Update: Thanks to all for your suggestions and feedback! We have decided to go with Dragonrage's suggestion, which addressed all the key points, and combined the best parts of the other suggestions. We hope this new close reason helps improve the closure workflow for ITG questions!


We've been discussing the topic of Being Nice in comments on Game Identification questions, and it kinda struck me as a bit odd. Not the part about comments being snarky/rude (and that's definitely something to keep in mind!), but that we needed to leave clarifying comments to explain downvotes & closure for Game Identification in the first place:

If we need to reply to an ITG question telling the OP why they are receiving downvotes, we can use something like this:

Sorry, but game identification questions that rely solely on memory are off topic here (see this meta post and our help page). However, r/tipofmyjoystick might be an alternative for you to find the game you are looking for.

Can we please Be Nice when commenting on ITG questions? - Dragonrage

After all, isn't the information we're trying to impart here already contained in the close reason? Ideally, the answer to "Why is my Game Identification question downvoted/closed? :(" should be "Hi, read the description in the yellow box, thanks :)".

The whole point of having custom off-topic reasons is to explain to the asker what's wrong with their question and why it doesn't fit on Arqade. If our current Game Identification close reason isn't doing that, and we're resorting to commenting to clarify our policy all the time (to the point where community members are getting exasperated and leaving snarky comments even!) - then perhaps we should come up with a close reason that better describes the problem!


What is the current close reason?

"Questions asking for help identifying a game, based on a description, feature list, or any other criteria are off-topic; this blog post might help. One exception is identifying games based on an actual piece of the game, i.e. screenshots or audio clips."

Now don't get me wrong, I think this pretty succinctly describes our close reason. But then, I'm a fairly prolific user of this site, I have all the discussions and meta questions and site policies and exceptions and case studies of the past providing me with context, which a lot of Game Ident askers don't have. So let's take another look, point by point:

*Questions asking for help identifying a game,

Ok, that's us.

based on a description, feature list or any other criteria are off-topic

Yup. A description of the game. Oh! Or a list of features of the game. So like controls and stuff. Ok. What 'other criteria'? Is that explained anywhere?

this blog post might help.

When was the last time you (yes you, reader) clicked this link? Does the blog post help? It doesn't explain the 'other criteria' of the previous sentence - it gives some guidance on how to collect relevant info and search for games when you only have memory to go off. Useful info sure, but not relevant as to why we don't allow these kinds of questions.

Also, the blog is fairly useless in it's current state:

  • It's an archive only - we're unable to edit it to keep it current and relevant.
  • It throws a Security Cert Exception on HTTPS1 Again. Oh also, despite being a HTTP link, it's forced to HTTPS, so everyone will see a big nasty cert exception.

One exception is identifying games based on an actual piece of the game, i.e. screenshots or audio clips.

This part is the part that seems to need a lot of clarification and gets followup comments like "But if I have a screenshot of the game I wouldn't need to identify it!". I think the most glaring thing is that we explain the criteria we require (screenshots or audio clips), but not the actual type of 'game identification' that we support: games that appear in other forms of media.

How can we improve it?

Upon rereading the close reason line by line, I think that if we are to improve upon anything, it would be to somehow include the explanation that a lot of us have left in various comments over the years: "It's more for those situations where you see a game in an advertisement, or in a TV show, that sort of thing." Clearly stating what is and isn't allowed with relevant examples.

I also think we need to drop the link to the Blog post - it's an uneditable broken window and very low on Stack Exchange's list of priorities to maintain. So I've taken the liberty of updating our Game Identification Tag Wiki with more information on why memory-based Game Identification is off-topic, as well as the full contents of the blog post2; For the meantime at least, the information is now in a place where it is more easily accessible.

Now, we need your input & voice

I now turn the discussion over to the community at large: Do you think the Game Identification close reason can be improved? If so, How should we word our Game Identification Close reason?

If you wish to make a suggestion, please write it as an answer to this post. Here are the guidelines that I suggest:

  • Explain what's off topic - clearly state what is off-topic
  • Explain what's ON topic - Provide some example or explanation of what we do allow in a game identification question
  • Make it clear where to get more info - preferably, info that will help the user with their problem, and explain in greater detail why description/memory based identification is off-topic.
  • and remember, Keep it succinct - we have 400 characters to play with, including links. That's less than a comment! (600).

I've written my own suggestion below in it's own answer - please check that out and provide commentary on that there.

