I was asked to post this before leaving. I honestly don't want to post a question of this nature on meta, but I will give the benefit of the doubt this time just in case I was wrong.

The outcome of this decides what happens next.

Over the last two months I have tried to be active, contribute to the community, and learn the way that things work around here, I've asked many questions, some of them got answers, many of them resulted in arguments - which in all honesty perplexed me, it was like you were interpreting my questions as methods to undermine the system or change the way that you do things when in fact all I wanted was a clear cut explanation of why things worked the way that you said they worked.

I took part in the clean up process, in all honesty I have to be somewhere up there with one of the most active in this regard, re-tagging, de-tagging, tag wiki edits, question edits, etc The fact I've come out of it after 50 days as a top 3 editor by quantity on this site should back this up. The fact that I have submitted a large quantity of tag wikis, burned a large number of tags... I digress.

At the end of it all I feel I have put more into this than I've got out of it. All I've wanted is an understanding of what I needed to do in order to fit in and this just hasn't come to fruition.

I have been here every day since I signed up, and would continue doing so. I've been very active during hours that traditionally you guys have very few people active in, I feel a lot of the choices that I've made have been the right ones but very rarely get feedback on this to confirm. I also know I've made a few wrong choices, certainly due to getting pulled up on them, but very rarely has the 'why' has been explained.

It's much easier to do something when you understand why it works that way. Asking why it works that way doesn't mean I'm trying to get it changed, merely gain an understanding.

The first issue I've found is that groups of users all seem to be interpreting the rules differently, what one user says is OK is randomly deleted by a moderator a group of other users. One minute a post is open and the next it is voted to close by syndication because one person asks his friends to vote blindly in their favour. There has even been instances of a question being voted closed, then reopened, and then closed and reopened again...

Some of this behaviour is fundamentally wrong on a site that is trying to achieve what StackExchange wishes to achieve and is probably the single biggest issue with the site.

Second issue; Arqade suffers from a severe lack of direction and agreement between it's users. From a new user perspective this leads to the situation where asking for help means being sent to the FAQ, the FAQ doesn't contain all of the answers and you then get advised to go to meta, and when you use meta as your point of reference you get told that meta isn't policy and thus can't be used to interpret what the rules are.

You are asking your new users to "guess" what the rules are, yet jump on them in groups the moment they slip up. This is both unacceptable and very unfriendly and definitely doesn't do you many favours in terms of keeping new users around.

I am not taking this decision lightly and would like to stay, some of you are alright, and I have no doubts that under the right circumstances I could get along with each and every one of you, I feel quite frequently that many of you choose to purposely misunderstand what I'm asking or saying specifically to protect your own point of view and not have to answer a series of inquisitive questions that may or may not sound like questions you've had asked by other people in this sites history, maybe the last person who asked you repeatedly why you do things did it to wind you up, maybe you didn't get on with them, maybe there is another reason... Maybe it's me?

All I ever came here for was answers.

  • 7
    "I feel quite frequently that many of you choose to purposely misunderstand what I'm asking or saying specifically to protect your own point of view." - I would like to point out that I often view your arguments to be this. That's not to disparage your point of view; just illustrating that the disconnect can happen from either side.
    – Frank
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 14:56
  • 8
    re: close / open / close - that is the way the site is supposed to work. If a question is "iffy", there can be differences of opinion on it, and it can be closed and opened multiple times, or it can be edited and made a good question that should be re-opened.
    – au revoir
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:01
  • 6
    @JasonBerkan the instance I'm referencing, the question was closed 2-3 times and reopened 2-3 times. Is this how the site is supposed to work because this sounds dysfunctional and makes Arqade look unprofessional from the point of view of the person who raised the question...
    – user27134
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:03
  • 2
    Yes, that is how it is supposed to work. That question was definitely in a grey area of site policy and some things needed to be worked out between the users of this site. As Jeff often says, watching the sausage get made is never pretty...
    – au revoir
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:09
  • 8
    So what is the purpose of meta if it isn't to work out site policy? Whenever I want to talk about site policy I get ushered to meta yet at least 10 people were allowed to do it in open with a new user's question... resulting in looking unfriendly, unprofessional, inconsistent, and confusing...
    – user27134
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:11
  • It did end up on meta and an informal policy was worked out. However, we are humans, doing this on our own time, so the argument did spill out into the question. However, a mod did lock the question to prevent it from getting out of hand while the matter was discussed in meta.
    – au revoir
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:15
  • 1
    @JasonBerkan the question got locked because I asked for some moderator intervention as it was starting to look embarrassing, but again you're managing to loose focus on the actual problems as an overview to focus on individual nuances of the big picture.
    – user27134
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:17
  • 3
    Uhh. Where are you going? Were you asked to leave the website? I'm a bit confused.
    – Ender
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:25
  • 2
    @Ender, it starts here: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/5533572#5533572
    – juan
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 15:49
  • I had the highest scored answer to the "revisiting ITG" post before I deleted it, which said all forms should remain banned. That may be why "they're OK now" is not as true as you thought. Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 16:15
  • 4
    Believe me. Workplace.SE suffers from the same problem. I've told the moderators that, IMO, if they don't fix this problem, then they risk the viability of the site (meaning that it will exist as an afterthought only). After constructively and objectively highlighting such inconsistencies in the moderation style, I was banned for 7 days.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 17:27
  • 1
    @JimG. We disagree on the meaning of the word "constructive" then. For example, there are only three moderators, there are many more downvotes than that on your meta posts. Compare that to this post, +18 at the moment.
    – Nicole
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 3:35

