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 tag for these questions rather than the old and smelly 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?

  • 1
    What do we do if the asker provides something like music from the game and it is not sufficient to uniquely identify the game? Jul 20, 2012 at 18:10
  • 1
    @murgatroid99 What happens when you ask a normal question and there's not just one answer? Nothing special happens. There are multiple correct answers. The question is "What game has this soundtrack", not "Help me recall the game that had this as its boss tune."
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 18:10
  • Are you thinking of reviving the ITG tag along with the addition of this special clause, if it goes through?
    – Mana
    Jul 20, 2012 at 18:12
  • @Mana That would be what happens I believe. I already have a couple of ITG questions that would be okay under this policy. If you think renaming the tag can help making things clearer, I'm all up for it.
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 18:14
  • 1
    @badp The problem is that there was only one game the asker was thinking of, and questions like "What games satisfy X criteria?" seem to just be catalog questions. Jul 20, 2012 at 18:18
  • @murgatroid99 Yes, these are entirely unlike the ITGs of olde and yet ask for the identification of a game. The differences are the whole point behind allowing them. As for game-rec: there's a very large difference between "What games have regenerating health?" and "What game is this: <screenshot>". The border between game-rec and ITG has never been completely distinct and that's never gotten in the way so far.
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 18:49
  • OK, what if there are two games with the same song? Are both right answers? Which should be accepted? How should answers be voted on? Jul 20, 2012 at 18:52
  • 1
    @murgatroid99 There's very many questions on the site where there isn't one correct answer. I don't see why these ITGs are special in this regard.
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:01
  • 1
    @badp 1: There is only one right answer: the game the answer was thinking of. We just don't have any way of knowing what it was. 2: What keeps my example from having the same problems as catalog questions? Jul 20, 2012 at 19:04
  • @murgatroid99 Yes, as I said these questions that would be allowed on the site would be allowed because they are unlike the old questions where we need to mind-read the asker for the simple fact you don't need to mind read the asker in the first place to answer the question. Does the game have the song? Fine, upvote away. Does the answer mention multiple games in the rather rare scenario of this happening? Give him ALL the upvotes.
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:07
  • 1
    @badp I think you're conflating "Identify this game"(that I sorta kinda remember, vaguely, possibly) with "Identify this thing from a game". I'm not sure why the latter would ever be closed. Regardless, I don't think this is something in need of a policy change at this point in time. Jul 20, 2012 at 19:09
  • 1
    @RavenDreamer "Identify this thing from a game" is an "Identify this game" question when what you're trying to get identified is a game. It's... obvious isn't it?
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:12
  • 2
    @badp not quite what I mean. It'd make more sense to call ITG questions "Remember that game", because that was usually the full extent of the question. If we've got something beyond memories and descriptions, something we can authoritatively state, This IS in here, or this is not in here, it's not a, "Remember that game" question. Jul 20, 2012 at 19:18
  • Storm's comin'
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:33

5 Answers 5


I'm posting this answer because I think Mark Trapps answer while excellent, gets a bit away from the core concern raised by this question in favor of talking about a tag than anything else.

So, to speak to the core question: Should we allow requests for identification of games based on the reference to actual visual, textual, or audio artifacts of that game?

I'm of the opinion that we should. I fail to see how these questions share any of the faults that led to the initial ban on ITG. They are not guessing games, and they are not one-per-answer popularity fests waiting to happen. To address the concerns raised by Matthew Read:

Q: Won't this lead to a flood of bad questions by people that don't understand the rules or the standards? Isn't this what we tried with that template for ITG questions that failed horribly?
A: First off, no, this is nothing like what we tried with that template, which merely attempted to encourage people to post their vague memories in detail. We were still playing a guessing game against bad memories. As for the possibility of bad copycat questions, I just don't really believe it. And even if that is the case, I don't really have a problem with needing to close a few more questions. Our moderation team and large number of 3k, 10k, and 20k members are more than adequate to handle the burden. Especially when there is a very clear standard of what is and is not acceptable.

