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Subject: Dear users who like to answer rules question. Let's start teaching them to fish. rss

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Mike Bialecki
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Reading and understanding a set of written rules is a skill that takes practice, patience, and persistence. It requires an attention to the details of language and a good deal of intuition and common sense. Some people excel at this skill, some people (for many varied and legitimate reasons) not so much - and thus some game forums get loaded with rules questions from frustrated gamers. There's no problem with that. Asking rules questions is a major function of BGG. However, I propose that instead of simply answering questions, skillful rules-readers should demonstrate *how* they got that answer. Point the original poster to the exact page and sentence that allowed you to answer their question. Describe the logic you used to solve the problem. I know some people will take this as being snarky. I know that some people don't really care about learning to read the rules - they just want a quick answer. But the educator in me just can't pass up the opportunity for a "teaching moment," and I hope some of you might join me.
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Aaron Edwards
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I certainly think people should explain how/where they got their answer when answering rules questions, but I would avoid the assumption that people with rules questions are not skilled rules readers.
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Stephen Williams
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Oph1d1an wrote:
I certainly think people should explain how/where they got their answer when answering rules questions, but I would avoid the assumption that people with rules questions are not skilled rules readers.


Indeed. I consider myself a skilled reader (I answer more rules questions than I ask!) but even I've found myself in situations where the answer was written there in plain English and I just didn't clue in when I read it myself. Someone else had to point at the sentence and say "look, it says so right here."

Quoting the passage and page number is good practice, for sure, but don't go so far as to presume the person asking the question is illiterate just because they had to ask.
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Philip Kitching
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I like to post the page and paragraph reference but not to help the OP - instead I'm more interested in having that "I can't believe that I've been getting that rule wrong all these years" moment in private.
blush

As to the logic behind the answer, choose one of:

shake I read the rulebook.
whistle I got lucky and found it.
cry I'd been playing it wrongly for years when someone said...
ninja This was asked and answered on BGG 1857 questions ago. (Looking at you, Arkham Horror.)
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Mike Bialecki
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Oph1d1an wrote:
I certainly think people should explain how/where they got their answer when answering rules questions, but I would avoid the assumption that people with rules questions are not skilled rules readers.


I anticipated this comment, and was about to edit my post, but since you got to it first, I'll address it now.

I did not mean to assume that every question was a result of just poor skill. Just because you asked a question doesn't necessarily mean you are a poor rules reader. However, over the many years that I have been a part of BGG, I have seen many questions asked where the answer was practically in bold text in the rule book. These and more subtle versions of questions like these are what I'm talking about.
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JAn
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One of the best things about BGG is that I can be in the middle of a game, a rule point or the validity of a choice of action becomes unclear, I type the query into google and inevitably the top hit is the link to a BGG thread resolving just this particular quandary and we get on with the game with a minimum of fuss.

Now, of course, I'm talking about aspects of a game that are squirrelly to me, but everyone has a different squirrel threshold and I'd hate for such a valuable resource to be lessened so we can teach people improved reading comprehension and whatnot.
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Tomello Visello
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mbialeck wrote:
Point the original poster to the exact page and sentence that allowed you to answer their question.

That's not enough. Include the actual quote. That will also assist other readers in following the conversation (including readers who may have an imprecise memory themselves).

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Brad Miller
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Yeah, we should get rid of "rules" as a forum category. Useless freeloaders...

[/irony]
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Timothy Young
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Quote:
squirrel threshold


Thumbed for this.
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True
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Squirrel Threshold is the name of my Daft Punk cover band.
True
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R F
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Of course, pointing them to a rulebook page and paragraph might actually lead them to the wrong place, depending on what edition and language they're dealing in.
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Mark Halsey
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I don't feel like I'm being lazy or taking advantage by posting a rules question. This community loves games and I'm happy to reciprocate and answer a question anytime I'm browsing on here. It helps distract me from the hot deals forum for a few minutes.
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James Lautermilch
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Agree whole heartily with your viewpoint. I am a writer so I find attempting to decipher rule books especially challenging, especially poorly written rule books so count me in! cool
 
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Niko J
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Maybe it's because I'm one of those "let me see the rulebook" people, but I really like it when people quote rulebook pages and subheadings when answering. It's all just opinions until someone quotes a rule.

I'd like to think I do that more often than not, though I do get impatient while posting from time to time.
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James Ludlow
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I'd settle for people refraining from answering questions with guesses. And anything that starts with, "Well my group plays it like..." no one cares; take it to the varients forum.
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GeJayGe
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Windopaene wrote:
Yeah, we should get rid of "rules" as a forum category. Useless freeloaders...