8 Answers 8


For the purposes of what I'm about to post, I'm going to try to standardize on some terminology. In my mind, there's three tiers to the site's "content filter":

  • Principles - top level mission statements that describe the overall community goal. "Improve the internet. Provide great answers to great questions. Good questions are practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face."
  • Rules - Concise interpretations of the principles as it regards to specific community issues - "Speculation of the future of the industry and of upcoming releases is off-topic"
  • Policy - Extensions of the rules, intended to clarify their scope and handle corner cases - "Asking whether or not an unreleased game will contain this character is an example of speculation."

If I was good at making analogies, I might say that "principles" are like the executive branch, rules are the legislative branch, and policy represents the judicial branch of SE's "government." Or you might say that "principles" are the constitution, "rules" the laws, and "policy" the case law. These analogies break down quickly, but perhaps it will be useful for wrapping your head around the distinctions I'm drawing.

I'm also going to refer to two groups of people. "Administrators" are people who have the power to take action - more than just moderators, even close voters are probably the most basic form of administrators on SE. Even downvoting could also be considered an administrative privilege. Administrators are also more deeply invested in the site's long-term well being. "Users" are less interested in the site's long-term success and are more interested in what the site can offer them in the short-term.

Okay, enough terminology.

On the proper application of judgement

I've been feeling something similar to what you describe recently. I've heard several arguments that rules should be more flexible and less strict. We should use our judgement in individual cases and decide whether the application of the rule is in line with the principles. I've also heard that stuff on meta isn't binding, that they're more like guidelines than anything we are actually expected to consistently adhere to.

This has certain advantages, no doubt. There are corner cases where we apply a rule in a way that seems like nonsense, and that can be confusing and difficult to understand. Sometimes policy is contradictory or unclear/lacking consensus. Using our judgement would allow us to handle each and every one of these situations as an individual problem, and give us far finer granularity.

Asking a large community of administrators to use their judgement is a bad idea. Consistent rule enforcement is critical, and relying on a large body of administrator judgement is problematic in this regard. To continue my poor, strained analogy, this would be akin to having judges and lawyers ride along with the police, in order to take all traffic stops to court before writing a ticket.

This doesn't mean that all individual judgement should be suppressed or not used. We aren't a dictatorship, we're a democracy. However, that doesn't mean we have to be anarchistic about it. There are always going to be corner case questions, and there will always be comments on them to discuss them.

However, large-scale reliance on individual judgement can lead to very bad things, like the close/open waffling and angry arguments in comments you're describing. Whenever possible, we should pool and collect our judgement when these situations arise, rather than reacting on individual questions.

Why is consistent rule enforcement critical?

A good rule or bit of policy can be consistently applied. A bad rule/policy leaves too much room for interpretation and individual bias. This means that administrators don't know what to do with it, or they apply it according to their own judgement. Sometimes these judgement calls are OK for smaller communities with few administrators, but as a community grows and becomes more diverse it's not possible to spontaneously agree on best practices for judgement. Many different interpretations of the same situation arise, and this leads to fighting within the administrators, which invariably spills out into the users' view. That's not pleasant, and it should be minimized whenever possible. You want your core administrators/community to generally agree and get along, and additionally this looks bad to outsiders.