Q: Isn't this just as vague and unreasonable a standard of evidence as "Only the really detailed ITG's are okay?
A: NO. I'm not sure how much clearer of a standard you can have than what is effectively Screenshots or GTFO. (To clarify, pointing to a timecode in a widely availiable video, or the song on Level X of Game is more than sufficient for what I'm talking about. The key is that an answerer should be able to access the same content and look at the same thing.)
As to the concern about how large of a sample, of a song, or how detailed a screenshot - we get vague questions every day about all kinds of subjects. We close them or keep them open based on a concensus of high rep users as to whether the question is constructive or answerable. I see no reason why our existing, and already high-standards shouldn't be applied to these questions. We actually had a question about a sound effect, (I want to say Police Quest?) that was answered almost instantly because it was sufficiently distinctive. I also think the concern is overstated, simply because you need to consider where people are going to be sourcing these artifacts from - I mean, you raise the concern of a screenshot of the sky. I counter you with in what world is someone going to have a screenshot of a blank sky, with no distinguishing features, and wonder what game it came from?

Q: My ITG was closed and it was really good!
A: I'm sorry, but this is a really petty argument, and it just holds no water with me whatsoever. You claim that this is a vanishingly small subset of ITG questions. I'd argue that you're misunderstanding the motivation behind the sort of questions with which this change is concerned. ITG's of the sort that you asked, and which prompted the blanket ban, were essentially memory exercises. It was about attempting to remember something the asker had forgotten. The questions that this change seeks to allow, are instead, truly requests for identification, in the strictest, most unambiguous sense possible. It's not about trying to track down a memory. It's about seeing a game being played in a Youtube clip and wondering what game it is. It's about hearing a variant on a games theme song and wondering which game in the series it appeared in. It's about "I have a thing here that is clearly and unambiguously a video game or from a video game, but I don't know what game it is." To be brief, it's about the difference between Identify this game and Help-me-remember this game.

You're right, the primary difference is in the quality of the evidence. Which is to say, it differs because there is any evidence at all. Which is all of the difference in the world when it comes to solving the core problems of ITG's answerability, poor compatibility with voting, and yes, even usefulness to the internet at large, as being able to point to the source of the artifact in question greatly enhances the searchability and broad usefulness of the question.

To address Mark Trapps concerns:

I think you're falling into the same trap as opponents of this change, TBQH, by getting hung up on terminology. I'm not sure why the tag matters so much. The tag as it existed was dead, and bringing it back to serve this new class of questions doesn't strike me as inherently problematic. There's nothing in Badp's proposal that in any way diverges from exactly the sort of questions that we've been discussing for several days at length now as being perfectly good and answerable. If you'd like to propose an alternative tag to avoid confusion, than by all means do so, but post-facto tagging of these questions based on their answers, as was done for the Breaking Bad question, while probably helpful for searchability, is not a viable broad solution. We need to tag these questions with something, and has a bunch of baggage. In the interest of clarity, is as good as anything else. A clear tag wiki and an educated base of close voters should ensure that the nightmare scenario you've described doesn't happen.

So, for those that want a tl;dr:

  • These questions are good, we should allow them.
  • ITG questions based on the memory of the asker are still bad, we should still not allow them.
  • I like Pizza.
  • What we tag them as is up for discussion, but we have to tag them with something and is as good as anything else. has a bunch of Meta baggage that is not worth dredging up and causing confusing meta searches to happen.
  • 5
    "Old Style" ITGs might make more sense described as "Remember this game", if that helps to differentiate. Jul 22, 2012 at 0:02
  • At this point, I'm so exhausted from discussing it over the past few days, I'm all like whatever. Putting aside the ideological arguments, there's a practical reason why identify-this-game should remain dead which was evidenced throughout this discussion: it's got too much historical baggage, and if someone goes searching though meta for discussions about it, they're going to get all the old discussions which is going to be confusing, to put it mildly.
    – user3389
    Jul 22, 2012 at 3:07
  • 2
    Since we can't go back and do a search and replace on "identify this game" with "remember this game", I think it'd be better if we followed the rest of the network this time and called these questions game-identification.
    – user3389
    Jul 22, 2012 at 3:07
  • @MarkTrapp Fair enough. I'll edit my answer to reflect that. Jul 22, 2012 at 3:35
  • 3
    "As for the possibility of bad copycat questions, I just don't really believe it." I find your belief system fascinating. Because history teaches us that new users totally grok every subtle nuance of Stack Exchange right from the get-go, yes? Jul 22, 2012 at 7:59
  • @JeffAtwood Honestly I'm having a hard time trying to come up with something less nuanced than "screenshot or GTFO." (Q&A is hard, let's go shopping!)
    – badp
    Jul 22, 2012 at 8:37
  • 2
    @badp so you will close 98/100 of these questions. That'll be fun. Jul 22, 2012 at 8:50
  • 1
    @JeffAtwood We are closing 100/100 of these questions right now anyway :)
    – badp
    Jul 22, 2012 at 9:27
  • @JeffAtwood Of course it doesn't. But I've been increasingly unconvinced recently that a 'fence around the law' does anything to dissuade the people that are going to ask bad questions from doing so anyway. The sort of new users that won't grok this rule, don't do a much better job of grokking the more hard and fast ones anyway. So why are we punishing those who do 'get it' just because it makes it easier to yell at those who don't? Jul 22, 2012 at 11:54
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    @JeffAtwood to use your Harvard analogy, I'm not saying Harvard has to relax its standards. I'm saying that Harvard policy of not accepting applications from North Carolina because 99% of North Carolinians don't meet the standards needs to go. The fact that they have to reject more applicants to let that 1% in is not, in this case, reason enough to not consider them. Jul 22, 2012 at 13:13
  • On topic: this thread which meets the requirements as agreed here was deleted, after an answer to the question had been provided.
    – user27134
    Jul 27, 2012 at 13:28

