We just got a question about something called OCTGN. I did a quick Google search, and I came up with this site.

From what I can tell, this isn't a game, so much as it's a PC card game platform. For the most part, no big deal. Maybe it should belong on Board and Card Games; we'll deal with that in a bit.

Scrolling down, though, I ran into this: enter image description here

My question is: Did we make an arrangement to provide tech support for this? If not, why are we being relied on to provide support for something that we may not know anything about?

Perhaps a bigger question is, if this isn't an arrangement with the powers-that-be, does this even belong here? Boardgames.SE may be a better fit, with the reasoning that since it involves card games, they may have a better understanding of the software than us.

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    Just a note that this isn't completely unprecendented - some library nowadays refer their users to SO for support without any sort of formal arrangements. The one (big) exception to this would be Facebook, which does have a formal arrangement, including its own sub-site on SO Sep 11, 2012 at 5:01
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    There have been plenty of questions on here for steam-support, which no one has had issues with. The only difference I see is that OCTGN is not as popular, and is only for virtual-board-games (which are still considered video games) Sep 11, 2012 at 8:07
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    This has come up before on other SE sites. For example, see the Synergy fiasco that went down on SuperUser.
    – Caleb
    Sep 11, 2012 at 9:58
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    Also see this related post on the main Meta.SO: Is it okay to use Stack Overflow as the support forum for a product or project?
    – Caleb
    Sep 11, 2012 at 10:01
  • @kelton52 Yes, those are card games. But we're not talking about card games. We're talking about your platform for card games. Currently, your program's primary purpose is for card games. Remove the platform, and the question is about a card game. Which doesn't belong here. Ergo, neither does your platform.
    – Frank
    Sep 12, 2012 at 2:50
  • @fbueckert But wouldn't card games be more appropriate on the other site, isn't that the original argument here? Sep 12, 2012 at 2:55
  • @fbueckert Also "Yes, those are card games. But we're not talking about card games." then " remove the platform, and the question is about a card game. Which doesn't belong here. Ergo, neither does your platform." Sep 12, 2012 at 2:57
  • @fbueckert You're a conflicted guy, not that we don't appreciate the advertisement -----> Sep 12, 2012 at 2:57
  • @kelton52 Take a look at this meta: meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/1348/…. We answer questions about video games, card games themselves are fine, as long as they're video games. Correct me if I'm wrong, but have you not said that people aren't going to be asking us questions about the games themselves, but your platform to play the game on? Your platform, currently, is to build card games on.
    – Frank
    Sep 12, 2012 at 3:06
  • The reason we support Steam is because it's primary purpose is to play video games. We, as gamers, would be the most logical people who would know the quirks and foibles of the platform. OCTGN's purpose is to play card games. I'm not sure why you think a video game site is the best place is support a program meant to play card games.
    – Frank
    Sep 12, 2012 at 3:09
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    @kelton52 I'm not singling you out; I'm attempting to explain why I feel OTCGN questions are not a good fit for Arqade. Obviously, I'm not doing a good job of it at all. If you want to discuss this further, I can create a room for us in chat.
    – Frank
    Sep 12, 2012 at 17:13
  • @fbueckert "We answer questions about video games, card games themselves are fine, as long as they're video games." "I'm not sure why you think a video game site is the best place is support a program meant to play card games." Sep 13, 2012 at 0:16
  • @kelton52 Duel of the Planeswalkers is a videogame that happens to have card-shaped things on-screen: that's the "card games themselves are fine, as long as they're video games" part. It doesn't play the same as Magic: the Gathering, so it's a unique videogame that card players won't be able to help with. OCTGN is a virtual tabletop, not a videogame. The thing you play with OCTGN isn't a videogame either. What part of OCTGN is videogame-related? Sep 13, 2012 at 0:32
  • @kelton52 Two of your examples are Duel of the Planeswalkers, if you look closely. In particular, DotP has opponent AI. Your third is MTG Online, which does play like the card game, but notice there are only two questions here—a clear indication that it's a marginal-to-poor fit for the site, and Wizards of the Coast isn't sending us their users and forcing the issue of whether it belongs here. (It probably doesn't, but it's not an issue yet.) Your platform doesn't have AI, does it? And you are sending people here, so you triggered the election yourself, so to speak… Sep 13, 2012 at 0:40
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    @kelton52 Also, you can't use the Pokémon Defence to force a community to do what you want—it's just as likely that the counterexamples you're trying to leverage will simply be deemed off-topic too, and they only survived long enough to use as examples because nobody made a fuss about them before. Sep 13, 2012 at 0:46

3 Answers 3


Did we make an arrangement to provide tech support for this? If not, why are we being relied on to provide support for something that we may not know anything about?