I've seen this type of thing happen before in our community, as well as in others. Before joining G.SE/Arqade, I was a member of eGO a "mature world gaming community." They had a similar issue with rules. In eGO's case, the "No cursing" rule was consistently problematic. What constitutes a curse? Is "damn" cursing? Some people felt that "crap" was OK, but "shit" was not. You wouldn't believe the amount of discussion that surrounded the appropriate uses of the "n-word"... (there are appropriate uses of the n-word when playing TF2?)

What ended up happening in a lot of cases was:

  • PlayerA says/does something
  • AdministratorA does nothing
  • Later, AdministratorB comes online
  • PlayerA says/does the same thing again
  • AdministratorB takes punitive action
  • AdministratorA and AdministratorB fight about whether or not PlayerA's actions were action-worthy
  • PlayerA either returns and gets into a fight, or does something retaliatory

You'll note that this is bad for both the administrators and the players. The administrators look bad, get angry, or they don't feel comfortable with enforcement. Meanwhile, the players can't predict what's going to get them the boot and what's going to be shrugged off. It's impossible to obey a guideline or rule that is not consistently enforced.

In Arqade's case, the prime example of this that I can think of in recent history is the community's reaction to ITG that lead to the discussion and categorical ban on those questions. People were encouraged to use their judgement, and what tended to happen was:

  • Some people thought all ITG questions were bad. They downvoted, close voted, and left comments on many ITG questions calling them too vague.
  • Some people felt that ITG questions were unfairly persecuted, and they fought in comments frequently about this.
  • Some people tried as best they could to sort good ITG questions from vague ITG questions, and were blasted by both sides when they disagreed.

The end result was a high incidence of conflict on ITG questions. People were investing time and energy in something that wasn't productive for the site, and these resources were spent creating animosity between community members instead.

Rules are for users. Policy is for administrators.

Rules draw a simple line, which policy bends into a complex curve.

As much as possible we want the rules to filter the good from the bad. Rules, though, are intentionally short and to the point. This is because they're intended as an introduction to the site. They can't/shouldn't contain too much nuance - they're intentionally simple so as to convey the general point without exhausting the user's attention.

Policy, on the other hand, is long-winded and covers the corner cases about how and what to do in what situations. It's detailed, and messy, and it's intended for administrators to refer to. When there's a corner case of a rule that needs addressing, or a rule is being applied incorrectly or inconsistently, the purpose of policy is to clarify and perhaps expand or contract the meaning of the rule. Policy and rules go hand-in-hand, and one creates and informs the other.

Policy explains "why?" and "how?" in ways that users don't typically care about. They're here to get their question answered. They don't care why we won't answer it - they only want a pointer to getting the result they want. "Link me to a site that will" or "why can't you just answer it instead of changing/closing it" are common refrains from users.

The process of starting to care about "why" or "how" is the process by which users become administrators.

Policy codifies our collective judgement, and gives us a venue to express our differing opinions and (hopefully) come to a resolution. Policy keeps us from applying our individual judgement in contradictory ways. Policy is an ever-changing beast though, as we discover new corner cases and false positives arise. Figuring out what the community wants, keeping it internally consistent, and organized for administrators to refer to can be a challenge, but it's not an intractable problem.

It's my position that if we get better at this, our overall experience will improve.


  • SE principles inform our rules and policy. Rules (FAQ) and policy (Meta) interact to help us define what's overall good for the site.
  • Let's use meta policy to collect judgement instead of case-by-case on questions whenever possible, but I recognize we'll never be 100% policy and 0% judgement.
  • Let's get better at collecting, sorting, and consistently enforcing our meta policy, and making sure we're not creating hostile or difficult to enforce policies.
  • Be ready for change, and if you don't like something, be the one to suggest the change you want to see.
  • 12
    %^&*( agent. you are such an overacheiver it makes me sick. :) lol
    – Ender
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 16:47
  • +1 for curves...
    – user9983
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 19:20

I'm not sure if this will help but another user suggested my input, so here goes:

I've been a member here for quite some time now, and still have very little rep compared to users who have been here for much less time. That's for two reasons, first being I am not as interested in the methodical management, and the other is I've been deliberately taking baby steps. Generally speaking, I've been taking an approach that most things I do are wrong, and will be corrected accordingly by the community.

I generally make meta posts with the closing thought of, "This is definitely going to be butchered, but at least I'll learn why". I've learned that anytime anything is in what even MIGHT be a grey area, its much less frustrating to do nothing, and step back and let the community as a whole handle it. And sometimes that was clearly a good idea.

