The specific question that brings up this issue is asking for a recommendation for a game-based website.

From the answers it's gotten so far, it seems to have all the same issues as game recommendation questions, yet no one is voting to close it but me. Do we not extend our recommendation ruling to other topics? Am I missing the point of this question?

3 Answers 3


I'll start by pointing out a discussion about what actually is a game-rec. Which points out that the major things to look out for are actually not really to do with games; they're about being one of:

  • A shopping recommendation
  • An itemized list

What makes game recommendations so susceptible to this pattern is the fact that non-game-rec recommendation questions can be transformed into a problem. I'll repeat the example from there, the "gameplay recording question". You can ask it as "How can I record examples of my gameplay" because that's a concrete problem that you're experiencing.

Does it get multiple answers in that scenario? Yes, but that's no different than any other normal question that can get multiple answers. What makes it effective is that these are answers, not mere items on a list. And that the solution to the question, as a whole, is not the whole collection of answers, but can be found in a singular answer. It's what makes it different than one-per-answer, strange as it sounds.

So when it comes to a non-game recommendation question, check to see if it falls under the categories of being a shopping recommendation or an itemized list (or any other problem question, while you're at it). If it does, see if it can be transformed into anything better that can serve as a practical problem that you can face. If it cannot be transformed, then until it does get patched up, it is probably something that should be closed.

For your specific example question, one isolates the problem at hand - which appears to be "How can I track the games I play?", to be very abstracting. Make the question that, phrase it away from being "What sites are there that do X?". Then judge on the merits of that core question (whatever better interpretation of it you can make than that ill abstraction I made) whether it belongs or not.

  • Your abstraction wasn't ill; in fact, I'd say it's the only appropriate one.
    – Mana
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 14:51
  • So also this question should be probably closed?
    – Drake
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 12:31
  • along with almost any question that comes up with a search for "build order". Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:09
  • and most of the questions with the [website] tag. Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:10
  • @Ren Build order questions actually are being discussed for very much the same reasoning that we want to avoid having them fall into the same pitfalls. As for [website], well, I think we can try to save them in the same fashion we can try to save yours.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:18
  • @Grace I wish you the best of luck in policing every question of this form. As is, it seems questions like this are closed arbitrarily, since the format for asking these questions is not well understood, esoteric, not explicitly noted anywhere, or doesn't exist, and whether or not these questions are moderated at all is essentially random (as pointed out in my examples above). Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:34
  • @Ren We are ultimately a community. We grow strongest by working together. Which is why I keep suggesting discussion. Certainly, I am always willing to make harsh decisions that have to be made. But at the end of the day, this is the Gaming Stack Exchange, not my personal Q&A repository. So if we're appearing as arbitrary in our handling of these kinds of questions, perhaps it approaches a time that we need to sit down, try to collect them all, and come up with a better conclusion on what to do, what to open, what to close.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:39
  • @Grace Yeah, that is kind of what I was trying to say. When a search for "Build order" brings up 1248 questions, converting or closing all of them seems like a losing battle, and closing only some of them makes the guidelines seem arbitrary (even if they aren't). Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:57
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    @Ren There are only 49, actually. Your search is getting everything with either build or order, which includes questions like this one. Still a fair number, but far lower than a whole fifth or so of questions on the entire site.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 19:08

I think it is worth noting the following:

Question on what IDE to use with Python

iphone dev resources

Game engine recommendation

This was just with a cursory search, but there are plenty of other examples. I mentioned this in the response to my original question, but the rules in /gaming seem to differ from the main stack overflow site. That may be the intention, but it should be noted in the question guidelines if this is the case.

Also, these recommendation types of questions are the source of some of the most useful information on the sites, so take that as you will.


After the question has been edited, I think it is now definitely a concrete problem, albeit with multiple valid solutions. In any case I think that currently this question is incredibly useful, and it's a damn shame it got close.

I will also argue that it is not different - or actually better - than the following open questions:

These are all essentially recommendation questions, though they are not game-recommendation ones. If they remain open, I think that the question in question here should also be open; otherwise they should probably be closed. And personally, though some of the above questions are iffy, I find others (especially the first 3) to be really, really useful. Do we really want to close these kinds of questions? I certainly don't...

  • 1
    I think that there is some overlap between "questions useful to people who visit this site" and "questions that are off-topic for this site." To be honest, I'm not sure that the questions you list are different in concept from "Are there any games like X?" I agree that they are useful to know, but do they belong here? Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 20:44
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    @Dave other stackexchange sites seem to be willing to accept the occasional useful question of this sort.
    – Oak
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 21:01
  • 1
    Obviously, I believe that they should all be closed. The only reason I didn't start topics arguing against them is because they slipped past my view. I'll go through and cast my votes now. Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 21:46
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    I just voted to close all but one of them too (one I apparently voted to close a while ago, but my vote expired and I can't vote again). Saying "but these are open so that must mean X is on-topic" is the worst argument one can make in support of keeping a question open.
    – user3389
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 17:00
  • Thanks for the support, Oak. All the negative things about game rec questions obviously don't apply to all the rec questions listed here (lack of complete subjectivity stands out), and closing all of these questions would definitely reduce the value of gaming.se. Commented Jul 16, 2011 at 1:20
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    @Mark Trapp I don't think that is his argument. The argument is that they have value, so closing them just because they are in a format similar to other questions that don't is a move that negatively impacts the quality of the site. The point of comparing it to all those other threads is just that the site should maintain consistency. Commented Jul 16, 2011 at 1:27
  • @Ren the subtext behind this question is that they don't provide value for the same reasons regular game recommendation questions don't provide value. The counter argument presented is "well, we have a bunch of other similar questions open, so..." which is a bad argument: the obvious counter is "yes, they should be closed, too. That's the point."
    – user3389
    Commented Jul 16, 2011 at 6:03
  • @Mark The last two sentences in Oak's post state the opposite of the subtext you are seeing. He says straight up that he thinks they have value and that he doesn't think they should be removed. Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 0:07
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    @Mark in case I was unclear, I am making two arguments here: (1) there are similar questions, so for consistency's sake, either all need to be closed or this needs to remain open; and (2) my personal opinion is that they should all remain open, with some of them even being real gems. Either way I was not saying that the question in question must be on-topic because the other questions are open.
    – Oak
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 9:49

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