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A question was recently asked about the Linux-only AutoKey, which is a scripting application that allows you to create hotkeys among other things. This is similar to the (Windows-only) AutoHotkey, for which the tag exists. As a moderator, I closed the question as being off-topic stating:

writing scripts for key mapping software is not about gaming

This in turn was quoted in other close reasons for a few other AutoHotkey questions:

...to which another member of the community said

I wouldn't close due to the lack of community consensus on the matter. We have a long history of allowing questions here, dating more than 10 years ago. This should be discussed in Arqade Meta first.

Thus, should AutoHotkey and similar questions geared towards remapping keys/moving cursors and other automated tasks be allowed?

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    My 2 cents: The line to me is 'is it destructive'. Autohotkey is probably against some TOS, but really, does it destroy the game (like hacking), its industry (like cracking) or make it a bad experience for others with basically no effort of your own? Nah. Usually its used for accessibility.
    – Fredy31 Mod
    Sep 12 at 19:36
  • After a week of this post being up, the votes are +9/-3 for this answer and +6/-4 for this answer. I'm inclined to say that the first answer is the conclusion of how we will handle these kind of questions.
    – Timmy Jim Mod
    Sep 16 at 13:11

2 Answers 2

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When the question is specifically for remapping of keys or other automation script help, I consider the question off-topic. Examples of this are the 4 linked reviews in the question. Even in the case of How to autofire F in Autohotkey? where the use case is to make the F key repeatedly press in order to use the Dowsing Rod, this essentially boils down to "How do I make my F key repeatedly fire using AutoHotkey?"

How do I remap the arrow keys using AutoHotkey? is another example of where the question is basically "How do I remap <insert key name here> keys using AutoHotkey?"

Generally when it comes to an AutoHotkey questions, they are more of a programming/scripting question, and not gaming. If I am being brutally honest, I think the majority of the AutoHotkey questions on our site don't quite fall within the scope of Arqade. One I can kind of accept is Autohotkey: How to map a keystroke to a controller button press since it about remapping controller input. But even still, it feels more of a general programming/scripting question to me.

Lastly, I think if someone needs help with AutoHotkey, they are far more likely to get help on SuperUser, where they have an AutoHotkey tag that has over 1,200 questions as opposed to our 14 (13 if you don't count the "AutoKey" one I closed that is incorrectly tagged). Possibly better yet is StackOverflow, where they have over 4,300 AutoHotKey questions. The audience of these sites are more likely to be able to answer these kind of questions.

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    I will also add that over the years, the Arqade community has matured (as anything would overtime!). But my point is, the first AutoHotkey question was asked in 2011. The site was a little over a year old at that point. From observing the history of Arqade, there have been other similar situations where old questions that were once seen as on-topic no longer fit the current day scope. I'm not sure how this fits in... but I think its something to also be considered.
    – Timmy Jim Mod
    Sep 9 at 13:37
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Yes.

The most important thing one needs to ask is how relevant and useful these types of questions are to gamers. Tweaking controls (with AutoHotkey or other software) and gaming go hand and hand, even though AutoHotkey can also be used for other things. AutoHotkey is a commonly used macro software by gamers on Windows. Due to that, I think these types of questions are perfectly fine and fit Arqade's topic area.

-related (and macro-related questions in general) have been accepted by this community for over 10 years. AutoHotkey is a video game utility, and more importantly, is a solution to many PC gaming-related controls and keybinding problems and issues. In Arqade's Help Page, "game-specific hardware and utilities" are mentioned to be explicitly on-topic. It is on-topic, just like other gaming software utilities are also on-topic here, e.g., , , , etc. (Even though those software are not video games and are also used for non-video game purposes.)

Banning will limit the video game issues and solutions that we can talk about in this community, which goes against this site's purpose.

Several PC games have limited keybind configuration settings or have other issues with their controls, and banning and other macro software will make gaming-related questions that have or other macro software solutions be suddenly off-topic.


In reply to this part of Timmy Jim's answer:

Lastly, I think if someone needs help with AutoHotkey, they are far more likely to get help on SuperUser, where they have an AutoHotkey tag that has over 1,200 questions as opposed to our 14 (13 if you don't count the "AutoKey" one I closed that is incorrectly tagged). Possibly better yet is StackOverflow, where they have over 4,300 AutoHotKey questions. The audience of these sites are more likely to be able to answer these kinds of questions.

