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This meta question comes as a result of some revived discussion on the following question. It's not a high priority because it's not a lot of attention drawn to it, but there's kind of middling levels of believing that it's off-topic material.

https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/4761/how-do-i-change-my-leagues-draft-date-in-espn-fantasy-football

Sports video games are, well, by virtue of being video games, they are on-topic. But do fantasy sports classify as video games? If so, is there anything we need to be mindful of about them? The above may be specifically about a website, but I'm thinking future concerns of fantasy sports in general.

If we can classify them as video games, then it's all the more power to us. But if we don't, then it'd be wise to figure that out now. I don't know much anything about fantasy sports, so I'm on neither side of this debate. For those of us who are familiar with the genre, though, what are your thoughts on this?

  • So are we going to get a decision on this (and the larger issue of web apps that support games)? – bwarner May 18 '11 at 2:00
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To me these applications seem to be a web application to facilitate a game which otherwise does not require a computer. In this way, they seem more like software to help administer a chess tournament. Since web applications to help administer games are outside of our range, and since we wouldn't answer questions about fantasy sports without a web application, I think applications that administer fantasy sports leagues should be off-topic.

Perhaps a better example, there are web applications for playing the game Diplomacy. You enter your moves, it does all the calculations and tells everyone the results. This is a game, and it is being played through a computer. But would we consider questions about how to use such an application as being on-topic?

Question about Diplomacy = Off-topic (Board & Card Games)

Question about a web application = Off-topic (Web Apps)

Question about a Diplomacy web application = On topic?!?

  • Devil's advocate perhaps, but isn't asking about the application specifically roughly the only thing we can ask about board games? – Grace Note May 4 '11 at 14:37
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    @Grace That questions doesn't seem to have an accepted answer, so I don't know if we ever decided that was OK. I just think we're setting a weird precedent by saying that a game that would normally be off-topic for us suddenly becomes on-topic because a website becomes involved. I would feel differently if it were a commercial game (like Duels of the Planeswalkers), but I don't think we should be in the business of handling all web apps that have something to do with types of games that we would otherwise not handle. – bwarner May 4 '11 at 14:47
  • An interesting perspective. I suggest putting that out there on that question, since we're bound to get more and more board-game questions now and then. – Grace Note May 4 '11 at 14:49
  • @Grace I added an answer to that question which raises this topic. – bwarner May 4 '11 at 15:09
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    Gonna accept this one. I kinda mostly agree with Dave, but I feel our policy is better built on the more solid grounds of "Does it belong here" than "It should go elsewhere". Web Apps was ambivalent about the question when I asked, so I'd rather not shoulder all future such questions on them. – Grace Note May 24 '11 at 19:57
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The one thing that makes me uneasy about fantasy leagues is that they're some elaborate form of betting on real life situations. Giving actual gameplay advice for such games would require expertise of the meat-and-bones sports themselves.

Does that mean we should close them as off-topic? No, it doesn't; but they're not 100% on-topic either.

  • Just a user experience point - having a question migrated to another site is not considered as off-putting by people that experience it as having a question closed. There is a middle way between closing/migration and doing nothing, and it's leaving a comment suggesting that the asker check the FAQ and observe kindly that the question is perhaps off-topic for this site. – Warren P May 6 '11 at 13:40
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To me, until (unless) sports.SE makes it to beta, the best site for these questions is webapps.SE.

Web Apps - Stack Exchange is for expert and advanced users of web applications. If your question generally covers …

  • Using Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google, or any other website which behaves like an application

(emphasis mine)

Fantasy sports websites are more like applications than games when you think about how someone interacts with the site. There are also some websites like whatifsports.com and mmobaseball.com that offer sports simulation games, and while they're possibly more interactive than things we know to be games, they're not interactive to the point that they seem to be actual video games. (A fantasy site will never give you the opportunity to click buttons to swing at pitches or kick field goals; a sports simulation site might eventually let you play as if you were playing MLB 2K11 or whatever, but none that I know of currently allow that.)

However, badp has a good point about domain knowledge: few of these questions can be answered well without deep knowledge of the sport in question, and as such it may be the case that Web Apps didn't intend to answer these questions either. If that is the case, then perhaps they are simply off-topic.

  • The way you start this answer is all wrong. It's not our job at Gaming or even in all of StackExchange to point you somewhere where you can get the answer to any question you could possibly muster. It's the job of each specialized community to supply answers to questions pertaining to the expertise of that community. Trying to find another site to shunt these questions to is the wrong approach. Identifying why it's not applicable to our site would be a much sounder argument. – Invader Skoodge May 5 '11 at 20:18
  • @Strix, point taken ... I'm certainly not opposed to reordering my answer. The idea I wanted to express was "I feel that they're off-topic here, and might or might not be on-topic at webapps.SE, depending on how they feel about these questions." Something like what tzenes answered here, but not worded as well, I think. – Dave DuPlantis May 5 '11 at 20:35
  • If you replace "sport in question" with "game in question" it applies to every game. If you want to answer expert questions about, let's say, Skyrim, you must have expert domain knowledge of Skyrim. I don't see how requiring expert knowledge is anything special. – corsiKa Aug 7 '13 at 15:15
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I think web based Fantasy Sports are video games.

My concern with this question is that it is too localized in time. Most fantasy sites are updated at least once a year and once they are updated there is no way back to the previous version. That means any answer given and marked as correct will most likely become obsolete within 12 months or so as the sites are updated.

  • Is that any different than sites like Die2Nite? – badp May 4 '11 at 13:47
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    If this logic was correct then Team Fortress 2 questions would be offtopic because it's updated all the time. – Matthew Read May 4 '11 at 13:50
  • @fail badp - That is a bit of a pandora's box I guess but the difference I see is that every year that I play fantasy football the layout and the site changes and the question is specifically about where something is in the menu. The fantasy sites are also down or out of use for a large portion of the year too. So for 6 months of the year the question is irrelevant as well. At least with a site like Die2Nite you don't know if your answer will become incorrect with the next update or ever. – Ben Hoffman May 4 '11 at 13:55
  • Probably more to the point would be comparing it with MMOs like WoW or EVE which can easily invalidate whole swaths of (previously) perfectly valid questions when patch X.Y comes out, let alone expansions. – Nick T May 4 '11 at 14:42

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