UPDATE: Identify this game (ITG) questions based on the asker's memory are now off topic on the site.

The community reached this decision with 34 vs 27 votes

New ITG questions will be closed immediately, and we will start applying this policy retroactively in time.

Following a series of discussions carried out here on meta, we have attempted to address the current situation of "Identify This Game" questions on Gaming. The situation is complex, and both sides have put forth arguments as to why they should be permitted or prohibited.

The time has come to make a decision. We've narrowed the field to two choices:

  1. Identify this game questions should be prohibited.
  2. Identify this game questions should be allowed, under the guidelines given here

If you need to review the previous debates on the subject, (and I highly suggest that you do) each answer has a rundown of the relevant meta posts. You may also wish to review the thread that started this debate:

What is the point of "help me remember this game" questions?

A few ground rules:

  • Voting will end one week after this question is posted, on the 16th of March, at around 18:00 UTC.
  • Downvotes will be ignored to standardize the voting process. Express your opinion with upvotes.
  • Be civil - no attacking people who don't agree with you.
  • 10
    Is there any chance of option 2 with a provision to review the landscape after implementation. Believe it or not, I want to give supporters of ITG one last chance to prove to me that real guidelines can work, but I'm worried about the finality implied by this process. – LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 9 '12 at 20:06
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz, if you think it'd be worthwhile to test drive, we can implement the guidelines this week and test them while the voting is open. How's that strike you and/or everyone? – agent86 Mar 9 '12 at 20:58
  • 5
    I'd prefer implement them now, and postpone the voting until it's been done for a week or so personally. – LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 9 '12 at 20:59
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz I don't think having this "test period" is a good idea, mostly because I want a final decision as soon as possible, though I appreciate your motivation on this. If you are uncertain that the proposed criteria for allowing them will work as planned, I say you should vote against keeping ITGs. – Oak Mar 10 '12 at 8:54
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz, there's nothing that says we can't revisit this decision later after time has passed. – agent86 Mar 10 '12 at 13:45
  • 1
    @LessPop_MoreFizz, to elaborate, if you think the new criteria should get a fair shake, then vote for that option. If things are still really bad, we can reevaluate the decision to allow them 6 months or a year down the road. – agent86 Mar 10 '12 at 15:54
  • 1
    If we go forward with the criteria, we should jump in with both feet - which is going to be "capital W" Work. If the overall consensus is that ITG is terrible no matter what we do, let's get that out of the way before we start this effort. – agent86 Mar 10 '12 at 15:56
  • Agreed, this would be too much work to just "test out" right now. If it totally doesn't work at all we can always revise policy and delete everything later (which is much easier). If the majority opinion is "delete 'em" we should know that now – Ben Brocka Mar 11 '12 at 1:13
  • I think testing it out is a good idea, but the site is swimming in ME3 questions so I don't think this is the best TIME for it. – Shinrai Mar 13 '12 at 14:48
  • @Shinrai, my first attempt was unsuccessful: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/55497/… – juan Mar 13 '12 at 18:03
  • I'm just coming into the debate now, but where else on the internet could you go to to get a game identified? I've tracked down something I was entirely unable to identify on my own after several years of on-and-off trying. – Bobson Mar 15 '12 at 15:15
  • 3
    @Bobson, this is actually a pretty common forum game - XKCD and SomethingAwful both have forum threads dedicated to this topic. I will also point out that SE is not the "catch-all" of things that other places on the internet do not do. Even if there was nowhere else to do this sort of thing, that would not imply that it is on-topic here. – agent86 Mar 15 '12 at 15:21
  • @lunboks A post needs at least a score of +3 to retain the reputation after deletion, in addition to 60 days of life. In that scenario, there will always be a positive reputation change, with or without the off-topic downvote, if there is any retention. – Grace Note Mar 16 '12 at 19:38

Identify this game questions should be prohibited on this site.

Arguments for this position:

