I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
So, this seems to be one of a number of contentious threads going on right now (both this forum and the general RPG forum), but I wanted to note that this is a common and recurrent issue (see also the genius with the 8 intelligence, or whatever that thread was) and IMO it relates to a few issues that seem to crop up.Yes. Especially since in 5e "dumping" usually just means an 8, which is 5% worse than average. That suggests to me that there is latent antipathy toward the idea of dumping, brought over from previous editions, where you can be genuinely terrible at something. Thus, when you use the standard array and put the 8 somewhere, and then you don't invest in skills related to that ability, you are "minmaxing" and you must be punished for it.
The first is the one that is common to the boards and that you are alluding to- the idea of "dumping," or, at least, specifically not putting a good stat in a particular ability because you don't care about the pure mechanical aspects and you feel that you can RP your way out of the low score. Call this the Charisma/Intelligence problem. I call it that because it was a common issue back in the old days with charisma and intelligence- neither ability had much of a mechanical impact*, so unless you had a specialized use-case (magic user, paladin, to name two), players would put their low rolls by default in those stats because the other abilities had decided mechanical advantages; moreover, there was an emphasis on, and allowance for, "skilled play" that would let you get around a low intelligence, and you could always talk your way around a low charisma.
So as people began to RP more, there was a natural divide with some people wanting to see people RP their stats; in addition, there was some lingering idea that dumping stats is ... well, distasteful. At least if you aren't accruing some actual disadvantage for it (it's not min/maxing, it's max/maxing?)- it would be like those systems where you trade slight disadvantages for awesome abilities, and people load up on the slight disadvantages to make OP characters. (I am not judging here, btw, just describing).
Of course, things began to morph as BECMI/1e/2e began to change into 3e and later editions. Abilities were no longer mostly static, but increased over time. In addition, while there were hints and various ways to do ability challenges or checks in the older systems, there was no formal system of DC checks like we later on. Which has a profound impact (again, IMO, and I hope I don't have to keep stating that) on the way various people approached the game, and the whole player/PC split.
Because I see references to this in multiple threads, as people attempt to articulate their various styles of play. And it really does seem to make a difference to them. And, to be honest, I think that there is a divide regardless of whether you approach it from a more RP or a more gamist POV. Basically, it's a question of the following:
Do you think that the PC is a separate entity, capable of solving problems with an independent base of knowledge?
Or do you think the PC is vessel for your play (the player)?
I was thinking about this when I was reading about the Blades in the Dark system on a different thread, wherein the inventory of a PC is determined by slots, and the items in those slots are determined by when they are needed.** The explanation for this is that the PC is a professional, and the professional will have appropriately planned and determined what items would be needed. Which is anathema to how I play, but it also makes perfect sense from another perspective.
It's the same here. How do you know what the PC knows (for example) or what the PC can do in 5e? You roll against their ability. That's how you find out. That's one perspective.
The other perspective is that the PC is a vessel for the player's play (an alter ego of a certain sense), and the player can (through, for example skilled play or role playing or narration) change or greatly influence the results.
Of course, I would guess that most tables use some combination of those two.
Anyway, I've been thinking about this for a while, and I thought I'd offer that up.
*Yes, there were some things, like languages and henchmen; but IMO most games did not emphasize this compared to the massive advantages of strength (carrying loot, combat, doors etc.), dex (combat, AC, etc.), con (HP, resurrection, etc.), and even wisdom (saving throws).
**To the extent I am mischaracterizing this, I apologize- I haven't actually played this game. This is my understanding based on how it was described.