Update: On Monday, the moderator team will post a question calling for concepts around the topic of better ITG criteria. Further details on how we will evaluate these criteria will be part of the posted question. Thank you for your patience.

I sincerely apologize for my weak previous procedural post (deleted, 10k only) which generated mostly pro/anti arguments which was not my intent. Due to the negative reception to the post (-5 net votes) and my procedural proposal (-2), I took that as a "just vote already", so I started a poll (also deleted, 10k only). That was a grave error which I am now trying to correct.


Before we just up and vote on if we want to keep ITGs, what issues must first be resolved? What would the "keep" position entail? Does there need to be a firmly codified policy so people know what they're voting on if they vote "keep"?

If we ban all the ITG questions, will we delete all the existing ones?

How should we decide what to do; vote as we did with game-rec?

How do we make sure this gets done? (if I've learned anything over the past 3 hours is that people hate bureaucracy and endless talk) Set up discussion times/meetings? Should there be a deadline?

  • +1, silly people.
    – GnomeSlice
    Feb 29, 2012 at 22:23
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    Thanks for re-basing this. Feb 29, 2012 at 22:23
  • 1
    You might want to keep a running tally on resolved issues. Here's the first. Feb 29, 2012 at 22:26
  • As for deleting existing questions, I'm never in favor of that when it is just a policy change. Good information should be kept around as long as possible. Simply close them all as "off topic" to get the message across to new users.
    – Resorath
    Feb 29, 2012 at 22:28
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    @Resorath If it is decided to remove something from scope, keeping it on the site gives a bad message (and also lets people find the site through those off-topic items). The point of (non-dupe) closure is to either lead to deletion, or get opened. Keeping them around betrays the whole point of the closures indicating that these aren't supposed to belong.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 29, 2012 at 22:33
  • @GraceNote many of the top questions on stack overflow are closed because they are useful but no longer on topic (usually "list" type questions). That is what I used as a reference. Edit: I do agree that new users might not "get it" though.
    – Resorath
    Feb 29, 2012 at 22:36
  • @Resorath Because people are still debating whether they should stay closed. We're making our decision process now, though, rather than "In the midst of them being closed". I refer you to an answer I wrote elsewhere to explain the process in ideally a broader but more easily understandable situation. They might not be immediately deleted upon decision being made, but if the decision is off-topic, it should ideally be the end.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 29, 2012 at 22:38
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    I remember the last time we voted on something. That was vaguely a disaster (and one of the reason I don't hang out around here as much anymore). I sort of remember the aftermath where people kept saying: next time the mods should just make a decision and enforce it. I don't know if that is/was the right answer, but do people still feel that way?
    – tzenes
    Mar 1, 2012 at 1:07
  • @tzenes was that vote on game-recs or something else?
    – Nick T
    Mar 1, 2012 at 2:36
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    @NickT - It was the game-recs vote. I personally believe that most of the contention was due to us not creating a definitive set of options to vote on at the start. Instead, we basically asked people to post options, then everyone voted, then the most popular option was revoked and a lot of people felt cheated.
    – sjohnston
    Mar 1, 2012 at 15:54
  • @Tzenes I believe that process can still work well, but it requires voting on pre-defined options. This post seems like a good place to hash out what those options will be.
    – sjohnston
    Mar 1, 2012 at 15:55
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    @sjohnston and if the majority want an option which "we" decide not to allow? Is that really different than having the mods or some other group decide? Who ever decides what options we vote on may be deciding the outcome.
    – tzenes
    Mar 2, 2012 at 16:11

8 Answers 8


However the decision is made, we must emphasize that people actually read about the topic before casting their votes. Personally, I want them to understand the pain that we've gone through so far arguing about ITG before they vote to keep them around. At the same time, this would be a good thing for proponents of ITG as well. If we provide a collection of links to reading materials about the pros/cons of ITG, people will be able to make a more informed decision.

We should also summarize these links for those who are too lazy to read an entire novel on the topic. There's a lot.

EDIT: This is now a CW. Use this space to compile the aforementioned set of links and summaries.

Reasons to Remove ITG

Reasons to Keep ITG


  • What is the point of “help me remember this game” questions?
    • GraceNote's answer which goes through the close reasons and figuring they don't definitively, categorically meet any of them.
    • tzenes' answer expressing they have a home, but also worry over what they can do to the site.

As of now, fundamentally, I think of ITG as the crackhouse in our neighborhood. I, and many of those who agree with me, think of the tag as a blight on the neighborood that needs to be torn down and replaced with a starbucks or something, because it's just beyond saving. Meanwhile, supporters of ITG insist that the crackhouse isn't so bad, it just needs cleaning up and it'll blend in perfectly with the community.

Supporters of ITG, my challenge to you is this: Clean up your house. Prove to me that the necessary housekeeping can and is going to be done, and give me a reason to not want to tear it down. I'm open to coming around on this, but if that's going to happen, I'm going to need to see some evidence that bad ITG's are being taken seriously and closed down. I started the job with one category of clearly bad ITG's, but if you think those are the only problem questions in the tag, then we disagree much too fundamentally about what is a 'good question' to see eye to eye on this.

Until that happens, I refuse to acknowledge any sort of 'keep them, but...' as a viable option, because I am yet to see any proof that anyone is willing or able to define and promote the standards necessary to make that work.

