Since this happened, and the voting for questions of that kind is erratic, can we please just adjust the description of the off-topic rule for ?

Currently this is

Game-identification questions are okay only if you include screenshots, audio, or other tangible media from the game.

Since it is deemed worthy that artefacts that deviate from these regulations in a specific way are fine too, I suggest we turn it into something like

Game-identification questions are okay if you include screenshots, audio, or other tangible media from the game itself or from credible references.

The longer usage guidance could then by something like

Only ask if you have a screenshot, video, or audio clip from the game you want to identify, or from a credible reference. This tag is only for identifying games in movies, pictures, videos, advertisements, references, or otherwise, where an unknown or unidentified game appears - not from a description of what you can recall from memory, from a picture you drew yourself, or from an otherwise dubious artefact.

The emphasis lying on the fact that the reference must be credible, i.e. there must not be any basis for it being liable to referencing a game that does not actually exist (as a game).

Questions like this, this, and this reference apparent games that might not exist, but that is still not enough ground to conclude they are not real games (although two of them quite decisively turned out to be).

Some notes:

  • 2
    I don't think the 3 "this" borderline questions are borderline at all. It's completely fine to have the answer be, "it was a fake game." Just because the answer to the question is "the game is fake" doesn't mean the question is bad or shouldn't be allowed. That's kind of half the point to the game ID questions in the first place.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Jan 29, 2020 at 15:46
  • @FoxMcCloud What I wrote was that the artefacts provided leave us with "some reasons to wonder whether they are actual[ly from] games" - I didn't base the 'borderline' quality on their answers.
    – Joachim
    Jan 29, 2020 at 18:06
  • 1
    I still think that is okay. The person asking the question had a legitimate reason to assume they were from a real video game and then supplied enough media to draw a conclusion. Kudos to the television shows and movies that make realistic fake video games.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Jan 29, 2020 at 18:41
  • 1
    @FoxMcCloud I also wasn't saying I don't think that's okay. I feel as if this post has been misinterpreted on different levels..
    – Joachim
    Jan 29, 2020 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


I agree that the wording could come across unclear. I propose the following wording for the snippet:

Game-identification questions are okay if you include screenshots, audio, or other tangible media depicting the game.

This removes the potential requirement that the artifact must come directly from the game while maintaining that the asker must believe the material references a game.

  • Firstly, I wasn't criticizing the voting system, I was merely pointing out that the reception of some questions based on the exact same premise is highly discrepant, which I used to clarify that the tag description could benefit from clearer instructions. Secondly, I never correlated the germaneness of questions with their answers: in case of the games that were used in adverts I was referring to what I thought to be observable discrepancies (as detailed in my own answer to one of them).
    – Joachim
    Jan 29, 2020 at 19:28
  • As to your third point: that's completely fine, I don't say they should. What I did say - and what my entire point is - is that the current description reads that such artefacts should be "screenshots, audio, or other tangible media from the game", which, apparently, is not necessary - and that's why I suggest a change.
    – Joachim
    Jan 29, 2020 at 19:30
  • 2
    Regarding point 3, I think there needs to be enough context that a viewer can reasonably conclude that the artifact comes from a game. In many cases, the artifact itself will probably provide that context, but in questions like this one, there's no indication that character comes from a game at all. In fact, when I first saw that image, I thought it was some musician a la deadmau5 (I never played Watch Dogs). In cases like that, additional context is needed to verify that the question is on-topic.
    – Mage Xy
    Jan 29, 2020 at 19:45
  • @Joachim I think the "the voting for questions of that kind is erratic" at the start of the post caused some confusion for me and had me read it in a different tone than intended. I've edited to hopefully address the original question.
    – Batophobia
    Jan 29, 2020 at 20:17
  • That's understandable. Yes, your current answer is more what I hoped for :)
    – Joachim
    Jan 30, 2020 at 0:52
  • @MageXy I agree, and didn't recognize that character either. That's probably why it was downvoted. But then there are questions like this one which get upvoted a lot, even though it also has an unknown origin.
    – Joachim
    Jan 30, 2020 at 0:56
  • @MageXy I've been thinking about our rules for game identification questions lately, and I agree that context is the most important way to tell if something should be asked here or not. I would like to see our rules mention that somehow, and then be consistent in applying those rules. We are, after all, not only allowing questions that include artifacts directly from a game, we've also answered questions asking about fanart and such in the past. Mar 26, 2020 at 8:21
  • @Wrigglenite I only now noticed your comment here, but that is exactly what I was bringing up in my question here. Could you turn it into an answer, or, similarly, do you agree with the edit I propose?
    – Joachim
    Apr 13, 2020 at 16:20

First, a bit of context.

In the help center we find the following:

Please note, however, that site policies prohibit questions of the following types:
Requests for game identification based on personal recollection alone. Read here for more information on the close reason, and read here for some helpful tips on how to identify a game when we can't help.

The wording "Game-identification questions are okay only if you include screenshots, audio, or other tangible media from the game." comes from the TL;DR in the first link, while the post itself goes into more detail about which types of questions we allow.
The TL;DR is incorrect and should be changed. We do not only allow questions with screenshots or videos. For example:

That said, there is no issue with the close reason itself. The current wording for that is

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.

Which seems pretty accurate to me.

  • That 'blurb' is exactly what I was referring to in my post, as it was at that point used for the VTC rule (or the game-identification tag snippet). I had not seen the post you're linking to, and I'm pretty sure that same blurb was used on the Help page when I asked my question. Apparently, both these texts (on the Help page, in the VTC menu) seem to have changed (for the better), rendering my question moot.
    – Joachim
    Apr 18, 2020 at 10:17
  • Related: is there a way to view the history of the Help page or VTC menu descriptions?
    – Joachim
    Apr 18, 2020 at 10:18
  • Mods can see the history for both, but I don't think there's a reputation level that lets non-diamods see it. I can tell you that the link to the meta post has been there since 2017. Apr 18, 2020 at 10:23

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