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We've talked about the effect of patches on old questions/answers a couple times before.

However, after recent discussion I am more concerned with questions about the effect of the patch itself.

I can see two sides to this issue:

  • On one side we have speculation before the patch (which is bad) and once the patch releases the information can become out of date (via successive patches)
  • On the other side, this is deal with a real problem. Frequently patches spurn change in game-play. This knowledge continues to persist for players who have not played since the patch, as well as for people watch replays and don't understand why the game play is different (and might get the wrong idea).

Given our dodgy track record with supporting multi-player games with patch notes (League of Legends, Call of Duty Black Ops, etc), do we think that we should support these sorts of questions on our site?

Example

  • Thank you @Jeff my spelling is atrocious. – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 15:56
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    Downvotes without comments? and when I expressed two different side of the issue? Do people not think we should talk about this? or do they just want to downvote me? – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 16:46
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    Didn't downvote, but I think your first example doesn't fit here. While the title of that question is a bit misleading, it talks about New Vegas which is a new stand alone game not a patch. – CruelCow Aug 16 '11 at 16:50
  • Disagreeing with "What should we do?" doesn't make much sense. +1 for bringing this up, @tzenes. – Matthew Read Aug 16 '11 at 16:54
  • @Matthew: Seems your votes are solely based on the titles, because I simply disagreed with "do we think that we should support these sorts of questions on our site". As I don't think we shouldn't support these sorts of questions, a down-vote has been placed. – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 16:58
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    @Tom perhaps something is lost in translatiion. The idiom "do we think we should..." does not imply yes or no, and can be used in both context. Frequently people will use it as a rhetorical question "do I think we should pass law X? No I do not." I do not mean for this question to express one side or another of the issue, as I do see both sides. In fact, if you look at one of the examples you'll even see I voted to close it at one point (and reopen it later). – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 17:05
  • @Tom That's a question. I edited in the ?, happy? – Matthew Read Aug 16 '11 at 17:06
  • @Matthew: No, it still misses unicorns; I'm not satisfied... – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 17:17
  • @tzenes: So, you basically made your question not conform to the way meta questions should be asked. Actually, if you wan't to be correct patch changes can't play a role. Hence, I'll edit your questions so that we actually have something to vote about... – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 17:18
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    @Tom "Should be ask?" Should all meta questions express an opinion? I must have missed a memo... – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 17:28
  • @tzenes: Where have I said that? The idiom "Should we allow..." does not imply an opinion and gives an incentive to vote, rather than having an incorrect title and an answer just for voting purposes. – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 17:31
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    @Tom and tzenes, can the two of you please stop the constant edit warring? Tom, your rollback just nuked a link that I added to the body of the question that was relevant to the discussion. Please take further edits on the question into consideration before you rollback completely. – FAE Aug 16 '11 at 17:36
  • @FallenAngelEyes: There's a nice side bar where links are added that are placed in comments, this avoids trivial edits that are solely for the purpose of linking related questions. Now that we are talking about related questions, the two examples here are essentially poll questions and hence shouldn't be allowed. – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 17:43
  • I'm sick and tire of people using edits to put words on my mouth. If you want to add a link or fix a spelling error, fine. Do not put an opinion I feel is inappropriate in my posts. I don't share that opinion, and there is an implicit vote form me on my own posts (hence why you can't vote on your posts). – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 20:42
  • @tzenes: As a reminder, "this site is collaboratively edited, like Wikipedia" and "If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." -- Gaming.StackExchange FAQ – user2974 Aug 17 '11 at 2:27
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I agree with Wipqozn that future patches shouldn't be on-topic, but that's a separate issue.

I think there's material differences between questions like the two listed and other patch-related questions: the former asks a general question about how the patch will affect the game as a whole, while the latter asks about a specific change and how it will affect a specific issue. If you'll forgive my Minecraft bias, the latter would consist of questions like:

But even StarCraft questions like:

These questions, I think, are uncontroversially on-topic: , , and get these questions all the time and they're pretty important for understanding the game. Games that have perpetual updates are going to ellicit questions about specific issues once new changes are rolled out.

The questions you listed are a bit more tricky: they're not too localized (if they were, all patch-related questions should be closed as well), and they're not polls: they're not asking "What's your favorite feature from 1.11?" or similar.

The problem I have with those questions is the topic scope: I don't know what aspects of the changes to those units is going to affect your gameplay. Something I might find relatively minor might be a huge deal for your play-style. I effectively have to read your mind to guess what a correct answer to the question would be.

And because of that, they're invitations to create monolithic questions about the patch. But we should be encouraging multiple questions about the specific changes and how they relate to specific problems.

That is, patches are an excellent opportunity to show the true value of Gaming.SE: that when you have a question about a change that affects you, instead of trying to participate in that 300 page thread on Battle.net, ask it here and get a custom answer about the specific issue you're having.

So a better way to reword the StarCraft II question might be, "Given change X to unit Y, in patch 1.11, how do I pull off strategy Z?" where X, Y, and Z are very specific things. That'd turn a pretty general question about all the things one might care about related to a unit to a specific question of the form we generally like.

  • btw, I remember reading this answer and then being sad that you weren't running for Mod... – tzenes Aug 18 '11 at 20:02
  • @tzenes I'm flattered, but I have my hands full with Programmers. :) – user3389 Aug 18 '11 at 20:07
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Questions before the patch should definitely not be permitted. As you said, they are speculation and are no different then questions asking about features in a game which has not yet been released.

As for asking questions after a patch has been released, I'm a little more uncertain. However, I only see one way for them to be acceptable on the site: that the question specifically references which patch it is talking about, this includes the release date of the patch and the version number (if it has one). This is to avoid any confusion on behalf of readers as to whether this is for the current patch, or a previous one.

