questions often contain words such as "suggest", "similar", "recommend". Can we have a notice displayed when question titles that look like game-recs that explains why we don't have them on the site? At the very least a notice when someone adds the game-rec tag would be good.

I can see it working something like this (perhaps with different graphics):

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  • Wouldn't it trip on recommendation questions that aren't about games? – badp Aug 31 '11 at 11:51
  • It depends whether the cost of a few false positives outweighs the benefit of (hopefully) reduced game-rec questions. – fredley Aug 31 '11 at 13:08
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    @badp Aren't all recommendations off-topic anyway? Main site FAQ under disallowed topics: "Shopping advice and recommendations". – Invader Skoodge Aug 31 '11 at 13:14
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    @Strix "What strategy would you recommend to..." – badp Aug 31 '11 at 13:26
  • @badp Still a subjective question that could at least be reworded to "What's the best strategy in [situation]" – fredley Aug 31 '11 at 13:27
  • @badp I'm convinced. I'm not particularly fond of this feature idea anyway. – Invader Skoodge Aug 31 '11 at 13:28
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    I agree that there are reasons that we don't want to yell at the user in case they are asking a legitimate question. Perhaps, though, the system could automatically flag questions that might be game recs? That way, mods can be lower the flag if it's determined a valid question, or mods can quickly find and close questions that are not valid. – Dave McClelland Aug 31 '11 at 13:46
  • @Dave, I think false positives for mods are enough of a problem when they're manually generated; automatically generating flags doesn't seem like it would help, especially if there are enough of us who recognize *-rec questions to flag/vote to close now. – Dave DuPlantis Aug 31 '11 at 14:10
  • @Dave Perhaps flagging isn't the right answer, either. Maybe lazers could be modified to post a "Possible game rec" warning on questions as it posts them in chat? I don't know – Dave McClelland Aug 31 '11 at 14:14
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    @Dave This rather defeats the point (preventing them even being asked). They usually get caught and closed quickly, but it would be nice if they appeared less, or not at all. – fredley Aug 31 '11 at 14:31
  • @fredley I agree, but I worry that false positive detections would lead to scaring users away from asking valid questions that they think are off topic. It seems that what we would gain from not having to close a couple questions a week isn't worth the tradeoff of potentially scaring away users from asking good questions – Dave McClelland Aug 31 '11 at 15:04

I think it is very important when considering a system like this to decide EXACTLY what problem you are trying to solve. A lot of the comments focus on making it "easier" to identify or close game-rec questions. I don't think that is a problem we have. It is very easy to identify game-rec questions, and they get closed very quickly.

If the problem you want to solve is eliminating the hard feelings when a new user posts a game-rec question and it gets closed immediately, then you would have to solve it before the question actually gets posted, as in the original suggestion. If done well, this does seem like something that could help solve a real problem. However, I'm not sure if it can be done well.

  • Is it even possible to have site specific question recognition (similar to what we already have for subjective questions)?

  • If it is possible, can we make specific enough to avoid lots of annoying false positives? You can't just look for the word "recommend". You'd need to look for phrases like "game similar to", "games that are like", "What games are like", etc.

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    The first bullet point could be possible. I have severe doubts on the latter one, though. String token checks have never been very effective and are rife with mistakes. You need to read these things to detect them, and honestly, that's not something I will trust a machine to do for a long time. – Grace Note Aug 31 '11 at 19:54

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