1 Raised by StrixVaria on Meta Stack Exchange
2 I might come back and trim this part down and give it a less "first-person" blog feel at a later point - although feel free to jump in and do this yourself if you want :)

  • In my meta, I wasn’t saying we needed to provide comments, rather that if we are going to leave comments we should be polite when doing so. I’m not sure if I made that clear or not on my part. I think the reason people comment is because often the author doesn’t have sufficient reputation to see close votes until the question is actually closed, but they see the downvotes immediately and ask in the comments what is going on, and people feel obligated to reply. – Dragonrage May 8 at 1:17
  • 2
    @Dragonrage Yes, your meta is about the tone/snark in the comments, and that's definitely an important discussion and is relevant to the wider SE push to be more open and welcoming. What the mods can see is that majority of comments left on Ident questions are covering the same grounds over again. Yes, sometimes comments are added before the question is closed, but not always, and if the community is discussing and sharing generic comment templates to clarify a close policy and answer the same questions from new users... well, that's what a close reason is meant to do. :-) – Robotnik May 8 at 1:42
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Alternative Close reason:

Game identification questions that rely solely on memory are off topic here. If you find a game in a video, advertisement, news article, movie and so on, and you have a picture, video/audio file, or other medium to point to, we can answer that. See our Game Identification Wiki for more info and for help with your search.

My original comment from my meta post was too long to make into a close reason, so I took a bit of @Robotnik's excellent suggestion and combined it with parts of my comment to give an alternate wording to be used. I personally like this a little better than Robotnik's suggestion because it states up front why it is off topic, then explains what the tag is supposed to be used for and provides a link which is noted to have more information about the topic and alternative solutions to finding the game they are searching for. Robotnik's wording feels slightly backwards to me in that it explains what is on-topic first before explaining why it is off topic. Also, all of our other custom close reasons (see below) start out explaining what is off topic before offering other help, it might be good to keep that format the same across all our custom close reasons. enter image description here

Markdown Text:

**Game identification** questions that rely solely on memory are off topic here. If you find a game in a video, advertisement, news article, movie and so on, and you have a picture, video/audio file, or other medium to point to, we can answer that. See our [Game Identification Wiki](https://gaming.stackexchange.com/tags/game-identification/info) for more info and for help with your search.

  • 1
    While I like it, unfortunately that's over 400 chars which is the absolute limit (including links) of a close reason. Comments are 600 – Robotnik May 8 at 1:55
  • 1
    @Robotnik ah I forgot about the reduced character count. I’ll see if I can trim it down at all after I eat dinner. – Dragonrage May 8 at 1:58
  • Yeah it's a bugger. It's why I cut down the links to just one (the Tag Wiki). – Robotnik May 8 at 2:00
  • @Robotnik alright, whittled it down to 398 characters. It fits, just barely. – Dragonrage May 8 at 2:56
  • 2
    I tossed up whether to put the 'off topic' or the 'on topic' sentence first on my suggestion, so it's good to see a suggestion with it the other way around. :-) – Robotnik May 8 at 4:23
  • I agree that off-topic reason should come first, hence voting for this alternative. Could you apply Memor-X's idea of bolding 'Game identification' as well? Also, imho the last phrase after 'more info' is unnecessary & could be removed to shrink the text further. – Alok May 14 at 19:59
  • 1
    @Alok I bolded the first part and trimmed a few words. – Dragonrage May 14 at 20:09
  • I'm liking this version, just not 100% sold on the final sentence with the short 'game-id wiki' link. How about something like this for the last sentence: See our [Game Identification Wiki](https://gaming.stackexchange.com/tags/game-identification/info) for more info and for help with your search., bringing the total to 386, or 392 with 'video' back in (i.e. "If you find a game in a video, advertisement...") – Robotnik May 15 at 2:31
  • So the whole thing would be: "Game identification questions that rely solely on memory are off topic here. If you find a game in a video, advertisement, news article, movie and so on, and you have a picture, video/audio file, or other medium to point to, we can answer that. See our Game Identification Wiki for more info and for help with your search." – Robotnik May 15 at 2:42
  • 1
    @Robotnik that looks good, ill edit it in. just a minor change but makes it a bit better imo – Dragonrage May 15 at 6:34
  • 1
    @Dragonrage perfect :). We've gone with this suggestion. Hopefully this makes it easier on our commenters! – Robotnik May 15 at 23:29

Suggested Close reason:

Our support for video game identification is for situations where you find a game in a video, advertisement, news article, movie and so on, and you have a picture, video/audio file, or other medium to point to. Identification from descriptions and memory alone is off-topic. Read our Game Identification Wiki for help and more info.

