I asked a question, https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/34432/how-do-you-pronounce-skyrim a while back and it was downvoted to all hell then closed many days later. I'm not entirely sure why it's a bad question, as it is gaming related, and it does seem to be reasonably popular (though not near some other Skyrim questions) and #1 on google for "skyrim pronunciation".

The question exists in many other forums around the internets, mostly with massive forum threads that were annoying to sift through so I figured I'd dupe it here with the blatantly simple Q and A format.

Are they off-topic? They seem so rare in the first place, erring more on the side of in-scope seems fine.

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    Did you forget to ask a question? What's the purpose of this meta-thread? Nov 13, 2011 at 6:13
  • I think he wants to know why it's considered a bad question despite being gaming-related and reasonably popular.
    – Mana
    Nov 13, 2011 at 6:27
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    Check out the discussion we had about this on Programmers Meta. It's not directly applicable, but the principle is largely the same.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Nov 14, 2011 at 4:32
  • @AnnaLear it is indeed very closely related, and like us, they seem to be far from consensus there.
    – Oak
    Nov 14, 2011 at 10:05
  • In the light of this recently asked question, this topic may need highlighting or further discussion to formalise policy on these types of question
    – user27134
    May 28, 2013 at 2:01

3 Answers 3


I don't see any particular problem with these sorts of questions, as long as they can be objectively answered and are not just a matter of personal opinion. I certainly don't see them as worse than this question.

Since your Skyrim question can be objectively answered, I think it's fine.

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    Voted to close the other question. "Megaman is not drawn consistently, so if he were drawn consistently, how would he be drawn?" is not a real answerable question. Nov 13, 2011 at 19:33
  • @MatthewRead I don't know about Megaman specifically, but many successful video games have an entire franchise around them in which such details might be clearer.
    – Oak
    Nov 13, 2011 at 19:42

I take exception to this question for a different reason: it's wholly uninteresting. The proper way to pronounce it has been said over and over and over again in promotional trailers and developer commentaries. If you take 30 seconds to say, "Hey, Bethesda must've said the name of their game when announcing it", it's self-solved.

And within the first hour of the game, it's said at least 40 times by various characters in-game. You can't avoid Bethesda hitting you over the head with the correct pronunciation.

To me, it's a question that reeks of Google baiting: whenever a question like that gets to stay open, it cheapens the rest of the site.

Perhaps if the question was a little more interesting and novel, it'd be a better fit. But I doubt, because generally games are marketed the same way as mentioned above, any pronunciation question would be sufficiently interesting for the site.

However, there are language questions like what the actual lyrics of the gameplay trailer theme song are that are interesting because—even though there's a lot of coverage about the topic—one whole verse is completely missing from the collective knowledge of the internet (or at least I couldn't find it after an hour of searching).

Would a linguist have a better chance at deciphering it? Maybe. But it's an interesting problem for gamers, and is just begging for a gamer linguist or someone with an inside track to Bethesda to rock that question.

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    If it's uninteresting it deserves a downvote, not a closure. And although I agree with you this information is easy to come by, I don't think it's super-trivial (on the level of visiting the Wikipedia page).
    – Oak
    Nov 14, 2011 at 13:09
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    @Oak no, it deserves a closure. From Are Some Questions Too Simple?: "The minimum bar for a question is not “is this on-topic?”, but rather “is this somewhat interesting and on-topic?”." While I disagree Wikipedia is the only bar for determining if something is too trivial, the pronunciation of Skyrim was not notable enough to even make a mention in the Wikipedia article.
    – user3389
    Nov 14, 2011 at 13:17
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    This cuts to the core of it. It's not a problem of on versus off topic. Bad questions are bad, no matter how 'relevant' they are. Nov 14, 2011 at 19:52
  • Both the TV spots I've seen on Hulu never state the name.
    – Nick T
    Nov 15, 2011 at 4:15
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    I don't agree with @Oak that uninteresting questions that deserve nothing but downvotes should remain open :P. Personally-uninteresting but otherwise good, valuable questions deserve upvotes (hover over the vote button). IMO, generally uninteresting and useless questions fail the minimum bar for questions, as Mark says. Nov 24, 2011 at 22:42
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    Why do people bother with SEO if "Google baiting" is something to be scoffed at. If providing a clear answer to a real question without the bullshit of most forums is wrong, I don't want to be right.
    – Nick T
    Nov 25, 2011 at 8:33
  • The Are Some Questions Too Simple? blog post is from 9 months ago and I haven't seen any of the information in it implemented on the SE sites. Is it still valid? The LOGO question got deleted from SO, but "General Knowledge" is not a close reason, nor is making questions "interesting and on-topic" in the FAQ. Note that I strongly disagree with it - the line "all questions are ultimately in service of the people answering them" sums up every disagreement I've had with Jeff since I discovered SO.
    – au revoir
    Nov 25, 2011 at 20:10

I belive pronunciation questions for words relating to gaming should stay, but if it is decided that they do not fit, they should not be closed. Rather, they should be moved to the appropriate language Stack Exchange site instead. The Skyrim pronunciation question would be then better served by being moved to English.SE.

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    I disagree. English.SE can help with pronunciation of words that are actually words. I don't think pronunciation of made-up proper names is within their scope.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Nov 14, 2011 at 4:30

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