On my question asking about game recommendations, the user random asked how such a question can have a single, correct answer.

It's a very good question, in my opinion, so I bring it here - especially since it is relevant to all questions tagged [game-recommendations], which is already one of the more popular tags.

My opinion is that random is correct, yet I believe that behavior should be allowed:

  • The stack exchange engine lends itself well to these kinds of questions.
  • One of the reasons I'm excited about this site is the ability to give and receive game recommendations - that was actually my "comment" field when I committed to the beta.
  • According to the popularity of this tag, I am far from being alone in this opinion.

But I can definitely understand random's stance, so I'd like to reach some community policy.

  • Could you please add a mirror of the post for non-10k reputation users? I know it's several years since the post got deleted, but I'd like to see it. Thanks!
    – user143228
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 17:54
  • @RudolfL.Jelínek Why? It's not a particularly useful question nor has it received particularly useful answers.
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 18:36
  • It would be nice to see what's this Meta post about :)
    – user143228
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 18:44
  • @RudolfL.Jelínek it's about game-recommendation questions as a whole; this specific one was "can you recommend something similar to King's Bounty - The Legend and to Heroes of Might and Magic".
    – Oak
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 19:13

7 Answers 7


After some thought and discussion with other users on chat, my opinion is that in general, these sort of questions should be allowed, as long as

  1. They are not too broad
  2. They are marked as community wiki.

Not too broad - because just a list of all RTSs doesn't add anything. Many other sites catalog games according to genres. But a list of all RTSs that involve space-pirates and mutant t-rexes - that's something else, and finding these games is something the gaming community excels at. I think that if a question has hundreds of potential answers it should be considered too broad and closed, but if the scope is smaller it should be OK.

Community wiki - because

  1. These are the sort of questions that are likely to evolve over time.
  2. Making them CW will prevent them from being too common, no rep-farming.
  3. It has been traditional for any "list of X" questions to be CW if they are deemed appropriate to the site.
  4. And finally, it will help offset the fact that the criteria above - "too broad" - is subjective in the first place.
  • 3
    Completely agree
    – juan
    Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 20:55
  • 1
    I mostly agree, except how will you determine "too broad"? How much scope is actually necessary? Is genre/platform sufficient? Is general theme sufficient? Or are we going to have to run at this off our gut instincts alone?
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 21:05
  • 1
    @Grace indeed, that's the hardest question. I think that first of all these questions need to be CWed, then left to the community to possibly close. Yes, it's "gut instinct", but if 5 users agree on closing, and maybe some of them actually familiar with the genre, it would help make it a little less subjective. I know I will vote to close these questions only if I am familiar with the genre/platform and know that there are a lot of valid answers.
    – Oak
    Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 21:09
  • If we reach consensus, we can have something like this to link to: meta.webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/528/… /cc @grace
    – juan
    Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 2:04
  • meta.webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/521/…
    – juan
    Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 2:05
  • Never doubt your gut feeling @Grace Note
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 5:48
  • I've been using StackOverflow since mid '08, and some of the most helpful questions are those that have long lists and no definitive answer, like this one: stackoverflow.com/questions/9033/hidden-features-of-c The most helpful answers get voted up, and thus you get a whole range of answers. As long as questions like that are CW, I don't see why this site can't have both definitive-answer questions and opinionated lists.
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Aug 27, 2010 at 3:37

The private beta period is when we should sort out the tone of what kinds of questions the site wants to curate.

When it goes public beta and the new users see a page full of recommendation type questions, they're going to think it's the sort of material this site and engine wants to keep around.

Do we want to sit around the campfire singing kumbaya?
Or do we want to get a direct answer to a game related problem we're having?

Doesn't take skills or expert knowledge to throw an opinion out there.

