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So, we've seemingly come to a conclusion that Minecraft tech support/crash dumps are a thing we don't like and don't want to tangle with. People are starting to close these with custom reasons, and it seems to be something a good portion of the community is on board with.

Let's talk formalities, then! Obviously, the close reason needs to make it clear that people just throwing a crash dump at us isn't going to be something we can help with, but there are also other aspects of Minecraft tech support that are also problematic.

I'd like to see us create yet another awesome close reason, where we can point people not only to why we have chosen not to support them, but also giving them a clear idea of what exactly is off-topic, before people assume we just hate Minecraft.

I will be the first to admit that I don't know a lot about Minecraft from a technical aspect, but I know a lot of the community here does, and I am sure you have lots of helpful input on just how far this goes, and how we can help people encountering this reason really understand what we are after.

So, have at it, lovely Arqadians! How far does this go? What do we need to make sure people understand when they see this reason? What are we going to tell them, in that short, concise reason?

  • 2
    A reminder: please use answers to suggest specific language for a new Close Reason. – LessPop_MoreFizz May 23 '15 at 2:14
  • I'm still confused I think on what exactly we are closing – Ender May 31 '15 at 23:53
  • @Ashley Nunn Do you know when this reason will be implemented? – angussidney Aug 16 '15 at 6:32
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How about something like this:

This question has been placed on hold as Off-topic by <Users>:

Questions that request technical support for modded Minecraft are off-topic. This includes crashes, errors, and issues arising when using mods and modpacks as well as Forge and other mod loader issues. We allow an exception for unmodded or 'Vanilla' Minecraft, please see How do I ask a good Minecraft Bug/Crash Question?.

I based this off our existing close reasons for shopping recommendations & game identifications.


Optionally, we could also add this as an addendum:

Note that questions about mod content, such as how to use items introduced by a mod remain on-topic.

I'm not sure if it should go with the close reason or not, but I thought it worth mentioning here at the very least, just so we're clear.

  • (It's 2am here so I'm heading to bed, but comment any constructive critiques or wording changes here and I will address them when I'm up). Or edit yourselves. Yay collaboration! :) – Robotnik May 22 '15 at 15:54
  • This should have been a community wiki... – angussidney May 23 '15 at 0:23
  • @AngusAtkinson it doesn't matter so much on meta - rep here is tied to main site rep - you don't get rep for any meta votes. – Ash May 23 '15 at 2:15
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    @AshleyNunn I meant so that it can be easily edited by the community. – angussidney May 23 '15 at 2:35
  • @AngusAtkinson There's no need. If you feel like the close reason should have different text, either suggest an edit or submit your own answer depending on the magnitude of the change. – Yuuki May 23 '15 at 2:53
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    Sorry, I meant to mark it as CW but forgot :-). How's that? – Robotnik May 24 '15 at 1:12
8

Based on something we just proposed

Questions regarding game crashes should be sent to the makers of the game. If your game is modified, you should contact the author of the mod or maintainers of the mod pack directly. We have a list of general things you can try and tips on reporting bugs; please return with any gameplay questions you have once your game actually loads.

And this is pretty all-encompassing:

  • Vanilla crash reports are eligible to receive support from the game makers, asking here shoots the player in the foot.
  • Modded crash reports need to go to the mod author, asking here shoots us in the foot.

I'm not completely married to the wording that I have, but I want it to:

  1. Be clear
  2. Offer what guidance we can give in the form of a canonical
  3. Actually make the person want to come back when they have what might be an interesting question

Bear in mind, we're going to try to keep the lion's share of these out while displaying something mostly like what I tossed out above. What will squeak through occasionally are questions that aren't just a wall of exceptions, which indicates the author either forgot to paste it, or someone went through the trouble of being polite enough not to paste the whole thing. I'd like to try to be as friendly as we can to the latter group.

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    This does seem to hit the good points without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. – Ash Jun 13 '15 at 13:02
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    InvalidBathWaterExeption - object 'baby' is in water. – Tim Post Jun 13 '15 at 16:05
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    @TimPost - Questions requesting technical support for babies is off topic here. Maybe try Parenting.SE? :P – Robotnik Jun 15 '15 at 1:29
4

Questions asking about Minecraft are off topic. You can find answers on the Minecraft Forums.

No? I agree. Game specific language does not belong in an off topic reason. Even if the language isn't quite that broadly sweeping, we need to look at the bigger picture and identify what our problem with these sorts of questions is. I'll give you a hint: the root problem is not Minecraft in and of itself. To... Er... "Borrow" from LessPop_MoreFizz, appropriate language could be something to this effect:

Questions seeking Technical Support For Non-Reproducible Issues, as well as those Based on Crash Dumps or Logs are off topic. Without clear steps to identify and reproduce your problem, the Q&A format isn't an appropriate format for in-depth troubleshooting. Your best option is probably to contact the the developer of your game or any mods you might be using, as appropriate.

