TL;DR - the parts below in bold convey the key message of this post.

This question is now LIVE: What should be done with questions asking for game recommendations?

I guess we all want to have the game-rec issue resolved one way or the other. My idea is to create a meta-question in which several options for what happens to game-rec questions will be posted and each one will upvote the options they like. This is a direct application of the proposal on how to handle site policies by sjohnston.

It will look something like:

Question: what should be done with a game-rec question posted to the site?

Answer 1: it should be closed as off-topic

Answer 2: it should be closed as off-topic if "too broad", otherwise permitted

Answer 3: it should remain open

Answer 4: it should remain open but CW-ed by mods

etc. (possibly many additional options)

My idea is to, after a week or a month or something, count only upvotes on each proposed answer, and then to enforce the policy dictated by the highest-voted answer. That means multiple upvotes are permitted but downvotes will be ignored.

  • Why ignore downvotes? Because that's how real polls work, and we can just assume many will anyway downvote anything they do not upvote.
  • Why allow multiple upvotes? Because (1) we can't prevent it and (2) it will allow people that will be okay with more than one option the ability to express that.

The question here is whether this form of final showdown is agreeable to people - in other words, the question here is will you be willing to accept the policy dictated the chosen answer even if you disagree with it. Please upvote this question if you will be willing to accept it, and downvote if you will not.

Personally I say I would be willing to accept whatever policy is selected, even though I am an ardent supporter of game-rec questions and these types of questions were the primary reason for me joining the site and committing in the beta phase.

This is not a place to discuss game-recs themselves; please avoid doing so. This is a place to discuss the applicability of this proposal-for-policy-decision.

  • 1
    Let's finally get a policy!!!
    – C. Ross
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 22:20
  • 1
    I agree, let's finish with this baby once and for all!
    – juan
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 2:15
  • 1
    SE has support for polls, why don't we use that instead?
    – badp
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 10:35
  • @badp I asked and got no response. Also, I think the polls I've seen so far weren't multi-option votes, which I believe are appropriate here.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 10:37
  • I can settle for this policy-making process, but I'd be fully behind it if we got rid of option 2.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 20:35
  • @Grace the options above are just examples. And I am aware you dislike it because it's not well defined. But personally I do find it appropriate so I think I will indeed suggest it :) the idea is that just like general questions can be deemed too broad ("how do I win this game?"), so can identify-this-game or game-rec.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 20:57
  • @Oak Actually, no, that's not why I dislike it. But I believe you established that we aren't going to have that discussion here (a choice which I support). You can find the explanation posted on chat.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 21:43
  • Erm, so this is that question for figuring out the policy, or is it the question notifying that you're going to make a question to figure out the policy? :S
    – RCIX
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 22:19
  • 3
    @RCIX It's basically the latter, except it's an inquiry as to whether we're fine doing this moreso than just a notification of plans.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 22:48
  • Here is the problem I have with this proposal. When we first came to the site we all had a similar reaction to Game-Rec: "Oh cool." Unless you came a long at a time when a Game-Rec was being closed and people were explaining why it was bad (and even then you might have disagreed) none of us inherently knew Game-Rec had problems. Ignoring those who still don't think it has problems, the people who think it does formed that opinion after protracted exposure. The vast majority of our user base does not have that exposure. They will also be able to vote. I think this is a problem.
    – tzenes
    Commented Nov 29, 2010 at 16:21
  • @tzenes I do not have a good response for your argument. I do, however, have two things that might console you - 1st, most of the time it's the more experienced, long-term users who tend to vote on stuff like that. As of the last odata dump there were 3100 users capable of voting on meta, yet this question only has 14 votes - and I have a pretty strong idea who they belong to. 2nd, in the final showdown question I will link to the many discussions that already took place, and will urge users to read them before voting.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 7:58
  • @tzenes also, what you describe could be said to be a problem with political elections as well - young people get the same vote as old people, even though the young might have missed out on experiences and policies that could have drastically affected their vote. There's not much to do about that, though. If you are willing to get behind this proposal only with some caveat, please write an answer about it below.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 8:06
  • 2
    @Oak there is a reason we refer to Democracy as "the worst possible system..." I agree that experienced members tend to vote more, but that doesn't stop new members from doing so. When the votes came for Domain name we had some pretty high turn out. As to your second point I'm going to quote Joel Spolsky: Users don't have the manual, and if they did, they wouldn't read it. In fact, users can't read anything, and if they could, they wouldn't want to. I realize there isn't a good™ solution to this problem, but it does make me hesitant to support such a wide spread voting initiative.
    – tzenes
    Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 15:31
  • Your proposal currently seems to have unanimous support (+18/-0 and supportive answers). At what point do we decide to give it a try and create the real question?
    – sjohnston
    Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 23:19
  • @sjohnston I'll post it tomorrow.
    – Oak
    Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 23:25

