Yes, I have read the arguments. I found them lacking. While they have their merit, none of them really explain why ITG questions harm SE and why they must be removed. The only single fact that sticks out to me is that Jeff Atwood states in his blog that:
identify-this-game is the 5th most popular tag on gaming story-identification is the 2nd most popular tag on scifi single-word-requests is the 3rd most popular tag on english story-identification is the 2nd most popular tag on literature*
Also, as the vote apparently ended 34 for and 27 against prohibiting ITG, it seems to me - and forgive me if this sounds inflammatory - that it is, in fact, an elite (61 people) deciding what is good for the majority.
A personal note
I have an old favourite flash board game that I can never remember the name of. A few months go by, and my mind is a complete blank. Earlier, I wracked my brain, exhausted every type of google search I could think of, but this game was lost forever in the greatness of the information super highway (yeah, remember that one?).
I was at a loss for some time, before I found gaming.stackexchange.com. Posting a quite detailed (as I recall) question, the magic happened. What google could not do, gaming.SE did for me. Now I thought, I would have this information forever.
Not so. For some reason, my question is deleted. I have seen why, I've read some of the debate. I will speak more of that below. My first question is: Can I have my question back? It was certainly not a lazy "do the work for me" question. It was certainly detailed. And as I recall, it was not filled with guessing-type answers.
Where is the debate?
Is this debate closed? I see most questions in the identify-this-game tag are closed. I'm sorry I could not participate during the voting time, because gaming.SE is not my main .SE site (stackoverflow is). Is it too late now, and I forever must hold my peace?
I read Jeff Atwood's blog on the topic: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/02/lets-play-the-guessing-game/. He (you, if this is you reading, Jeff) says that this type of question is quickly becoming the most popular question on various stackexchange sites. And that they must be removed.
I am baffled.
Now, permit me to be somewhat silly for a moment.
Before Youtube was "invented", it was certainly possible to find answers on the internet. It was certainly possible to find all kinds of things, and even perhaps videos on them. Even so, Youtube's introduction and growth and diversity has made it a marvel.
Just as an example: A while ago I needed to change strings on my guitar. And because it was a while ago, I had completely forgotten how to do it. Sure, I could have called the music store where I bought the strings. Sure, I could have googled it. But instead, I searched and found a ton of videos on the topic on Youtube. Problem solved.
Admittedly, a howto-video on changing guitar strings is possibly more educational and useful than knowing that an old flash game is named Proximity. But it seems to me that while Youtube is allowing the market to decide what's good for the market, stackexchange is concerned with telling the market what is good for the market. And I don't see how that is a good thing, or ever has been one.
Now, you'll say that questions of this type will drown stackexchange, perhaps. But they didn't drown Youtube. Youtube is filled with videos of immense failure. Videos without redeeming quality, with low views, pure trash sometimes. However, they are not visible to the general audience. They are obscured in the myriad of other videos, and the popular ones rise to the surface.
Like Youtube, stackexchange will suffer from having tons of material that is out of date, that will never be re-used; One shot questions that will never be seen again. Youtube solves that (I think) by obscuring such videos in searches, by stuffing them deeply in archives that take longer to access. Why should stackexchange be any different? Instead of trying to cull out the crap, embrace it. Make it easier to find only what you want, and obscure that which you do not want.
Personally, I like identify-this-X questions. It is a bit of harmless fun, and most of the time I have nothing to add to such a question. And perhaps fun should be frowned upon. But in all honesty, is questions about games really ever about anything except fun?
When I started this section, I said I was baffled that anyone would want to ban one of the most popular features of their site. I still am. What if I went to my local grocer and asked for my favourite brand of cookies, and they said: "Nope, sorry, we don't sell those anymore. Everyone wants them! I hate it. People flock to my store to buy those damnable cookies! My cash register was overflowing, for gods sake! Get outta here, you bum! We only sell healthy cookies, cookies that are good for you."
Make sense to you?
In closing, for those of you who may not have noticed, I also started by mentioning that gaming.stackexchange.com did for me what google could not. This identify-the-game for me performed a service that the almighty Google failed at.
This is not something to scoff at. This is the marvel that is StackExchange. We are one, we are many, we are the StackExchange. Our combined brains are an asset to the internet.