The tag is the fourth most-used tag on the site, and currently has 263 questions: (virtually?) all of which are closed as game recommendations are categorically off topic. Many of these questions have 0 answers, which means they have no historical use. That's a lot of broken windows.

Why aren't these questions, or at least the vast majority that don't have historical value, purged with fire instead of providing false hope to the Googlers that they can ask game recommendation questions here?

  • 8
    I've waited a very long time for this day...
    – tzenes
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 15:53

4 Answers 4


All of the original 266 (we got 3 in between the start of this question and the start of the deletion, go figure) game recommendation questions have been deleted. The remaining ones are currently spared on account of not having had 2 days pass yet, as per normal deletion protocol. While problematic to our system, game recommendations aren't the kind of bottom-barrel plague scum that demands immediate deletion.

The game-rec tag is also probably going to be phased out. Remember that one of the reasons we use "*-rec" as a syntax is that it is obscure and less likely to be used. Now that we don't want the question type to come at all, the tag is meaningless as it categorizes an off-topic subject matter. We don't tag shopping-recommendations, and those are equally off-topic.

As such, please do not tag future game-rec questions as "game-rec". Please just vote to close them and direct them to the policy in our updated FAQ. The "good" questions that still have the tag will probably be swapped for some different tag.

I have always wanted to deleted them, ever since I went on the spree that closed every one of them after our policy passed. I've withheld from doing so in order to prevent a schism between the mods, mostly - it's easier to discuss matters on neutral and comfortable grounds if the situation is "Nothing has been done", compared to "I've deleted all of these, muhuhaha!". To that end, let's open fire with our cannons, shall we?

There are a number of reasons I don't believe that they should stick around.

  • "Grandfathering" things like Stack Overflow does mostly keeps broken windows, and it doesn't apply to us anyway. Unlike Stack Overflow's stuff, game recommendations have been contested as a subject since the second week of beta. We barely allowed them thanks to the constant infighting of closing-reopening, so we cannot make the same claims of "This is being kept for historical purposes of a time when they were originally allowed", because they could barely be considered such.

  • Furthering the above, nobody likes grandfathered material because it's unfair and arbitrary. What it doesn't open up for people trying to follow the trend, it just invites more and more argumentation about how things used to be.

  • Even closed, they still skew votes. The top voted questions on a site give an image of what the site is about, and while I have lots of pride for our very top questions being questions, it still fills me with disappointment that game-recs fill the #5 and #15 slots in our top questions. They used to be #3 and #5, as well, some months ago.

  • They may give the site a negative image. 9% of our site falls under closed:1, and game-rec accounts for a significant portion of it (as 4% of our site's content). There has been some voiced concern (not from the higher ups, but just on occasions such here) that our apparent close rate is high. Removing the game recs, and calculating from the adjusted final totals, brings us down to a more palatable 5%. And it also removes the presence of an entire tag devoted to closed questions.

  • If a closed question isn't sticking around for google juice (namely for duplicates), it's generally assumed that it's viable for people to vote-to-reopen. As has been argued in various Meta discussions, game recommendations cannot be repaired without making a completely different question - they always fall under either itemized lists or shopping recommendations, which are both off-topic.

  • We don't need to illustrate examples of off-topic questions by keeping them around. This firstly requires that they have to see the example. And this is traditionally done by one of the community linking to it. Why link to a bad question when you should be able to link to our charter (AKA our FAQ) that should clearly state that they aren't allowed? There's nothing personal about the FAQ, and we don't need to walk all incoming users through the justifications of the rule which took months of infighting to establish. That history is really the only advantage that showing them the question, rather than the rule, would accomplish, and I am not sure it should even be considered an advantage in that respect.

  • We have since agreed, in placing the no-rec policy, that the value of these questions is not a value that Gaming Stack Exchange is intending to preserve. Harsh as it sounds, we have no obligation or benefit to keeping them alive for the reference of others. We implicate value to these questions if we retain them for reference (as, after all, that's what our primary trade is). This contradicts our declaration of them as off-topic.

  • To that point, if people are permalinking to us for our closed game recs, that means we're being used as a resource for game recs. Any permalinks that we break in this process means less people coming here explicitly under the impression of getting game recommendations. It's data that we do not want to carry, nor imply that we want to carry.

Concluding all of that, I'm pretty much still inclined towards their deletion.