Opening the floodgates? I don't buy it

I feel that the argument of "If we ever allow anything even remotely approaching a question that asks for identification of a game, we're going to open the floodgates and will have to start closing thousands of questions and argue with people in meta all day long over their specific questions!" to be kind of overblown. Of course, to be fair, I just worded it in overblown way. My point is, this argument alone doesn't seem sufficient to me to think we should ban otherwise-good questions.

We want to require a good source of inquiry, not simply "any old screenshot"

A literal reading of "Screenshot or GTFO" thing misses the point too. I upvoted LessPop's answer and agree with it, but based on what I've seen in chat I think people are getting hung up on the "screenshot" idea too literally, and "Screenshot or GTFO" is not a very quotable rule. Or rather, it's very quotable, but in a way that misses the point. The Breaking Bad question is perfectly fine when you just list the show and episode number that the game was in. A screenshot or video clip of the episode in question can certainly enhance the question, but even without it you've already done your job by giving a very solid source that people can refer to when they look at your question. No, you can't just throw a screenshot into any old question and we're going to say that it's suddenly a perfectly valid game identification question. It would be really, really easy to follow the letter of whatever rules we set up for that while still providing a screenshot so bad as to be useless. For example, what game is this from?

enter image description here

Okay, with Google Image search, you can probably find out where I got that and reverse engineer from there, but the point is, this question is not really answerable. It's vague enough to have become a guessing game. The entire problem with ITGs was that no matter how many recollections they contained, they were guessing games, and the only one who could say if they were right or wrong was the person who asked the question.

The real problem is with questions that have answers that can only be validated by the person who asks the question

So a question that posted the above screenshot, or some other less ridiculous but still really generic screenshot, has the same problems. It's so vague as to be unanswerable. And it's not really helping the Internet be better. A screenshot might help you get the answer you're looking for (as in the case of the Breaking Bad question), but the point isn't "Hey, guys, I have this screenshot and I'm wondering what it's of". That's often not going to be an answerable question, nor will it be terribly useful to other people. However, "Hey, I was watching Breaking Bad, Season 3, episode 1, and Jessie was playing a game in it, and I'm really wondering what that game was?" is an extremely answerable question, and is likely to be a question other people have.

It seems ridiculous to me that we'd close the Breaking Bad question simply because it vaguely resembles the questions, and Oh no don't do that or you'll open the floodgates! Users' tiny little brains will get confused and they'll revolt!. Yes, it's asking for game identification, but beyond that, it's got a source people can go to and it's got a single answer that can be verified. I know I've made those sorts of searches all the time after watching a TV show. Sometimes, no one can figure out the answer, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a single, correct answer that does not require questioner's agreement to become correct.

Now, if we want to say questions such as the Breaking Bad one are off-topic because there's a Movies & TV site, fine, but again, that's just looking at one specific case. I'm sure there will be other cases where we've got a very specific source for the question that people can reference, which means we can give a very definitive answer.

