As of 16/3/2012, Questions asking for help identifying a game are now prohibited on the site, unless you have an actual artifact from the game such as screenshots or audio clips.

For example, Help me identify these two old games from before I knew English well (with “screenshots”).

Mapping these to existing close reasons, there are two that fit.

  1. Too Localized. What value does this question have to anyone else on the planet, other than the one person who asked? In other words, what internet user is going to be searching for and finding information about a game one person vaguely remembers playing in broad terms?
  2. Not a Real Question. Half-remembered descriptions of a game you vaguely remember playing, does not make a real question. This wouldn't be tolerated on any other site in our network. Unless the asker has demonstrated and documented that they've invested substantial effort to find this game, and given us something concrete that provides us with a reasonable chance of actually finding a game, it's simply not a real question, it's a half-remembered question.

It is my opinion that these "help me remember this {thing}" or "help me identify this {thing}" questions should be banned from all sites as a matter of policy.

Examples from the last two days:

Also a problem on other SE 1.0 sites:

To summarize some of the discussion from below:

  • these questions lack value because they are insubstantial, that is, they refer to something that someone vaguely remembers doing, not something they remember and can talk clearly and lucidly about. They are Not a Real Question from that perspective. They're more like.. imaginary questions.
  • because these questions are insubstantial -- based on vague, broad, half-remembered descriptions (and possibly at best a screenshot) -- it is unlikely anyone else will be able to find them through a web search. That does not advance our goal to make the internet better.
  • If we allow vague and insubstatial questions, we are explicitly opening the door to "write my code for me" and "do my work for me" questions (or worst case, Yahoo Answers) -- no need to expend effort or provide code or even think, really ... just explain in vague, broad terms what you want and we'll somehow figure it all out for you? That's a very dangerous precedent to set.

The only positive attributes of these questions I can think of, based on the comments:

  • If we get an excellent user who asks a good, thoughtful identification question and sticks around in our community to participate, then it's worth allowing it in those rare cases as a high quality "getting to know you" fun question.
  • if the user can produce a screenshot or some other reasonably concrete identifying artifact to work with, other than "I kinda remember.." I have less objections to these questions. I'm still not a fan of them, but I think that's a fair way to limit how many we have.

I will be personally monitoring this [identify-the-game] from now on and aggressively closing any that I find which are insufficiently clear, as Not a Real Question.

  • 3
    +1 for articulating why these have bothered me from the moment I first saw one. – LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 19 '10 at 5:57
  • 5
    Just tell them we already answered it, but his amnesia is kicking in again... – Ivo Flipse Nov 19 '10 at 11:28
  • 9
    Apparently there are at least 22 people who found this question useful, making it one of the more upvoted questions on the entire site. That confuses the heck out of me. Maybe the votes were just support for taking the time to hand draw screenshots? – bwarner Nov 19 '10 at 13:48
  • 5
    @bwarner I'm pretty certain that question largely got votes for the effort in making the screenshots. It has more than double the votes of the next highest identify-this-game, but it's not as if it's particularly any better. We can't say how many people are searching for the same games, but at the same time, if there were so many people voting because they had the same question, shouldn't there be a lot more interest in discovering the answer? – Grace Note Nov 19 '10 at 14:00
  • 3
    All of the points I'd have made have been made, and much more eloquently, by others. I will add this: Not only does the community seem to support this (yes, it's anomalous, but that 22 score currently reflects 0 downvotes), but also the mods: Grace Note and Oak, who are also 2 of the highest-rep users on the site. This is truly meant with all due respect and not as an attack, Jeff, but based on their activity vs yours on the Gaming.SE parent site, I'd say they're probably better-equipped to gauge the community. After all, that's why we have them! :) – John Rudy Nov 19 '10 at 20:37
  • 3
    @Oak: True, in general. But a network-wide ban is only rarely appropriate; I do think that this sort of thing should be community-by-community, based on their ability and willingness to answer. – John Rudy Nov 19 '10 at 21:43
  • 5
    I'll be honest here -- this feels a little like a joke or troll question. :P – RCIX Nov 20 '10 at 9:53
  • 15
    Against the will of the community? :S – RCIX Nov 20 '10 at 17:54
  • 3
    @Grace maybe, but that's not "community-run" nor "community-owned" as Jeff likes to claim these sites are. – Pekka Nov 20 '10 at 19:42
  • 19
    @Grace @Jeff - So the community doesn't know what's best for itself. Funny, last time I checked the FAQ page, it said "We don't run Gaming - Stack Exchange. The community does." What really stinks about this is that we thought you were interested in our opinions. But everyone seems to disagree with you, and you're still just going to do what you wanted to do anyway. Nor have you acknowledged that our opinions count for anything here. That's not community ownership. That's not even community input. – sjohnston Nov 20 '10 at 19:44
  • 10
    @Jeff - We obviously failed to convince you that these questions are worth keeping. However, you failed to convince us that they're worth "nuking from orbit". So does it fall on the community to provide an explanation why a given type of question is worthy of existing, or does it fall to you to explain why a given type of question is worthy of complete extermination? – sjohnston Nov 20 '10 at 19:47
  • 8
    @tzenes I don't want to be confrontational, and I apologize for the tone of my previous comments. I think a few poor phrasing choices have made this thread more incendiary than it would otherwise be. Jeff has the interests of the network at heart. I guess I'm just not convinced that these questions are deserving of eradication. – sjohnston Nov 21 '10 at 4:48
  • 9
    Btw Jeff, one of the first identify-this-game questions on this site is mine, and we have already discussed it on meta when it was published - back in July. It was agreed that they should be permitted as long as they are not too vague and enough information is provided. We have had zero complaints about these types of questions since then. Also, notice badp's comment on that question. – Oak Nov 21 '10 at 8:59
  • 7
    @Jeff: you're acting like it's a question where the content is "pls help me find this game i used to play.... it was for windoze 95" and that's it. sigh – RCIX Nov 22 '10 at 22:01
  • 5
    @Jeff: A well-formed question is well-formed. A shoddy question is shoddy. If I had close privileges on gaming.SE, I would vote to close gaming.stackexchange.com/q/11255/58 in a heartbeat. But comparing that to gaming.stackexchange.com/q/11174/58 is an apples-and-oranges situation, at best. – John Rudy Nov 23 '10 at 5:27

Those questions are good for the same reasons duplicates shouldn't be deleted, or even closed.

Use case: I have this awesome game in mind, but only recall a screenshot or some details of the game and Google isn't helping. I ask and get my answer.

