This phase ended with one suggestion (+22/-4) submitted. The next step is/was a poll here that ran from 3/9 to 3/16.

The purpose of this question is to determine what requirements would need to be put in place for new ITG questions, if we continue to allow them on the site.

After this has settled, we will vote on either keeping ITG questions with the criteria decided on here, or include them in the prohibited list. If it is your opinion that NO criteria are sufficient to keep ITG questions on this site, you may abstain from this round of the process. There will be another vote to keep or forbid ITG questions on this site. Therefore, we will capture your opinion in this other vote. Don't post "I hate ITG because..." or "No criteria would work because..." type answers.

If you wish to contribute a new answer, please post a comprehensive list of requirements for evaluating new ITG questions. Your answer should contain your entire requirements list - as if your answer was replacing the tag wiki for this tag. Assume that the system is unchangeable - you can't rely on the creation of new StackExchange features as part of your requirements.

The two criteria for evaluating answers here are:

  • Will this criteria produce significantly better quality ITG questions? Vote up criteria which would require askers to ask better questions or force closure.
  • Is this criteria enforceable by the community and the moderators? Vote up criteria that will make a clear distinction between good ITG questions and bad ITG questions. You should feel comfortable understanding how to decide whether to close and/or downvote a bad question.

As the elected "experts" on rule enforcement, a 5-person team of moderators (representing a balance of pro- and anti-ITG sentiment) will also evaluate criteria based on whether or not we feel it is enforceable. We may suggest edits to or disqualify unenforceable criteria.

The current sentiment is that if a policy from this question were enacted, it would apply retroactively to all ITG questions.

This phase will last until Friday around 18:00 "StackExchange" time. (UTC) has concluded

  • 4
    Who are these "experts"?
    – Nick T
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:08
  • 1
    Currently the panel consists of: Grace, Oak, badp, myself, and Juan.
    – agent86
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:25
  • 2
    Please note that badp as so much as admitted to not caring enough to even read anti-ITG arguments. Mar 5, 2012 at 19:38
  • @StrixVaria, that's why he's one of five. We've tried to balance pro and anti ITG sentiment. The only thing this team is tasked with is evaluating whether a given set of criteria is enforceable. The only thing we can do is veto a set of criteria that is impractical.
    – agent86
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:45
  • Once a policy is selected, will there be any time to actually see it in action on the site, or will we then immediately vote on whether to enact it or ban ITG altogether? It would be nice to be able to judge a policy's efficacy through firsthand experience.
    – sjohnston
    Mar 5, 2012 at 22:55
  • 1
    @sjohnston, the policy is selected so the vote on "no vs yes" has clear rules for the "yes" part. There is no trial period planned to see if the "yes with policy" works before that vote.
    – juan
    Mar 6, 2012 at 0:21
  • 3
    @sjohnston, I believe the intent is to move forward quickly. I think for the most part people are tired of the discussion and uncertainty. We'll have to consider carefully how to proceed, however, and I understand your position.
    – agent86
    Mar 6, 2012 at 0:24

1 Answer 1


Asking an ITG Question

Your ITG question must follow this format. Failure to provide these elements and in this format will mean your question is closed and is at risk for deletion.

Be specific! Even if you follow this template completely, if you provide ambiguous, vague, or incomplete information, your question may still be at risk of closure. If you're not sure about a specific detail, make note of the fact that you're unsure about it.

If you've already eliminated other games, or found similar games, make note of these in your question, and be specific about what it is that was right or wrong about them.

Other people may ask you questions in comments. Answer these questions as best you can by editing more information into your original question.

You must provide the following elements:

  • Platform: What device did you use? For PC games, specify the specific OS and the distribution method. For instance, "Windows 98 CDROM" or "Super Nintendo"
  • Genre: What kind of game was it? For example "platformer" or "first person shooter"
  • Year: What year was the game released, or failing that, what year did you first play it?
  • Perspective: How did you view the action? Was it top-down, side-view, first person, third person, 2D, 3D, etc?
  • Memorable Moments: Why does this game stick with you? What do you specifically remember about it?

You must provide at least 3 of the following. All are highly recommended:

  • Protagonist: What did your characters/avatars look like and/or sound like? How did they move and interact with the environment?
  • Weapons/Equipment: What kind of gear/weapons/powerups did the protagonist use?
  • Goal: What was the goal of the game? What were some of the objectives you had to achieve to get to the end?
  • Plot: What was the plot? How was the story told?
  • Enemies: What did the enemies look like? How did you defeat them?
  • Puzzles: What kind of puzzles or challenges were there? Can you remember any specific puzzles that stick to mind?

The following are optional, but highly recommended to ensure better answers:

  • Art: What was the art in the game like? Cartoony, realistic, pixelated, etc
  • Setting: Where did the game take place? Was it the future? The old west? The dark ages? A fantasy realm?
  • Environment: What types of environments did the game take place in?
  • Tone/Mood: Was it serious, lighthearted, distopian?
  • Multiplayer: Were there multiplayer elements? Were they cooperative or competitive? Did multiple people play simultaneously, or did you take turns?


