This question asks for a visual explanation of Magic's turn structure. Is that an acceptable question on our site?

And of course, if you think it should be closed based on the current wording and you think it could be tweaked to avoid it, please suggest editing rather than closing!


This question is fine. At its core, it's asking for a general summary of Magic's turn structure, specifically in visual form. Without the restriction to visual form, it would be a good question (a nice general reference thing we can point people to, even), and with the restriction it only becomes more specific.

The major arguments that have been raised are:

  • It's subjective, since it's asking for good or the best diagrams, and that's a subjective decision. This is an unconvincing argument since it's really not unusually subjective. All questions are implicitly asking for the best possible explanation, and we routinely use voting to sort out which one we collectively think is best. Further, the question actually provides some specific criteria for evaluation, making it even less subjective. The comments on the existing answer indeed suggest that there's some rough agreement about what would make a good answer, not people just subjectively arguing about the best possible diagram.

  • It's a list question, asking for a list of diagrams. This is an unconvincing argument because this really isn't the sort of fatally flawed question that label is meant for. It's simply asking for a diagram or set of diagrams which fully explain things, similar to the way a question asking for the explanation in text form would be asking for a set of paragraphs - that's not really a list. A list question, the kind we hate, is a poll, something that won't really be complete until there's a long list - like "what are the cards that combo with X?" Per this meta answer, a short way to describe list questions is "answers that have value only in aggregate", or from the help center, every answer is equally valid, or you expect more answers like your own, or there's no actual problem to be solved. That doesn't really apply here - the problem to be solved is explaining the turn structure in a clear, concise way, and while there's room for multiple answers, there's no way every possible diagram would be equally good. (Remember, every question has the issue that people can post near-duplicate answers, which will then be equally good - that doesn't make them list questions.)

A couple more arguments surfaced in the comments:

  • You can't prove anything about what the question invites. This argument is plainly absurd. If you read in the help center about closing questions, for example how we decide if they're too broad, it explicitly mentions things about what kinds of answers the question is asking for. This is true all over the place anywhere in the help and on meta.stackexchange.com when people discuss these things. This is a key part of how we judge questions. So no, we can't prove it, but we can discuss it and make sane decisions.

  • We shouldn't discuss this on meta. Again, completely absurd. If you want to discuss whether question closure is a good topic for meta, start another meta question about it, I guess, but this is what the meta.stackexchange.com FAQ say to do if you think a question has been closed in error (doing it when it's only halfway there is pretty much equivalent) and people have been doing it across the stackexchange network for years.

  • You second point implies that you have to literally ask for a list for it to be considered a "list question". If that were true, then every list question could hide its ugly identity by converting "Give me a list of Foo." to "Give me Foo." You don't have to explicitly ask for a list in order to get one. – Rainbolt Nov 25 '14 at 19:39
  • @Rainbolt No, it doesn't imply that at all. I explicitly discuss what kind of answers it invites. And this question does not invite an endless stream of answers, any more than a question asking "what is the turn structure" does. That is, it says "give me foo", where "foo" is not a giant list of things. – Cascabel Nov 25 '14 at 19:41
  • You can't actually prove what a question invites. If that's the basis of your argument, then you should have just voted and not taken this to meta. – Rainbolt Nov 25 '14 at 19:42
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    @Rainbolt If "you can't prove what a question invites" is the basis of your argument, then I don't think you have a real argument. The entire decision about whether a question is too broad (e.g. because it asks for a long list of things) is a decision about what the question invites. – Cascabel Nov 25 '14 at 19:45
  • Pointing out your inability to prove something is a valid ("real") argument. – Rainbolt Nov 25 '14 at 19:47
  • @Rainbolt Okay, then: it is not a constructive argument. Pretty much every "should this be closed" discussion that's ever taken place on stackexchange is based on things that we cannot absolutely prove. That doesn't mean we have to throw up our hands and decide to close them all. – Cascabel Nov 25 '14 at 19:50
  • If by "throw up our hands and close them all" you mean "vote", then yes. That interpretation is rather extreme. – Rainbolt Nov 25 '14 at 19:51
  • @Rainbolt Back to the point: when there's disagreement about, say, whether or not a question is asking for ("inviting") a long list of equally-valid answers, and discussion ensues, that's exactly the kind of thing we bring to meta. Close votes aren't just a private "everyone vote how you like and see what happens" thing. They're an application of site policy (that takes multiple votes so that we can't apply it unilaterally), and meta is where we handle details of site policy like that. So the fact that I discussed what the question invites is good and expected, not a reason to silently vote. – Cascabel Nov 25 '14 at 21:16
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Rainbolt Nov 25 '14 at 21:17
  • This answer has turned into a collection of counter arguments comprised almost entirely of logical fallacies. @ikegami provided what I thought the only good point in the entire discussion, and then deleted it. He said something like "questions asking for finite lists are not as bad". If you are reading this ikegami, I would encourage you to post a logical answer. And Jefromi, I appreciate you extracting all of my points and starting your rebuttals with "This is absurd." That's really mature. – Rainbolt Dec 2 '14 at 20:53
  • @Rainbolt The actual arguments are right at the top, and they're convincing enough for me, and presumably for the several people who upvoted. The counterarguments are necessary in order to address the comments posted on the question, since this is a continuation of that discussion. They also happen to be real arguments, not logical fallacies - trying to dismiss my entire answer as fallacy is not terribly constructive. – Cascabel Dec 2 '14 at 22:38
  • @Jefromi I pointed to a specific logical flaw in an earlier comment, but you also dismissed that as "not constructive". You shouldn't post answers if you can't handle being wrong. – Rainbolt Dec 2 '14 at 23:05

It seems like a perfectly reasonable question to me. Its two component parts seem to be,

1) Please help me explain to newbies how to play MTG. 2) Please present your answer in chart form for the benefit of said newbies.

I found the chart helpful.

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