problem here), then banning them blindly to follow along isn't really a proper exercise of wisdom.

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rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/15/… is a good example of why this is a bad idea. –  wax eagle Jun 25 '12 at 1:52
    
Uh, that seems like a fine question getting reopen votes... –  mxyzplk Jun 25 '12 at 5:57
    
no, it's exactly the kind of thing that led Gaming.Se to ban these. It's a question that is of 0 interest to anyone but the OP with an answer that provides no additional information. Not sure how we think this makes good Q&A. –  wax eagle Jun 25 '12 at 11:31
    
See answer above. –  mxyzplk Jun 25 '12 at 13:57

I think the biggest problem is no amount of fluff detail can get you where you want to go with this kind of question, only mechanics. Consider the following questions.

"There was a game where you fought in mechs against aliens that looked like giant crustaceans" (Robotech)

"We were superheros that used the big chart to determine how good we were, it was a scale of 1 to something and each number had a name like 'monstrous strength'" (Marvel)

"We used handfuls of d10s, and 10s are rerolled." (World of Darkness)

The problem with fluff based requests is there is nothing preventing you from putting mechs and Invid into DnD rules, or GURPS. However mechanics are easier to pin down.

The counter point to this is our little site is still in its infancy, and our question/day count is whats holding us back. Is restricting questions really a good idea at this point? It could bring someone to the site, and back to gaming, with a long whimsical memory of some far flung game. Even if that question never is answered that user may stay.

If it becomes a problem we can head it on, but until then is preemptively removing things a good idea?

That's my two sides of this discussion.

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It's true that setting content can be added willy-nilly to games, but so can house-rules, so rules are not a perfect way of identifying games and systems, either. That said, I support these kinds of questions, as in many cases, the stand-out features of a setting or mechanics stand out precisely because they're unusual. –  GMJoe Mar 6 '12 at 6:17

I feel like the chat is a tool better suited to finding the answer to this, since the questions are unlikely to help other users.

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