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There is a question that was asked involving gaming history and color schema of item rarity. As standards go on this site, this is off-topic as it is requesting the identity of the game that first used this color schema. The reasons why it is off-topic, per the tag wikis, are the following:

  1. - Only ask if you have a screenshot, video, or audio clip from the game you want to identify.

  2. - Avoid questions that ask for the first game that did something.

This question was closed accordingly, but then re-opened a few days later.
Should this question have been reopened?

If yes, are there any details that I am missing as to why this would be on-topic?

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    The rules in gaming-history supersede the rules in game-identification, in this case. The question doesn't fall within the purview of game-identification, as we have been using it, anyway. – MBraedley Sep 27 '17 at 15:03
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    We've definitely been closing questions that ask for the first game that did a thing as ITG for a long time. If we want this kind of question to stay open, we should be making that decision on meta (like on this question!) and it should be closed as per current policy until that consensus is reached. – Invader Skoodge Sep 27 '17 at 15:08
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    I'll just restate here what I said in the question: I think this is an awesome question that is unfortunately off-topic based on the site's current rules. Also unfortunately, I can't think of an alternate question that keeps the spirit of the original without being off-topic itself for dev intent or non-gaming. And as much as I like it, I also don't think it's right to make exceptions except in extreme circumstances. – Mage Xy Sep 27 '17 at 15:22
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    @MageXy It also seems like a fairly complicated one to answer. The current answers really seem unsatisfactory to me. – JMac Sep 27 '17 at 16:30
  • Would answers that attempt to find ways to have this question be re-opened be acceptable? Or does this question focus entirely on the past on-hold/reopened/on-hold again events? – Ellesedil Sep 29 '17 at 18:55
  • @Ellesedil This question was focused on the hold/re-open and reasons why, not necessarily attempts to edit it to become on-topic. But if you can see how the linked questioned could be edited to be on-topic, I'd like to hear your thoughts – Wondercricket Sep 29 '17 at 19:05
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    @Ellesedil Your edit didn't make it any more off-topic. Now it would be considered Game Dev & Design – Wondercricket Sep 29 '17 at 19:25
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    No it wouldn't. From the gaming-history tag (emphasis mine): Questions about the history of games, conventions, customs, traditions and gaming terms, and how they have developed over time. – Ellesedil Sep 29 '17 at 19:29
  • @Ellesedil I would disagree; not only is the question as stated still off-topic, but you've edited it to change the intent of the poster. Which is not what editing is for, at all. I get that you're trying to salvage the question, but changing intent has to come from the asker. – Frank Sep 29 '17 at 19:34
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    @Frank: It seems clear from other posts that you view most gaming history questions to be off-topic. So your stance here isn't surprising. All I did was rephrase one sentence to fall more in line with the question title and the tag the author supplied in the question. I don't consider that to be changing intent at all, but feel free to do whatever you feel is necessary. At this point, I feel like we're trying to find reasons to make it off-topic instead of trying to find a way for it to be considered on-topic. – Ellesedil Sep 29 '17 at 19:40
  • @Ellesedil I thought that would be obvious. But rather than unilaterally editing the question, how about you propose a solution as an answer, so that the community can judge it? That's the whole point of this discussion, after all. – Frank Sep 29 '17 at 22:02
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    @Frank I actually asked that very question here in the comments, since that was also my first thought. I saw the original response about the question focused on it being previously re-opened (not the edited response a few minutes later) and went ahead with the edit. I suppose it's another reminder of the one thing to keep in mind with Stack Exchange: don't react to things until 5 minutes has passed. – Ellesedil Sep 29 '17 at 22:22
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No, this question should not have been reopened; it clearly meets the criteria for game identification. It's asking for the first game that started this, with this line:

Which game starts this trend, which game solidified it?

It's actually an open ended subjective identification question, as it not only wants to know which was first, but which games continued and refined the mechanic.

It's an interesting question, as the votes show. But popularity does not mean a question is on-topic. Game identification questions have always been popular. But they're still off-topic. This question should be closed again, until the asker can edit it to be on-topic. I confess I don't know of any other way to ask it that would actually be on-topic, but that's the only way we could keep it.