  • Platform: NES
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Year: I played it in 1986.
  • Perspective: 2D, side view
  • Protagonist: A small man, he wore red overalls. He jumped a lot.
  • Goal: Something about jumping on flagpoles. There was a timer that killed you if you took too long.
  • Enemies: There were mushrooms and turtles. You jumped on them to kill them. The mushrooms squished when you landed on them, but the turtles went flying across the screen. If they hit something, they bounced back.
  • Weapons: You could get this mushroom that made you big, and a flower that turned you red. When you had the flower, you could throw fireballs. There was a star that made you invincible.
  • Setting: Kind of fantasy, lots of castles and pipes everywhere.
  • Environment: The first level had a lot of red bricks, grass, and clouds. You started near a set of bricks and three "question mark" blocks, one of which had a power up mushroom in it. In the second level you were underground.
  • Multiplayer: Two people could play, but you took turns. The second player's character had different colors.
  • Memorable Moments: I remember that when you died, the little man looked towards the screen and shrugged, and a little sad song played. He jumped up, and then fell off the bottom of the screen. There were also some pipes you could go down into, which took you to a secret area.

Answering an ITG Question

Answers to ITG questions should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • One game per answer. If you can think of many games that fit the criteria, the question is likely too vague. Leave a comment with a question that would help narrow down the options you're considering.
  • Include more than just the title of the game. Include screenshots or video if you can find them, or links/citations from sites that have more information about it.
  • If the game you're thinking of is significantly different from what the OP describes, then you probably shouldn't post it. Minor differences should be noted in your answer, and you should explain why you think the game fits.


Q: What can I do if my ITG question is closed?

Go back and review the format here and make sure you're providing as much specific detail as possible. In some cases, comments may be left to try and assist you in making the question better. If a question is improved significantly, it can be re-opened.

Q: What can I do if I see an ITG question that does not meet these criteria?

If you can, downvote it and vote to close. Try to help the asker understand how to improve the question through comments, if possible.

Q: But wait! I can answer this question, even though it doesn't meet these requirements. Why is it closed?

This checklist ensures that these type of questions meet a minimum quality standard. Even the vaguest questions of this type are potentially answerable, but they make it impossible for us to moderate. Remember that anyone can help improve a question by editing and commenting, including you!

Q: This seems harsh. Why so much with the "musts" and the formatting requirements?

Enforcing a particular format means that people must read first before posting. It also means that it's straightforward and unambiguous to look at these criteria and determine if a question meets them or not. Having objective criteria means that enforcing them is feasible.

  • Forcing users to follow a template seems untenable.
    – Nick T
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:50
  • 15
    @NickT, don't follow the template? Question closed. Would this close a vast swath of ITGs if they were posted in their current state? Yes. Could someone passionate about answering the question edit to follow the template? Also yes. The purpose of this is to make the job of sorting the questions easier, while putting the burden of creating a quality question on the asker, where that burden belongs.
    – agent86
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:52
  • 2
    I would only be OK with this if the questions were immediately deleted if they did not adhere to the template (as it's fairly black and white if they do, there should be zero debate).
    – Nick T
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:56
  • Also, closure is temporary. If they're closed for not adhering to the template, they can be re-opened once they do (or deleted if they are not after X time of being closed)
    – juan
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:56
  • Related MSO: Add requirements for a tag (maybe a template?)
    – Nick T
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:56
  • @Nick, I added my comment before seeing yours. IMO, they should stay closed for a while to allow them to adhere, and be deleted if they don't (but I'd be ok with deleting them out right too)
    – juan
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:57
  • @NickT, StackApps supports templates but I don't know how easy it is to set one up. We can look into that if this becomes the dominant criteria. If it's a new user and they screw up the formatting, that's an easy fix that I'm sure anyone could do, and we have tons of editors on the site who check/correct formatting and markdown on nearly every question. If they just post "wats this game lol" with no effort, close it, wait X hours/days, delete it.
    – agent86
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:59
  • This is great. I appreciate the objective criteria you've made for the questions. I personally don't completely like the element: description format but overall it's probably best, since it ensures we can identify people who've read the rules immediately. I might add that old/inactive questions should be flagged since a close vote will likely just expire. I'd also like to see wrong answers deleted if the OP says they're wrong or accepts another / comments that another is correct. They could be flagged to avoid needing the answerers to check constantly. Mar 5, 2012 at 19:05
  • @NickT, assuming we vote "yes" on keeping them, and this policy as to how, then yes.
    – juan
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:06
  • 1
    @MatthewRead, the problem with flagging bad answers is that there's a truly limited number of people who can process them. I'd more support downvoting them to encourage them to be deleted by the answerer.
    – agent86
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:16
  • 7
    @MatthewRead Another problem with deleting wrong answers is that deleting answer due to being wrong is not a valid reason for doing so. You delete answer for not being answers, not because they are wrong. I don't we should make an exception for ITG in this case.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Mar 5, 2012 at 20:08
  • 1
    @agent86 The point is that voting on ITG questions has a whole slew of problems, but that's more of a point to bring up in the final vote than it is for making a policy about questions. Mar 5, 2012 at 21:08
  • 4
    I just want to say that I fully agree with this proposal. In particular, the elements listed under "must" are precisely the things which are the most helpful for me whenever I try to answer an ITG question.
    – Oak
    Mar 5, 2012 at 21:40
  • 1
    @Bora, this might not be the best place for such a discussion :) We've got several other threads where this might be on topic though, such as this one: meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/2674
    – agent86
    Mar 7, 2012 at 4:41
  • 1
    @BenBrocka if ITGs end up being permitted under these guidelines, then we would absolutely put this in the tag wiki in some form.
    – Oak
    Mar 9, 2012 at 17:46

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