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I've been a moderately active user for a bit over a year, and I just discovered that last week identify-this-game questions were removed.

I'm not complaining about the decision to change the policy, I can fully appreciate both sides of the story, however I felt left out of a discussion that affected me (I had asked an identify-this-game question that helped me find a game so that I could replay it).

As a member of 33 StackExchange sites, I can only keep myself up to date with some of them some of the time. I was completely taken by surprise by the fact that the changes happened in the course of a week (March 9, 2012 – March 16, 2012) and no attempt at notifying the individuals who had asked ITG questions had been made (all it would have taken was a comment on the questions involved).

The thing that bothered me the most was that the entire decision making process happened so quickly. I'm sure that all the meta.gaming.SE regulars had plenty of time to respond in 7 days...

But if the stats for Gaming.SE are anything like StackOverflow, the most active users account for less than 10% of the sites traffic, and any changes that happen are from the vocal minority. I had a busy week last week, I'm sure others were left out as well.

So, getting to the actual question:

What is the Gaming.SE policy on site-level changes?

The change mentioned was important enough to have a poll, but was it ever dropped on the notification region to alert non-meta users that the changes were being discussed?


I'd like to note that I'm not interested in reverting any of the existing changes. I'm just interested in coming up with a policy that gives people a chance to participate in the discussion for a better democracy. Something simple like a week of open discussion, followed by a poll that's open for a week or two paired with notification on the main site, or at least messaging the affected users, followed by a day or two to review the results.

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    To be fair, that last week was only the time for voting -- the discussion took waaaaay longer than that. – juan Mar 20 '12 at 17:11
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    I think the topic of ITG being on the site or not goes back to about August 2010. – James Mar 20 '12 at 17:22
  • Real discussion started around the same time Jeff posted the guessing game blog post. There was at least a week and a half of discussion. – MBraedley Mar 21 '12 at 16:57
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The question has been marked as during the length of the poll, and thus it appeared on the 'VISIT META' section of the sidebar in all question pages.

This is no hard policy, but that's what we usually do.

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    Also, the poll was bumped multiple times by dummy edits, there are tons of meta discussions about the topic, we talked extensively in chat... all regular users of the community knew about this with plenty of time and had their time to voice their opinions. – juan Mar 20 '12 at 17:14
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    @Juan To be fair, while I agree on all your points, not all of the regular users of the community frequent chat or meta. There are a sizable portion that pretty much spends their time only on the main site (such as by not having the time to stand in a chat room). That said, that's why we have the [featured] tag - to announce things to those who spend their time on the main site and do not have the time to spend in chat and meta. So badp's got the right of it. – Grace Note Mar 20 '12 at 17:26
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This may not be a popular answer, but if you want to stay abreast of site issues then you need to follow Meta discussions. Period. That's what Meta is.

If you don't follow the news, you don't know what your elected officials are doing. If you don't make your voice heard, they don't know what you want. Same here. Being busy isn't an excuse — we all have to make priorities. No one will fault you for not prioritizing Meta, but it is certainly your decision to make.

It's impossible for the community to keep track of every single thing each user has an interest in, so the users need to keep track of the community instead if they want to protect their interests. I'm sure everyone wants to keep everything fair and balanced and represent the majority of users while protecting the minority and welcoming new users (etc.), and I think we do a good job of that, but for your specific interests to be represented in detail you have to actively represent them. Besides, if you give up your voice then what guarantee is there that someone else will represent you honestly and appropriately? Democracy only works fully with full participation.

In this particular case, I don't think contacting everyone with an ITG was feasible (or appropriate — it's noise on questions and e-mail is reserved for more dire things). Regardless, as noted in the comments this discussion has been going on for over a year, and in particular it was 2-3 weeks where we were actively progressing towards a final decision. Not that quick. I think the use of was sufficient to let people know this was coming to a head, besides all the Meta activity. We can't wait indefinitely for input before making decisions — and if we did, we'd run into the problem of people getting sick of it and losing interest. (Which I'm pretty sure we did, actually.)

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