The point is, let's not close good questions just because they vaguely resemble bad ones

Here's the deal. Answerable questions related to gaming are good. Unanswerable/guessing-game questions, where only the asker can verify an answer as correct (and maybe not even he can do it!) are bad. I think we're getting way too bogged down in weird special-case rules for this. Just like when Congress tries to legislate Internet policy, trying to come up with hard and fast rules and handling of corner-cases is going to be an exercise in futility. 99% of the time, it's obvious which of those categories a question falls into. Why are we pretending like no one is going to understand the distinction? Why are we so afraid of having to disagree with someone and close a question anyway in the rare case that they don't understand the distinction and want to argue about it? Isn't the entire point of having a community that we can handle things like this in a manner that isn't ridiculously bureaucratic?

If this were a SE site dedicated to music lovers, I'd love to be able to ask questions like "What was the song that played in the last 3 minutes of episode 1 season 1 of Some TV Show X?" I Google for stuff like that all the time. They have none of the problems that ITGs have. Similarly, when I saw that episode of Breaking Bad, I had the same thought about the game and after the episode Googled for the answer. These are questions people have. They often require expert knowledge. Why are we trying so hard to say no to them?

  • "Requiring a screenshot isn't the answer either" See meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/5128/…
    – badp
    Jul 23, 2012 at 18:59
  • 1
    @badp My problem is that a screenshot won't mean a question is good. And lack of screenshot (such as the Breaking Bad question in its original form) doesn't mean it's bad. It's a rule that doesn't really help. Maybe I'm mixing two different issues though.
    – Sterno
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:05
  • 1
    It doesn't have to be a screenshot. It can be a soundtrack or a short clip (case in point). It just needs to be tangible and real and not the product of the asker's memories. This doesn't guarantee quality but sets the minimum bar.
    – badp
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:07
  • @badp If you accept a specific citing of source such as "It was in this episode of this TV show" as "tangible and real" evidence, without actually needing to dig up and physically link that particular clip of the show, then I can get on board with that. A clear source that can be commonly referenced, even if not linked directly in the question as video or a screenshot, seems sufficient to me.
    – Sterno
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:27
  • Getting that link honestly would increase the quality of the question and just make everybody's life much easier.
    – badp
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:30
  • @badp Agreed. But saying "Sorry, we're closing your question because it didn't link a video or screenshot" at the same time that someone who watched that referenced episode and just typed out the answer is going to seem really, really silly. Again, it comes down to whether or not the question is well-sourced and answerable. We shouldn't get hung up on the exact form of the source. Sticking to rules even when they don't make sense seems to be one of the ways we often get into trouble.
    – Sterno
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:40
  • @Sterno I thought my answer, as well as my original post was fairly clear: You don't need to be able to produce the actual content. (It may, after all, be unavailiable for embedding in any non-piratical way). You do need to reference content that is in some way widely available, whether that is by you linking to it, or providing a timecode in an episode of a TV show or whatever. The key is not that the evidence be contained within the post itself per se, but rather that any objective reader can go and look it up themselves and verify the answer without the memory of the asker being needed. Jul 23, 2012 at 19:49
  • @MatthewRead I'm not sure what example you're looking for. If you're arguing about my use of the words "expert knowledge", then sure, it might not take an expert. Just someone familiar with the game. The big difference between the Breaking Bad question and a old ITG is that there is a distinct correct answer, and it's also an answer other people are probably looking for. You don't have to throw a guess out there and wait for the OP to come back and tell you if it was right. "What game were they playing in Breaking Bad 3x01?" is very different than "Which game am I trying to remember?"
    – Sterno
    Jul 23, 2012 at 19:55
  • With regards to Movies&TV.SE, the Breaking Bad question may actually be off topic for being too trivial. I haven't actually spent any time there, so I don't know how strongly they enforce that item in the FAQ.
    – MBraedley
    Jul 23, 2012 at 20:11
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz Based on what I'd been reading in chat, I think people were reading the "Screenshot or GTFO" thing in a very literal sense. I didn't help in my original form of the answer, but I've tried to clear it up with an edit. People seemed to be getting hung up on the nature of the artifact that made the question well-sourced and answerable, rather than the fact that the question needed to be well-sourced and answerable, regardless of what type of artifact caused it.
    – Sterno
    Jul 23, 2012 at 20:16
  • While I did mention that it'd help the quality of the question, I didn't imply it'd be a requirement.
    – badp
    Jul 24, 2012 at 18:29
  • "For example, what game is this from?" Doom 3, obviously. Aug 1, 2012 at 2:08

As I read it, you're not talking about Identify-this-game questions, as we've known and loved(loathed?) them. You're talking about a different brand of question that happens to involve "identifying" and "games" (or parts of games).