Using the 11 game reference question as an example, I saw that question early this morning, viewed it, and immediately threw it out my window. That was a box of nails I wanted nothing to do with, and even if I did, I knew the community wouldn't be able to quickly agree on how to handle it. So, in a situation where I knew nobody knew what to do, I correctly did nothing. When you have year long plus members who know how the site works in and out, arguing about how to do something, it's clearly over my head. I'm still trying to learn whats 'right', and trying to do that when whats 'right' isn't the same day-to-day is extremely difficult. Add in a situation that directly influences what people eventually decide is 'right' and you've got a crock pot with a crack in it.

This seems like it would be even harder for you, because rather than doing nothing, your attempting to be the DRIVE. Your trying (it seems to me) to be PART of the storm of change that this site deals with every day. It's important that you note I used the word STORM, because that's exactly what it is, and it has all the qualities of a bad one. Its chaotic, its painful, it changes on a whim, and it shows up and leaves sometimes without warning. You seem to want clear cut yes and no situations, and that's normally ok to expect from Stack Exchange. However the very concept of a gaming Stack Exchange website combats clear cut yes and no. Nothing destroys absolutes like games, therefore the questions involving said games are going to dance all over the idea of 'clear cut'.

I think if you jumped in the Storm, and rode it out, and didn't really put any final thoughts into anything until the Storm is over (at least until the next one) you'd find yourself enjoying a challenging, positive, educational learning system; rather than hating a controversial, hypocritical, negative one.


First, I would like to say that we do appreciate that you contribute so much to the site. Even if some of us disagree with some of the actions you have taken, the fact that you have gained so much rep in a short time and that most of your edits have stood unchallenged demonstrates that your actions have mostly been in harmony with the community consensus. It is only natural that with all of that activity, you would encounter the fringe of our consensus, with the borderline categories that we as a community community have not decided how to handle.

It seems to me that this fringe is the source of some of the problems you have with the site. The existence of such a boundary of indecision is inevitable on just about any site on this network, because we want to both answer as many good questions as we can and get rid of as many bad questions as we can. I would not be surprised if the problem is somewhat worse here than on a site like Stack Overflow, since video games prompt a lot of questions that can be difficult to verifiably answer but are borderline answerable. Also, the front page of SO is always full of crap.

We can never eliminate the existence of borderline categories that the community does not to agree on whether to allow. We can only live with it and try to decide on borderline questions when they come up. An analogy in my mind is to Gödel's second incompleteness theorem, which states that any mathematical axiom system cannot be complete, consistent, and finite". The analogy here is that if this site's rules are anything like a theorem system, then we cannot make a finite list of rules that decides consistently and unambiguously whether every single question is allowable.

We have to make a decision one way or another for every question, so we are going to lose a little consistency in the initial handling of some particular questions. The best we can do is discuss the particular question when that happens.

I also want to address your other issue:

Second issue; Arqade suffers from a severe lack of direction and agreement between it's users. From a new user perspective this leads to the situation where asking for help means being sent to the FAQ, the FAQ doesn't contain all of the answers and you then get advised to go to meta, and when you use meta as your point of reference you get told that meta isn't policy and thus can't be used to interpret what the rules are.

The list of rules for allowable questions in the FAQ is short. It has to be: if we tried to include in it all of the nuance of this site's rules, it would be unbearably long and nobody would ever read it. This is why it is considered more of a guideline. Many of the posts on meta that are treated as policy are clarifications of guidelines in the FAQ. For example, this question about private betas is a decision an edge case of the "Speculation of the future of the industry and of upcoming releases". One thing to note is that all of the answers agree about the proposed. The one time I remember a significant policy disagreement was with ITG, and that took a lot of discussion, with several questions and dozens of answers over a span of several months before we reached a conclusion.

In addition, if there is disagreement about a point of policy, we prefer not to implement it until we have reached a consensus, or at least a consistent and significant vote difference between viewpoints.

And I agree that learning what rules we have here is hard and that this is a problem that we need to solve. I think that if we can solve that, it would address one of the main issues you brought up. As the first step in solving this problem, I have created this question about creating a better meta . With that we can start solidifying and aggregating the decisions we make on meta.

I would also like to reiterate something Alok said:

Everyone here genuinely cares about having good content, even if their viewpoints differ

We may not all agree about what constitutes "good content", but when we have disputes over content or try to enforce rules that we like, it's because we care about making this site better.


tl;dr: Recommend you scale down participation instead of getting frustrated and quitting entirely.

I don't see any reason to leave completely, just stop using this site for any issues that fall in a grey area and attract controversy.

