I posed a question in a format that I thought appropriate to the question, and that I've seen implemented elsewhere. 1 card per answer, which leads to users upvoting the strongest combinations.

Since M:TG combinations can be a broad question (colour combinations, creature type combinations) and what constitutes "good" is subjective to the context of the question, the 1 card per answer format allows for the broadest audience to derive their own most appropriate answer.

With that said, it tip toes up to the line of being a good, answerable question into community wiki land.

These questions are incredibly popular and draw a lot of searches and views, according to the brief research I've done, so I'd like to see them allowed, but, what is the appropriate conditions for asking them/how should they be limited?

Almost certainly the question should be posed as I'm using [this card] and planning a deck using [these colours], what can I do to strengthen [this attribute] or defend against [that attribute].


  • I assume you're referring to this question, by the way?
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 18:07
  • @GraceNote Yes.
    – Stephen
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 18:10
  • Looking at that question, I see at least 2 distinct strategies. One is already in a single post, highlighting "creatures that'll get the +1/+1 regardless of which face is up". The other is spread out among a bunch of answers, which seems to be "pile on wolf tokens", with some rather impressive synergy among them. I'd think that latter strategy could make an excellent compilation answer - even if it doesn't cover all possible cards that accomplish the task, it sets the reader on the right direction.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 18:14
  • I agree, within the answers presented I see a couple of groupings, and depending on what strategy you were ultimately following you might not use all the groupings reducing the number of answers down to the major similar groupings might be a good way to do it here.
    – Stephen
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


There's two things you might want to look at. One is the concept of how voting is interpreted across the site, the other on how answers serve as solutions. I think that these questions should be able to work, but the approach may need some extra thought.

On voting

We're talking about the actual vote scores, not the resultant reputation (which is irrelevant to this point). Voting activity is something that is rated on a global scale, not on a per question scale, and whether or not this works in that understanding. By consequence, and by design, certainly votes are comparable within the scale of a single question. This lets you compare what is a favorable answer to the specific question.

However, the site as a whole uses votes to identify the top performance. A +20 answer on one question should be of similar quality and utility as a +20 answer on a completely different question.

That's why it's important that the voting scale be universal across the site. The problem I foresee with this "one card per answer" setup is that the voting schema may not line up with the rest of the site. It depends a bit on how the expertise in understanding the strategy will correlate with how people get the answers and how much detail. Certainly, a greater answer will not simply list just the card, but will go into great detail on why it's a great fit. If voting focuses on that detail, then this problem is taken care of. Should this be lost sight of, though, then it will not bode well for the quality of the site.

On answers

This has been the subject of many blog posts, but to put it simply - the Q&A model thrives on the essence that an individual answer attempts to serve as a conclusion to the question. That's why acceptance exists and only points out a single answer. When the "solution" to a question is not in a single answer, but is the set of all answers, it becomes difficult for a reader to grasp what the whole picture is. Our format lends itself towards a complete solution within one package (one post), the lack of discrete post organization makes it complex to simply put together combinations of answers.

Think of it like asking the question "How do I bake a cake?", and your separate answers were "You need eggs", "You need flour", and similar. It's all part of a whole, and undesirable. The proper answer would be the whole process, not just a single step. That's why we encourage that answers are solutions - so that people get the big picture in one post, not across multiple posts.

Questions where there are multiple "items" among the answers, the ones that work are those where a single item is the answer. If there are multiple strategies to solve a certain problem, then any single one of those strategies can be its own answer because, on their own, they do solve the question at hand.

How this affects these questions depends - is the goal to accumulate strategy among the various cards presented individually? Or is it to find a singular card that works? If it is the former, then it conflicts with how the engine as a norm functions. It may be better not to restrict users to a single card if this is the case - rather, the user could focus on a strategy as a whole (using both specific card make-up as well as general card roles). This also ties in a bit with the previous point, as it will inspire more focus on the detail and the strategy, thus less likely to suffer problems in voting.

I should note that sometimes, a strategy really does boil down to just one card, that it is the unique synergy of that one specific card that works perfectly with the given plan. That's fine if your answer only needs that one card. This point is more to address the scenarios where multiple cards all work towards the same general strategic plan - dividing that into multiple answers is ultimately a disservice to the reader.

  • Thanks for your answer, it's certainly well laid out and thoughtful. Since a single play deck will consist of (usually) 60-100 cards, the question is looking for a subset of that (in the particular case of the question I asked, where I'm considering a theme deck, the combination is a substantial subset). The M:TG universe consist of 11,000+ cards, so I think it's expected that multiple answers will eventually comprise the final solution but certainly there's no need for 1/answer as I originally suggested.
    – Stephen
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 18:25
  • 1
    @Stephen Correct! Think of it like this - suppose there are 3 strategies core to a particular question. Each of these individual strategies are solutions, but naturally the best possible answer is one that covers all 3 (after all, if all 3 synergize with that one plan...). However, that's tolerable not to have that kind of super answer - it's rare to see that on any SE site. There's a level of tolerance to "multiple answers working together", the important thing is that each answer is independent and functional as such a subset. How the solutions work together can be future thought.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 18:30
  • So rather than adding a single card as an answer, if someone has an answer that starts a particular strategy and your new card fits into it, edit the answer to include or add a comment below with the card name? It does sound more like the original intent of community wiki, but perhaps these questions really lend themselves to that format?
    – Stephen
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 18:38
  • 1
    @Stephen If it's just another example card that fits in with the same strategy and needs no special explanation, then it doesn't even need community wiki. A normal edit or comment would be sufficient.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 18:44

IMHO I think questions about a specific card pool, at least in draft/sealed, should be considered off-topic. For the most part these questions are extreamly localized, the same set of cards is almost impossible to repeat. The other issue is that these questions are rather discussiony/listy, because each player has a differenet opinion.

  • I do agree that such questions are quite "localized". The question to my mind is whether Magic the Gathering is, by its nature, very localized. It's a game whose strategic and tactical considerations change almost beyond recognition every year or two. Either you accept that as part of the nature of the beast, or (IMO) you send Magic users off to their own SE site! Because there are a lot of perfectly sensible Magic questions that suddenly seem quite dodgy when placed in the SE context... Commented Oct 26, 2011 at 16:30

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