If all you're really arguing for is a change to the terminology, I'm not sure I find that request reasonable, for the simple reason that I don't think it'd result in a net increase in clarity (and I think it might do the opposite).

  • 1
    Yes, I'm arguing to bring back the category of ITG questions that were casualties of the blanket ban and got closed and deleted despite referencing something actually from the game itself. Like e.g. this or this.
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:18
  • @badp Then it shouldn't have been enforced as a blanket ban - I have no problem with that question being reopened and undeleted... I just don't think it needs to be in a category of, "Identify this game". Jul 20, 2012 at 19:20
  • How would you tag these questions then?
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:21
  • @badp That's just it - I don't think they're a category unto themselves. It'd have to be on an individual basis. Jul 20, 2012 at 19:22
  • @badp It would depend on the question. Jul 20, 2012 at 19:24
  • Okay, look at the examples above. This specifically, where the current tag is an adeguate guess but certainly you can't always do that.
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:24
  • 2
    @badp The final fantasy one can easily be tagged with the game name - Chocobo Racing. The other one is a bit more of a conundrum. The best I can come up with on the spot would be something akin to the Gaming-not-on-Gaming bot; the main draw of the question is the TV show, which we don't have any support for. Jul 20, 2012 at 19:29
  • 1
    About the first - surely you mean it can be tagged with what's going to be [untagged] in six months :P I have to agree though.
    – badp
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:32

Due to a discussion in chat today, I don't believe that this exception will do much of anything beyond turn us into a glorified Google-bot for these questions.

We're going to get two types of questions:

  1. A game screenshot a user has pulled off of the web somewhere.
  2. A reference, link, or picture to a game being played in a TV show somewhere.

The only scenario I can realistically see where our expert knowledge would be required is in the latter.

Scenario 1 - A game screenshot a user found online somewhere
With the former, the chances of a screenshot being a standalone, without any context available whatsoever, is going to be vanishingly small. You may find a picture somewhere in a gallery of someone going, "Hey, this looks pretty cool!". At that point, without any context, all a user has is a picture. We're not going to be the first resource someone asks to play the "Identify the Screenshot!" game. It's going to be Google.

And Google allows you to drag a picture from your computer onto the image search, and it will give you not only a best guess, but also provide pictures that are visually similar. In most cases, this is going to be sufficient for someone to figure out what game that is from, all without our intervention.

More savvy Internet users are going to realize that there are also resources such as Tineye, which allow you to give it a picture, and it will bring back results of where that picture's been found online. Chances are if Google doesn't know where it's from, you can use Tineye to figure out where else it's been used, and figure out what game they're talking about from one of the original results.

As an example, I used a picture @Pixel uploaded to disprove the fact that most screenshots are going to include context from where they were pulled from. The picture can be found in chat here.

I first ran it through Tineye. It, surprisingly, doesn't return any results. Which means it was probably taken specifically to disprove my point. I could very be wrong about this, in which case I apologize.

However, taking that same picture, and uploading it to Google's Image search, gives us the name of the game as Neocron 2. Honestly, I never would have known that without someone doing the legwork for me in chat; my image searching is just giving confirmation that that's what it is.

But in the event that Google has no idea where it's from, Tineye isn't the only reverse image resource available. Googling reverse image search brings up Google's own service, Tineye, and a blog post that lists a Top 10 reverse image search engines from 2010.

Many of those links probably won't work anymore. The point I'm making is that there are resources out there, beyond Google, that will take the picture and give you results as to what it might be.

In cases like this, our expertise is hardly required, or will barely be thought of. Who wants to wait for a human answer when an automated search engine can do it for you?

In the (probably extremely rare) event that Google AND Tineye don't return anything that can be used to identify the game, chances are going to be extremely rare that a human can identify it. Google, at the very least, should not only point to the area where the user grabbed it in the first place, but also where it originally came from, and everywhere else it's been used. One of those results will tell the user what it is. The chances are vanishingly small that we can identify a picture that Google can't.

