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This is the text for one of our off-topic close reasons.

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However, I feel we've got a pretty serious problem with this close reason. This is popularly interpreted as "If the game (or series) doesn't tell you the answer, then the the question is off-topic."

This is problematic, in my opinion, as it requires knowledge of the answer to determine whether or not the question itself is on-topic.

Take, for example, the latest instance of this: What is the population of the city in Grand Theft Auto 5?

This is certainly a lore question, which we have deemed to be on topic. However, we had further discussion about what kind of lore is or is not okay, resulting in the decision that extracanonical questions are not on-topic. I believe that's what drove the wording of the current close reason, and I believe probably why this question was voted to be closed. However, are those 5 people who close-voted really sure there's not an answer in-game? There are numerous radio stations in the game with hours of audio... perhaps one mentions the population. Maybe somewhere on the outskirts of the city there is a population sign. Maybe there's a game manual with a blurb of flavor text that mentions it. I'm not trying to get down on the people who close voted here... I'm trying to point out that there's a lot of effort involved in proving the negative, and it's not something I think we should be basing our close policy around.

I think it's worth some extra discussion about what we really intend to exclude when we talk about "extracanonical" lore questions, and whether or not a policy based around knowledge of the answer is a wise course.

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    Ban lore questions! – Invader Skoodge Sep 20 '13 at 16:21
  • This is also a rather broad brush we paint lore questions with. If it's answered anywhere in the lore, books, videos, whatever is considered canon, then that interpretation means we allow it. That's problematic because many of those sources don't play into our expertise at all. It just happens to be part of the universe the game is set in. – Frank Sep 20 '13 at 16:22
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    Thanks for making this post so I didn't have to. :) It seems silly to me that the distinction between an on-topic and off-topic lore question is whether or not an official answer exists for it; the asker, by merit of the fact that they're asking the question, cannot possibly know whether such information exists. And if there's no official answer, then that should in itself be a valid answer to the question. – CloudyMusic Sep 20 '13 at 16:28
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    I believe the original intent was to ban purely speculative lore questions. The problem is figuring out how to draw that line. – Sterno Sep 20 '13 at 16:31
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    @cloudymusic No, no, no. That's a completely and utterly useless answer. And how do you prove there's no official answer in the lore? It's incredibly hard to prove a negative. I am completely against broadening our scope of lore questions. What we have is bad enough. – Frank Sep 20 '13 at 16:31
  • @fbueckert Then it seems to me that banning lore questions altogether would be more productive than expecting the asker to know whether an answer exists before they're allowed to ask the question. :P – CloudyMusic Sep 20 '13 at 16:32
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    @cloudymusic My concern is more with the close-voters needing to know the answer than the original asker needing to know. – Sterno Sep 20 '13 at 16:33
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    I think those kinda go hand-in-hand - askers should be on similar footing as close voters to understand what is or is not on-topic for the site. Closing exists as part of a process to clean stuff off the site, but policy exists also to help prevent it from showing up in the first place, so being clearer for askers is very helpful. – Grace Note Sep 20 '13 at 16:41
  • Yeah, you're right. – Sterno Sep 20 '13 at 16:44
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    Your reasoning here makes it an open-and-shut case, IMO. The answer or lack thereof doesn't change the quality, intent, or suitability of the question. If these questions are bad, it's because the entire class of them is bad. – Matthew Read Sep 20 '13 at 16:59
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    @Matt I was just noting in chat that I'd been waiting for some response from you since I figured you'd be a lot less wordy than I while still getting exactly the same point across. – Grace Note Sep 20 '13 at 17:07
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    @fbueckert You're saying that a "there is no official answer" answer is useless because it's impossible to prove a negative, but doesn't that make it equally impossible to use as justification for casting a close vote? – SevenSidedDie Sep 20 '13 at 20:27
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    @SevenSidedDie Which is the exact reason these are such bad questions. I'm not closing because it's impossible to prove a negative; I'm closing because this entire subset has issues, and quite often strays into dev design territory. I'll be the first to admit I abhor lore, due to its many problems. – Frank Sep 20 '13 at 20:31
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    @SevenSidedDie That's been my stance from day one. And, really, that's what this entire discussion is going to boil down to. Either we allow any and all lore questions, or we outright ban them all. There's no middle ground in here (that I can see, anyways) that will resolve the main problem we have with lore in the first place. – Frank Sep 20 '13 at 20:35
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    @Lyrion The problem is when someone replies, "define trivia." I'd love to ban trivia, but finding an objective measure of where the line between trivia and "real" lore is a prerequisite for banning trivia. – SevenSidedDie Sep 26 '13 at 19:42
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It is never okay to vote to close a question because it is “not addressed directly through in-universe sources”, due to the inherent problems of needing to know the answer to the question (or at least that it does or does not exists) before voting to close. I made a similar argument here, in that among other things, it turns close votes into super downvotes where you're telling the user you know what the answer to their question is, and it's that one doesn't exist. Upvotes and downvotes are meant to measure an answer's accuracy, not close votes. The only way to disagree with people in such a case is to cast a re-open vote. And what if the 5 close voters are just kind of sure that there's no answer, but one guy has definitive proof that there is an answer? He's now got to get 4 other people to back him up and vote to reopen. This is not how the system should work.

