Why does the rule prohibiting Game Identification exist? I was told that the decision was taken here: What should be done with questions asking for game identification? - Is it possible to cancel or override this decision?

You can see on the above question that the votes are 34 vs 27. By statistical laws the range of error is taken as the square root from the number of votes. Sqrt[34] = 6 and Sqrt[27] = 5. So, the actual voting was 34 +- 6 vs 27 +- 5, meaning the votes intersect by error. See the Poisson Distribution - the number of votes obey this distribution.

In my opinion this was a false decision. If it were a board of 34+27=61 directors, then 34 vs 27 would be a real decision. But you had 61 voters taken from a very large community (there are 231 pages of users with 40 members on each). Low numbers of votes should not be regarded as "decision taking". It is just incorrect.

  • There are good and clear reasons why we have only a single exception to the ITG rules. If you want that to change, you need to understand the reasons behind the rules in the first place, and then argue why it needs to be changed. – Frank Dec 2 '14 at 0:06
  • I was told some reasons. First: the answering is guessing. Second: my memory can be wrong. Both are absurd. I described definite game. It is guessing for those who don't know the answer. But this is true for any questions: if you don't know the answer, you guess. But if you DO know the answer, you just answer. – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:11
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    @Dims There is no way to know what game you're talking about other than guessing, is the problem. Not because we don't know, but because you description could match hundreds of games, and we can't know which. And if you misremember even a small detail, it could lead to a completely different game. And another user could have the exact same question, but be thinking of a different game. We decided that these types of questions just aren't a good fit for the SE system. As was recommended in comments on your question, there are other places like reddit.com/r/tipofmytongue to help. – LoveAndCoding Dec 2 '14 at 0:18
  • @Ktash there IS a way: you should play this game. Then you could answer definitely. If you think my description can match "hundreds" of games, then name at least ONE. Also I saw you actually didn't decide this. The voting ended with 34 vs 27. By statistical laws the error is counted as Sqrt. Sqrt[34] = 6 and Sqrt[27] = 5. The votings intersect by error. This is false decision. – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:23
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    @Dims As I mentioned in the comment on my answer, this was not a result we arrived at easily, and while I appreciate you disagree with our statistical method, that doesn't invalidate the fact that this is a decision that the community did indeed make after a large amount of discussion, and one we are abiding by. Others have mentioned other options on reddit and the like, and your question might be better recieved there. – Ash Dec 2 '14 at 0:27
  • The arrived result was not easy because it was not calculated correctly. You do not have majority. – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:33
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    @Dims I was originally one of the people that voted to keep those types of questions, but honestly if the vote were to happen today, I wouldn't. We tried those types of questions here for a long time, but they just did not work well in the SE system. The vote was really "these are not working, should we abandon them, or retry rules (for the 2nd or 3rd time)" and we decided that no, they had to go. We decided by simple majority. Not statists, or margins or error, just majority. And I think most everyone who has been here for a while has been good with the decision, no matter how they voted. – LoveAndCoding Dec 2 '14 at 0:35
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    @Dims Your "errors" are wrong by respectively 6 and 5. – badp Dec 2 '14 at 0:41
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    I disagree very strongly about allowing ITG. Your argument makes no sense, and you haven't even bothered to argue against the reasons why they're problematic in the first place. – Frank Dec 2 '14 at 0:44
  • @Ktash Statistics works even if you don't like or accept it. I am saying, that if it was 100 vs 80 it would be honest. It still would be simple majority, but it would be honest simple majority. But when you have 34 vs 27 it is not simple majority, it is just random outcome. This is because the most members didn't vote and you don't know how many are them of. These 34 do not reperesent ones who are against ITG correctly – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:44
  • @badp en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:55
  • Generally, a newcomer telling a community that their process for decision making is incorrect will not provide a very good experience for the newcomer. It comes off as the newcomer unwilling to accept established precedent. – Frank Dec 2 '14 at 1:13
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    @Dims You are fighting a losing battle. This topic was discussed not for 10min not for a day not for a week.. But for over 3-4 Months before everyone on both sides gave up trying to convince each other of the merits. We collectively agreed that we were never going to sway anyone one way or another and to just vote on it. That is what became of it and is the result. And just for note, I am on the Losing side of that vote and I DO NOT WANT THIS TOPIC OPENED UP AGAIN. It was a horrific 3-4Months on this site with everyone at each other's throats. Just let it go. – James Dec 2 '14 at 1:47
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    Additionally, until @badp just now, no one said your memory was faulty. Just that memory in general can be, and often is, faulty. – Trent Hawkins Dec 2 '14 at 1:53

So you seem to be hung up on the math of it. Let's start with a simple and clear point: The "math" you're talking about doesn't matter. The decision has been made and it is not going to change. Sorry to tell you, it's just the way it is. Trust me, today is my 3rd anniversary here on Arqade, I've been around a little while, and we are happier because of this decision.

That said, let's talk about your math. You're assuming a standard deviation of a random sampling and calculating it (incorrectly, I might add) by talking the square root of the value. First, if that were the case, you would need to start with the total value, not the value of each vote, to get the standard deviation. That would be 34 + 27, which comes out to 61. A simple square root gives us a margin of error ~7.8, but taking into account the proper way to calculate margin of error for a population given a random sampling, it is actually ~12. The vote would have need to pass by a margin of 12 by those number to actually work correctly into your formula.