Scenario 2 - A reference, link, or picture to a game being played in a TV show or similar
I'm going to use the Breaking Bad question as an example, as it's somewhat of a unique case. If you Google breaking bad video game jesse (Thanks to @RonanForman), the first hit is to a blog, which explicitly states what game it is, and the fact that it had not been released at the time of airing.

If this question had been asked when the episode originally aired, I don't think we would have had enough information to conclusively prove (or disprove) whether or not the blog had it right. Short of someone from id dropping in and going, "Hey, yeah, that's from our new game", it probably would have been extremely difficult if not impossible to identify that.

And it would also run us straight into the talking about unreleased games problem that we can't seem to go yay or nay about. But that's a whole other can of worms, one I won't get into.

Leaving the Breaking Bad example, we will probably get lots of questions where a user can provide a clip or a point in time in a TV show, point to it and go, "Which game is that?". And for all we know, it could be a game that's not real. It could be created specifically just for that point in time. In which case the correct answer is, "It's not a real game, it's something made up for the TV show."

So, after this long winded explanation, I'm NOT in favor of "Screenshot or GTFO". That turns us into a Google-bot. The only exception I would be in favor of, for lack of a better term, "TV clip (link/pic/reference/whatever) or GTFO". Screenshots, Google does better than we ever could. The only time where our expertise would ever be needed is in TV clips, because Google hasn't invented a reverse movie search engine yet.

  • I agree with you for the most part, but I'm still of the opinion that "TV clip or GTFO" is too restrictive for it's own good. Users will think they're special and try to bend the rules which, IMHO, will cause more headaches than it's worth.
    – MBraedley
    Jul 24, 2012 at 10:45
  • 1
    At some point when playing a game, people will have a question. We're not going to be the first resource someone asks to play the "answer my question!" game. It's going to be Google. And Google allows you to type your question from your computer onto the text box, and it will give you not only a best guess, but also provide pages that are similar in content. In most cases, this is going to be sufficient for someone to figure out what the answer is, all without our intervention. More savvy Internet users are going to realize that there are also resources such as GameFAQs etc. etc. etc. ;)
    – badp
    Jul 24, 2012 at 11:47
  • @badp The point is, an identify-this-screenshot will boil down to a basic, "Let me Google that for you".
    – Frank
    Jul 24, 2012 at 23:06
  • 4
    The point is, you could say that of all questions on our site. The whole point of SE is making information more readily available to search engines in high-quality Q&A form.
    – badp
    Jul 25, 2012 at 3:09

I don't much have an opinion on this, but it may interest people to know that SciFi.SE allows "identity this" questions, and back in March made an interesting blog post on it. Might provide new perspective, might not.

  • It does not. We already knew about this blog post when we were discussing the initial ban. Jul 21, 2012 at 20:08
  • This idea is not about bringing back "identify this thing I vaguely remember" guessing games :)
    – badp
    Jul 21, 2012 at 20:22
  • 1
    @badp scifi.se has some problems. Deep ones. Jul 22, 2012 at 8:01
  • 1
    @Toomai Thanks for bringing this up. Don't take the downvotes personally. This topic is one of the more emotional in the sites history, so it has some folks using their downvotes more liberally. I see you had a problematic experience with tag wikis too. Hang in there - the format of the site takes some getting used to. We appreciate your participation!
    – EBongo
    Jul 22, 2012 at 14:33
  • @Jeff, a little context for that tweet? Is it the topic itself? The way the community is working? Something else?
    – juan
    Jul 23, 2012 at 17:00
  • @jqan look at the SF.SE frontpage. The basis for the tweet is pretty self evident. Jul 23, 2012 at 17:08
  • 1
    @EBongo SciFi.SE is dominated by fanboys^Wenthusiasts of a few mass media franchises. Very disappointing to my mind. There is so much more to the genres than that. Jul 23, 2012 at 19:47
  • 3
    @dmckee: You could say the same about every other stackexchange as well, including gaming.SE. Jul 27, 2012 at 17:24
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz Right. On Science Fiction & Fantasy, there are mostly two kinds of questions: identification questions, and “nobody cares except hardcore fans” questions. The identification questions are what keeps me on the site at all. Aug 17, 2013 at 3:10

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