You are asking your new users to "guess" what the rules are, yet jump on them in groups the moment they slip up. This is both unacceptable

Unacceptable to whom? It seems quite clear that most users are perfectly fine with having an acceptance policy that is not clear from the FAQ.

also know I've made a few wrong choices, certainly due to getting pulled up on them

This is the one thing you can rely on imho. If you want to use this site for your benefit:

  • Ask questions/answers on topics you're interested in: there is no need to be obliged to mod or help with anything else
  • Just operate on your assumptions on what is right; there are several people who will correct you quickly if you stray off course (though you will need to distinguish between breaking actual site policy or their personal views when you get corrected)

Instead of being too invested in the site and then leaving completely, may I suggest scaling down your participation to a level you're more comfortable with?

I started roughly around the same time as you I guess (around when I picked up Diablo 3). Here's some of the stuff I've come across:

  • I've had good questions marked as duplicates and closed
  • answers to non-dup questions get merged into an unrelated question (since someone thought the parent question was a dup)
  • reasoned and clear Qs and As get closed or downvoted for frivolous reasons (or none at all)
  • people post answers with similar content after an existing one, and get upvoted more
  • a long answer addresses way past what the question asked for; and then a question that actually wanted to know that info gets closed as a dup (without the scope of the original Q changing)
  • edits often break the intent of the OP, or are simply opinionated (expanding iirc with 'if I recall correctly' etc.)

And yet - I am still here on the site. Why? (and how?)

  • Since I was moron enough to visit 50+ days contiguously, I figure I may as well go for Fanatic ;)
  • Everyone here genuinely cares about having good content, even if their viewpoints differ
  • I have also asked question to figure out the ground rules; and had very patient help from people who doubtless had to put up with such doubts a million times already (special thanks to LessPop & MarkTrapp)
  • Many people are really knowledgeable about detailed minutiae for all sorts of obscure game knowledge
  • I appreciate the company of those who value words and can edit questions/answers to be pertinent, interesting and clear (though not everyone does equally good job hehe ;)
  • The experience has helped me improve skills in presentation & wording as well as classification.
  • As with say friends who are sensitive about certain areas; its easy to just ignore or skirt around the bad parts and focus on having good interactions.

You'll note that I elected not to post about negative experiences in the new users thread, make arguments about what is/isn't OT etc. Simply put, I am adjusting my participation to whatever level I am comfortable with - and my simple advice is that you should do the same.

  • Well phrased, and it strikes a lot of chords with my own participation as well. Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 6:13

This site is run democratically. Democracy is messy because people have different opinions about stuff, often contradictory. This makes the process of figuring out policy extremely difficult, and results in the problems you have described.

Sure, a dictatorship gets shit done, but given the choice, which kind of community would you rather be in? We disagree, argue and obsess needlessly over tiny details, in our own ways, to make the site better (and it is getting better). There is no end point at which everything will be perfect, that's not how it works.

If you disagree with something (and everyone who participates heavily disagrees with something) the best thing you can do is write a considered meta post. Engage the community, explain your reasoning, and prepare to be wrong about half the time.

You've been very helpful indeed with the retagging work that's been going on recently, I for one would be sad to see you abandon the site.

  • 2
    I would rather be in a community where I can get answers, answers that I can trust that the next person will agree with, rather than this constant state of ping pong between accepted and off topic, good questions and bad questions. It's all fair saying 'engage the community' but this demonstrates you didn't read my entire post - I tried, they misinterpreted my attempts to seek reason and clarity with trying to dig up something I knew nothing about from past history or cause trouble. This isn't my first action, my first action was to ask for clarification, so was my second and third action...
    – user27134
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 16:12
  • 1
    Being "wrong" is not an issue for me, I even elude to the fact it's possible multiple times in my question - being told you're wrong and not getting a clear understanding of why is not right though, if I'm going to be told I'm wrong it is only common courtesy to explain why I am wrong, so that I can learn and move forward without having to repeat that conversation again. This courtesy was not always shown unfortunately. That is out of my control.
    – user27134
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 16:14
  • 16
    An important thing to keep in mind is that courtesy goes both ways.
    – user11502
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 16:46

Not every community is for every person.

There are some people who just won't be happy in a particular place: Richard Stallman at Microsoft. Boone at Nelson. J.C. Denton at UNATCO. For these people, sometimes, the best solution is just to leave. If that's you, then I offer you a sincere thank you for your work and I wish you well wherever your future might take you.

You don't always get what you want.

