If people are asking for any suggestions for a game genre or a game that fits a specified niche. Is that really subjective enough to warrant a close vote?

I agree that "Best of X" and "Suggest a fun game" questions are subjective but the other ones (if well specified enough) should be allowed to stay.


I think this is a good example of one that I would leave open.

He specifies exactly what he wants, and lists what he already knows;
An answer to this question may very well benefit him and others.


I think the deciding factor is how indiscriminate the question is. If I were to ask "Please suggest a good first-person shooter", that would be little more than a poll. Very indiscriminate. But if I were to ask, say, "Can you suggest a good adventure game for my 7-year old that I might also enjoy playing with him," that is very specific and not really a poll at all, even thought it may have several "correct" answers.

That's the distinction I believe these sites should consider when promoting what types of questions they want on the site.

I draw the distinction much more thoroughly in this [link to closed beta removed].

Oops, sorry. Link (above) is in closed beta. A bit unusual but I will quote the text directly here. The context is obvious enough.

From meta.cooking.SE:

Are Restaurant Mimicry Questions Allowed?

I'll take the opportunity of your question to re-assert the intention of my suggested moratorium on "recipe swap" questions. Hopefully people will link here for reference.

Are Recipe Requests Veiled, Indiscriminate Polls?

It was never my intention to suggest that recipes could never be discussed nor even mentioned on this site. However, I am trying to avoid the situation where the site fills up with lazy "I need a recipe for X" questions. But there is an important distinction between an indiscriminate recipe request (bad) and a recipe-related question (good).

Indiscriminate might be the distinction. "I need a recipe for X" is an indiscriminate question, asked without care nor making any distinction of why you are even bothering to ask experts. The answers aren't a product of expertise. It's barely a "real" question all. To me, it's akin to the shopping advice questions, banned on most sites.

Are restaurant mimicry questions allowed?

This question straddles right on the very edge of the on-topic side of the distinction I am trying to describe (above).

Someone can ask "What is the recipe for Red Lobster's biscuits?" (forget for a moment that no one knows the correct answer. irrelevant). But what they really should be asking is what makes them taste exactly that way. It's not an indiscriminate question when the criteria is so specific. The answer is very specific and, possibly, educational. As a recipe request, it's a poorly worded question. I would rather see it asked as "How do I get my biscuits to take more like Red Lobster's?" But that's a weird semantic argument that I hope people can see through. The important distinction is, are the answers going to be the work of someone's expertise in that area, or are the answers just the product of an indiscriminate shout-out poll?

The Caveat of a Moratorium

The danger of my suggested "moratorium on recipe requests" is that the mere mention or inclusions of a recipe in the post will trigger a knee-jerk reaction to shut down good questions. Recipes are the "language" of cooking and cannot be avoided. There's no recipes-are-a-dirty-word filter on this system. That's not my intention at all. To those people who are looking for that absolute true/false formula where you simply plug in a question and it comes out the other side happy... or it doesn't: Don't fall into that trap. Consider the context and the bigger picture.

  • I'll see that in a few days :) – juan Jul 12 '10 at 20:25
  • Oh, fudge. Sorry (forgot it was private). I'll quote it directly here. – Robert Cartaino Jul 12 '10 at 22:44

A related discussion can be found at [game-recommendations] and single, correct answers, which covers the validity of these questions on the site as a whole as opposed to whether "subjective" is an appropriate reason to close them.

I think it helps to decide what exactly serves as enough criteria for the question to not be too open-ended. We want to avoid things like becoming a shopping recommendation site - I think we should avoid having this place from drowning into a messy spiral of "Okay, I finished this game you recommended me last time. What's next?" questions. We can't really help a user find what they want if they themselves can't be too sure.

Platform is not enough criteria on its own. Likewise, I honestly don't think that the genre of a game, on its own, is sufficient to keep it from being too open-ended. I think that the most important thing is that there's some actual aspect of gameplay you should be looking for. Be it the content of what's in the game (games with giant robots!), how the multiplayer fairs (how much coop element is there?), or some cool mechanics and tactics that you've seen work in other games (Juan's answer and Jeffrey's comment on it bring up two great examples), all of these are good criteria to work off of.

Yes, not every person who is looking for a new game will be specifically out searching for a specific gameplay element or mechanic. And I think that if you can't find something that you specifically want in the game, then your search will be too broad for this site. If you ask me for "good PS2 RPGs", I can recommend you dozens and continue to do so even after you've picked one. If you ask me for "good PS2 RPGs with cool gunplay action", then it's a lot easier to give something that'll satisfy your needs.

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