I'm surprised, and a bit concerned, at the reaction given to two recent questions with the yu-gi-oh tag:

  1. Can I go down to half-a-life-point?
  2. How does Keeper of the Shrine work?

I find it unwelcoming, a bit heavy-handed, and not consistent with the stack's reaction to similar questions on other games.

The first was closed as duplicate to Halving points in Yu-Gi-Oh, but:

  • That question asked how paying half your life when at an odd number worked. Yes, you can work out from there (as the comment from a closer did) that 1 - (1 / 2 = 0.5, rounded up to 1) = 0, but neither the question itself, nor the answer, considered specifically the 1-life case. [EDIT by OP: This paragraph is in fact wrong. It is 1LP - 1/2 = 0.5 rounded up to 1LP. Which does, in fact, change the case significantly. But note that a very experienced game player - world-known for his referee-skill in one game, suggested to train for Judge in another, plays (by himself, badly) YGO - read the "duplicate" answer three times - and the so-called "obvious answer" comment, and read it backwards. Interesting that. See conclusion.]
  • Because it didn't consider that case, it didn't give an answer to "can you do this, even if you will then go to 0 LP?" Which I'm sure has an answer, is definitely relevant to the closed question, while being not relevant to the "duplicate" question. Which, to me, is sufficient difference to not be a duplicate. [EDIT: this is still an interesting question, but not relevant to the interaction, because of misreading above.]
  • There are many questions on this stack and others that are "specific interactions of general cases previously asked" that are considered valid and useful questions.
  • M:tG tag in particular has many questions that are much closer to being duplicates than this, that get kept open and given answers, because they are different enough that people might not automatically get from "here" to "there". One of recent note even claimed to be a duplicate in the question - it specifically stated "I've read the explanation and I don't get it [therefore please answer it again/here's what I didn't get]".
  • I think this question could very easily, relevantly, and helpfully be answered with the comment DarkCygnus gave (and a small note about whether doing this is even legal, and whether there is a timeframe before one loses because of 0 LP that one can get out of it/cards that would allow you to win/keep playing at 0 LP). [EDIT: I still think this would be an excellent answer - not only "you can do this, but here's what actually happens, it ends up costing you no life at all! That's an interesting issue in the rules, and could also be used..."]

The second isn't closed, but was downvoted - and the comment is effectively "you don't know the rules. X is not Y." Which is totally true (if a bit brutal), but how many "a triggered ability is not an activated ability is not a spell is not a loyalty ability is not a creature is not a creature card" questions do we have on this stack? Many of which are considered good questions and are happily answered - again - perhaps with a link to a general/canonical question or the CR section.

Again, the comment could be straight up a valid, useful answer to the question (with some additional explanation, and perhaps quoting of some relevant rules). The question is definitely as valid as How does Clarion Spirit work? (yes, that's not the title, but it might as well be).

One could argue that we should come down as hard on M:tG "duplicates" and "don't understand the basic rules" as has happened with these YGO questions. I would prefer that we go the other way - especially if we want to encourage this stack to be more than "M:tG CR Q&A" and "Identify this game".

Therefore, I shall cast a vote to re-open the closed question, and have upvoted both questions (they may have not shown any research effort, but they are both clear and useful). I ask that the community consider where we wish to put the line on these, and watch to see if the line is different for some games than others. We certainly need to promote good questions and limit duplicates; but we also need to promote "questions", straight up - especially from "New contributors", with whom we are asked to "Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering."

To clarify my question, which seems to have been misread as "complaining about two specific cases, both of which were read wrong/had potentially flaggable comments" (note that my concern was with the reaction, not from the correctness of the questions or the responses thereto:

Do we want to be the "IOTTMCO with basic searching, close"/"RTFM" stack, or the "Yes, it works, and it's an interesting usecase of [this general question] why it works"/"Tribute Summons are not the same as Special Summons. So it doesn't work that way..." stack?

