Since we have such a low number of questions right now, and since once of the goals of the site (as I see it) is to cover all rules questions that may arise during gaming, I'm wondering -- is it alright to ask a question on a potentially-confusing topic that you already figured out the answer to? Alternately, is it alright to ask a question on a potentially-confusing rule that can be worked out if you simply read the rules carefully enough?

Example: I was teaching Puerto Rico to a new player the other day, and as we were playing, I suddenly started second-guessing myself on the rules to Captaining. I couldn't remember if I could use the Wharf to ship goods already on a ship, if you could ship the same good on multiple ships, and if you were obligated to put goods on a certain-sized ship.

Re-reading the rules slowly plus reading the examples in the rulebook refreshed my memory, and I know the answers to my question now, but is it worth asking on the main site for future visitors, in case they get tripped up by the same rules?

3 Answers 3


If a question came up during a game and couldn't be answered at the time, I'm OK with it being entered here even if the submitter has already researched and answered the question.

However, I think the submitter should refrain from answering his or her own question for at least a couple days.

We should not go through and preemptively ask any conceivable question. That will lead to low quality questions and end up turning people off.


  • @LittleBobbyTables: Yes, please read the linked blog post. I have some pretty strong opinions about the wholesale seeding of questions. There's a big difference between encountering (and posting) a particularly interesting question you saw today versus trying to "cover all rules questions" to make up for a low question count. That will go badly. Non-organic participation will come across as transparent (it wont work) and may actually detract from further participation. Folks love answering questions and helping people; Nobody wants to be given busy work and homework assignments. Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 0:40

I did this with a few of the Settlers of Catan questions I asked when we first launched. I had questions I knew I could answer on my own, but I put up here so the community could answer them. I've also refrained from answering my own questions. Some of the answers I've gotten to questions I thought I knew the answer to have made me rethink what I thought was the best solution. (Are general 3-to-1 or specific 2-to-1 ports better in Settlers of Catan? is a simple question I got some great different perspectives on.)

I know we want more questions, but we also want things people can answer. If you want to ask a question you already know the answer to, the question and answer should hopefully have some utility to others. There is no easy way to measure that, so I would suggest asking them. If it's incredibly out there, we could vote to close it as "too localized."

I also echo Pat Ludwig's opinion; don't immediately answer your own questions.

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    Simple, easily googleable questions seem to be a problematic issue for the SE community in general. For me, I have no problem answering them for newish users. For more established users, I might have an issue if the majority of their questions were overly simple.
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 19:22
  • Pat, I agree that easily googleable questions can be an issue. If we discourage simple questions, should we then be encouraging questions about confusing rules? Perhaps a middle ground should be what we aim for. Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 19:31
  • I'll always add on the side of encouraging questions. Having to talk to someone about submitting too many questions (simple or otherwise) is a problem I'm willing to deal with!
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 19:47

I have a "rule." When in doubt, ASK. (I also follow that rule, having asked more questions in my first two or three weeks here, than most.)

The second rule follows: If you have a doubt, almost certainly, so will someone else. Therefore, you'd be doing that "someone else" a big favor by asking. That person will benefit from the ready-made answers on the site.

I wouldn't worry about using up others' opportunities to ask questions. The big reputation gains are in the answers. Meaning, the more questions, the more possible answers, the more opportunities to gain reputation from answering questions. My experience is that several people made sizable reputation gains from answering my questions.

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