In response to @tzenes comment I"m updating my answer:

The first question should be closed as too localized. It's asking how to prepare for specific future changes, so the moment the patch is released the question is no longer of any use to anyone. On top of that, the amount of time the question would be useful is very short to begin with.

As for the second question, this is not a question about patches, so I don't believe it applies.

As to tzenes last point, I agree that we can just edit in the patch number and release date, and so we should always edit that into patch related questions.

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    So, I provided two examples in my question. How does what you've said affect the two. Also if the patch number/date is missing can't it just be edited in? – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 16:20
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I would expect and hope that questions like this would only come after major patches. We can expect for this to not happen every week, which should keep the possibility of "patch questions" do a reasonable amount.

I agree with other members that future patches are off-topic because it is all just speculation on our part. However patch questions are on topic because that address a specific need, player strategy. Take SC2 for example, we have plenty of questions about build order or about unit counters. There are far too many of the questions for people to update these answers after every major patch. And yes I realize that not all these questions are affected by the latest patch, but some certainly area.

Now if a user is using a specific strategy and realizes that it is affected by this patch, then they have every right to ask a question about how to deal with it. This is no different than asking a build order question, it is just more localized. Additionally, patch questions generally deal with strategies or specific units, other users who read the answers get a better understanding of the game mechanics.

So in short, patch questions are very similar to already approved questions and address a specific need.

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The problem is that these types of questions are too localized to an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

There are drawbacks with keeping too localized questions:

  • Later patches could revert/implement changes changes that invalidate information.

  • The amount of people that benefit from the question is extraordinarily small and have alternatives like actually playing the game; as a result, the question is noise to almost all visitors.

Unless you rather want a community full of generic patch questions, I would suggest to close them.

Note: Balance questions have already been discouraged as they are usually not actual problems, the listed examples are essentially balance questions and they don't represent actual problems anymore.

Also note: The patch notes should be clear enough by themselves, answers are usually subjective.

  • To quote @Grace from the question you linked I agree, this isn't about patch notes and how they affect balance or game changes – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 16:44
  • @tzenes: That sounds like a quote of which the context has been removed. Both your examples are balance questions, so the note does hold. If "Why did the game developers design the mechanics in this fashion?" is not a real question, then "Why did the game developers change the mechanics in this fashion?" is not a real question either... – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 16:47
  • -Infinity. That meta post does not talk about balance at all. Balance questions that would fall under that meta post are things like "Why did the designers do X? It makes things unbalanced". Questions like "The new balance in Patch 298.2 messed up <specific strategy>, this is a problem. How can I deal with the changes?" are perfectly valid and there are many like these. One of tzene's examples has a good score and it appears you're the only one who doesn't like it, so no the note does NOT hold. The other is a speculative question and it doesn't matter that it's about balance. – Matthew Read Aug 16 '11 at 16:49
  • Neither asks "Why did the game developers change the mechanics in this fashion?", and that's not the issue under consideration as I understand it. – Matthew Read Aug 16 '11 at 16:53
  • @MathewRead: Just because you can't CTRL+F "balance" doesn't mean that it's not about balance at all; balance simply falls under "Why did the game developers design the mechanics in this fashion?". Also note that in some years I read that question as "the old balance change in patch X has messed up an outdated strategy Y; and your question "How can I deal with the changes?" is not constructive as I can simply answer "Find yourself an other strategy" or go discuss the various answers that were placed. We're not to make theory crafting homework, but we're here to learn... – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 16:56
  • @Tom You are simply flat-out wrong if you believe strategy questions are off-topic here. There are 213 open questions about it. Just because you personally could post something unconstructive (I never doubted it) doesn't mean all strategy questions, about balance or not, are bad. – Matthew Read Aug 16 '11 at 16:58
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    amount of people that benefit from the question is extraordinarily small; I am hesitant to support any position which puts restrictions on questions based on limited audience. We already allow tech support style questions (which are usually fairly limited in audience) and ITG (which is definitely limited), not to mention old an esoteric games and consoles. A question on the usage of a Famicon would be considered germain to the site, and that would have a tiny audience. – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 17:08
  • @MatthewRead: It seems you are simply not reading posts and comments, I don't see a point in further discussion with you if you keep talking besides the point. I did not mention that strategy questions are off-topic, How can I deal with the changes? is simple polling where multiple answers are considered correct and is thus not constructive. I would suggest you to read good subjective, bad subjective for that matter. I also never said all strategy questions are bad... – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 17:09
  • @tzenes: Have you considered it to be too localized within the set of StarCraft II questions? I do not support the train of thinking that anything on this site could be seen as to localized, hence you should compare the question with it's context and not with the whole site. If you disagree, then that's your choice. But all others have found it to be too localized with regards to the other StarCraft II questions on our site... – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 17:13
  • Perhaps this conversation should be switched to chat? It's getting a bit unwieldy for the comments section, especially with 3 people. – FAE Aug 16 '11 at 17:24
  • @FallenAngelEyes: Not necessary, this discussion leads nowhere anyway. Both sides have made their point, it's up for the community to decide... – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 17:27
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    @Tom if you look at the question, you'll notice I actually said I thought the questions was too localized in my answer... Regardless of locality, I am still hesitant to disallow questions based on the number of people they might help. – tzenes Aug 16 '11 at 17:29
  • @tzenes: So, a problem that is only an actual problem to me and my friend is allowed? Great! – Tamara Wijsman Aug 16 '11 at 17:40
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The two examples you gave are essentially poll questions and hence shouldn't be allowed.

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