But here's the problem: Those calculations of margin of error are based on a random sampling, which a vote is not! It just isn't. If you consider it a study you have self-selection bias, involvement issues, duration and knowledge constraints, and, oh yeah, you're not actually taking a sampling. That last one is actually the most important, so it is going to take up a whole paragraph, but first we're going to ignore it and focus on the other issues. Users who visit meta are not representative of the entire population because they choose of their own free will to participate. We limit that participation in meta based on how active they are on the main site (reputation privilege), and we further cut that down by taking into account the fact that those who have knowledge of the system and how it works are the ones being most vocal, which would skew the results.

But even without that, we are not taking a sampling. Statistics and margins of error don't apply because we are not trying to measure something statistically. We are voting. And votes can be decided by a margin of 1. There is no margin of error. None. It doesn't even makes sense to apply a margin of error because anyone (in our case, with enough rep) can vote. Everyone had the power to participate, and we had 61 people who did. That's pretty high around here for meta participation. But that's not meant to be a statistical representation of a bigger number. If people wanted representation in the numbers, they had the power to be included. That is the number. Not a stat, a number.

A vote does not come down to a margin of error. The active users of the site, especially those who have experience with the system, took a vote. After a long long discussion we decided majority rules and counted heads. And we came to the conclusion that ITG was off-topic. We decided it because we felt it was best for the health of the site. And I honestly don't know a single person who has been here for a while who would want to revisit that discussion, no matter how they voted. That decision has been good for the site, and it is not changing. Sorry if you disagree, but it honestly doesn't matter in the end. We've tried it and it failed, miserably, even if you weren't around when it was going on.

As stated in numerous other places, it's not that we hate or have a vendetta against those questions. This is just not the place to ask them. We are not that kind of site. Just like we are not a forum for speculation or discussion. There are other places to ask that question and get good answers. And we are happy to point you in that direction.

  • Your think that not taking a sampling you are making error SMALLER? Not, you are not. You are making it BIGGER. So, the decision was random and if it would opposite, you would explain me that opposite decision with THE SAME words. I.e. you are not making a community happier, you are making happier just yourself. – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 1:19
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    @Dims: Ignore the voting on the original post. Read this sentence from Ktash's answer again: "That decision has been good for the site, and it is not changing." Maybe you feel that the original decision was made in error, but its results have been positive. It isn't going to change, even if it comes out that all of the 'yes' votes back in the day were totally fraudulent. The result is what matters. – hairboat Dec 2 '14 at 17:40
  • How do you measure this positiveness? It can be subjective impression. You don't know how many people were discouraged by this rule. You don't know how many visitors were leave the site due to this rule. And etc. Also you don't know if opposite decision would have more positive consequences. – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 17:49
  • @Dims - I went through something similar with the "amusing questions list". The upshot is that policy is decided by users who are active on meta, which any active user can choose to be part of. Whether or not the causal users of the main site as a whole would appreciate having it (or not) doesn't matter, the same way the political opinions of the 60+% of people in the US who don't vote doesn't matter. Only those who choose to participate get to have a say. – Bobson Dec 24 '14 at 16:53
  • @Dims - Besides, this is how all Stack Exchange sites work. And most large organizations in general. There's a small group that's active and involved and sets the policy/tone, and a large group of casual participants who may disagree with some of those decisions, but aren't involved enough to lead a change. – Bobson Dec 24 '14 at 16:58
  • Ha, nice hi from the past. You honestly deserved Trump & Putin :) When you let 60 decide for 10000 it's not a democracy... – Dims Mar 26 '20 at 9:02

Rules are generally decided in two ways. Either they are a network-wide rule handed down from the powers that be at Stack Exchange (aka the Community Team), or they are a site rule that got discussed here, on meta (likely a million times, as it was with the identify this game ban) and decided upon.

The ITG rule is not likely to change (because honestly, that ship has sailed, the discussions have been had, and while we appreciate not everyone is going to love the decision, this was the majority decision made), but in general, if you have ideas about how things should be here on Arqade, you bring them up here, on Meta, where we can all talk about it and make a decision. (As long as you understand that not everyone will agree with or like any proposal, such is the nature of things when you have a large site with a relatively large number of vocal people.)

  • Where can I see these discussions and the voting data? – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:07
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    The Meta posts can all be found in the identify-this-game tag, although honestly, please don't try to make this a discussion on that specific ruling, as we've done it to death, and the community is relatively happy this way. – Ash Dec 2 '14 at 0:08
  • No-no, my question is not about discussions, but namely about the rule. You said it was a voting. Where is it? – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:12
  • The final decision making was here. – Ash Dec 2 '14 at 0:15
  • Well 34 vs 27... It was not qualified majority. Even it was not representative at all since the community has hundreds of members. – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:18
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    @Dims While I appreciate you are unhappy about your particular ITG question being closed, trust that this was not an easy decision for the community. We have made a rule that most of the community has been happy with, and are not really interested in further discussion on the matter. – Ash Dec 2 '14 at 0:20
  • In turn, I can say, that I appreciate you are unhappy with mathematics laws, but they are acting independently of you. You took a false decision. The majority DO NOT think as you think it DO. This is mathematical calculation, believe it or not. – Dims Dec 2 '14 at 0:32

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