Moreover, it is my belief that the text of that close reason doesn't fit the type of lore question we actually intended to protect against. I think we accidentally created a new rule that was never discussed and not particularly enforceable when we set that particular text on the close reason. We should change the text of that close reason, or remove it entirely.


In short, I propose that the resolution of this particular issue, in the short term, is to remove "as well as lore questions not addressed directly through in-universe sources" text from the close reason, and stop voting to close lore questions based on whether or not an answer exists.

In the long term, I've asked this separate question about whether or not all lore questions should be banned, so that it isn't conflated with the current issue.

  • I'm taking votes against this to mean "No, I don't see a problem with needing to know the answer before closing to vote, let's continue as-is." Which is a perfectly valid opinion (though one I obviously disagree with). If there's something else about it you disagree with, though, please speak up. – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 13:53
  • I downvoted because this is not a solution to the problem and will only make things worse. Also, we don't need another meta topic about this. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 13:59
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    @OrigamiRobot Which problem? The intended focus of this meta was about when it's appropriate to close something for not being "addressed directly through in-universe sources". The answer appears apparent to me that it is never appropriate to close for that reason (though possibly for others, such as WE WANT ALL LORE TO GTFO). In short, the reason as written in the close text is wrong and not reliably enforceable. It should be removed. Until it is, people will continue to close to vote for that reason and point at that specific text as validation for it. – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 14:09
  • And if you still disagree with that, it's cool. I just wanted to try to make it clear that this meta was trying to discuss very specifically this close reason text and close justification, not the larger problem of when lore questions are or are not okay. You are probably right we that we don't need new metas about that, but some of the existing ones are probably a better place to discuss it than here. – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 14:11
  • Basically what I see in this answer is "Let's keep dragging this through meta and not actually do anything." That is what I am downvoting. I realize that's probably not your intent, but that's what I see. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 14:23
  • I don't like this solution at all. Removing what little control we have with lore is not at all ideal. – Frank Sep 24 '13 at 23:29
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    I am a little confused, since this contradicts your comment above which says there is no middle ground and that we should ban or allow all lore questions. – Sterno Sep 25 '13 at 0:09
  • I didn't see your edit, but just to be clear: mods don't really get to veto the community. – badp Dec 13 '13 at 15:53
  • @badp I was more or less told the mods decided it's fine as is, despite the community votes here going contrary to that. And I don't really care about the issue anymore. I'm not upset by this, but I'm also not sure what else you'd call it. If you think an edit to this answer would be appropriate, go for it. – Sterno Dec 13 '13 at 15:58
  • @Sterno badp commented here (about this answer) that "unfortunately that answer doesn't say what line, if any one, should be used; it merely say we shouldn't use that one." Maybe you could edit this answer to clarify that? – galacticninja Dec 14 '13 at 3:02
  • @galacticninja I don't have a good suggestion to make. The entire point of my answer was that no text would be better than what we currently have, because what we currently have is not fairly enforceable and leads to vote wars. Part of the reason I don't care about this issue too much anymore is that since it was discussed, it's been much less of an issue than it had been in the month or two leading up to the discussion. But effectively, I was saying this was a bad close reason that shouldn't exist. I don't know why I should have to come up with a replacement for it. If it's bad, it's bad. – Sterno Dec 14 '13 at 10:46
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Yes, you do have to know what you are talking about before you vote to close.