The next person who is going to look for that game now can find it with a larger number of keywords... or can find something close enough.

Sure, that question doesn't do it right by asking two questions in the same /question page, but that's part of a larger, SE-wide problem.

Finally, I would like to address "What value does this question have to anyone else on the planet" point. This opens a fairly large can of worms:

  • How do you objectively measure the number of people that will ever get to a question from Google?
  • What's this minimum "worth"? Isn't helping the asker good enough?
  • Should we close questions on games that are too obscure because "not enough people" are going to play them?
  • Why isn't this "worth" stuff mentioned in any SE FAQ, if it's important enough to warrant closing questions?
  • What about "why doesn't my code work" questions on StackOverflow?
    • How many people are going to have the same snippet?
    • How many people are going to Google for that code?
      (I don't know why the code fails. I just know it does. At best, I know what I'm trying to solve and can google for that, but SO frowns upon plz-to-send-me-teh-codez.)
  • 9
    this is possibly the only time I have ever seen badp make no sense at all. – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 7:14
  • 12
    @Jeff compliment taken, answer expanded. – badp Nov 19 '10 at 7:56
  • 10
    Do I get to have some badge for going from -2 to +4? :P – badp Nov 19 '10 at 14:19
  • 3
    I agree with this stance. While the question may be limited in scope at the moment, we can't definitively say "This won't ever help anyone else in the future." I know if I was someone looking for this info and found that someone else had asked and found it, I'd be extremely happy that I now had the answer. – FAE Nov 19 '10 at 16:22
  • 14
    @Jeff: but it isn't. "I think i remember writing some code like this" is analogous to "I think i remember inputting this series of button presses to play a game", not "find this game for me". Game identification questions are not unlike people asking for libraries that meet certain criteria, and those are allowed. – RCIX Nov 21 '10 at 2:22
  • 8
    @Jeff: so wait, it's that way because you say so? :P – RCIX Nov 21 '10 at 4:56
  • 1
    What a great answer! – Mugen Nov 22 '10 at 17:41
  • 1
    @Jeff help me see your point, please. What would step 2 be? (no irony here) – badp Nov 22 '10 at 21:59
  • 5
    @Jeff: That looks fine to me. I asked a similar question and got a result. A screenshot would help, but.... – RCIX Nov 22 '10 at 22:00
  • 2
    speaking of which, just in the last 2 days, see gaming.stackexchange.com/q/11404 and gaming.stackexchange.com/q/11293 and gaming.stackexchange.com/q/11255 – Jeff Atwood Nov 22 '10 at 22:17
  • 8
    @Jeff: two of those have been answered (and i actually found interesting), and one is at negative votes. The ones that were answered were specific enough, and the one that isn't is being taken care of. I don't see the problem there. – RCIX Nov 22 '10 at 23:38
  • 2
    @Jeff: i'm sorry, but how is the Tron one anything but specific? It even includes a screenshot! – RCIX Nov 22 '10 at 23:48
  • 2
    @RCIX Actually, it's everything but specific. Do you know how many Tron clones there are out there? And how many that match the description provided by the author? It's pretty much sheer luck that Oak actually got the right one (in that it was the original). I could ask about Snake Wars and write exactly the same question. And no one would ever get it without basically trolbing through all of the Tron clones. – Grace Note Nov 23 '10 at 0:32
  • 2
    @Grace Note: the way I read the question, the OP wasn't looking for any specific version of the game, just one that followed the rules he outlined. Virtually all Tron clones meet that requirement. – RCIX Nov 23 '10 at 1:18
  • 2
    @tzenes: then we're dealing with semantics at this point :P – RCIX Nov 23 '10 at 22:22

I agree with bringing this up, not because I don't think we should host them but because for a while they've always felt like a strange borderline item. Might as well get a ruling on them out of the way.

The positives of these questions are simple to enumerate.

  • Objective - It either is, or it isn't. No opinion technically changes this.
  • On-Topic - It's a question to identify a game.
  • Is A Question - Big round of applause for these to actually be questions. They also rarely can be judged by the NARQ Marks (This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form.)
  • Is An Answerable Question - We have a decent enough track record of answering these. At least 50%, if I'm not mistaken. Which, well, isn't stellar.
  • Is A Solvable Question - The correct answer to these are conclusive to the question.

But these are basically our bare minimum expectations we're hitting. So rather than know what the positives are, it's enumerating the negatives that directs their worthiness to remain on the site.

  • Localized - I don't find this a strong argument. Nigh any tech-support question we get has this same problem, wherein they basically pray that one of us had the same problem. Likewise, some of our more esoteric questions have very low searchability and likelihood that someone else will need the same answer. At least, until they read the question which leads to them being interested.

  • Low Usefulness - I have argued the importance of being useful as a metric for good questions. However, I stated in just the same point that all this does is emphasize what is worthy of upvotes. Less-than-useful questions, such as esoteric ones, can still be fit for the site.

    When it comes to personalized questions, there's a difference between when I ask for something that still has a measure of external curiosity it can inspire ("How do I make this difficult but ultimately unnecessary climb in Bunny Must Die?") and something which is really localized ("Given my party setup, how can I defeat the Behemoth King without Quickenings?"). In both cases there is low searchability, but the former is one that people who do come across the question will learn something, while the latter is just a bit too "Help me win my game". I find that identify-this-game tends to lean towards the former.

  • "Ease" - It can be stated that these are "easy" questions, in part due to them being based more on passive knowledge than active knowledge. But, in that our goal is to provide answers, I don't see this as a problem. With the exception of your anomalous example (it has the "A-For-Effort" vote accrual), these questions don't actually get a lot of votes.

  • Bad Trending - I can't predict the future, but there is the possibly valid concern one might see with regards to the volume being encouraged. There are only 84 such questions right now, which isn't too much. While both game-recs and identify-this-game have uncountable permutations, the latter has a smaller infinity (think of rational numbers versus integers, for example). To me, this is only a concern if they become some kind of farm like List of X questions. I think we can err on the side of allowance for these because they don't generate enough attention to be a real problem.

  • Passive Knowledge - Now, here is the trouble point, and the one that does concern me since it is one of the major fall points for game recs. The majority of our questions are based on what I call "active knowledge" - people provide excellent answers either because they deliberately learned it in the past or they performed research. In essence, it refers to true subject matter expertise. People are more inspired to answer these.

    There is subject matter expertise in knowing about games themselves than knowing how to play them. The problem is that our site does not exercise this knowledge, which is why we perform so poorly at repository building. No one is inspired to do all that much research for identifications and recommendations, and instead people rely primarily on their passively acquired knowledge. If you passively learned of the game (such as by playing it in the past), then you provide answers, but if you didn't learn of the game you just skip the question.