This links to (and reflects what is said in) our Tag Usage guidance (The Tag Wiki), which unlike the old Blog link can be regularly updated, and unlike the close text itself, supports way more than 400 characters.

Markdown Text:

Our support for video game identification is for situations where you find a game in a video, advertisement, news article, movie and so on, and you have a picture, video/audio file, or other medium to point to. Identification from descriptions and memory alone is off-topic. Read our [Game Identification Wiki](https://gaming.stackexchange.com/tags/game-identification/info) for help and more info.

  • 2
    I like it a lot. – Timmy Jim May 8 at 1:41
  • @TimmyJim thanks! Good to hear :) – Robotnik May 8 at 2:05
  • 1
    Our support for video game identification is for situations where you find a game in a video, advertisement, news article, movie and so on, and you have a picture, video/audio file, or other medium to point to. This is kind of a run-on sentence. I would like to see it split into 2 different sentences, one covering what are ID situations are - the other sentence covering what you need in your question. – FoxMcCloud May 8 at 13:20
  • 1
    @FoxMcCloud Sounds like a good idea, but it's a drastic change to how this one is worded - do you instead want to raise it as a separate suggestion in an answer? :-) – Robotnik May 8 at 23:47
  • Perhaps move the last line to a new paragraph for improved readability? – SQB May 14 at 8:39
  • @SQB IIRC Paragraphing isn't a thing we can do unfortunately, even if we insert line breaks I'm pretty sure they get compressed down (like comments) :( – Robotnik May 15 at 0:49

I would suggest pointing to the tag wiki (as everyone else is suggesting) but also giving a suggestion to an alternative as per the example comment in the question

Suggested Close Reason:

Game identification questions are off topic unless accompanied by a form of media of the game (picture, video/audio file, etc. see the tag wiki for more information). However, r/tipofmyjoystick might be an alternative for finding the game you are looking for.

Markdown

**Game identification** questions are off topic unless accompanied by a form of media of the game (picture, video/audio file, etc. see [the tag wiki](https://gaming.stackexchange.com/tags/game-identification/info) for more information). However, [r/tipofmyjoystick](https://www.reddit.com/r/tipofmyjoystick/) might be an alternative for finding the game you are looking for.

character count: 374

  • 3
    I'm not sure that we want to endorse a subreddit or any other non-Stack Exchange website. – Thunderforge May 8 at 4:22
  • I do like the idea of bolding the text at the beginning to match how our other close reasons look. Although I must admit I'm not 100% sold on the idea of explicitly linking to reddit in the close reason, unless we work out some sort of official arrangement with the community over there. In the Tag wiki should be ok though. – Robotnik May 8 at 4:23

The excerpt for already clearly explains the scope since Feb 16, I don't think there is a need to duplicate the entire text in a close reason.

Game identification without any artefact from the game in question is off-topic on Arqade, please see the tag description for details.

or

Game identification questions that rely solely on memory are off topic here, please see the tag description for details.

Above one is basically Dragonrage's answer, after removing the redundant (imho) text that is already present in the tag excerpt.

Note that I'm deliberately not linking to the tag description, even casual users should be able to hover or click on it for the excerpt otherwise the tagging system is just not working at all. I did end up bolding the tag name just in case there are multiple tags and its confusing which one is being referenced.

  • 1
    In an ideal world, yes, every user would and should read the tag description, but this is simply not what's happening. The point of updating the close reason is to reinforce the point that is made in the Excerpt/Wiki, without expecting the user to click through (because if they asked the question, they didn't read the excerpt in the first place, and they're probably not gonna click through once closed). Community members are having to resort time and again to explaining and re-explaining the close reason, and that's what we're trying to avoid. – Robotnik May 10 at 0:25
  • From a recently closed question: "the rules described there are kind of stalling: e.g.: how can I have a screenshot if I do not have the game anymore?". And another (now deleted) comment to this other question: "Who dives into the minutiae of tags when you are posting a question?...when you come to a site and a tag exists that has been used over 100 times you don't stop to think.."Hmm...I bet this has some real criteria attached to it." It literally says "game-identification"." – Robotnik May 10 at 0:27
  • @Robotnik Yeah if people can't even read the tag info, I see why you have to duplicate all that info in the close reason :( I thought your tag excerpt was good enough to just reference it, but guess we do need a huge block of text in the reason ... just hope these people will read that at least :) – Alok May 10 at 15:04
  • Well, it'll make it easier on the commenters at least :-) – Robotnik May 10 at 23:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .