I think the time is ripe to revisit our identify this game rules, following this week's discussion on chat and meta.
The status quo
The current policy is that any question asking to identify a game or modification is off-topic for this site.
The reasons brought forward behind the policy are that:
- History shows the criteria in these questions are necessarily:
- warped by time and memory
- possibly wrong altogether
- insufficient to identify just one game
- From this last point it follows that the only person who can identify the one right question is the asker himself.
- The asker might have stopped checking for questions
- The asker might be summarily dismissing what's actually the "right" answer over a discrepancy between what he recalls and what the game actually is
- Mind reading and 20 question guessing games are not what we're experts in
- These questions are not helpful to the internet at large
- It is difficult to close these questions as duplicate. You might theoretically have two ITG questions with the same body and two different answers - both "correct". You also can have two different questions with the same answer.
- These questions have lower view counts and vote counts than average
- These questions typically do poorly in converting new users into frequent users
The proposed change
Hoping I can distill LessPop's post into a paragraph correctly, we should change our policy to:
Questions asking to identify a game or parts thereof are not too localized if they reference actual screenshots, music or other artifacts thereof. Others are too localized and must be closed accordingly.
This is okay because:
- We're not requiring vague recollections of memories, but actual evidence.
- These are not mind guessing exercises - the correct answer is not what the asker had in mind. It's about identifying elements from a game.
The problem of usefulness to the internet at large mostly remains, however. I could counter with "google reverse image search", but that's kind of stretching it.
To make everybody's life easier, while these questions still ask to identify a game, we would use the game-identification tag for these questions rather than the old and smelly identify-this-game tag. (Credit)
Topicality remains an orthogonal matter; in other words ITG can be on- or off-topic, but that must be decided on a per-question basis; this is a policy on whether or not the question is constructive. I don't think "identify-this-font" questions are on-topic for us, there's a Graphical Design Stack Exchange if you really want people to tell Helvetica apart from Arial to you. Still, this:
- removes ITG from the list of questions that automatically are off-topic.
- still leaves us with a easy to enforce, hard and fast rule on what's okay and what's not okay
- leaves the room to close a question as not constructive for other regular reasons (see the previous version of this post); this post makes a good example of an ITG that wouldn't be closed Too Localized but would be closed Not Constructive.
I for one thing this makes a ton of sense and would like to make it our policy onwards. There doesn't seem to be significant opposition on the previous question, but I expect this question title to raise more than a few eyebrows.
So, make yourselves heard: do you like this or not?