Some people seem to think that since this question is about the security of Steam vs. non-gaming software, it's on topic. But the question is asking a general security question, as Arda Xi put in the comments: "This is really just a question asking for the advantages of two-factor authentication."

I believe this is fully outside the scope of what we should be answering here on gaming. This question, at its core, has nothing to do with Steam, and therefore nothing to do with gaming.

If this question is allowed, where do we draw the line?

  • "What are the pros and cons of using a strong or weak password in my gaming platform?"
  • "What are the pros and cons of riding a bicycle while playing games on my gaming platform?"
  • "What are the pros and cons of eating salad while I'm using my gaming platform?"

Ask about options in the platform, fine. That is within our realm of reasonable questions. But asking about completely unrelated topics that you happen to also encounter while using the platform should be off topic.

  • 1
    This question and its answers has provided perhaps the most unique form of "comment war" I've seen yet.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 14:05
  • Also of relevance, though some might not want to dredge it up, let's not forget a previous situation involving a question related to gaming but itself dealing with aspects that are not about the gaming relation itself. I'm not going to say whether the relationship between gaming and the question is the same between these two examples, but that we may consider recalling why we came to the conclusions we did in the past.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 14:11
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    I really did not want to start a "war" when i had this question in mind. However the main reason i asked here is because it's Steam and Steam is a gaming platform, Therefore where on the SE sites are the most Steam users? That is why i asked the question here.
    – Stingervz
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 6:14
  • If you have a question that is off-topic for a site but you think that site's community is likely to be able to answer it, consider going to that site's chat and asking there. Commented May 9, 2014 at 20:20

3 Answers 3



I think Nick summarized it well in his comment:

[...] it is a question about a feature of a gaming platform that end users must make decisions about. Decidedly on-topic for Gaming.SE. Sure, it could go on other sites, but there is no rule that says sites must have zero overlap.

I wholeheartedly agree, with both sentences. At the end of the day many gamers might be interested in an answer to this question specifically where Steam is concerned, and I think we would all do good if we would relax a little and answer the question.

To sum it up, here's a use-case: Zecharia is a heavy Steam user and a gaming.SE user, but doesn't know anything special about computer security. Zecharia just came upon that dialog box in Steam. Zecharia wants to ask our community "should I use it or not?" but he thinks it's a bit personal and subjective, so he words it in a more general form: "what are the pros and cons of using it?". I think we should give poor Zecharia an answer, which in the very least could be a very general guideline and a link to somewhere which can provide more details about the theory behind this stuff.

  • So where do you draw the line then? How do we answer this question but not "I was eating a salad while using Steam the other day and it was so delicious. What are the pros and cons of doing that?" Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 14:24
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    @Strix I don't know, common sense? I need a more problematic example than something as clear as salad-eating, in order to better understand the problem. And in the meanwhile, I really don't want to lock Zecharia's question out.
    – Oak
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:03
  • These both have the same problem, though. "Random web security question while using Steam" is ok and "Random health and fitness question while using Steam" is not? So if web security is on topic for gaming, why not fitness? Why not biking? Why not hang gliding? What else can we throw into the gaming melting pot of topics? Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:06
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    @Strix I disagree with you here. When Steam opens a dialog box asking me something about its settings I do consider it to be (at least somewhat) gaming-related. I can see a very clear distinction between this and salad-eating, though I can't really word it. I mean maybe I'm wrong, but I really do need a more borderline example in order to understand the problem. I guess you see the discussed question as borderline while I don't...
    – Oak
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:08
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    @Oak From my question: "What are the pros and cons of using a strong or weak password in my gaming platform?" or even better "Why is [whatever gaming platform] telling me my password is too weak?" or even better "What are some tips for helping me remember the password I made that had to include crazy characters?" None of these have anything to do with gaming, but are related to gaming platforms. Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:12
  • @Strix those are better! +1. I especially liked the "tips for remembering passwords". Definitely off-topic. But you know what? If Steam opened a dialog window and asked "do you want to enforce X on your password in order it to be more secure", I would consider a question about it kosher. Even if X is a security term which isn't really related to gaming. I do agree, though. The line here could be said to be vague.
    – Oak
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:19
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    I'm fine with keeping this question open, as long as we define some kind of concrete line that we're not allowed to cross, rather than a vague one based on gut feeling and personal bias. Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:21
  • i like how you replaced my name with Zecharia ;)
    – Stingervz
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 11:59

Off-topic Grey Area

To quote my own comment :)

It's a Question about a feature of a delivery platform that happens to deliver games. If they switched to delivering music downloads, or movies, the Question wouldn't change. Meaning it has nothing to do with games.

It's related to the programming-on-a-boat question.

Update - okay, say there's a continuum:

off-topic <--> grey area <--> on-topic

I don't agree that this question fully falls into the right side - but based on the arguments presented, I'll admit it's not in the off-topic side, putting it in the gray area. :)

  • 2
    "If they switched to delivering music downloads, or movies, the Question wouldn't change" - agreed, and neither would the answers. And still, as of right now, the question is specifically about Steam, and Steam is most commonly used for gaming. Remember we also embrace PS3 questions even if they deal with stuff like media streaming, not just gaming - simply because the PS3 is most commonly used as a gaming device. See meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/96/…
    – Oak
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 14:03
  • As per the Q&A about the PS3, this argument is wrong.
    – Nick T
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:06
  • 1
    The point of this question is try to draw a line through the gray area so that there is no more gray area. Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 18:52
  • @StrixVaria, okay, if I had to move it to one side, I guess I'd go with on-topic. My personal definition of "gray area" includes "up to the majority of posters to decide if the site should cover it", and so far, most votes seem to be for on-topic.
    – Cyclops
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 23:26

I believe that, until a concrete line can be defined, this question is still off-topic. As soon as someone suggests a concrete line that makes sense and will place this question into the on-topic side, we can re-open the question under the new rule, which I will gladly help enforce.

I just can't imagine how to define that line yet.

  • 2
    These downvotes are like saying "I like the vague gray area we have now. Let us continue to be blind." Great. Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 2:49
  • 3
    No, they are saying that they disagree with you. Much more reasonably, they believe the question is on-topic. I don't know why seem to assume people are stupid ("Let us continue to be blind") just because they downvote you. Commented May 12, 2011 at 23:00

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