While I was answering the question

Why do you have to be at least the Invisible level of Online-ness to get Trading Cards?

it got put on hold. Which is perfectly appropriate; I got too intrigued by the OP's odd way of phrasing the question that I never considered its appropriateness.
However, accidentally, the question right underneath was the following:

What is game ban VS VAC ban in steam?

And I am left wondering why that is not considered to be off-topic - it even got a lot of upvotes. It is about the ban policy of Steam, and has as much to do with gaming as earning trade cards through Steam. Or is that a wrong comparison?

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    What does Germany have to do with this? Jun 2, 2019 at 16:01
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    @FabianRöling The OP is actually creating a word (since I can't find any listing for germaneness) out of the adjective "germane" and suffix "-ness", basically creating a noun out of the adjective germane. "Germane" in English means appropriate or relevant. Definition here: en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/germane Jun 6, 2019 at 18:15
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    @FabianRöling Your question got me curious to see if "germane" has any common ancestry with "Germany" and I found this q/a on ELU.SE and unfortunately there probably is no common root: english.stackexchange.com/questions/27500/… Jun 6, 2019 at 18:26
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    @Fabian Forgot to answer after trying to figure out a hilarious comeback. I'm glad my neologism got some attention anyway :)
    – Joachim
    Jun 6, 2019 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


The game ban VS VAC ban is NOT asking about "why" there is a difference, it's asking about the definition of those two terms. Asking about the difference between terms is on-topic and falls under our terminology tag.

The Trading Card questions IS asking "why", and that's a developer intent question. It's off topic because there's no valid answer other than: "Because Valve decided it". Once a question sways into that sort of territory, it's considered off-topic as developer intent.

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    That's lucid, thank you.
    – Joachim
    May 29, 2019 at 14:24
  • @Joachim You're very welcome!
    – FoxMcCloud
    May 29, 2019 at 14:28
  • @Joachim - I changed the question title. Still bad?
    – Malady
    May 29, 2019 at 19:29
  • @Malandy You have transformed your question into the other one. Is your current question "what is the difference between being online invisibly and being offline in regard to earning trading cards?"? You have a way of phrasing things unnecessarily convoluted :)
    – Joachim
    May 29, 2019 at 19:39
  • @Joachim - I want to know why I need to be at least Invisible, for any definition of Why, mechanically or otherwise?
    – Malady
    May 29, 2019 at 19:54
  • @Malandy It still falls under developer intent: "speculative questions about developer intent, with respect to both mechanics and narrative" are prohibited.
    – Joachim
    May 29, 2019 at 20:12
  • @Joachim - Hmm... What about "What's the difference between Invisible and Offline, and how does that affect getting Booster Packs?"
    – Malady
    May 29, 2019 at 20:46
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    It still sounds like you're trying to get around the close reason by changing the words, but not really changing the question, @Malandy. Why something happens the way it does isn't something we can help with.
    – Frank
    May 30, 2019 at 12:09
  • @Malandy Your "new" question is just asking what the difference is between being invisible and offline, and how that affects trading cards. The difference is that for one, you're still online but not visible. If you're offline, you can't trade cards. But you knew that already. Your actual question is still a "why did the devs choose to make it like this" question at its core, and we simply can't answer that because we're not the devs.
    – Mage Xy
    May 30, 2019 at 18:36
  • @MageXy - I see... But, what if my core question is... Oh, the Friends Menu is more explanatory than the Client... Offline, compared to Invisible, means you're signed out of Friends and Chat, which, for some reason, is necessary to be eligible for Boosters, even though presumably Steam can tell if you've signed into their Client... ... ... Hmm... I guess I shouldn't answer my own question by editing my question...
    – Malady
    May 30, 2019 at 21:10
  • Does the situation change because the question has a comment that I'd accept as an answer, without bringing in developer thoughts?
    – Malady
    Jun 4, 2019 at 13:19

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