The only people who have the global power to vote to close on the network are community managers and developers. They're like the exception handlers' exception handlers: they act when shit really does hit the fan. Their power is extraordinary as they can close questions without understanding what the question is talking about — because you don't do that.

Why do we close questions to begin with? We are very picky with our questions because we are very picky with our answers: we want answers, not blog posts or opinion pieces or "me too"s or "thanks!" or follow-up questions or books on any given topic. Yet surely you don't need to know anything about videogames when a question asks "What is the best engineer hat in Team Fortress 2", right? I mean, hats are purely cosmetic, right? They don't affect the way you play, right?

Oh, look. Maybe you do need to know that a non-unusual Hotrod, in fact, does give you an objective strategic advantage in the game to handle this question no other hat in the game gives you. Maybe there is a "best" hat, after all? Maybe you do need to know what you're talking about before you close questions?

Even when you do discount these bugs, there might still be a right answer might be "any hat so long as it isn't the Gibus". (For an engineer the "I have a hat, you can trust me" effect probably isn't very important, though; you can make a number of arguments here, but if you haven't played TF2 you can't.)

Of course the main problem with this kind of question is that, when the answer is a negative, proving that it is so becomes much harder than asking the question. Do you know all of the bugs and quicks of TF2? I sure don't. "No you can't do that"/"No you can't know that" answers really don't work: "mods can do anything" one might say; "you just didn't look hard enough" another might retort, even if the correct answer at the time of posting actually was negative.

What's the difference between voting to close a question because you don't think there is an answer and answering that you don't think there is an answer?

Four people — plus all those that come after and don't reopen the question.

If five people think there is no non-speculative answer to a plot question (and there aren't five more who reopen it), it's fair to say that the community thinks there is no answer we would allow. This means that the community thinks it is futile to let the question be open for answers we would downvote and delete anyway for being helplessly speculative.

If those five people happen to be wrong, someone who knows better can comment so, use his vote to reopen and/or ask others to do so.

This is different from having an answer with four upvotes. Upvoting answers can become instinctive, second nature: "yeah this looks right." More people have the right to upvote than they have to downvote, too. On the other hand, bar for closing and reopening is the same, however. It's also a high bar: we ask people to know what they're talking about and understand how this site rolls before they can make this kind of call. If five highly-experienced users can reach the same conclusion without it being overturned, I feel that's more authoritative than having an answer with four upvotes.

Additionally, voting is anonymous; answering isn't. You might very well know for certain that there isn't an answer to a question, and yet you don't want to engage the asker and get into an argument about it. Why should the site ask any one of us to be the one person who steps up to say the obvious and gets all of the inevitable notifications for it?

As a moderator, I sure do occasionally miss the opportunity to not be the one person who makes the right call. We abstain from opening or closing questions frequently in order to not be that one guy. It's not a pretty place to be, and most people who commented about downvotes should know how that can turn out.

"But badp, what if we don't have five people out of 254 3k'ers who do think there can't be an answer?"

Oh dear, what then? What happens then is that, huh, the question doesn't get closed. So long as we do delete subsequent speculative answers, the site is no worse for having a question open and unanswered. It's way better, in fact, than closing an answerable question.

"But badp, doesn't that mean that it'll leave us with a lot of unclosed lore questions? Surely we're about to drown in a sea of poorly-written fan fiction!"

