In What should be done with questions asking for game recommendations? the vote was to forbid all game recommendation questions on Arqade. In Is it on-topic to ask if [a specific game] “invented” [a specific feature]? and an answer by StrixVaria to a different question it was suggested that such a question would never solve a "real-world problem".

But I have thought of such a "real-world problem" related to such a question: "Which publishers would be angered if a game I'm developing were to include this feature?" Patented features are on-topic at Ask Patents. For example, a question about loader games prior to Namco Bandai's patent would be on-topic for Ask Patents, and a useful answer might be "Mastertronic did it earlier in Invade-a-Load on C64". But features covered under an exclusive right other than patent are not. And the "game-recommendations" proposal on Area 51, which was recommended in answers to both questions to which this similar question was duped, has since been removed. So if "which publishers implemented this feature prior to X date" shall be closed on Arqade, where (not Arqade) is it on-topic?

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: If it would be anywhere, it would be here. Here, though, we've decided they're not on topic.

Your first example question, "Which publishers would be angered if a game I'm developing were to include this feature?", is off-topic specifically because we can't answer it. It's a question related to developer intent, and we're not the developers. It's also edging into legal issues, which we try to stay away from the best we can.

We also actually have a specific close reason for your last example question, first publisher to implement this feature":

Questions asking for help identifying a game, whether based on a description, or feature list, or any other set of criteria (i.e. "What was the first game to…") are off-topic;

This is used more for the questions about game identification from memory, but it applies just the same to questions about, "What was the first game to..."?, specifically because there is no way to verify a right answer. What's going to happen is that people will answer with the game that they think is the first. People that agree will upvote it. At some unspecified future date, we'll get another answer, that may or may not disprove the other answer. People that think it's right will upvote it. The previous answer is wrong now, but it's still postively upvoted. Chances of it getting downvoted to below zero is slim, and deleted even less. Repeat. Over and over and over.

This is not what the Q&A format is for; each answer is supposed to completely answer the question. There could be multiple approaches to answer, and that's fine; that's exactly what multiple answers are for. But it's not for answers that might be right until they're disproven, and that's the heart of these questions; you can't prove it was the first.

Also, the example question is also what we classify as a game recommendation. You want answerers to provide a game that meets your specific criteria. That criteria is, "First publisher to implement feature X". Those are also off-topic, because people aren't going to be voting on validity of the answer; it's going to be voted on by popularity. You might be able to ask recommendation questions at SoftwareRecs.SE, but they have extremely strict rules for how to ask questions, so make sure you understand their site before asking there.

So where would your example questions be on-topic? Sadly, nowhere on the SE network. If it would be anywhere, it would be here, and we've deemed those topics as not good fits for our site. The best I can do is point you at the Bridge, but I make no guarantees you'll find an answer there.

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