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    Is this a straw man? Probably a little bit. Regardless, adding game specific language as an off topic reason is so arbitrary it hurts. We have to identify the root of the real problem. – Unionhawk May 24 '15 at 5:57
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    I agree with the Non-Reproducible Issue part, but blanket banning everything with a Crash log is a horrible idea. The reason for this is simply that the availability and level of importance of a crash log is game-dependent. For some games, including Minecraft, the crash log is sometimes the only source of information on the issue at hand. To clarify, this would mean banning questions because they provide more information than others. – MrLemon May 24 '15 at 12:58
  • @MrLemon A crash log tends to be MORE information than any other error message. And yet, it's still not very useful, most of the time. What's being suggested that if we don't get a very clear, very specific, very reproducible error, then it's not our problem. – Frank May 24 '15 at 13:23
  • @Frank Reading this again, "the Q&A format isn't an appropriate format for in-depth troubleshooting" hits the core of the issue. It's the entirety of why some questions with crash logs (those that do provide enough information) are okay, yet others are bad. That being said, I have submitted an alternate wording that emphasizes this. – MrLemon May 24 '15 at 13:33
  • @MrLemon The idea being to target crash logs without clear error messages. So, Pixel format not accelerated could be considered fine, but Null pointer exception, which could have about a million different causes, would not. – Unionhawk May 24 '15 at 15:03
  • I can see what you're saying re: the more generic wording, although I disagree that ALL tech support is a hopeless case. Although, If we are going with a more generic wording, Perhaps we should focus on the 'modding' aspect of the game. "Questions seeking Technical Support For Modded Games are off topic. Without clear steps to identify and reproduce your problem, the Q&A format isn't an appropriate format for in-depth mod troubleshooting. Your best option is probably to contact the the developer of the mods you are be using, as appropriate." @Unionhawk - Thoughts? – Robotnik May 25 '15 at 3:51
  • @Robotnik Something like that possibly. I think mods can cause problems, but more generally, we aren't well equipped to handle things without clear error messages. (though mods tend to cause these and going with modded will cover most of these cases) – Unionhawk May 26 '15 at 23:28
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    @Unionhawk - generally we do tech support ok. Not great, but ok - well enough (I think) for general tech support to remain on topic. I think the crux of this issue is in the mods, which is why I originally suggested Vanilla only on the original Minecraft Crash question. If the user doesn't supply a proper description of the error, complete with error messages they're getting, we should close as unclear. If they ask for support for a modded game, close as off topic, with the close reason stated above :-). – Robotnik May 26 '15 at 23:44
2

Trying to find a middle ground between these answers, I came up with this:

Questions seeking Technical Support requiring In-Depth Troubleshooting are off topic. This includes questions involving technical support for highly modded games. The Q&A format is not an appropriate format for these questions. Your best option is probably to contact the the developer of your game or any mods you might be using, as appropriate.

This is mostly copied from Unionhawk's answer, who copied it from LessPop_MoreFizz's answer in another thread, but I changed the focus from "no crash log" to the troubleshooting part.

The way I see it, the real issue arises only if in-depth troubleshooting is required to answer, because that is exactly why we are bad at answering them. If anyone can reproduce the issue easily, in-depth troubleshooting is not required, and the question is presumably answerable.

"Highly modded games" includes basically all modded Minecraft (Forge itself is massive in what it does), as well as, say, highly modded Skyrim, which can be equally problematic (but isn't much of an issue right now).

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    There's a good amount of subjectivity in this suggesting. What counds as, "In-Depth"? A specific amount of time? A certain level of technical expertise? Highly modded is also unclear; how do we define what that means? – Frank May 24 '15 at 13:36
  • @Frank I see what you mean, but I can't come up with sufficiently clear rules. To me, "In-Depth" means requiring back-and-forth communication. Basically when the best course of action is to suggest several fixes to the asker via comments and wait for the results before writing it up as an answer, because while one the suggestions might work, there is no way to tell without feedback. "Highly modded" is very complicated though, and depends on the context. Going by the source of the issue, it is whenever the mods start interfering with each other, which can basically be any number. – MrLemon May 24 '15 at 13:52
  • When we're creating close reasons, it's generally a good idea to pull as much subjectivity out of it as possible; it creates better guidelines and clearer rules for newcomers. So I'd recommend attempting to reword it to make it as objective as possible. – Frank May 24 '15 at 17:44
0

I think the most common problem that has been voiced is issue with mods. Looking through vanilla crash reports is already tedious enough without having to wrangle with the 300+ mods Johnny installed and all the possible ways each of those 300+ mods could interact with each other. So one close reason I could see is if it involves any mod use, so only vanilla Minecraft crash dumps would be on-topic.

  • Yeah, having some clear indication that anything that tangles with mods doesn't work (for that very good reason) strikes me as an important aspect of this. – Ash May 22 '15 at 14:30
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    Please use answers to this question to suggest specific language for a new close reason, and not for more general remarks about site policy, except as they relate to that. – LessPop_MoreFizz May 23 '15 at 2:15
  • Vanilla crash dumps are something folks can automatically send to Mojang, and get pro support for from them. Turns out, as far as Minecraft goes, crash dumps in general strongly indicate someone should be talking to Mojang or the author of the mod that's exploding. – Tim Post Jun 13 '15 at 4:23

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