You don't know that. Is there a history of lore questions getting speculative answers? Do we expend a lot of effort downvoting and deleting them? I don't know. I don't think so. Although, if you will, I'm just one person; maybe if four more agreed with me... :D

  • I'll be the first of those four then :P – Schism Oct 19 '14 at 18:53
  • I've always seen, "leave it alone" more of a policy of apathy than an actual quality standard. Our lore canon policy is unsustainably broad, and there's no way to prove that something is actually not in the lore. Requiring the knowledge to be able to say its not addressed means they have to know everything in that universe to disprove it. Books, movies, everything. That's why our poke the plot hole questions are ALL bad. – Frank Oct 19 '14 at 19:27
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    This might be okay in theory, but in practice those 5 people voting to close aren't certain there is no answer. In some cases I've seen where this happens, some have admitted to not even having played the game in question. In a perfect world, closing questions in this way might work, but in the real one, this isn't how it's been happening. People are using this as a "sounds kinda speculative" close reason rather than a "I know it's not addressed" close reason. – Sterno Oct 19 '14 at 19:36
  • @Frank There is no apathy in deleting questions that are speculative. That is not a thing that should stop happening. – badp Oct 19 '14 at 19:46
  • @Sterno Five people who aren't sure are better than one person answering that he isn't sure. Those who close without knowing what they're talking about should stop. – badp Oct 19 '14 at 19:47
  • You're proposing that those that are voting have complete knowledge of the canon lore. Those that don't, should refrain from voting. I submit that nobody has complete knowledge of every single bit of lore, so you're saying every single poke the plot hole question should be ignored, because nobody knows what they're talking about. Every question would be left alone, which is where the apathy comes in. That's not a policy. That's ignoring the problem. – Frank Oct 19 '14 at 20:16
  • @Frank You do to have full knowledge of the lore to answer "there is no answer." I agree that's not feasible and may lead to attrition with the asker. But if you are pretty confident that there is no answer, then you can and should vote to close. – badp Oct 19 '14 at 20:39
  • How are we supposed to be, "pretty confident"? I have over 400 hours in Diablo 3, and have sought out all lore I could find. I could be pretty confident it is never addressed in the game, but there's no guarantee the books don't talk about it. I have no knowledge of the books, but apparently if its talked about there, we allow it. Does that mean we leave it alone, because it could be addressed in a media outside our expertise? That's my point; pretty confident is an incredibly subjective interpretation. – Frank Oct 19 '14 at 23:50
  • @Frank It's a judgement call: if it was simple, you wouldn't need humans to make it. In the case you describe that seems like you can be plenty confident. The books and side material is always marginal stuff that can go out of canon at any time (cough Star Wars cough) and I wouldn't worry too much about it; if someone who has read that material does come up with a relevant quote we can just reopen the question. – badp Oct 19 '14 at 23:56
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It's sometimes hard to know for certain that a lore question isn't addressed in-game somewhere. Until we chance upon a better criteria for deciding which lore questions are on topic, or until we decide to ban them outright, that's the criteria we have to work with.

Taking the in-game test as a given, then, and knowing that it's impossible to disprove a negative*, the implication is that we should leave them open when there is uncertainty about whether the question is answered by game content. That's probably unpopular, but I can't see how we can do otherwise and not contradict the current policy.

By implication then, it is appropriate to vote to close a question when we are certain it's not addressed by the game content.

If we don't like that, we should just ban lore questions.

Assuming that we accept lore questions at all, it's OK for one of dubious subject matter to be left open when we're not 100% certain that it's off topic. Either the community's knowledge of the game will improve and it will gain a positive answer, or the community's knowledge will improve and it will get closed by users who are certain.

Something to remember is that unanswered questions aren't broken windows, they're riding the long tail that this site is designed to serve. Being creatures of the present it's strange and difficult to trust that our future selves are capable of taking care of this for us, but this is an explicit part of the site's design.


* Disproving a negative isn't quite impossible with nearly every known game, because the vast majority of games are finite state machines. With perfect knowledge of a game, we can easily disprove a negative about that game. That's the only reason that makes the current lore question policy workable at all. If these sorts of things were actually impossible, we'd have a lot more problems with lore questions than we already have.