    Identify-this-game has a lot higher success rate than game recommendations ever had. But its reliance on passive knowledge does worry me, as it makes them far less likely to get answered (which, also, is a similar problem with tech support!). It also may make it feel unwieldy to some users, since people get correct answers for "just knowing". I'm not certain how much weight this carries, and if it's enough to bar them. But it feels like the primary issue.

  • Not A Problem - The other real issue can probably be that these feel less like real problems. They're outcasts even among trivia like what were characters named, because at least other people are going to search for that. It's also rarely a pressing issue for the author, too, as it is far more likely someone is comfortable to wait and see if it'll ever get answered. This can lead to stagnation in combination with the passive knowledge point: no one cares enough to answer, and no one cares enough to dredge it back up.

This is my analysis of the situation. They are real questions, even if they aren't problems so to speak. The issues of searchability are not too different from a variety of other questions we cater to, including the kinds of questions which define our existence (the obscurity of a game is irrelevant to its fitting on the site). However, they have mediocre performance, are based more on passive knowledge than active knowledge, and can stagnate really badly. I think they have a point, but I can understand if it is agreed that they don't have enough of a point to stick around.

  • 1
    I object to "Is a real question". Asking questions about things you can't fully remember doing is not the same as asking a question about something you can define and explain clearly. It's so painful, and it is a cross-site issue. See answers.unshelved.com/questions/3710/unkown-fantasy-novel – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 18:57
  • 4
    @Jeff are those really two sides of the same coin? If I have a Rubix cube, but I can't fully remember how to solve it, can't I still define and explain my desire for a solution clearly? I'm not saying you aren't on to something relating to memory in this instance, but I think we can come up with a better reason for why not being able to remember something is an issue. – tzenes Nov 19 '10 at 19:02
  • 4
    @Jeff People on Stack Overflow do post random code snippets asking people to identify what it does or what language is it from. Ein, zwei, and drei as just the first three examples I can pull with a basic search. – Grace Note Nov 19 '10 at 19:55
  • 20
    @Jeff We have 58/84 (69%) questions solved in this category, with only 1 actually having a real screenshot. That's a lot better than you'll get for asking about remembering what code you might've written, because only you will ever have written that code! I'm willing to settle that maybe we can be a lot more enforcing when a question is proving to be insubstantial. But I don't agree that these questions are so dangerous as to warrant prohibiting them as a whole. – Grace Note Nov 19 '10 at 20:04
  • 6
    Adding my fuel to this fire, I upvoted this answer, and downvoted Jeff's original question, because I feel that these are real questions. I understand that a big part of the SE network is "Google-ability," but not every question will be worthy by that metric, and if that is all that matters, then we're not really making the Internet a better place. I thought that answering questions was the primary goal, with Google-ability being a pleasant side effect. Perhaps I was wrong, Jeff? (Side note: My answer to that, which I'm convinced is correct, required a lot of active research. :) – John Rudy Nov 19 '10 at 20:19
  • 12
    @Jeff Atwood Why must every single question draw traffic to the site? Is it not enough that most questions do? We can let these questions cater to the existing community on the site, and the others draw extra traffic. – Invader Skoodge Nov 19 '10 at 20:34
  • 8
    @Jeff When the question is too vague or overly broad to be rightfully answered, or when it otherwise proves to be completely insubstantial, we have a close reason and a deletion to handle it. And I believe in its usage when it comes down to it. But as it stands, we don't have a track record of these being so vague and broad as to be unanswerable. If anything, we've proven that as a community, we are able to solve problems that others can't even decipher due to how vague it may appear. That feels like something that can be boasted about, that we should be proud of and not ashamed of. – Grace Note Nov 19 '10 at 20:57
  • 2
    @tzenes But the point is, so long as the overwhelming majority of the site adheres to Jeff's and your ideal graph construction, so what if the errant question here or there does not? To eschew the community on this site for the sake of some abstract graph is only going to make them less willing to contribute in the future. And then the graph will have stunted growth. – Invader Skoodge Nov 20 '10 at 14:52
  • 1
    @john "I thought that answering questions was the primary goal" That's the goal of say, Yahoo Answers. Ask literally anything, no matter how brain-damaged, and someone will try to answer it. Answering questions that make the internet better in some small way is our goal. I am entirely unconvinced that [identify-the-game] makes the internet better. It's chatroom game show fodder at best. – Jeff Atwood Nov 21 '10 at 3:49
  • 4
    @Jeff: I'm sorry, but by that exact same logic then stackoverflow.com/questions/1995113/strangest-language-feature is also "chatroom gameshow fodder at best". – RCIX Nov 21 '10 at 5:08
  • 5
    @Jeff I can accept identification questions being removed (and I fully endorse game rec's removal). But I'm not sure I can understand that a "question" like hidden features is even remotely more acceptable. If "identify-this-game" is akin to "I think I might have written this code, help me find it", then "Hidden Features" is akin to "I didn't know I could do this. What else do I not know?". The only searchable content is in the answers, the answers are messy to sift through with no form of organization, and there is no hope of conclusion. It is as game-showy as you can get. – Grace Note Nov 22 '10 at 21:36
  • 2
    @Jeff Once again, this isn't about "Hidden Features" in comparison to identification, because I've already conceded to accept that memory-based identification questions can be far too insubstantial to properly moderate. But I still can't agree that a brash, free-for-all of people just throwing information with hopes that someone finds it useful to be worth anyone's time over, say, we get enough real Smash Bros Brawl questions that a glance at the tag tells something new every time. Everything that you get there, should be achieved by finding this site, not by looking at a haphazard index. – Grace Note Nov 22 '10 at 22:07
  • 2
    @Jeff: how is gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/11093/… useless? Useless to you maybe, but it was useful to at least the asker and the answerer and possibly other people. You also still haven't dealt with the "is there a minimum usefulness limit to questions here" question. – RCIX Nov 22 '10 at 23:36
  • 3
    As JavadocMD put it wisely in chat, "[...]it's easy to forget that each question has a real cost: the cost of clutter and the decrease of visibility for all other questions." – Grace Note Nov 23 '10 at 0:20
  • 2
    @Jeff I'd really settle just to have something besides all three, at this point. – Grace Note Nov 23 '10 at 2:03

What value does this question have to anyone else on the planet, other than the one person who asked? In other words, what internet user is going to be searching for and finding this information?