  • 4
    I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite answer on the Citadel. – juan Mar 9 '12 at 21:10
  • 3
    Notice how non-controversial this option is in the comments? Hm. Weird. – Invader Skoodge Mar 12 '12 at 12:36
  • 3
    "Point blank deletion" doesn't exactly have many nuances to discuss. The votes are the valuable signal here, not the comments. – Matthew Read Mar 12 '12 at 15:58
  • 2
    @MatthewRead It is often the case that the simplest course of action is the best course of action. I'm just pointing out that this is the simple solution, and the other one is full of controversy still. That is all. – Invader Skoodge Mar 12 '12 at 19:06
  • 2
    The simplest course of action is to do nothing ;) – Matthew Read Mar 12 '12 at 19:58
  • 2
    @MatthewRead It's not, actually. You're never in the chat, but doing nothing leads to way more headaches than banning them :P Not to mention that that's not one of the options anyway. – Invader Skoodge Mar 12 '12 at 20:03
  • 2
    @StrixVaria I'm not proposing we do nothing, lol. I maintain that doing nothing is simplest -- the headaches only come from doing something, like trying to clean up the mess resulting from the current state of things :P – Matthew Read Mar 12 '12 at 20:34
  • @MatthewRead - If doing nothing was the simplest, there wouldn't be so many meta questions on this topic. – user9983 Mar 12 '12 at 20:37
  • 2
    @OrigamiRobot I don't see how doing something (discussing on meta) indicates anything about how complicated doing nothing would be. In any case, this is getting pretty tangential -- count me out of further discussion along this line :P – Matthew Read Mar 12 '12 at 20:53

Identify this game questions should be allowed on this site, but must adhere to this criteria to avoid closure and deletion.

Arguments for this position:

  • 1
    If we go this route is there a plan in place to handle the existing catalog of ITG questions in any way? (Perhaps we can steal SO's shiny new 'historic significance' lock?) – LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 9 '12 at 20:08
  • 9
    @LessPop_MoreFizz, the plan thus far is to enforce this criteria retroactively. (Grace feels strongly about this) – agent86 Mar 9 '12 at 20:13
  • 3
    I concur that it should be retroactively. We could wait some time before starting to enforce it as to give OPs time to format their questions appropriately though – juan Mar 9 '12 at 20:15
  • 1
    @LessPop_MoreFizz we should apply it retroactively by closing ITGs, but I personally think we should not delete them if they have a useful answer, instead using that "historic significance" thing you mention. It's just because I despise deleting posts with useful information. But I'm guessing a lot of users will claim this is still a broken window of a sort, and they do have a point. – Oak Mar 9 '12 at 21:32
  • I support retroactive enforcement of ITGs without an accepted answer. Give ITGs with an accepted answer a few months to self edit before votes to close are cast. – MBraedley Mar 10 '12 at 13:13
  • 2
    @MBraedley So just because their less-than-adequate description still got a correct answer, they don't deserve to be closed? No. If need to be consistent with enforcement. No exceptions. – Raven Dreamer Mar 10 '12 at 19:51
  • @RavenDreamer: Well then at least save them for last. I realize that may only give them an extra day, but why close questions that can easily be saved? – MBraedley Mar 10 '12 at 20:23
  • Why not discuss how to deploy this solution or the other solution after the vote is finalized? – Tharius Mar 11 '12 at 0:08
  • 1
    @Stephen Because how it will be deployed could affect whether or not we vote for it. – Sterno Mar 11 '12 at 22:28
  • @Sterno We could also argue about whether prohibiting future ITGs means deleting the existing ones. It really only muddies the waters on a fairly straightforward proposal. – Tharius Mar 11 '12 at 22:47
  • @Stephen They'd be destroyed, same as Game-Rec was. – Raven Dreamer Mar 12 '12 at 2:49
  • @RavenDreamer Sure, but we could argue about it, just to muddy the waters pointlessly. The prevailing opinion was that these changes would be retroactively applied. If that's not clear then it was too early to start voting. – Tharius Mar 12 '12 at 12:29
  • 1
    @RavenDreamer If the questions are closed, and not outright destroyed, then if someone is interested in trying to flesh out the question to fit the format, they can try to reopen it after the fact. Simple. – Tharius Mar 12 '12 at 12:30
  • 1
    @Stephen Who are these people who are going to theoretically update the old ITGs that have answers, and what value does it provide? The one person who was ever going to be helped by the vague question that happened to get an answer has already been helped. It seems silly to retroactively "clean up" the question so that it matches the answer and fits our new criteria. I mean, at that point, let's just copy & paste the wikipedia article for the page in there and get a real complete description for the next person who goes searching for it. – Sterno Mar 12 '12 at 17:30
  • 1
    Enforcing retroactively doesn't mean we're going to close and delete on Friday afternoon. There are, at present, almost 600 ITG questions on the site. If, say, 30 people were to divide the work, that'd be 20 questions to improve each. Likely we'd find a good portion of them are actually delete worthy, so that's a high number per person. I've no problem with doing 20 questions worth of improvement, and I'd probably easily do 40. If everyone interested in keeping them chips in, we could do this in 1-2 weeks, tops. – agent86 Mar 13 '12 at 16:02

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