[/irony]


Post of 2016 for me. Well done, good sir.
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Robert Wesley
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Re: Dear users who like to answer rules question. Let's start teaching them to take fishhead into Movie.
What is anybody's 'chocolate' Squirrel "threshold" because MEIN is NONE! shake
 
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David Gibbs
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I thought quoting the rules section to support your answer was just standard practice? I try to always do so, myself. Without such support, I'm just posting an opinion, not an answer.

Ok, I'm fine with the game developer/author just stating an answer. But anyone else, support/evidence for the answer is important.
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marc lecours
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BGG is great for rules questions.

My questions are almost always about ambiguities in the rules, not about where to find a particular rule. When a person on BGG gives an answer, it is often just their opinion or how their group plays a particular rule. More important than the answer is the reasoning behind it.

But where BGG really shines is when the designer of the game is the person answering the question (or making the ruling). They are like a supreme court and that settles the question. And that happens often here.

I am an old timer and remember the old days when you had to send a letter to the company and all the questions had to be phrased in such a way that the answer was "yes" or "no". It could take a month to get answers to questions. On BGG it takes 24 hours at most. DD
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Christian Gienger
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I think we should ask people to phrase the title of their question thread accordingly instead of telling them to RTFM.

Sometimes (or more often) rules questions are asked that are simply coming from not reading the rules, but often enough those rules are only mentioned once at one spot in the rules where you just don't look for them if you look for that question specifically.
But I agree that quoting or saying where to find the rule or the reasoning makes sense to help people with further questions (at least for the same game).

I think it's more a problem that so many threads are named "Rules Question", "A few questions", "short question","<game name> question", or just simply "help plz".

If we ask people to rename those threads while answering their questions, I have the small hope that people skim the titles of the rules forum before asking questions.
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Steve B
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Why would I want to teach board game rules to my pet fish?
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dave bcs
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My experience with the rules forums suggests that most people seek rule advice because the rule book is ambiguous, not because they are lazy or don't know how to find things. It would seem to me that fishing through a rule book would provide a quicker answer than waiting for a forum reply anyway. It also seems that a lot of rule forum questions arise because some aggressive player is attempting to bend the spirit of the rules to his whim or another player is trying to stop him. It does seem that the BGG rule forums can get so inundated with often repetitive questions as to make it hard to find the answers you want.

Here a my ideas for some possible solutions:

1. Today, some euro and other rule books are written with an emphasis on flavor text and are often imprecise with words. An example is of this in Kanban, in which some essential rules regarding how Sandra functions are buried in a color text narrative. Wargame rules of old tried harder to remove ambiguity, with a detailed table of contents, a glossary of terms, and rules belaboring basic concepts, such as what a unit or stack is and how to move it hex to hex. Wargames also benefit from published errata, in the case of GMT Games even a posted "living rules". We, as a buying public, should demand more rules support from publishers and have ratings for this and customer support in general posted in an organized way on this website.

2. Game designers can be asked to participate in sections of the rules forums in which they can be asked rules questions, with the power to edit and organize these questions. This last is pie in the sky. But at least could there be a way that BGG can mark which questions contain the designer's reply for easy access, and track how often designers provide answers?

3. When posting rules questions be more clear as to the subject in the heading, not just "Rules Question". I also wish there was a way to require some type of rule reference in the heading such that questions could be better organized.
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Mindy Basi
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I also find that under the question headings, there are also other rules explanations and variants that you might not expect within. A rule reference would be very helpful, I agree. Although that's kind of a FAQ I suppose.

The idea of a rules rating is a good one! I am not a fluent rules reader and I struggle, I admit it...my multiple college degrees would suggest I can actually read critically. modest

We also consult BGG fairly often when an ambiguous rule comes up or we aren't sure about something at game night. Let's face it, not all rule books are created equal!

And of course the designer comments are really the final authority.
 
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Krawhitham B
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mbialeck wrote:
But the educator in me just can't pass up the opportunity for a "teaching moment," and I hope some of you might join me.


The educator in me wants to teach you about paragraphs

I have no issue with citing the rules; it should be the perfect way to answer a question. What I can't stand is an answer along the lines of "It is *clearly* in the rulebook" or "This has been answered before, can't you use the search function?"

There are plenty of things that irritate me on BGG, but my response is to ignore those threads. Don't read the rules questions if you are just going to be a jerk about it.
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Jason
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I know I've asked a dumb question here or there about a game. Sometimes it's because I vaguely remember the rule, but can't find it in the book. It's usually because where I expect the rule to be is in a different spot than the rule actually is.

For example, Ghost Stories has a Wu Fang (I think that's his name) rule only in the appendix. Our whole first game, we used the sheet with the card symbols and the rule book page with the dice to figure out how each ghost/die played. Then we got the 1 boss that doesn't have the symbols defined. We looked through the book trying to find the symbol.

People are usually only asking about one rule. I don't think it has anything to do with reading comprehension. I don't see asking BGG any different from asking the group when playing. Would you hand the person the rulebook? Or would you just politely answer their questions?
 
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