  • I'm sorry, but this doesn't address our main problem with them, in that it requires knowledge of an answer to vote/not vote to close. That's sort of the whole reason the entire class is problematic. – Frank Sep 23 '13 at 18:42
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    @fbueckert I thought I did address that, so maybe I need to revise this. The argument made herein is that our policy depends on such knowledge, so what do we do when we don't have the knowledge to apply the policy? A: default is leave open. (I don't think this question is a referendum on lore questions or the "main problem" you're talking about, so I don't address that. I just address closing appropriately, taking policy as given.) – SevenSidedDie Sep 23 '13 at 18:45
  • That's not really addressing it so much as dancing around it, I feel. It just kinda shuffles the problem off for us to deal with at a later time. I'm not a huge fan of doing that. If you're not addressing the main problem, alright, but that's kinda the whole point of asking this in the first place, I think. – Frank Sep 23 '13 at 18:46
  • @fbueckert I'm not either, but since this question isn't addressing the main policy of having them, no answer here that addresses the main problem of having them can be taken as consensus to ban them. So, dancing around it and not touching that is necessary here. – SevenSidedDie Sep 23 '13 at 18:48
  • It does sound like the community may need to revisit the policy on lore questions. This question isn't the venue for that, even if it inspires the conversation to reopen. – SevenSidedDie Sep 23 '13 at 18:49
  • Perfect knowledge isn't had. We need to focus on the practical aspects here, not logic theory. – Matthew Read Sep 24 '13 at 17:34
  • @MatthewRead Except that games are almost all finite state machines. It's a fact, not a tenuous logical possibility. We know, for example, frame-by-frame how Blanka's moves work, and we don't even have source code. The Legend of Zelda is a completely known system. We can know exact probabilities and conditions for how pigmen spawn from nether portals. The point of this site is to use our completed or in-progress total knowledge of games to solve problems. For games, yes, perfect knowledge is possible, and, more and more, even treated as an inevitability. – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '13 at 21:24
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    Our knowledge is meant to be presented through answers and upvotes and downvotes, not through close and reopen votes. Unlike other answers, they aren't actually presenting their possibly perfect knowledge in a way at can be analyzed or argued with. And I find it highly unlikely that the five people casting close votes all did the research to possess the perfect knowledge. But I can't argue with them about it if I disagree, all I can do is cast my own reopen vote (if I possess enough rep for it). This doesn't seem like what the system is designed or suited for. – Sterno Sep 25 '13 at 0:17
  • @Sterno I can't tell if you're replying to my answer (in which case I think I must not have made my take-home point clear), or if you're replying to the other comments here. I think we agree. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 0:34
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    We do not agree when it comes to the bolded part of your answer. You seem to be advocating that people assert their 100% certainty via close votes. I disagree with that approach as my comment above describes. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your answer. – Sterno Sep 25 '13 at 0:44
  • @Sterno Hm, I see what you're reading. That's not the intention, no, and I very much agree that close votes not turn into super-downvotes as you want to avoid. The intention is that we are able to close questions that are obviously outside the scope of the game (or series) based on our expert knowledge. I don't mean that we should give a user's feeling that they're right the license to close. It's not worded well enough to exclude that sense, though. Hm. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 5:27
  • @SevenSidedDie I have to disagree, this is pure theory whether you have cherry-picked examples or not. Show me someone who has perfect knowledge and perfect understanding of the entirety of a nontrivial game and I'll agree with you. Such a person does not exist, and certainly is not the basis for our users. I didn't say perfect knowledge doesn't exist, just that it isn't posessed. "This can technically be answered" is a terrible metric for the suitability of a question. – Matthew Read Sep 25 '13 at 15:18
  • @Matthew I think you're mistaking this question for a different meta question. I am not proposing a metric of acceptability here, I am merely stating the logical implication of the current close reason wording and other policies. As I've said in other comments, this question is not the place to debate which lore questions are acceptable, it's about how to apply the current close policy. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 15:26
  • @Sterno Anyway, I support your answer and it looks like many others do, so I won't bother fixing this. I'll leave it to express the votes on it. :) – SevenSidedDie Sep 26 '13 at 19:39
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Just to play devil's advocate...

