There is quite some comment traffic on this question concerning the on-topic-ness of the question.

It is currently on hold with one vote to reopen, and I'm personally inclined to vote to reopen, but I want to refrain from closing wars, hence this meta.

The asker of this question has stumbled upon the term within the realm of video games, although the term is also used outside of our little world.

So, is a question about terminology that is used both inside and outside the realm of video games/gaming on topic or not?


4 Answers 4


I believe the question is on-topic because:

  • The body of the question provides a clear (and arguably) repeatable example of its usage in the context of gaming
  • The abbreviation is more commonly used for another meaning (IP address)
  • It is a (new?) buzz word amongst developers/publishers (New IP Google Results)
  • It is used interchangeably with franchise, brand and game series
  • It is answerable by gamers (i.e. our expertise)
  • Googling IP / Intellectual Property gives generic non-gaming answers, but we can provide a game-specific answer
  • The top rated question in the tag is also heavily used outside of gaming (What's the difference between "Bug" and "Glitch"?)

I'd like to see the reasons for off-topic.

  • 4
    I agree that it's on-topic, even if it may also be on-topic on other sites and even a better fit. If one feels the question isn't researched enough, one can simply down-vote.
    – Tas
    Mar 7, 2016 at 21:31
  • Well can you please tell me what part of that top answer applies to gaming? How is a gaming franchise IP different from a marvel comic books franchise IP or a movie franchise IP?
    – l I
    Mar 7, 2016 at 22:30
  • In a world where video games do not exist that top answer is still equally valid because it has nothing to do with playing video games
    – l I
    Mar 7, 2016 at 22:32
  • 2
    @z' - Sorry, are you referring to the answer to the original question? In that case, you are judging a question by one of its answers. You are also speculating in a world without gaming and saying that an answer for gaming also applies to a situation without gaming. The question doesn't ask for a non-gaming answer, in my opinion,
    – user101016
    Mar 7, 2016 at 23:31
  • @camelcase that is the very definition of off topic is it not? If you take out the gaming part and the answer remains exactly the same that means it had nothing to do with gaming in the first place.
    – l I
    Mar 8, 2016 at 0:41
  • "The question doesn't ask for a non-gaming answer, in my opinion". But there is no gaming specific answer either.
    – l I
    Mar 8, 2016 at 0:54
  • @z' - There is nothing in gaming.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic that states this. In fact, it says terminology is on topic. Like I said in my answer here, the highest rated question for the terminology tag is also applicable outside of gaming. It shares the same traits, but it is highly valued on this site by its answers, views and votes.
    – user101016
    Mar 8, 2016 at 9:43
  • 1
    @z' - You will also find that my answer to the original question is tailored towards gaming specifically.
    – user101016
    Mar 8, 2016 at 9:45
  • Fair enough, I can see how game engines as IP is relevant information. I withdraw my objections.
    – l I
    Mar 8, 2016 at 16:32
  • I'm still not comfortable at us answering what parts of a game would fall under IP protection or not as I see that more as a law thing but that's not what this question asks. General examples though I have no problems with.
    – l I
    Mar 8, 2016 at 16:34

It seems a discussion about one particular question has turned into a quest to define the general case for a whole class of questions. That's not necessarily a bad thing, if we're getting lots of questions of a particular type, it can be good to set a policy to avoid problems. However, the time to do this is when there is a problem. Otherwise, what happens (and seems to be happening here) is we try and speculate what the problems might be, based on one or two examples, and end up with loads of people arguing - none of whom are wrong, but none of whom are right either, due to there being no data to actually base a decision on.

I think the post linked in MrLemon's question is fine. It's not strictly about gaming, but it's clearly within our scope of expertise and it got a great answer. Hooray, everyone is happy! There might be issues if we had lots of those type of questions, but we don't, so there's no need to try and define a policy here.

In general: don't try and create solutions and/or policy for non-existant problems.


If the asker has good reason to think it's about gaming, it's on topic

Someone asking about something means they don't know said thing.

Closing a question because it's not limited to our scope means that we close a question based on something the asker cannot know beforehand. If he knew, there would not be a question in the first place.

If the asker has enough reason to believe the term to be related to gaming, and presents the evidence in the question, it is absolutely reasonable for them to ask here. It is equally reasonable for other people to come to the conclusion that it's a gaming term, and come here.

Telling the asker that the term they don't know is used also outside of gaming is perfectly within the scope of an answer, and a good answer should do this while still answering the question.

  • 2
    It's OK for an asker to not know. No one is preventing them from asking the question in the first place. We're simply using the tools available to us to let them know it's not a gaming specific term.
    – l I
    Mar 7, 2016 at 17:09
  • 1
    +1, To elaborate on "has a good reason to think it's about gaming", if the user encountered the thing they are asking about for the first time in the context of gaming, then for them it is very much a gaming topic. The IP question fits into this box. If we didn't deal with the concept of 'IP' at all in gaming that would probably be different, but since we do, and since that's where they encountered the thing, then that works.
    – DCShannon
    Mar 14, 2016 at 23:13


The user may have thought it was about gaming, it wasn't. We don't blame them for that, but it doesn't make their question magically about gaming.

If a tenuous link to gaming was enough to make questions on-topic, we'd be flooded with shit.

  • 4
    We should not define on-topicness based on information that the asker does not know. Mar 8, 2016 at 1:00
  • 2
    @Studoku so anything someone thinks is about gaming is on topic?
    – TZHX
    Mar 8, 2016 at 7:22
  • 5
    Assuming it's not off-topic for a specific reason, yes it should be. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put that comment in my field in Stardew Valley because it's clearly a strawman. Mar 8, 2016 at 12:30
  • @Studoku you are excused.
    – TZHX
    Mar 8, 2016 at 12:31
  • 2
    @Studoku I disagree. Askers shouldn't be required to know anything; if they knew things, they wouldn't have questions. Using asker knowledge as a requirement opens all kinds of cans of worms. This is actually related to why ITG was gratefully murdered; it required too much of askers. Mar 11, 2016 at 20:51

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