  • 1
    There is no difference in rounding up to 2 if you have 3 life or rounding up to 1 if you have 1 life. Either way the answer and the results are the same and you round up.
    – Joe W
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 20:21
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    The second question you linked got a single downvote. It's not worth being concerned over one downvote. And if you believe that a comment is rude or inappropriate, you can always flag it.
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 21:23
  • Joe: there is a very big difference - I don't lose if I'm at 1 life. But also: what is the closable difference between "I don't understand how this works in this specific case" and all of the Magic questions that are effectively "these two cards have different names than the other 30 questions with the same interaction", which don't get closed?
    – Mycroft
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 21:32
  • I shall do that. My question here is to raise it as a "I've seen this difference in responses to questions before, these two examples are just new and obvious"; to see if why view of the world is biased somewhat (as "my game" is another non-WOTC game, I could easily be biased) or whether this is a discussion that should happen/reaction we should be more aware of. If the appropriate response to "new contributor" questions are "bad question: didn't search exactly right/RTFCard", then fine; not my speed, but I am only me, fine.
    – Mycroft
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 21:35
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    There is no difference at all, if you lose half your life at 3 you end up at 2 after rounding up and if you lose half your life at 1 you end up at 1 after rounding up. In both cases you don't lose the game. Both of those questions can be answered with the same answer so the details you are talking about are not important.
    – Joe W
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 0:05
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    If you want to convince people that it is not a duplicate you should be providing an answer that shows why it is different then the question it was marked a duplicate of. From what I can see in your question there is no reason why the same answer doesn't apply to this question. As a side note you can also add a new answer to the duplicate question to address the differences brought up in this question. The point of marking it as a duplicate question is to consolidate the information in a single place and make it easier to find.
    – Joe W
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 16:29
  • Apologies for my cat eating the last paragraph of my edit, clarifying my focus. For the extra confusion, I apologize. What I could do with this specific issue (and all suggestions here are very good); but not the point.
    – Mycroft
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


There are a variety of factors here, and some of them might be actionable.

First, it's important to recognize that duplicate closure is not intended to be a punishment or anything like that. Closing a question as a duplicate should show the question author and any later visitor who has the same question where the answer to their question can be found. Ideally, it should only be used when the linked question and its answers clearly and completely answer the closed question.

In reality, it is not that simple, because question closure is determined by vote, and the voters are making a judgement call based on subjective criteria. People don't all agree on the general threshold of how close questions have to be to be duplicates, and on how close individual questions actually are. And because users tend to focus on specific games, we end up with separate pools of potential close voters for different games, which can result in different trends in duplicate question closure for different games.

Regarding Magic: The Gathering, I think it is true that we close questions as duplicates less than the rest of the site, and maybe less than we should. There is definitely a strong case that this question that you linked should be closed as a duplicate, and the other question's answers should be expanded and clarified to address it. Part of the problem is that a lot of questions describe interactions by card names, which both makes them unsuitable duplicate targets, and makes it difficult to search for duplicates. There are also a lot of subtly different interactions, which makes it harder to find exact duplicate targets. Occasionally we have created large "canonical" questions that aggregate information otherwise covered in many separate questions, and then close the others as duplicates.

Regarding the other question, I agree that we were not very welcoming, but I think that issue is not as specific to one game vs another. For example, this recent MTG question, also by a new user, has a similar issue, and had a similar reception. It would be better for us to more effectively discourage answers in comments.

  • Thank you. This is the issue I wanted to raise and the analysis I wanted to get. "Where should this stack be, and are we there?". The "similar" M:tG quesiton you linked, while downvoted, doesn't have (now, not sure about history) snarky minimalist comment and nothing, it got a nice edit to clean up the question, and a "No, this isn't that, here's what happens, and here's how you can tell this from that," answer. All I wanted to raise was "do we want to recommend this course of action, or what was done in the other question, or something else entirely?" Your answer here starts that.
    – Mycroft
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 15:16
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    I think you are looking at this as a site culture problem, when the basic reason for the things you describe is that more people on this site know about MTG than about other topics. You're making this comparison that one question has an answer and edits, and the other does not, but some individual person has to do each of those things. If nobody does it, it doesn't get done. Obviously we don't aspire to be an unwelcoming site that doesn't answer questions, but we can't force people to interact with any particular question.
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 16:27
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    Sure, and I'm one of those people (although my familiarity is with bridge). But both of the comments on the YGO questions could easily have been answers - and it's clear that the writers of them were knowledgeable enough about it to do so, They just thought what they did was appropriate. Absolutely this is a "site culture" question - hence, on meta - in "where is the line", "are we consistent across games with that line" and "how should we get to the desired line and consistency". Again, thanks for understanding and considering - and pointing out where non-diamonds can do our part.
    – Mycroft
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 17:04
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    Questions across all topics get comments that could have been expanded into answers. Sometimes people want to respond in some way, but don't want to take the time or effort to write a full answer. It's not ideal, but it happens. We can't force people to write answers when they don't want to.
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 17:16

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