Let's assume lore questions are on topic. We will also assume that these questions are good in all other regards (no "poke the plot hole" questions). Let's also keep in mind that we are a gaming site.

"not addressed directly through in-universe sources" is indeed misleading as the question no longer stands by itself. It is being judged by it's answers.

Let's say we change it a bit so questions FROM non-canon are off-topic. this means if I ask a question based on something I read in a Halo book, that is off topic. However, asking about lore from the Halo game is fine.

This still poses an issue though. Say I ask a question about the Covenant glassing planets (which is in game). However, this question is either unknown or is answer through other sources (books, videos, etc.) As a community of gamers, surely one of them has read the books, but the question is now outside of the gaming realm.

However, MOST video game lore questions are likely under "Science Fiction" and "Fantasy" genres. For these, we could migrate them to the appropriate Stack Exchange site. Remember, we are working under the assumption that these questions are good and the only topic of argument is the lore aspect.

Now say we get a question for a game that is not really Fantasy nor Science Fiction. In fact, say it also has no non-game sources (no books, no comics, no nothing). Asking about the lore of this game does not belong on SciFi SE. Since we are th egaming community, and the lore is limited to this game, it would belong here if anywhere.

Many users here have a strict "If it is not a problem, it is not a question" policy. Personally, I disagree with this policy, but it exists. For the sake of argument, let's assume these users agree to the following: "Just because I do not like a question does not mean it is bad/off-topic". Now the lore questions can stay here.

Now we break the "questions are good aside from lore aspect" assumption. Lore questions are a grey area. There are obviously stupid lore questions and obviously good ones. For example, this Bioshock Infinite question is asking about lore that can be complicated and difficult to understand. However, if one were to ask about Portal 2 "Why can't Chell say 'apple'?" it is something highly unlikely to be mentioned in the game.

So, how do we differentiate between good lore and bad lore. The answer is a simple "we don't". Instead, we allow answers like "This is never mentioned in the game". Bad lore questions will be down-voted just like any other bad question. Comments will be made suggesting how the question can be improved ("perhaps ask why Chell never talks instead?").

TL;DR

Assuming the Lore question is GOOD and is asked about something IN A GAME, it can at least start here. If it extends past the scope of gaming (and is still good) it can potentially be migrated. If it cannot be answered from the game (and is good and strictly gaming), then "This is never mentioned in the game" is an acceptable, definitive answer.

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    This doesn't address the fact that you still have to know the answer to determine if it's on or off-topic. That's the whole problem. How, from the question itself, can it be determined if the question is acceptable or not? Forget answers. – Frank Sep 20 '13 at 20:08
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    If the question is asked from elements in game as opposed to being asked about elements that only appear in other sources. For example, asking about the Banshee in Halo as opposed to aquatic vehicles. The former is something that is in the Halo games, thus the gaming SE is an appropriate starting point for the question. The latter never appears in Halo games, thus is not related to gaming. – Batophobia Sep 20 '13 at 20:13
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    Sites are allowed to overlap (and must, honestly). Disallowing/migrating questions solely because they are acceptable somewhere else has always been against SE policy. "It doesn't happen/get mentioned" is an unverifiable answer, similar to proving a universal negative, and is not worth anyone's time. And I agree with fbueckert that you've kind of glossed over the point of this question. – Matthew Read Sep 20 '13 at 21:25
  • @MatthewRead Migration here is not solely based on being acceptable elsewhere. It is migrated because it no longer falls within the realm of Gaming, which is the focus of this site. Also, it is simple enough to do Universal Negatives in these cases. If you 100% a game (and read all of the books/datapads/whatever) and it is never mentioned then the game says nothing of it. – Batophobia Sep 20 '13 at 21:36
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    You can't simulaneously argue that lore questions are outside are scope and Sci-Fi ones should be migrated, but that lore questions are in our scope and the rest belong here. You might need to clarify that portion of you answer so that it's not saying that. And no, it's not that simple. You've ignored dialog to start, and in many games it is not easy to uncover 100% of everything and it's unlikely that any individual has. – Matthew Read Sep 20 '13 at 22:08
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    @MatthewRead The question is standing alone, so the only way to determine if it is on-topic for Arqade is to determine if the question is formulated from the games or from other sources. If the question is from non-game based material, it does not belong here. If the question is from the game, then it enters the area of being acceptable in both sites. When the lore exits the realm of the game, it leaves our specialty so should be migrated. – Batophobia Sep 20 '13 at 22:13
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If the lore question helps solve a practical problem a user faces, it is on topic.