  • 9
    I actually agree with this. From the moment Jeff pointed out ITG as an issue, I mercilessly downvoted bad ones (having < 3000 rep). In the last month I hit 3000 rep and I was shocked at how few close votes were being cast on obviously bad, incomplete questions. As LessPop says, if we are going to keep allowing ITGs, we absolutely MUST moderate them ourselves (i.e. as a group of 3000+ users - we should not expect the diamonds to do the work for us).
    – au revoir
    Mar 1, 2012 at 0:08
  • This is a great action step - clean up the questions in the ITG tag to give it the best possible chance to survive.
    – KatieK
    Mar 1, 2012 at 0:27

I'd like to have a post where we vote on requirements for ITGs. One-per-answer sort of thing. That way we can have something close to a "final policy" that can actually be properly opposed to the option of banning them. I'm not satisfied with the current policy, and I don't think "status quo plus unknown revisions" is concrete enough to vote on.

  • 5
    The current "policy" is nonsense. I consider this step mandatory before I stop voting to close all ITG questions as NARQ. Feb 29, 2012 at 22:28
  • I think attempting to quantify a policy on what makes a "good" ITG will help some people decide whether they are a good fit for the site or not.
    – user9983
    Feb 29, 2012 at 22:36
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    The moderator team has discussed this and we plan to move forward on this, Grace is out this weekend but likely we'll start Monday.
    – agent86
    Mar 2, 2012 at 19:03

I know that I personally never cast a close vote for ITG questions because I have them hidden. Before we can vote to keep them, we should make sure that we have enough high rep/mod users that have shown that they are actively looking at them and working to improve/close ones that don't meet our standards (vague as those standards may currently be). It won't do us any good to come up with standards if nobody can enforce them.


As can be seen from this query, Identify this game brings in only around 250 views per question, far lower than any of the other top 30 tags on the site. I'm sure that we can all show specific examples where it was great, but I can tell you that they don't bring in visitors, and often are very difficult to solve.

  • I did a bit more analysis of the tag on this answer which may be interesting to people viewing this.
    – agent86
    Mar 2, 2012 at 17:12
  • This question is about issues blocking a decision on ITGs, not issues with ITGs. There are other questions where you can post this. Mar 8, 2012 at 16:58

@NickT started this conversation last August, so I'll just link to it and save the search engine some work.

Do we still like 'Identify This Game' questions?


One bit of fluff I'll throw into the fire on what a bad ITG question looks like is that if the game had a severely limited distribution then it's probably a close candidate on the grounds of too localized.

I'm not going to entertain the discussion that the whole tag is TL for the moment.

I'd suggest the following types of questions be mercilessly closed:

  • Any game played on a website, especially prior to say 2005, where the game was not available for download ... this should cut down on the "there's this flash game that I kinda remember with a blue thing in it" questions ... since the odds are really good that it was a small, independent creation that only a very limited audience remembers
  • Web site hosted games in general ... if you can't download and install it, it probably will be hard to make any headway on it if the original site is gone
  • Any shareware game that didn't have some sort of commercial distribution, that is, if the only place you could get this game was from your friend's bbs/hobby website ... games that were on shareware cd compilations are only marginally better, but I'm trying to define a line
  • Games on shareware cds prior to 2005

In both cases 2005 is arbitrary ... the point I'm trying to make is that beyond a certain point this stuff wasn't widely available on the internet and finding references to it is almost impossible (I have the same problem with old data formats or references to old industrial standards ... not trying to pick on games)

  • If you played it on a major site like Armor Games, then there's a pretty good guarantee that someone would remember it since they're going to be around forever and they screen all their games so there aren't really obscure ones. Mar 1, 2012 at 3:06
  • I think this answer would be suitable on my proposed post about requirements for ITGs, but doesn't belong here. Mar 1, 2012 at 3:37

I have spent the last almost 2 hours reading through the currently pointed out questions and their associated and very long answers regarding Identify-This-Game. I have to say I am questioning why we even need to hold a vote to get rid of this tag.

It seems that the general information going back and forth is that everyone agrees these questions have way more than their share of bad questions crop up in them. However, as found in the answers and comments to this post (despite asking for them not to include pros/cons of the tag) as well as what looks like the original starter (or last big line drawn for it) seem to be filled with answers that all say almost the same thing and just keep adding in more bits and pieces to address the issue.

As far as I can see the answers all acknowledge the problems this tag inheritently brings with it, but at the same time do not want the tag to go away. The issues that are cited for this tag, as pointed out, are common across all questions. At the end of the day, a bad question is a bad question no matter what tag it comes from. I think maybe some of the problem with the ITG tag might stem from when is this a bad question or not because by nature if you knew exactly what you were talking about, you wouldn't be asking this question.

TL;DR Do we really need to vote to remove this tag any more or should we get off our ares and go through that list @LessPopMoreFizz already did the leg work to make and start getting rid of the bad posts we all seem to already agree upon being deserving of getting rid of them?

  • 1
    My list has already been gone through. It is far from an exhaustive list of problematic ITG's. Mar 1, 2012 at 1:46
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz A list which only continues to grow with every passing day.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Mar 1, 2012 at 23:02

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