I'm sorry, but I am really, really struggling with this statement. Is not the entire point of a Q&A site to get answers to my questions? My question has value because I value it and want an answer. I should not have to consider whether or not my question is of value to anyone else on the planet before asking it on a Q&A site.

  • 1
    sure, if your question is about something you can EFFING REMEMBER :) Questions about things you imagine you might have once done, are not so useful. – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 18:54
  • 25
    @Jeff - you've obviously never tried to find a game you remember playing in your youth. Finding that game is of immense value to the person asking the question. – au revoir Nov 19 '10 at 18:58
  • @jason at best it's a game show. You want more crap like this? answers.unshelved.com/questions/3710/unkown-fantasy-novel I don't. – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 19:08
  • 13
    @Jeff - amazingly enough, I was thinking of the parallel question in books when I was typing my comment, but I couldn't recall if there was a books SE site. Personally, I don't see any issue with these questions, provided they are not a large proportion of the questions a site receives. They get asked, a few answers are provided (maybe even the correct game is identified), and then they disappear into the background of StarCraft 2 and Minecraft questions. – au revoir Nov 19 '10 at 19:13
  • And regarding keeping these types of questions from taking over the site, we should be concerned about the 22 upvotes this question received, as that much popularity will entice others to ask similar questions just for the easy rep. Note that the book example is sitting at 0 votes... – au revoir Nov 19 '10 at 19:28
  • 1
    @Jason I'm seeing this as an isolated exception with regards to that. This is an anomaly, most likely due to the "screenshots". The next highest identification question is at 9, with few tailing that close behind it. Likewise, scattershot answering to them is also yields very little compared to game-recs or discussion polls. – Grace Note Nov 19 '10 at 19:37
  • 6
    "My question has value because I value it and want an answer" by this rule, we should allow any questions, because they all have so-called 'value' to the person who asked them. – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 19:43
  • 11
    @Jeff - provided they are on-topic and pass any other rules the site has, then yes! My objection to your comment was that if a question passes all the rules on the site, but is only of value to me, then I cannot ask it. I've answered numerous SO questions that were just a dump of code and a description of a problem with the code - by the above reasoning, those questions should also be disallowed. – au revoir Nov 19 '10 at 19:49
  • @jason but you HAD the code. These askers have nothing but descriptions of the code. "I remember writing this code in 2003.. I think it had some loops and the word 'foreach' in it.. can you guys help me remember it?" – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 19:53
  • 6
    @Jeff - I'm not certain a direct comparison between "I remember a game" and "I remember some code" is reasonable. The first is actually answerable, if you can provide enough information. The second probably is not. However, I think there is a comparison between "I remember this game" and "This code doesn't work" as they are both questions of limited value to later Google searches, which is one of your objections to the "I remember this game" type of questions. And my point is why is one considered bad, but the other is not? – au revoir Nov 19 '10 at 20:03
  • 1
    @jason if you have the code, you have something concrete to work with. Code can be compiled and run and tested on my machine. Someone's vague, broad memories of what they once played.. not so much. These questions are insubstantial. – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 20:08
  • 10
    @Jeff - At which point we've veered away from my original objection regarding the usefulness of the question towards a discussion of whether or not these questions are "good". My views line up with Oak's - if you want to know the name of a game given limited information, there probably is no better site on the Internet. – au revoir Nov 19 '10 at 20:18
  • One final point - I just remembered that I've actually asked this sort of question - it was on the Programmers site, which may explain why it did not cause an uproar when I asked it - programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/8012/… – au revoir Nov 19 '10 at 20:19
  • 2
    @Jeff: However, this question was not particularly vague, largely because of the hand-drawn screen shots. Without them, yes, this would have likely been unanswerable. With them, a solid answer was identified within 2 hours. This is not the direct corollary to "some code with loops and a foreach" that you think it is, nor to that answers.unshelved question. It is apparently only patently useless to you. Personally, I'd rather see these than the various [game-recs] questions any day. At least these are fun to answer, neat puzzles to crack! – John Rudy Nov 19 '10 at 20:26
  • @john here you go. Have "fun". gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/11255/an-old-2d-plane-game You might also be interested in a site called Yahoo Answers. – Jeff Atwood Nov 22 '10 at 21:33

Oh wow Jeff I disagree on so many levels. TL;DR version below.

The two points you bring are:

  1. They are not useful for anyone else
  2. They are too localized

Regarding (1), I would first say - since when are questions required to be useful for other people? There are gazillion stackoverflow questions requesting help with doing something so specific that it's ridiculously unlikely that anyone else will ever actively search for that problem. If you say "only questions useful for other people are permitted", not only do you make the SE sites a lot less user-friendly, you also introduce a metric which is impossible to measure - how can we say if that question will ever be useful for anyone else?

Secondly, I would assert these questions are actually far from useless, for the simple reason someone else might want to search for the same games, and that someone will likely use the same search keywords as what the question contains. I have personally searched for games I have forgot using various keywords about their genre, era, gameplay and appearance - if similar questions were on gaming.SE then I would have probably found them there.

Regarding (2), I'm not sure I understand why you consider them localized. Is it because the user is trying to remember something that happened in the past? What's wrong with that? That seems to me completely unrelated to the localized close reason:

This question would only be relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

In 30 years from now on the moon colony, this question would be as valid as it is now - trying to identify an old game based on some remembered information. If something will be relevant in 30 years on the moon colony, I don't see how it can be called localized.

In addition, one of the biggest reasons I see for allowing - if not encouraging - these questions, is the fact that SE sites are uniquely qualified to answer them - they are probably one of the few places online that try to build a repository not of general data but of personal questions. Having SE sites one of the few places where these questions are usefully answered will give those sites an edge over anywhere else. "Want to find information about that old game? That's a tough thing to accomplish! Go to gaming.SE, that's probably the only place they will be able to help you".

Finally, I think these questions are equally useful for other sites. Say there's a new bike with triple-suspension system and flowing optic fiber wheels* going around in conventions. The question "can someone identify this cool glowing 3-suspension bike?" will not be useful for others users, it will probably get a lot of off-site views as well. True, it's an example of a current item, but (1) you also said questions of "identify this {item}" are bad and (2) questions like "I used to ride this cool 3-suspension glowing bikes when I was little" are likely to become popular and useful as well, if these convention was actually 20 years ago.