  • Do you have any examples of people stating gaming is the harshest modersted site? I haven't heard that before.
    – Macha
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 16:11
  • 1
    @Macha I'd love to find the exact quote which I came to first hear of that sentiment (it even predates this question, in fact), but I'm having difficulty locating it amidst the hundreds of search results. I mostly see it in passing within comments and chat moreso than as any contentious subject. Until I can find that proof again, I'll withdraw the specificity of that statement, but I do still think that having so many closed hurts our image.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 16:34
  • 1-2. There's no grandfathering going on; all questions, new and old alike, are closed, and none of it, new and old, has been actively sought for for deletion (...not by me). 3-4. Meh, are we trying to be a great Q&A site or a Q&A site with great statistics? ~ The other points are more solid. Re schism: my points explains why I haven't done that, but if you decide to plow a hour into hiding those ~300 questions... meh, more power to you. :)
    – badp
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 17:45
  • 1
    @fail Well, I enjoy taking the safer precautions for these things. I don't particularly expect schisms to develop, but it's simply more comfortable and less likely to happen when people discuss actions before taking them, when such luxuries can be afforded.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 17:54
  • So you move to delete everything tagged [game-rec] with no exceptions, versus leaving older questions that are subjectively "good" but have since been determined as off-topic (what I suggest)? It's cleaner, but I don't like the idea of essentially destroying content and knowledge.
    – Nick T
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 19:53
  • @NickT It is not a very friendly choice, and from the heart, it feels harmful to remove what can be useful knowledge. However, keeping specifically the larger and answered game recs is both contradictory and polarizing - we cannot profess them to have value on the site if we wish to retain any defense for our policy blocking future questions of the type. There is no significant distinction between what answers these old ones did get, versus what answers new ones could get if we didn't close them. And ultimately, it could prove worse than our current situation.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 20:00
  • 6
    So are we go for the destruction of all [game-rec]? because I have a bottle of champaign here just waiting...
    – tzenes
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 5:36
  • don't you think it will make it harder for the moderators. If you don't leave any precedence, people will keep asking similar questions and asking "why was my question removed?". At least now they will see a similar question that was closed and stop. ( I don't believe that very many people look at the FAQ ) Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 5:46
  • @bronzebeard As I explained in the answer, people are equally unlikely to look at the example questions as they are to look at the FAQ - we have to link them somewhere. I'd rather we link them the rule than purposely keep content we don't want - it'll be no difference to moderation.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 10:35
  • I guess I didn't word it clearly. Let's say i ask "I like mass effect which other games can I play" and the mods close it. I think no one else will ask the same thing again, seeing as it would appear while they are asking the question. But I agree with you, it will be same amount of work for the mods and the other arguments far out weigh this factor. Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 10:44
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    @bronzebeard It's far more likely that people will see the similar suggestions and think "Oh, someone asked about a different game, mine should be fine". If no results are returned, I imagine it gives less of an impression that we allow them.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 10:45
  • @grace affirmative Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 11:09
  • Looks like the game-rec questions have been massively downsized (by you, Grace Note?): there are now 92 questions instead of 263+. [status-inprogress] or [status-completed]? Also, thank you if it was you or thank you deletion fairy if it wasn't!
    – user3389
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 17:11
  • @MarkTrapp It's in progress, the decision based on the responses from everyone on this question and elsewhere. I was going to notify everyone when it was done so that we could share tzenes' bottle. ♪
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 17:12
  • @tzenes Break that bottle open. ♪
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:34

Agreed, in order to prevent tons of broken-windows that Google-goers see, they should be deleted. The vast majority of these questions have zero content because they are closed so fast, so are completely and utterly useless, other than opportunities to up your flag weight or use pre-made snippets (granted, I'm cheating a bit with that query). Keeping some of the older questions with good answers would be fine, but our current zero-answer questions should be axed.

New visitors to the site may (probably will) overlook why similar questions were closed (or what [closed] even means), as well as the tag-wiki explanation for . There really should be some very succinct pointers in the "Ask a Question" page; how about in the sidebar, above or under the formatting help mentioning "gaming recommendations, and list questions are off-topic for this site", etc.

Additionally, key words should be added to the subjective-question-detect-o-matic-meter like "suggest", "recommend", and "similar", that trigger a little red banner to pop up and emphasize the point.

Finally, I don't quite understand the reason for having a tag that may as well be a synonym for to the point where some people wanted said tag.

  • We can't edit the Ask Question page, the sidebar, the formatting help or the subjective-question-detect-o-matic-meter.
    – badp
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 9:28

The only value I see in these questions is that if / when the game-rec area51 suggestion ever goes into beta, they can be used for seeding that site.

Otherwise I completely agree with Nick T - especially with

The vast majority of these questions have zero content because they are closed so fast

Adding zero content pages to the internet is a Bad Thing™. Since I believe deleted questions can also be used to seed another site, I support that meanwhile we should delete those questions.

My only caveat is, as badp said, they could no longer be used as an example of what not to post... still, I have a feeling deleting them will lower the amount of new game-rec questions.

  • I have the feeling people will continue asking them just like they have in the past, just they'll think they're being the first or something.
    – badp
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 9:26
  • 1
    As someone who's committed to game-rec, I'm not sure that keeping them around would be as helpful to that site as other questions would be for seeding other new sites. Some of those questions might not even qualify for whatever rules game-rec has to use, and the ones that do could be quickly replaced in most cases. Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 15:40
  • Additionally, Stack Exchange, Inc. doesn't like to seed sites indiscriminately anymore.
    – user3389
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 16:17
  • @Mark: Argh, don't remind me: meta.sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/20/…
    – Stu Pegg
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 17:34
  1. To provide evidence to users that it's not something personal; you can't make an exmple out of deleted questions
  2. Because the system will purge them automatically for us anyway; our time is better spent on new content
  3. Because game-recs by their own nature can't really be googled for.
  4. Because is an horrible idea, see the other question about meta-tags.
  5. Because not all game-recs are content-free. /todo: look at numbers when I get back home/
  6. Because deleting questions and breaking permalinks is something I'm not personally comfortable with doing light-heartedly.
  7. Because, if done manually, it would clutter the 10k tools.
  • 5
    You don't need 263 questions (4% of the total) to make an example, the system doesn't delete questions automatically (who told you that?), game recommendations sure can be googled for, nobody's recommending replacing [game-rec] with [closed], 0 answer closed questions are completely devoid of content, and seriously, your primary concern is permalinks on 0 answer questions?
    – user3389
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 6:15
  • @Mark Using site: is cheating, face the facts. :P
    – badp
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 9:12
  • @fail badp I added site: to make it clear they're indexed, but if you remove it, the fifth result for me on the first page is a closed [game-rec].
    – user3389
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 9:19
  • Also, @Mark, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/78048/… is not specific to closed questions but still is in place.
    – badp
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 9:22
  • @fail badp interesting, but the criteria laid out is so restrictive as to be meaningless for this issue, and at a minimum won't come into effect for another 2.5 months.
    – user3389
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 9:26
  • Better to clutter the 10k tools when there are so few 10k users than. The longer you wait, the worse that pain will be. Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 5:05

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