With this question I am looking to further the question on What is the policy on rules questions?

I play 8-ball pool tournaments in club leagues and the rules in 8-ball are very different to 9-ball rules and being new to this SE stack, I wanted to concentrate on questions relating to Snooker and Pool to start with.

There are a fair few questions, for example...

which could have many different answers depending on the rule set which the question applies. In 8-Ball, here in the UK there are many different rules.

There are for example

and they can differ on what constitutes a foul shot, the pack setup, where you must play the cue ball on the break and after a foul, along with many other differences.

Should we not insist that questions regarding rules of play (no matter what sport) stipulate the rule set they are asking about?

1 Answer 1


I think this depends on the sport in question. If we're talking about (association) football, there is pretty much just one set of rules, so I'd say the rule set needs to be specified only if it's different from the default. In other cases, it can be obvious from context which rule set is relevant - for example, if someone is asking about something that happened in a Lakers game, it's obvious the NBA rules apply.

Some things may fall into a grey area - for example, while just about every game is cricket is played in accordance with the Laws of Cricket, the exact playing conditions for the tournament can be relevant. If it's important, we can always ask the questioner as to which rule set they care about.

Pool is probably the case where we have most difficulties with the rule set - as you correctly note, there are lots of different rule sets with significant differences between them. The tag excerpt already strongly encourages people to specify the exact rule set, so we try on this one - I suspect very few people actually read the tag information though!

More generally, I don't think we should require the rule set to be specified on every question as it would be just about redundant in a lot of cases. However, if a question isn't answerable without the rule set being specified, people should be encouraged to comment to this effect, and flag / vote to close the question as "unclear what you're asking".

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