Sometimes people ask questions like this:

Here is how I think it works. Here is the rule that says it works this way. Is my understanding correct?

When I answer questions like these, the only original part I get to add is:

Yes, your understanding is absolutely perfect for all the reasons you described. Here's an exceptional situation that almost never happens but might be relevant. Here's an example that's exactly like the one you already described in your question.

I want to strip the question down, moving the rules and the explanation to an answer. I'm not advocating for everyone to start aggressively picking questions apart. I'm just wondering if it's poor practice for me to do this.

Real examples

This question:

If it were up to me, I would move the rules quote to an answer and change "Is this accurate?" into a real question (like the title). While I wait for feedback, I've compromised with little (CR 123.4) notations in the answer. But I'd rather just have the rule. The answer would then be complete and self-contained, and the question would just be a question.

A completed example:

Look at the revision history. I wrote the original question with an answer in the question itself, and the community improved it by relocating the answer. This is exactly the behavior I want to imitate.

Would the community consider this poor practice? Overly aggressive? A step towards improving clarity?

1 Answer 1


Funny, I was just reading this recent question about MTG: Can Skullcrack's damage be prevented? and was wondering why the question was asked in the first place.

The question starts with a rules citation which answers the question. So where is the ambiguity? Exactly what is being asked here? I think this is an example of a poor quality question. Should we then take the rules citation out and put it in an answer?

My first reaction would be no, if we do that it encourages simple questions about how specific cards work. The damage prevention question didn't even seem ambiguous enough to warrant a Ruling entry on gatherer.wizards.com.

My second reaction was well, why was this person unsure about their interpretation in the first place? Maybe it's useful to dig into that. If the person who posed the question explained why they were unsure about their interpretation of the rule, maybe it would be useful. If all that could be said in an answer was essentially "Yep, you got it right." how is it a good question?

I think that in general, moving the answer out of the question (Am I right?) is good practice, especially if the question is then improved because it's not "polluted" and can be formulated more precisely. Ultimately, if the possible confusion can be explained (as the confusing "blocking order" terminology was explained in your example) then I think it's a good question. If it's simply regurgitating a rule without explaining what needs clarification, (as in the question I linked above) then it's a question that should probably be flagged unclear what you're asking.

  • 1
    Downvoting a question that you think is poor is fine, but since when do we flag for deletion just because we think it is a poor question?
    – bwarner
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 17:55
  • @bwarner Sorry, mistake in my terminology. I meant "put on hold." In that particular case the reason would be unclear what you're asking. I'll change it. Also note, if a question is so poor or trivial that it can't be improved and is of very low quality, we certainly can and should delete them.
    – ghoppe
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 18:14

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