Some games or issues require AutoHotkey code or configuration written specifically for a video game or issue. A general non-gaming solution might not work for a specific video game or video game issue. A Meta SE FAQ post states:

Ask the question on the site you think is most applicable. Each site is focused on a specific topic area and it's important to respect the community.

If your issue is gaming related (i.e., you encounter the issue or problem on a video game), it is better to ask it on a site with a video game-focused topic area, community, or audience; rather than a general computer-focused (Super User) or programming-focused (Stack Overflow) topic area or audience. This is so that you are more likely to get a solution or code that works specifically for your gaming-related problem or issue. Also, Super User does not allow video game-related questions. In Super User's help page, it is mentioned that questions about video games are explicitly off-topic. Most, or all on-topic questions here will be closed there.


As an example of how banning questions would not be helpful, see this question (one of the questions listed in the meta post above): How to autofire F in Psychonauts?

The question is not really about AutoHotkey, but the game. If you remove the mention of AutoHotkey in the question, the question still is a perfectly valid, on-topic question in Arqade. The OP just mentioned AutoHotkey as a potential solution (most likely because it is the macro software of choice by gamers on Windows) and what they tried with AutoHotkey (but didn't work), but the solution doesn't need to be AutoHotkey. Some games might have a configuration to allow autofiring a key, or other software might also allow autofiring a key, or maybe have other creative (non-AutoHotkey) ways to solve or get around the issue.

If you simply ask "How to autofire F in Autohotkey?" in Stack Overflow or Super User, you might get an answer that works generally in most software, but more likely not for a specific game (which has its own quirks and issues). It is better to ask this in a gaming-focused community, since you are more likely to reach someone who also encountered this same issue in the game they are playing.

In the example above, since the question is about a video game (Psychonauts) problem, it got a solution specific to Psychonauts (emphasis mine):

I tried a different approach with the "automatic shooting" function that JoyToKey offers, but the problem seems to be in Psychonauts itself. While it does register keys remapped through JoyToKey, it does not accept repeated inputs without registering a release of the button you pressed.

This led me to the idea to send raw input events, which works. [...]

Banning questions (and indirectly, solutions) such as this one would not be helpful and goes against this site's purpose.


The XY Problem

The XY problem is asking about your attempted solution rather than your actual problem.

That is, you are trying to solve problem X, and you think solution Y would work, but instead of asking about X when you run into trouble, you ask about Y.

Source: Meta SE FAQ post: What is the XY problem?

Just because the OP of a question mentioned AutoHotkey, tagged their question with , or prefer an AutoHotkey solution, does not necessarily mean that the solution to their video game issue has to be AutoHotkey, or other macro software.

We don't want to make questions off-topic just because an AutoHotkey or macro software solution is preferred by the OP. "Judge questions by the problem being posed instead of the presupposed answer."

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    To be clear, I'm not proposing an all out ban. I may personally struggle with seeing how some of the already existing questions fall in scope, but some I think are ok... barely. Also, to say "AutoHotkey is a video game utility" seems false to me. It may be used for gaming purposes, but its not specifically a gaming utility. I consider a gaming utility something like Discord, something that is much more heavily based around gaming.
    – Timmy Jim Mod
    Sep 10 at 4:20
  • So that in this case the real solution is to buy a new keyboard ;)
    – Joachim
    Sep 11 at 10:36
  • If you remove the mention of AutoHotkey from How to autofire F in Autohotkey?, you'd basically be left with little more than the single line of "How can I make searching with the dowsing rods less tedious?", which can hardly be considered to have enough details to be a good question. "How do I get autofire in AutoHotKey to work Psychonauts (specifically)?", on the other hand, may be on-topic. One may argue it's an XY problem, but the question committed fully to the Y, and it can't be considered on-topic until it's edited to focus on X.
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 23 at 11:42
  • @NotThatGuy I edited the title to "How to autofire F in Psychonauts?", which reflects OP's intention, while not mentioning AutoHotkey at all. As I explained above, the question's not about AutoHotkey, and the solution doesn't need to be AutoHotKey. I fail to see how the question doesn't have enough details to be a good question. OP even mentioned the solutions they tried (but didn't work), which signals that it is a good question as it means that OP did their research. Sep 23 at 13:34

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