*can you tell I know nothing about bikes? :)


Reading your comments on other questions, I get a feeling your problem is less with the usefulness to others and more with the fact that people are asking less on concrete problems and more simply about things they can't remember, but what I'm trying to say is

  1. We are uniquely qualified to answer these questions
  2. These questions might indeed be useful to other people - potentially many other people
  3. There's no real reason I see for forbidding these questions, there are as valid as any other question

EDIT about passive vs active knowledge

Grace Note has raised the very important point of the so called "active knowledge" vs "passive knowledge". Active knowledge is more about being an expert on a specific topic(s), while passive knowledge is more about familiarity with a variety of products / tools / whatever in a specific field.

Both [identify-this-game] questions and [game-rec] questions rely more on that so-called passive knowledge - simply being familiar with something. Personally I support both these question types and I feel that passive knowledge is actually a very strong form of expertise. If someone will ask on stackoverflow "what are good libraries for handling X with Y while doing Z under W condition", he is not necessarily looking for a single expert; he is looking for either one person or multiple people that have familiarity and can point libraries capable of doing that. He is relying on the wisdom of the crowd. And I think that's one of the biggest selling point of the SE sites as a whole.

  • see answers.unshelved.com/questions/3710/unkown-fantasy-novel and tell me if you want that crap on our network. I don't. – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 19:40
  • 9
    @Jeff yes, I want that crap (with the caveat that I would want that to be tagged with [spoiler]). And why not? Why do you think it's so bad? In my eyes we are uniquely qualified to answer it and (most importantly) it can be useful for other people. I guess you disagree with me on that bolded sentence, but why? Neither of us really knows whether anyone else will encounter the same problem, but it's definitely possible. The internet has an extremely long tale. Actually I think esoteric problems encountered with code libraries might be rarer, and we don't have a problem with them... – Oak Nov 19 '10 at 19:48
  • @oak so we should allow questions on Stack Overflow about code people think they might have written? "I remember writing this code in 2003.. I think it had some loops and the word 'foreach' in it.." – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 19:51
  • 8
    @Jeff "might have written "? That sounds like "games I might have written" or "bikes I might have designed", this doesn't seem the issue here, I thought we are talking about end-users. But, for example, the question "I saw a crazy code segment once that seem to unite a switch with goto messages for optimized copying, I know this trick has a name, does anyone know what I'm talking about?" is definitely a valid question, in my opinion, with a very cool answer. And it's a very googable question for others who encountered the device and are curious – Oak Nov 19 '10 at 19:56
  • @oak use "might have played" if it bothers you. The problem there is that you're explicitly opening the door to "write my code for me" and "do my work for me" questions -- no need to expend effort or provide code, just explain in vague, broad terms what you want and we'll somehow figure it all out for you? That's a very dangerous precedent to set. – Jeff Atwood Nov 19 '10 at 20:05
  • 7
    @Jeff I understand your aversion on the grounds of "the asker has not invested effort here". But first of all I'm willing to guess that in most cases the asker has invested Google time; and secondly these questions are not very exploitative in nature - either you recognize the bike or you don't. I agree that if the question is too vague it should be closed, but I would say that's a general constraint on all types of questions. Regarding the question you linked, by the way, I think it's obvious the user has invested an effort in the question - if only for drawing the "screenshots". – Oak Nov 19 '10 at 20:15
  • 2
    @Jeff in continuation to my previous comment (sorry for splitting) - I think it's likely that users will invest google time before asking, because solutions to very specific coding problems, such as homework, are usually not googable, while games/products/services are. – Oak Nov 19 '10 at 20:17
  • @oak exhibit A: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/11255/an-old-2d-plane-game -- not seeing a whole lot of "users investing a lot of google time" there, my friend. And the net, final result is.. a giant chunk of useless, unsearchable text, of no utility to anyone except one person on the planet. Congratulations, we've re-created Yahoo Answers! – Jeff Atwood Nov 22 '10 at 21:33
  • @Jeff I think you made the right call :) for what it's worth, I'll try to keep an eye on these questions from now on and downvote / vote to close those that are too vague. – Oak Nov 22 '10 at 22:00
  • 1
    @Jeff: so your issue is that one of them is unanswered? Gasp! Better close gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/11397/… and all of it's class! oh wait, then you won't have a site.... – RCIX Nov 22 '10 at 22:04
  • 1
    @Jeff: how does having an unanswered question about an identify-this-game make the internet worse? – RCIX Nov 22 '10 at 23:34
  • 1
    @Jeff: ah, so you're using a slippery slope fallacy. Just because there are a few percent of our site as these questions (and it is by no means all or even most of them), doesn't mean that tomorrow you'll wake up and see zillions of them flood the homepage. – RCIX Nov 23 '10 at 1:20
  • 1
    @rcix there's actual science here. Go read the blog post, and the cited Atlantic article. Re-read if it necessary. That's exactly what happened to answers.yahoo.com for the record. "Oh, what's the harm in letting anyone ask anything?" writ VERY LARGE. – Jeff Atwood Nov 23 '10 at 1:25
  • 3
    @Jeff: now you're using the same fallacy to claim that I want SE sites to support any and all questions. I don't. @tzenes: "While this is formally valid when the premises are taken as a given, each of those contingencies needs to be factually established before the relevant conclusion can be drawn. Slippery slope fallacies occur when this is not done — an argument that supports the relevant premises is not fallacious and thus isn't a slippery slope fallacy." The claim was that ITG questions (presumably any of them) will (again, presumably) immediately result in Gaming.SE turning into a [...] – RCIX Nov 23 '10 at 10:39
  • 1
    @RCIX hmmm, would that also have been My Position from the beginning? Are you not now, reinforcing what I've been saying all along? The only one who seemed to imply that bad questions would provide an immediate transition is you. The rest of us seem content with culling them as they come up to prevent degeneration. – tzenes Nov 23 '10 at 17:07

OK, I've decided to pop an answer out there. Most, if not all, of my points have been made by others, but my comments are getting entirely too long. So here I explain myself.

First off, I respect Jeff, Joel, and the entire ownership of the SE network. I want to make that perfectly clear. I've argued with them in the past on Meta.SO, and sometimes (like now) I wish they'd take the "We don't run [site], you do!" out of the FAQ, but by and large I think they've done something wonderful for the Internet at large. Making the SE sites free and a primarily-democratically-created system were amazing steps forward. And I understand, and absolutely respect, Jeff's desire to make the sites the best they can be -- and to be protective of them, to keep them from getting poisoned.

That all said, I want to address some points which have been made in the comments. First off, tzenes makes a good point that some of my rationale could be used to justify "any" question. (BTW, tzenes, I wasn't arguing with you per se. Some specific instances of ITG -- and many other questions -- should be closed with extreme prejudice; it's Jeff's "nuke from orbit" option which scares me. I picked up on the fact that you agreed with the fact that some ITG questions are OK.)

