In my travels across the internet, I've occasionally seen mention of a logical fallacy relating to roleplaying games called the Oberoni Fallacy. What is this fallacy, and where does it come from?

up vote 73 down vote accepted

The Oberoni Fallacy is an informal fallacy, occasionally seen in discussions of role-playing and other games, in which an arguer puts forth that if a problematic rule can be fixed by the figure running the game, the problematic rule is not, in fact, problematic.

The user Oberoni originally posted the idea in 2002 on the Wizards of the Coast forums:

This my my [sic] take on the issue.

Let's say Bob the board member makes the assertion: "There is an inconsistency/loophole/mechanics issue with Rule X."

Several correct replies can be given:

  • "I agree, there is an inconsistency/loophole/mechanics issue with Rule X."
  • "I agree, and it is easily solvable by changing the following part of Rule X."
  • "I disagree, you've merely misinterpreted part of Rule X. If you reread this part of Rule X, you will see there is no inconsistency/loophole/mechanics issue."

Okay, I hope you're with me so far. There is, however, an incorrect reply:

  • "There is no inconsistency/loophole/mechanics issue with Rule X, because you can always Rule 0 the inconsistency/loophole/mechanics issue."

Now, this incorrect reply does not in truth agree with or dispute the original statement in any way, shape, or form.

It actually contradicts itself--the first part of the statement says there is no problem, while the last part proposes a generic fix to the "non-problem."

It doesn't follow the rules of debate and discussion, and thus should never be used.

Simple enough.

  • 34
    the word sic makes it clear that it is a spelling mistake that has deliberately been left in because it was in the original text, so you definitely don't need to change it. – Wibbs Oct 22 '15 at 21:54
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    @user1306322 [sic] is shorthand for "sic erat scriptum", which means "thus it was written". It denotes that the typo, misspelling, typographic error, grammar error are part of the original quote. – casey Oct 23 '15 at 0:37

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