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This recent question (among others) is reminiscent of a game-rec question, in that it produces a list of subjective + localized answers. Similarly, these questions seem to be the "Is there a game where I can eat my shoes and enjoy it too?" equivalent for mod-recs.

Should we continue to allow these mod suggestion questions now that we have a site policy against recommendations? Why or why not?

3

I think the answer is that it depends - on whether it's a question about how to change/extend the gameplay or whether it's a question about solving a specific set of problems. Asking "can anyone recommend a mod for game X" is very, very close to a game-rec and should be treated the same way. Asking "is there a mod which solves bug X", however, should be on-topic - yes, it can turn into a list if there's more than one mod that answers the question, but still it's a concrete problem with definite, non-subjective solutions.

What remains are questions in-between, such as "is there a mod which adds feature X to the game". On the one hand it's a bit close to a game-rec - asking about what mods fulfill a certain set of features is like asking what games fulfills a certain set of features, which we don't allow. On the other hand, it's very close to the question "is there a way to allow X in the game, maybe through mods?", which should be on-topic in my opinion. So I'd say these questions should remain open, but carefully scrutinized to make sure X is something concrete.

In other words, "is there a way to add a crosshair to my FPS, maybe through a mod" is legitimate; "is there a way to add more teamwork to my game through a mod" isn't.

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There's a point here that there's multiple definitions for "mod". The kind of mod that basically transforms gameplay to a new game (like the Doom one) is just asking for a new game, even if it is asking for a specific game. This falls in the category of game recommendations.

So what about mods that simply alter gameplay?

The recent Morrowind example you gave boils down to a very vague problem at its core. "I want a better experience". But what defines this? We don't - that's a subjective and argumentative point, that's why we don't cover general questions of "what is the best X". This has been policy even before our game rec policy was in place. This also affects a couple of your other examples, but not all. So let's get to listing mods in general.

Questions shouldn't ask for lists of things, whether it's for a video game or not. We've highlighted all the reasons why these lists are bad in the past - high maintenance that never gets done, poor quality turnout, scale problems, and values dissonance. Let's not get sidetracked on that for now.

Rather, one should try to ask about how to solve a problem or address a concern. As with how this plays out on many other sites, applicable mods and utilities will naturally arrive in the form of answers. These will actually provide conclusion to the question, and that's what helps them become acceptable. Consider how gameplay recording went - the appearance is like a list, but the key component is that it still isn't a list. FRAPS, the top voted answer, concludes the question.

So, in a way, I agree with Oak's middle paragraph - it depends on how concretely defined the problem/concern to be solved/addressed is. And the examples he uses at the end work for me, too. If it's something that can be defined easily (group quests by zone, add a crosshair), then it is acceptable. If it is difficult or subjective to define ("improved" graphics, "add more teamwork"), then it is not really acceptable.

  • As usual, the community here is anal about every little detail. That works for sites like StackOverflow and ServerFault - but not here. I guess I won't be using gaming anymore. :) – Sergio Boombastic Feb 22 '11 at 15:36
  • @Sergio Why does it work for SO but not here? I think Grace makes a very good case for why it does work here, but I'm interested to hear your counter argument. Are you saying "Its OK to break the rules, just don't do it too much"? – bwarner Feb 22 '11 at 21:27
  • @bwarner: I'm saying that specific rule needs to be tossed out in this exchange site. Why? For one, questions on gaming subjects have no definite answer unless they are very simple like, "What's the maximum amount of lives I can have in Super Mario?" - take for example my question about the Morrowind mods. That is a VERY useful question and one that would be a hit on Google, yet it was closed because it was against a rule that shouldn't be there in the first place. If this website is aiming to be used, it shouldn't bar questions that don't have a binary, black or white answer. contd. – Sergio Boombastic Feb 22 '11 at 22:04
  • @bwarner: While questions on programming do have black or white (either the code works or not), gaming have a wide gamut of opinions, suggestions and experiences. That rule needs to be tossed out ASAP. – Sergio Boombastic Feb 22 '11 at 22:05
  • @bwarner: Example of a question with no black or white answer that depends on experiences: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/17052/… - Why is that allowed but not the Morrowind one? Until this rule is removed I'm afraid this site is kind of pointless, kind of a mixture between Wikipedia and Reddit. – Sergio Boombastic Feb 22 '11 at 22:08
  • @Sergio I think you've misinterpretted the rule from which this policy is derived. It's not "There can only be one definite answer", and it never has been, not even on Stack Overflow. It's "Individual answers should attempt to solve the problem on their own". Each individual strategy to a question may be different, so they are different answers, but those individual answers provide a conclusion to the question based on their success. When you ask for a list, one item on that list isn't a conclusion. A single qualifying game or mod is not a complete answer to a list question. – Grace Note Feb 22 '11 at 22:12
  • For the questions we allow, will such answers be the conclusion for every reader? No, not necessarily, and that's why we allow multiple people to post answers in the first place. But at least, when someone asks for a strategy, the individual answers are strategies. When someone asks for a list, the individual answers are not lists. And on top of that, maintenance of the lists are poor, we've had over 6 months to understand the issues. – Grace Note Feb 22 '11 at 22:16
  • @Grace: List questions exist on pretty much all of the SE sites. "Extensions for Visual Studio", etc. But if that's how the majority of the community here feel, then I can't really change that. I guess this community isn't for me and I'll join GiantBomb or someplace else. – Sergio Boombastic Feb 22 '11 at 22:30
  • @Sergio I'm not happy to see anyone leave, but I can't stop you if you're committed. Nevertheless, I hope that you'll stick around anyway, and make use of the resources that we do handle. – Grace Note Feb 22 '11 at 22:35
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I closed the list because it's essentially a recommendation and, as Grace notes, we have no satisfying technical way to accomodate them.

Feel free to comment linking to your mod database of choice, maybe calling out a couple of examples.


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