Sometimes, the rules are unclear or ambiguous because there are no rules. Or there is a rule, but it's disputed. Or it's limited to special cases. Just because you're looking for a rule, doesn't mean there is one. And sometimes, it takes someone getting burned by the lack of a rule in order to make the rule happen. Sadly, the ones who get burned are often the ones who care the most, and I'm sorry about that.

Don't go out in the rain if you don't want to get wet.

If you contribute to this (or any) site in any meaningful way, sooner or later you're going to get burned by something. I've spent an hour composing a question and seen it closed in six minutes. It happens. It's like love - it demands that you put something of yourself out there, and sometimes, it hurts.

If you do go out in the rain, sometimes, you get to see a rainbow.

When you take risks, when you love something, sometimes, you get hurt. But sometimes, you succeed beyond your wildest expectations, and you help make something beautiful. Are you a bad enough dude to try? That's up to you, nobody else. Whatever you decide, you have my heartfelt thanks for your contributions.

  • 2
    2/5: needs more clichés.
    – user3389
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 18:34
  • 6
    @MarkTrapp - see point 2
    – Steve V.
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 18:36
  • I like this answer so much, I wish this was my question, so I could accept it.
    – Ender
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 21:45

I struggled with some of the same issues you seem to be struggling with when I first started participating in Meta on this site. My belief was that issues were discussed on Meta, votes were cast, and the highest voted option became policy.

Except in a few rare cases, such as the fate of ITG questions, this isn't actually how it works.

You can see me struggling with the idea here:

What does an accepted answer mean in the context of meta discussions?

Accepted answers on Meta should not move to the top of the sort order

How do I know if I should move forward with something that was discussed on meta?

You can also see another example where as far as it seemed on meta, the idea of creating an umbrella question about how to determine game completion times had a high level of support on Meta, but failed to actually get implemented on the site by people who were actually able to cast close/reopen votes.

Note that I'm not complaining. I just had a very differnet understanding of how the site worked, then. The reality is that unless it's an issue that the mods will unilaterally back up a "decision" in Meta (such as the ITG vote), it's still going to come down to close votes.

I've seen that one of your major points of frustration is that you can't get a clear answer from the community about how certain things here work. No one is trying to be a jerk and not give you an answer. The problem is that there is no answer to a lot of these things. That's what I had to eventually wrap my head around and I think probably what you need to wrap your head around too.

We discuss things here. We try to bring people around to our point of view. We maybe find out our opinion is in the minority and, if we're nice people, we probably take that as a sign that the community doesn't want things done our way, and we vote as we think the community wants, rather than our own personal desire. But with close votes, or maybe even just issues that few people bothered to read on meta, people on the main site are going to vote however they want, and it might not match whatever the highest voted option (or even accepted answer) was on Meta.

TLDR Version:

Most of the time, Meta is just a way of discussing an issue with others and trying to convince them of the best way to do something on the site. But very few things in Meta are "hard policy". Those that are usually end up added to the FAQ.

When someone casts a close vote and leaves a comment linking to a meta discussion as the reason, that should be taken as "This is my opinion on why this question should be closed" rather than "Didn't you read this Meta post? This is the clear and unwavering policy that proves that this question should be closed!"

P.S. - Arqade is not the only SE site this happens on


The number one rule of stackexchange is:

I'm voluntarily contributing.

Almost all problems can be resolved if you keep that in mind.

all I wanted was a clear cut explanation of why things worked the way that you said they worked.

The internet people do not all agree with each (or any) rule. They have different opinions and express them differently. Even simple things "what does downvote mean?" are subject to interpretation of some random internet person. These internet people are voluntarily contributing. If there were hard and fast rules, they couldn't contribute as awesomely as they do.

At the end of it all I feel I have put more into this than I've got out of it. All I've wanted is an understanding of what I needed to do in order to fit in and this just hasn't come to fruition.

Playing arQAde for acceptance by internet people is much much harder than playing arQAde for awesome contributions (which are judged according to your standards). Take pride in your voluntary contributions. Stop when it is not worth it.

You can always voluntarily contribute more. You can't always get more out of the site. At some point, it can't be worth it.

Maybe the right thing is to take a break and then come back with a level of effort that does match what you get out of the site.

Maybe it's me?

No, it's not you. It's the internet. You are awesome. If you need a measure, according to site stats you are #1 rep for the month at 2693 (which I tripped over trying to get to your user page to see an awesome answer). You shouldn't need a measure though... awesomeness is based on either one's own opinion or the random subjectiveness of internet people. One's own opinion should obviously win.

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