For example, asking about racial backgrounds in fantasy games in order to help understand the story. Q:Hey, I'm an Elf, why do Dwarves attack me on sight? A: Revenge, in the year 10 AR, the Elves raided the Dwarf homeland and they swore revenge.

If the lore question is trivia and does not help solve any practical problems, it is off topic. Example, asking about population size of a particular city/region.

I do not have access to the close vote dialogs, but I would suspect that that question got closed for that reason simply because I flagged the question with that reason & and there is not 'trivia is generally off topic' close reason for people to use instead.

  • "If the lore question is trivia and does not help solve any practical problems, it is off topic." So, can we close this question then? gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/127285/… – CloudyMusic Sep 20 '13 at 17:58
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    @cloudymusic If it turns out that we do decide to close those, I will happily vote to close those. – Frank Sep 20 '13 at 18:00
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    @fbueckert I agree with you, except that in turn one could argue that even your version isn't practical unless there's something you can actually do about it. Otherwise, it's just sating curiosity. The fundamental problem here is there is a lot of middle ground where some people might find a problem practical and others don't. – Sterno Sep 20 '13 at 18:01
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    @Sterno Wee for subjectivity! And as an aside, practicality has always been somewhat of a sticking point. Some people will see some things as practical, while others won't. Lore questions fall squarely into the middle of these, which is why it's such a sore subject. – Frank Sep 20 '13 at 18:02
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  • So Dwarves are racist? – Batophobia Sep 20 '13 at 18:02
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    @cloudymusic I think that is a stellar candidate for closure. – user9983 Sep 20 '13 at 19:00
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    As noted, practicality is subjective, but I don't understand how your example is practical in any sense. That answer doesn't help you defend yourself or avoid attacks; it doesn't affect gameplay. And if practicality was the concern, then it should be asked about directly -- "As a Dwarf, how can I avoid/prevent/defend against Elf attacks?" – Matthew Read Sep 20 '13 at 21:19
  • @Matthew Read playing a game is not just about the mechanics, but also the story. If there are problems with you understanding the story or the reasons actions are happening in game, you are experiencing a practical problem with the game. – Colin D Sep 20 '13 at 21:36
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    Then your second example is equally bad. Why can't the size of a city/region relate to the story? If it's unrelated, why is it a less valid concern than concern about story? Any "problem" the user thinks up is fair game if that's your rule. – Matthew Read Sep 20 '13 at 22:12
-10

Blanket ban all lore questions.

The end.

  • 10
    I KEEP TRYING TO CLICK THE UPVOTE BUTTON AGAIN, BUT IT WON'T LET ME DO IT TWICE. – LessPop_MoreFizz Sep 24 '13 at 13:37
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    Occam's Razor is best razor. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 13:42
  • I always shave with Occam's Razor™! *50's ad grin* – SaintWacko Sep 24 '13 at 14:31
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    Despite some protests that we should just solve the entire lore issue here, I'm going to start another meta for whether or not they should simply be banned. This meta question did not intend to cover that scope and if it's decided that they shouldn't be banned, I don't want it to hold up a resolution to this particular issue. – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 14:59
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    Related: Should lore questions be banned? – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 16:02
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    I'd sooner ban tech-support questions than ban lore questions. If the criteria is how many problem questions are allowed to live, tech support ones are far, far more pernicious a problem. – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '13 at 16:40
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    @sevensideddie lets do both. – LessPop_MoreFizz Sep 24 '13 at 16:52
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz Seconded. – Niro Sep 24 '13 at 16:57
  • @LessPop I'd vote for a ban on tech support. – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '13 at 21:27

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