I think the biggest issue with this question is the combination of upvotes (many of which likely stemmed from the effort to hand-draw "screen shots"), its popularity, the fact that it actually combined two questions in one and what that may mean for the future. As I have said before, I believe the current count of ITGs is 86, out of (currently) 3,454 questions total. They comprise approximately 2.5% of our current question count. Some are fairly searchable, some are not. (This one was not; I and my fellow junior janitors failed in the editing department -- I cop to that. If I wasn't somewhat tipsy at the moment, I'd be editing that question into shape right now -- it really wouldn't be that hard.)

There are two sides to this coin:

  1. You have a new user, whose question proved extremely popular, who received an answer (though, admittedly, hasn't been online since to see it). This is his/her first question, indeed his/her first participation. Is it worth alienating this user -- who may be extremely helpful and productive in other ways -- just to "nuke them from orbit" based on an arbitrary, unspecified rule that it appears much of the Meta community -- that is, the community truly devoted to the site's success -- and even the community's other diamond mods disagree with?
  2. On the flip side, if the site were to be completely overrun by these, I can absolutely understand the "nuke them from orbit" option. I understand slippery slopes (I am, after all, a psychotic libertarian; slippery slopes are a big part of our general arguments). But until there is a serious problem with these questions overrunning the site and being shoddy in general, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

While some here might pitch this as a "community vs Jeff" thing, I think it's extremely telling that Jeff has not exercised the option to obliterate these questions with extreme prejudice yet. He certainly has the power and access to do so, and I'm inclined to believe that he's evaluating all of our arguments. While we may not have convinced him that they are worth keeping, I do believe we have him thinking about other downstream ramifications of a rash reaction here. I understand where he's coming from; I just disagree.

I have two readily-apparent subjects with which to compare:

  1. On SO, we have many "help me fix the bug in my code" questions. Jeff's retort is that "at least we have the code to go by, not some vague memory of what might have been." I get that, to an extent. However, these questions provide absolutely no useful merit to anyone else on the internet (one of the arguments made for extermination of ITG questions), and the SO community in general is uniquely equipped to handle them -- and handle them, it does, with aplomb. While ITG might be based on memories (and for many ITG questions, those memories are accurate enough to provide an answer -- including this one), instead of a solid code example to debug, in all other ways, the two are directly comparable: The end user has an on-topic, not FAQ-ruled, question, provides enough detail to resolve it, and gets an answer -- despite the fact that it will likely help no one else on the internet.
  2. The entire game-rec tag. Seriously, we're going to allow recommendations for games based on (typically) little information, but disallow real, answerable questions because they might not be fully searchable or the active/passive knowledge ratio is off? I notice that there are 13 pages of game-rec questions, of which several are closed. While no ITG questions may be closed yet, perhaps that is because those questions are on-topic, not explicitly ruled-out by the FAQ, provide value to the asker, provide some fun in answering to the community and in general are fairly well-formed.

Gaming.SE (as with many others of the new SE sites) is not Stack Overflow. Once upon a time, when introducing Super User, Jeff claimed that we should beware, because there would be Ewoks there. If we're going to be somewhat lax on one of the core sites, and do not wish to drive away traffic on any of the sites, then is a network-wide ban and nuking existing questions from orbit really the rational argument?

In a case like this, where -- as I type this -- Jeff's original question is sitting at +7/-14, and almost all of the answers are unequivocally that the question specifically mentioned is OK, and where the moderators of the community are (in general) behind the category ... Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the one who wishes to see these questions obliterated? I think the community has spoken, Jeff. And it looks like most of us respectively disagree.

Edit based on Jeff's edit to his original question

The only positive attributes of these questions I can think of, based on the comments:
* if the user can produce a screenshot or some other reasonably concrete identifying artifact to work with, other than "I kinda remember.." I have less objections to these questions. I'm still not a fan of them, but I think that's a fair way to limit how many we have.
I will be personally monitoring this [identify-the-game] from now on and aggressively closing any that I find which are insufficiently clear, as Not a Real Question.

That is completely, totally and 100% fair. It is the right answer. Some of these questions absolutely deserve closure (depending on community response, that is -- remember that 5 reopen quotes will cancel your moderator closure). My primary argument is with the single question you used as an example.

Having an additional moderator monitor the tag and close bad questions is A-OK. It's a measured response, one which allows for the few which are pretty good/challenging/cool, but which also obliterates the chaff.

Kudos, Jeff, for working with your community on this issue. And thank you, truly from the bottom of my heart. Not just for the network of awesome websites, but for you listening to the community, hearing our arguments, and working toward a middle ground. You found, I believe, the right answer here.

Once more, with feeling

Since this debate started, there has been a spate of truly awful [identify-this-game] questions. Some are (thankfully) getting closed. I do not have the power to cast those votes, so instead I've just been downvoting them, and relying on others to do the sensible thing.

At no time did I intend to argue that all ITG questions are good, or qualified for inclusion on the site -- like any other kind of question, there is wheat, and there is chaff. And a lot of the more recent ITGs have been, frankly, chaff. These are the ones where I agree that closure and eventual deletion is the correct answer. (In other words, judge them based on their content, not their category. A point I think many others, such as tzenes, have been trying to make all along as well.)

Just 200 more rep to go and I can start casting close votes ... Need more Fallout questions to answer! :)

  • In regards to game-rec: Jeff is not exactly supportive of them (as indicated both in a comment here and in this answer and first comment combination), and also the community has proven (through numerous meta discussions) that we already consider it a problem and are actively working on it. So Jeff really doesn't need to bring it up. – Grace Note Nov 22 '10 at 1:49
  • @john "If we're going to be somewhat lax on one of the core sites" you're radically misinterpreting what I wrote. What I meant was, there are huge issues of oversight we are creating when people 'want' a broad vague topic. As in, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. Also applies here. – Jeff Atwood Nov 22 '10 at 21:35
  • "we're going to allow recommendations for games based on (typically) little information" see @grace 's comment -- no, we should not allow them, or at least suppress them as much as we possibly can without outlawing them entirely. Which is, not so coincidentally, is also my exact position on "help me remember this game". – Jeff Atwood Nov 22 '10 at 21:37
  • @Jeff "... at least suppress them as much as we possibly can without outlawing them entirely." That quote is at direct odds with your earlier comment that you want to "nuke" these questions "from orbit." I agree that if they overran the site, that might be a feasible option: But we're not there yet. And while some of these questions should be closed/deleted, I do not believe that the example you chose is one of them. That all said, I applaud the fact that you have not acted on your initial instinct -- I trust that you really DO have the best interests of the community in your heart. – John Rudy Nov 23 '10 at 5:23
  • 1
    @john I just want people to understand these [identify-the-game] questions are dangerous if left unchecked -- they have a serious "broken windows" downside. – Jeff Atwood Nov 23 '10 at 6:34
  • @Jeff: I'll grant that. – John Rudy Nov 23 '10 at 14:18

In another thread someone asked for stats on ITG, so I've placed them here where they might be appropriate.

