Yesterday, this got asked: When a permanent has a "When a creature dies" ability, and gets destroyed at the same time as creatures, does that ability trigger?

We've had questions before on what happens when such a creature/permanent dies simultaneously with others. It got closed as a duplicate of:

The latter two are currently open, and the first of the two has a title phrased as a canon question on the topic. My issue is: it is the worst of the three at being a canon question.

Ideally, a canon question on a topic is be really clear and simple. It should be focused on that one topic as much as possible, with minimum excess, so as to not reduce clarity at all. That way, people will search for it, find it, and understand it, and not ask a new question — nor find themselves S.O.L. when we close their new question as a duplicate.

The Marchesa question is the most complex and unsuitable of these three! The question is the longest, and there are more mechanical bits involved in this particular situation (resurrection, counters, a condition on the trigger) than the other two questions (you get cards/spirits).

Both of the other two are short and simple by comparison. I attempted to make the one asked yesterday the new canon question (I wasn't aware of the Teysa question), and retitle Marchesa's question to its original non-canon-ish state, but that retitle got contested and rolled back by another member (comments about that here).

So. Bottom line: I think we should retitle one of the other two as our canon question on the situation, or create a new one, and not stick with Marchesa as a canon question nor keep it with a title that gives it the impression of being one. What should we do?

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How about a compromise?

Close the old question as a duplicate of the new one.

I agree that the new question makes a better canon question. The wording is much simpler. The examples are easier to follow. The answers are cleaner.

Leave the title of the old question alone.

There is nothing wrong with the generalized title of the Marchesa question. The ruling on Marchesa also applies to Blood Artist, Deathgreeter, and hundreds of other cards. The question had so little to do with what Marchesa's specific ability actually does and everything to do with whether or not it triggers in the first place.

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    If you are going to close my question, because it talks about a really specific case for a more general question and you want to create an canonical Q&A for the general question, I think the closed question (i.e. mine) should have a specific title, that matches its specific nature that is the reason it was closed. – KRyan Jan 28 '15 at 20:47
  • @Kryan You are essentially saying that your question should wear the scarlet letter - a brand that says "I was closed for being too specific." - and I don't agree with that. Your question should be the best that it can be, closed or otherwise. – Rainbolt Jan 28 '15 at 20:52
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    I don’t agree that the general title makes the question better unless it is to be used as a canonical question, which it isn’t. The best title is the one that accurately and succinctly identifies the question, and the question (however much it ended up being irrelevant) was about Marchesa specifically. – KRyan Jan 28 '15 at 20:55

In principle, I think this is a good idea (I feel like I say that a lot). The newest question. The newest question is the simplest expression of the question we have so far, and the others add some complexity that distracts from the actual answer. However, I see a few minor problems that I think we should consider, but that are not necessarily sufficient to not do it.


This is probably the easiest issue to solve. If we want to implement this, we need 5 votes to open each of the two closed questions, and 5 more votes to close the 2 older questions as duplicates. I think doing it half-way will end up worse than leaving it in the current state. We don't want to have two of the questions open, or all of them closed (Further experimentation indicates that this is impossible), or a chain of duplicates. Each of those provides a worse user experience than what we currently have. Basically, we should try to make sure we put the votes together before we start.

Asker experience

When someone asks a question and it gets closed, it often feels like a punishment or reprimand. And in some sense, that's accurate. Closing as "off-topic" or "too opinion based" means that they should have read the FAQ. Closing as a duplicate means that they should have searched before asking. Usually users take the message more harshly than we mean it, but the meaning is generally still there. That is why I am hesitant to close a question that followed all the rules and was not a duplicate when it was asked. Surprises, and especially negative ones, are a bad user experience. I'm not saying that this is a deal breaker, just that it's something to consider. (EDIT: Apparently the person who asked the question is explicitly OK with this decision)

Policy implications

If we do this, it raises the question of whether we should generally close old, detailed questions if someone asks a new, more canonical question about essentially the same thing. As I said in my second paragraph, this takes a concerted effort, and would probably often require at least reopening the new question and closing the old one, so it would make sense to have a plan so that users generally know when it should be done. Sometimes it would just be unwieldy; if the old question has 10 duplicates pointing to it, changing all of them may be too much of a pain to bother with.

What if a new question is asked that is an even better canonical question. Do we change all of the dupe targets again? How much better should it be to make that change? (EDIT: It seems that this question has already been brought up on this meta)

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  • Speaking from experience on RPG.SE, where we close a lot of questions: dupe closures rarely cause upset, and it's almost always when the other question doesn't provide a clear answer, i.e. upset is totally reasonable. (The other close reasons do sometimes cause upset.) We don't need to avoid closing a question just because someone's feelings might get hurt: they can go ahead and get hurt, we're closing the questions for ourselves too to keep things in order. We're optimizing for pearls, not sand. – doppelgreener Jan 24 '15 at 14:35
  • For implementation: if the MTG community shows general agreement here on meta, we could request mod assistance with getting things in order. – doppelgreener Jan 24 '15 at 14:38
  • For my part, I'm not going to be upset at having the Marchesa question closed; my question was answered, my playgroup now understands how it works and take it into consideration appropriately when I play my Marchesa deck, and I haven’t even used the deck in a month or so. – KRyan Jan 28 '15 at 20:46

I agree with the OP. The Marchesa question is a complex question, one that is perhaps best treated as a "standalone," as opposed to a model or duplicate for other, simpler questions.

It may be because of the "complexity" of the Marchesa question that the "creature dies" question was considered to be "subsumed" under it, and therefore closed as a duplicate.

I don't think that's what we should strive for. The "creature dies" question makes a much better "building block" question, and should be left open for future reference.

In a "forced choice" I'd say, close the Marchesa question as a duplicate of "creature dies." But I'd hate to do that, because "Marchesa" actually came first, and I don't want to "rewrite history." Besides, the two questions went into different "subissues" that people may want to address separately.

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