  • 3
    But it's not just an opinion... it's also knowledge. If I'm asking "what game is similar to X", it takes a user experienced with both X and Y (the game she's about to answer with) to respond. Who's the most qualified crowd to allow us to find games that fall under a certain criteria? Gamers...
    – Oak
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 12:55
  • 3
    Sadly we didn't do a very good job at this and that is exactly what happened. We need to course correct
    – juan
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 13:16
  • @Oak sadly I think the problem here is that while gaming.se is the best place to get an answer to this question, its not a very good question. This is the gaming equivalent of asking "I just got arrested by the cops what should I do?" While a law.se might be the best place to get an answer to this question, the question does not make lawyers want to come to law.se. While this may be a great place to get an answer to this question, it doesn't make gamers with highly specialized knowledge want to come here. It makes the place feel like yahoo answers.
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 6:33

My personal opinion is (after changing, so this is my current view) that they can get very subjective at times. "What is a good RTS?", "What's a good TBS?", "What's a good iPhone game for kids?", etc could have hundreds of answers, and loads of disagreement.

But on the other hand, a question like this:

"What is a open-source turn-based RPG with multiplayer support?" is far more specific, and far more likely to have a single answer.

  • I questions that turn too much on what counts as "good" should be closed. Questions that are more like "What games on platform X have game mechanic Y?" are much less subjective...
    – Seamus
    Commented Aug 29, 2010 at 15:25

I think there is a confusion between:

  1. "single, correct answer" and
  2. "accepted answer" <- the actual term used in the software

There are barely any questions that have the former. I think the point is not find the single, ultimate truth for a question but to allow discussion until the asking member can say: "Ok, this helped me. This is what I wanted to know."

It is unreasonable to acknowledge that the information a person is seeking may be contributed over various posts instead of one big answer?


The way I see [game-recommendations] is similar to searching for alternative coding libraries.

for Example, consider if this question would be allowed on stackoverflow:
Is there an alternative for PDFlib in PHP.


I also found the chat a useful way to get out some of my ideas on this topic and here is what I came up with:

Consider EpicAdvice (the WoW SE 1.0 Community). Now ideally the people this community wants to attract are the members of websites like Elitist Jerks. People who REALLY know WoW to the point where they can "calculate the theoretical maximum damage a DPS dagger rogue can do while spec'd into subtlety." They want these people because they have the specialized "tribal" knowledge that will answer the really esoteric questions.

Now consider the kinds of questions these Elitist Jerks will be attracted by. They are not the "What are good quests like X" questions. A question like that is not interesting to them because there are too many answers to it and they are mostly subjective.

The reason Epic Advice has not taken off but Elitist Jerks has is not because people can get answers at Elitist Jerks, but because they can get good questions (EJ has a fairly draconian moderating policy). "What are games like Heroes of Might and Magic?" is not such a question.

Edit: I think the major difference between this and a question on SO like "What's a Javascript option that is similar to Tomcat?" is that game recommendations are something everyone has an opinion on, where this sample question is something only someone who knows a lot about javascript and servers is likely to answer.

  • I couldn't agree more (plus Elitist Jerks does rock)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Aug 4, 2010 at 13:37

I think the 'single correct answer' problem is sorta solved if these questions are community wiki.

  • meta.webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/170/…
    – juan
    Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 3:52
  • @Juan That doesn't necessarily make it a poll of sorts. The nature of a poll is that you are asking for an ordering over several options from a large number of people. CW, on the other hand asks for a single answer to an otherwise open-ended question from a large number of people. Maybe a semantic difference, though. Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 7:37
  • 3
    Community Wiki is a tool for collaborative efforts that aren't necessarily owned by a single user, allowing other users to edit the post easier. That's why it's great for FAQ posts on the Meta sites, or citing the efforts of other users. It's not designed as a tool to allow open-ended content on the sites, regardless of whether there is a single answer to be desired or not. It's not some switch that allows your quesiton to remain open on the site.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 13:32
  • @Grace fair enough. Though I think that the site should cater to game recommendations without making it seem like they are central to the theme of the site -> most easily done without rewarding the asker/answerer with reputation for these questions. Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 23:38

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