3 Answers 3


Also, in the original policy-decision-proposal post by sjohnston, Grace Note has made an important comment:

What happens when "site policy" is questioned? Do we open up the whole system once again and have another vote? How do we define the "solidity" of a policy? – Grace Note♦

I don't oppose the concept of appealing a site policy, but I really feel that in order to promote stability we should enforce the selected policy for a long period of time before we allow any appeals. I propose one year. I realize a year is a long time - this site has only been up for 4 months - but stability and consistency are important.

I think that we should all agree that whatever decision is reached, unless some new external situation arises (e.g. the game-rec area51 proposal enters public beta), we would prevent any appeal of that policy for one year. Please let me know by votes and comments if that's acceptable.

  • 7
    I would be perfectly happy to just have the moderation team decide wheter to have an appeal or vote. In the future the moderators will be elected, so it'll be just representative democracy. Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 12:24

It should be closed as off-topic, but if the majority of the community would deem it otherwise I wouldn't oppose it.

Personally, I would just ignore the questions and if the many of the high rep users would follow this example, then what have we accomplished? The questions will not be closed, but they will not get the same high quality attention as the other questions.

Anyway Oak, I appreciate that you're finally trying to settle this discussion, but with a divided community I'm not sure how it will work out. I'm guessing our benevolent dictator will come along and settle this like he did with that other recommendation mess...

  • Well, I guess some (maybe even many) users will still read these questions, and in my eyes some is better than none.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 21:23
  • True @Oak, but I fear the users who oppose it are mostly the ones who do a lot of answering...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 21:37
  • I've only seen a handful of users oppose or support game-recs. On the other hand, there are thousands of answers in this site from hundreds (if not thousands) of users. Most answers actually come from them. Never underestimate the long tail.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 21:45
  • One alternative I'm thinking (and will suggest in the question for it) is "moderators should close them as off topic, and let the community re-open them with 5 votes if they want to" /cc @Oak
    – juan
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 2:16

I also think this issue should be settled soon. The current state is IMHO the worst of both worlds, there is no clear policy for those questions. I would favor a clear yes or no to game recommendations, but I can live with both solutions.

I consider the proposed way a good solution to decide policy issues. I would argue that the time for voting should be longer than a week, maybe two weeks to a month. It would be nice to somehow get some visibility for those important meta voting-questions, as I assume the people who regularly visit meta are a pretty small bunch. But everyone who is interested in the way this site is run should be visiting meta anyways, so this is not a critical point.

There should also be a short period before the voting (maybe in a seperate question) in which the community can suggest the possible answers. If additional answers are added later, this may bias the voting.

  • I agree that a week might be too short, I've been thinking more about something between two weeks and a month. Regarding visibility, I see two ways to increase it: (1) by linking the question in a main-site status bar, and (2) by linking any game-rec questions to that meta-questions for the duration of the voting.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 22:37
  • @Oak: When would we be starting this? We've also got moderation elections coming soon(ish... I think?) and with the holidays, that will also decrease traffic. :/
    – FAE
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 11:41
  • @Fallen (as mentioned in chat) I think we should start in a few days to a week.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 28, 2010 at 12:26

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