Here are some stats on the subject which may help you:

  • Answer rate of ITG: 67%
  • Number of users who've asked ITGand have rep over 200: 62 (30.%)
  • Number of users who've asked ITG and have rep below 200: 147 (70.%)
  • Number of ITG asking users who have <5 upvotes: 121 (58.%)

for comparison purposes here are the same numbers for civilization-V (a subject with a similar number of questions)

  • Answer rate of Civ-V: 80%
  • Number of users who've asked Civ-V and have rep over 200: 60 (59%)
  • Number of users who've asked Civ-V and have rep below 200: 42 (41%)
  • Number of Civ-V asking users who have <5 upvotes: 30 (29%)

Sadly none of these metrics accurately capture conversion rates (users who stay on the site). The closest is the number of users who have >5 upvotes (users who stick around long enough to become part of the voting community). Based on these numbers, ITG is a fairly bad Getting-To-Know-You question.

Now I'm not sure I have the fight left in me for another game-rec, but based on my personal assessment, Identify This Game is not an appropriate question type for this site.

LessPopMoreFizz and Powerlord both pointed out that I should take temporarily in to account. To that end I designed the following query:

The number of users who had one of their first two posts (Answer or Question) in ITG and have not gone on to make more than 1 UpVote: 185 (54%)

  • Site wide (across all tags): 5324 (39%)
  • Civilization-5: 62 (40%)
  • Starcraft-2: 213 (37%)
  • pc: 152 (38%)
  • troubleshooting: 18 (58%)
  • spoiler: 74 (35%)
  • achievement: 42 (30%)
  • minecraft 156 (46%)
  • dwarf-fortress 19 (21%)
  • the-witcher-2 42 (66%)
  • league-of-legends 12 (22%)
  • I'm curious: What was your criteria for answer rate? any answers, or accepted answers? – Raven Dreamer Jul 4 '11 at 2:03
  • @Raven I believe it was accepted answers/total questions. Though I'd have to double check – tzenes Jul 4 '11 at 2:59
  • that might slant the results a bit then. ITG clearly gets in more new users than civV, and new users are less likely to accept an answer. I'd measure 'questions with at least 1 positive answer score" the same way the Community bot bumps 'unanswered' questions if you do it again. – Raven Dreamer Jul 4 '11 at 3:36
  • 1
    @Raven As we've already discussed there is no valid voting scheme for ITG, if a user does not select the correct answer, there is no way to know what the correct answer is. Even an answer with an upvote is no evidence that the upvote was the result of the OP. However, I'm not sure answer rate is the best measure of conversion rates. The goal of ITG is to be a "getting to know you" question. This it why I used 5+ upvotes as my conversion metric (although it is not perfect). – tzenes Jul 4 '11 at 20:13
  • Since you did ask though: 98.7% for Civ-V and 94.5% for ITG – tzenes Jul 4 '11 at 20:22
  • Hm. I'm surprised by your newly added results. I would have thought The-Witcher-2 would have done better. – Raven Dreamer Jul 7 '11 at 20:13
  • @Raven it's a fairly small population of new users (same as dwarf fortress, league of legends, etc) so its more susceptible to variance in the data (having fewer sample points). The better examples are Starcraft-2, PC and Minecraft, all of which have on the order of 300 sample points. So I think Minecraft's 46% is the most unexpected number. – tzenes Jul 7 '11 at 20:31
  • is it just me or did you answer this question twice :O. (granted, the one just below at the moment was half a year ago.) – Andy Jul 8 '11 at 14:34
  • 2
    @Andy opinions change? I think the issue last time was that the question Jeff had found was a very bad question (regardless of the state of ITG). Since that time we've been able to examine ITG more closely, and while that original question is still bad for other reasons, ITG might also be a poor topic. – tzenes Jul 8 '11 at 14:59
  • Something else to note is that ITG questions have a lower accepted-answer rate in general than almost any other highly-used tag on the site. Even excluding closed questions, only 72% of ITG questions currently have an accepted answer. The only other tags in that neighborhood are platform tags (iphone, xbox-360, ps3, wii, pc) and the hardware tag. People who support the existence of ITG should make every effort to a) close or vote to close weak questions and b) answer good ones. – Dave DuPlantis Jul 21 '11 at 17:11
  • @Nick, no a copy and paste error – tzenes Aug 24 '11 at 13:51

Our mandate, as I see it, is to first and foremost expand to cover the graph of gaming information. To that end '[identify-this-game]' has a place on our site.

But Jeff is also right, something is wrong here, something that is hurting our site, something that needs fixing. Let's talk about that for a second.

Jeff's assumption that ITG is the problem, while wrong, is very rational because ITG questions are not like normal questions. In a normal question the question provides the game and context (the node) and the answer supplies the information (spanning that node). As a result we tend to be more leniant with the question (as the user lacks the information) and harsher with the answer (as that user is supplying the information). The issue with ITG is that it breaks this model, so it needs to be treated differently. In an ITG question the answerer provides the context and the asker provides the information. Thus we need to hold the asker to the same standard as we normally hold the answerer.

In this particular case, the one OP linked, the asker not only provided sparse information, but the most informative bit can not be indexed for other people searching for it. What's worse he smudged two separate questions into one (not that asking two questions at once is bad, but two so very different questions). Normally the solution to this problem is to have the community down vote, edit the question or inform the user in comments. None of these things happened. Instead he was resoundly upvoted.

The community failed. So you can see why Jeff might be concerned.

Does this mean ITG is "bad"? Of corse not, these questions are within our mandate.

So should we forget this and move on? No, we really do face a problem and while ITG may not be the culprit, we do need a solution.