  • I agree that it shouldn't have been reopened. As of right now it has been closed again by a different set of users, and should stay that way – Wondercricket Sep 28 '17 at 16:09
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    Instead of asking for the first game, would asking how color-coded items based on rarity evolved into gaming be sufficiently on-topic for gaming history? That avoids explicitly asking for a game, although good answers would probably still include that information as part of the historical context. – Ellesedil Sep 28 '17 at 18:35
  • If this is the community consensus (and it does appear to be), then we should take a closer look at some of the other questions in that tag. Specifically, Origin of achievements is asking for a specific game that started the trend, and possibly What is the origin of the WASD key scheme could be considered off-topic. – Mage Xy Sep 28 '17 at 18:36
  • @MageXy - See this discussion on historical trivia and why it's on-topic (& contentious) – Robotnik Sep 29 '17 at 6:05
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    @Robotnik To me, that just makes this topic even more confusing. The two questions I linked in my previous comment are both asking for games that started some trend. Why are they considered "historical trivia" but the rarity color question is not? – Mage Xy Sep 29 '17 at 18:45
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    @MageXy That's the question I've been asking myself, but then I've never agreed that this should be off topic in the first place – Robotnik Sep 30 '17 at 3:43
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For full transparency: I've started and stopped putting an answer here a few times about potential edits to the question to make it on-topic. I ended up requesting clarification on the question (in comments) about the intent of this meta question, and received a response that it was focused on the on-hold/reopened back and forth from a day or two ago. I took this to mean to just work on the question itself and let the normal re-open process play itself out that's triggered on edit. What I didn't notice was that response being edited to include "but let's talk about anyway" (paraphrasing). Oops. Well, the Internet hasn't exploded yet, so let's get on with it. The moral of this particular story: don't react to anything on a Stack Exchange site until it's been up for over 5 minutes.


I made an edit to the question specified that replaced

Which game starts this trend, which game solidified it? Does this trend come from outside gaming?

which is a clear request for game identification and specifically discouraged in the tag to

Why and how was this introduced in gaming? Does this trend come from outside gaming? How did this evolve to become a trend that almost all games began to follow?

I felt like this change made it on-topic according to the tag. The tag's summary states (emphasis mine)

Questions about the history of games, conventions, customs, traditions and gaming terms, and how they have developed over time.

I would argue that with item rarity represented by color being so common in new games that are published, it's now a common gaming convention. Additionally, in the detailed description it says

An ideal gaming-history question will usually begin with the word why or the word how.

Also, the question now avoids

Lastly, avoid questions that ask for the first game that did something. These questions are too narrow for .

It's now not narrowly asking about a specific game, which broadens the question a bit.

However, since making the edit, 3 people have now stated that the question sounds like a developer-intent question. To me, this actually shifts the conversation from the item rarity color question to something completely different: what kind of questions are on-topic? If we can't ask about how or why a gaming convention came to be and how it developed over time because it's "developer intent", then just what kind of questions should be asked? And what sort of changes should be made to the tag's info?

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    That isn't exactly the way to go about this. Your edit has, for all intents and purposes, changed the base question that the OP asked, which is exactly what edits are supposed to avoid doing. – Niro Sep 29 '17 at 22:56
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    @Fluttershy: I don't think the intent has really changed unless your argument is that the author's intent the whole time was to ask a game identification question. The entire question is focused on the color-coded item rarity topic up until it asks which game first included it. The question's topic seems clear to me it's about colored item rarity. But if it's really an inappropriate edit, then roll it back. I could simply ask the same question with my included edits, if I wish. But that's not really the topic of my answer, either. My topic, here, is about the gaming-history tag. – Ellesedil Sep 29 '17 at 23:04
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    This exact problem is why I held off on editing the question myself two days ago. The question falls into this weird niche where the info provided in both the question and the answers would be a really cool addition to the site, but no matter how you ask it the question itself is off-topic. – Mage Xy Sep 30 '17 at 1:21
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    @MageXy Then perhaps we need to look at why it's off topic in the first place? – Robotnik Sep 30 '17 at 3:40
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    @Robotnik Because it's a useless area with nothing that plays to our core expertise, perhaps? – Frank Sep 30 '17 at 3:51
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    @Frank - That's your opinion, and not an unsurprising one given your disdain for the entire gaming history area. I disagree completely with that assessment. Now sure, Questions that only ask "What's the first game to" where the answer basically boils down to a game title, those are crap questions, agreed. But questions like OP that cover an interesting historical topic area but just so happen to use "the magic words" become off topic? That's a baby being thrown out with the bathwater IMO, and given the general support from people like Mage above I don't think I'm alone in that assessment. – Robotnik Sep 30 '17 at 6:39
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    @Robotnik My general disdain is due to the inherent lack of value in the questions, and the fact that we are playing magic word syndrome with them. We have zero consistency with the class of questions, and it's an extremely thin line between game identification and gaming history. Use this question as an incredibly good example; change a couple words, and people think it's good to go. If we want consistency, then we need to acknowledge how close the two areas are, and come up with some way to salvage the borderline ones. – Frank Sep 30 '17 at 13:28

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