  • 2
    I agree that two questions at once is a bad idea and these should be split up. However, it seems that most people agree, the only reason an answer was found in a timely fashion was due to the "screenshots". You dislike the screenshots because they're not useful for searches. Would you prefer that the questioner describe the "screenshots" with detailed text as well? – sjohnston Nov 20 '10 at 17:12
  • 1
    His 'Screenshots' were heavily annotated. Removing that text from the question body significantly and deleteriously impacts the future usefulness of the question remaining in the index. This Is Bad. – LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 20 '10 at 19:41
  • 2
    @LessPop: But that can be fixed by editing the question, not by nuking an entire classification of question. :) – John Rudy Nov 21 '10 at 0:58
  • @sjohn that is the escence of my point. The quality of the text was low. People found the screenshots endeering and upvoted the question. Since the screenshots can't be indexed this is the opposite of desirable behavior. – tzenes Nov 21 '10 at 2:15
  • @johnrudy I think there is a problem here and without an adequate solution, "nuking" might be a rational alternative. We should focus on solving this problem. – tzenes Nov 21 '10 at 2:18
  • 1
    @tzenes - Again I must go back to why searchability / future usefulness is considered such an important criteria of a question. Someone asked a question and got an answer. Does anything else matter? – au revoir Nov 21 '10 at 3:15
  • 1
    @jason you might also be interested in Yahoo Answers, if "nothing matters but letting me ask my question and get an 'answer'" is the criteria – Jeff Atwood Nov 21 '10 at 3:45
  • @Jeff - OK. I understand that you can't allow every possible question in the universe. But on its own, the requirement that the question must be "useful to others" is weak, and not what I (and obviously a few others) expect from a Q&A site. – au revoir Nov 21 '10 at 5:25
  • @jason the importance of searchability is the ability for our site to help people. Try to remember the vaste majority of people coming to the site come via google; they are our biggest user base. The reason ITG is useful is because it helps people searching for the game find it. The question which started this was not, largely, indexible and thus not accessable to most of our users. In short, it failed and was thus a bad question. – tzenes Nov 21 '10 at 7:41
  • I agree there is a problem here. But I don't think that it's the identification question type. This is blurring the fault of display with the fault of insubstantiality. In general, identification questions might be fun as well as insubstantial but on their own they do not incite the public to vote poorly. They're very poor at getting attention because of their vagueness. So while there is a problem and there is no adequate solution, nuking identification questions isn't a rational alternative because that does nothing to stop people from using kooky hand-made mock-ups to bait upvotes. – Grace Note Nov 21 '10 at 11:47
  • 3
    Searchability is important to the site, agreed. Yes, the image could not be indexed. Agreed. However, I don't buy that a few questions (84/3442 -- aka, 2.4%) will kill the site's searchability. I also don't see how these are Yahoo Answers crap -- last I checked, this guy wasn't some random crazy question. It's on-topic, and it did provide enough detail to get an answer. IF these questions began to overrun the site, then I might support the extermination option. But at the moment, this looks like a mountain out of a molehill at best, and a kangaroo court at worst. – John Rudy Nov 21 '10 at 15:40
  • 4
    @tzenes - Google gets people to the site, but answering questions is what actually helps people and if one of their first questions is jumped on and nuked by the community for crossing some invisible line, then they will leave. And who knows? That might have been the world's foremost expert on WoW... – au revoir Nov 21 '10 at 18:21
  • @grace we both agree that ITG are appropriate, so I'm not sure what kind of point youre trying to make; that someone who doesn't agree isn't rational? If he doesn't agree, removing them is rational, I don't think youd contend that. The issue here is convincing him that the problem he sees is not inherent in ITG, thus his rational decision is to keep ITG. I think we agree on this point, am I mistaken? – tzenes Nov 21 '10 at 19:29
  • 2
    @tzenes I disagreed with your comment, 'I think there is a problem here and without an adequate solution, "nuking" might be a rational alternative. We should focus on solving this problem.' I don't find that a solution which does nothing to stop a problem to be a rational course of action, and I qualified my stance in the rest of the comment. It has nothing to do with the person behind the making of the decision. Please don't take my statement as an ad hominem. – Grace Note Nov 21 '10 at 19:50
  • 1
    If it needs to be explicitly said, I fully understood what you've been saying since you first posted this, and I never denied it. Our exchange here is turning into a blind debate. You've already stated you do not understand my point (and I'm not even sure how I can make my stance any more explicit), and I am quite lost at what point you're trying to make to me in repeating yourself. – Grace Note Nov 22 '10 at 11:56

"What value does this question have to anyone else on the planet"

1) It has value to at least the person who asked it. And if he took the trouble to type this question on a forum/community it means it really means a lot to him.

2) There are a lot of things people do even if it helps just one person. Think of all the time that people take in typing a response to questions like that. The question page serves a purpose to them too, doesn't it?

Summarizing: The question does serve a purpose.

  • all these things are true of Yahoo Answers – Jeff Atwood Nov 22 '10 at 20:57
  • 1
    @Jeff: but where do you draw the line then? Do you only allow questions if it helps more than one person? Why not 5 or 10 then? or 20 or 30? (not a slippery slope fallacy: i'm not explicitly stating that this will happen, i'm asking where you put the point of "ok this question is useful for enough people to stay here") – RCIX Nov 23 '10 at 1:23
  • @rcix a rule that you can't ask questions about things you can't remember is a good start. – Jeff Atwood Nov 23 '10 at 1:38
  • 3
    @Jeff: Obviously you can remember enough to provide a description, or you wouldn't be asking. I fully support closing vague ITGs, just not all of them. – RCIX Nov 23 '10 at 10:35
  • 1
    @Jeff Even if these things may be true of Yahoo Answers what is your point? – Mugen Nov 23 '10 at 21:02
  • @Mudgen I think you missed the point. In answer to "What value does this question have to anyone else on the planet" you answered, "It has value to at least the person who asked it". But the question was about anyone else, that is, does it have value to anyone besides the one who asked it. I think probably not. – Josh Nov 24 '10 at 18:11
  • @Josh - gee agreed. lol. :) – Mugen Nov 25 '10 at 4:46

People ask this kind of question because they're feeling nostalgic about the game. Other people (at least 22) seem to like the nostalgia. So what?

  • 10
    There are good arguments to be made on both sides of this discussion. "So What" is not one of them. – LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 22 '10 at 0:20
  • 4
    Anyone else feels like reading Less's comment again and again? +1 – Mugen Nov 23 '10 at 21:06
  • As i see it the exchange is three-ways. 1: The person asking gets a chance to be reconnected with a long lost game. Right now i think this site is the best, for this kind of information. 2: The answer can sometimes take quite a bit of effort. I am one of those who appreciate this challenge, going through old information to find the elusive answer. 3: Users reading the question/answer could become aware of a great but forgotten game. Let me conclude this post with a link to what its all about : gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/23801/… – Sharken Jul 14 '11 at 13:15

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