There is no official arrangement between Stack Exchange and OCTGN at this point. However, it's not uncommon for companies and projects to monitor our sites for support issues. Outsourcing their entire support channels to us is not appropriate, because a lot of support questions simply don't fit into our Q&A model (reporting bugs, defects, feature requests, etc). But if they want to monitor a tag and the questions are not off-topic or otherwise inappropriate, there's no harm in that in principle.

Now, whether or not these questions about OCTGN are on-topic in the first place... that's something for you guys to decide here. Don't be afraid to moderate them as you would any other question. Just make sure you evaluate them appropriately, e.g. don't hammer them down just because they happen to be about this platform whose developers are monitoring its tag.

If this becomes a problem where you feel the site is frequently and/or deliberately misused, give us a shout, but let's start with the usual moderation approaches - close and explain closures of off-topic questions, possibly suggest other sites, and so on. I see that process already started in this discussion, so let's see how it plays out.

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    My only worry is the the OCTGN tag, really
    – badp
    Sep 13, 2012 at 10:55

First of all, to my knowledge, there is no agreement with OCTGN. Nevertheless I don't find anything inherently wrong with some game recommending our site for their support. So the question is really not whether it's okay they recommend us, it's just whether we consider OCTGN-related questions on-topic.

OCTGN belongs to a family of card/board game multiplayer platforms, which also includes VASSAL, Magic Workstation, LackeyCCG, Generic Collectible Card Game and possibly more. I've found some VASSAL-relation questions on boardgames.se, such as this and this, and found OCTGN mentioned there as well, and couldn't really find meaningful mentions anywhere else on the stackexchange network.

So, do we allow questions regarding these platforms? We do allow questions regarding other platforms, such as Steam. It's true Steam is a platform for "pure" video games, not emulated card or board games, but the previous discussion here on meta about whether computer-emulated card or board games are on-topic didn't result in any clear policy.

On the other hand, beyond the links to the questions I've found in boardgames.se above, they also seem to explicitly allow these kinds of questions in their FAQ.

So, are they on-topic or not? I believe that in the driest technical sense they're okay here, but I think the vast majority of users of these platforms are board- or card-game players at heart, so in my personal opinion these questions are a better fit over boardgames.se, simply because of the nature of the community; and for the sake or preventing fracturing, I think we should actively disallow these questions here, and migrate them there instead - provided boardgames.se agree.

And if others agree with me, and if boardgames.se approve, I think it's a good idea to contact OCTGN and recommend that they shift their link to boardgames.se.

TL;DR - I think these questions should be off-topic here and migrated to boardgames.se, provided the community there agrees.

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    I don't have an issue with Arqade being recommended as a supplemental support location, but really? Their primary ("Recommended") support avenue is a third-party, unrelated site with no arrangement as simple as "hey, can we send people to you for support"? To me, that just feels like it's begging for issues. Sep 11, 2012 at 5:43
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    That's true, but the fact that they can't rely on their main support location is their problem, not ours. And the existence (or not) of an arrangement with us has no bearing on whether such questions belong here or will get good answers here. Sep 11, 2012 at 5:48
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    @RilgonArcsinh whether companies direct their userbase here is not something we can generally detect or prevent. We should focus on whether an individual question is on- or off-topic, and that's it. If we get a lot of bad questions for some product such as this, and we close those questions, then it's likely the company will redirect their support channel elsewhere anyway. Of course, all this is assuming nothing catastrophic (e.g. if Ubisoft redirects to us as official support, we'll probably need to take action!).
    – Oak
    Sep 11, 2012 at 5:48
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    Someone should contact the company and let them know, I'm sure they wouldn't mind simply pointing to a different stackexchange site. Sep 11, 2012 at 8:08
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    @Oak: It's not so much that I think it's wrong for them to do that (personally, I don't think it's wrong), but it would have been nice to at least have a heads up. Facebook's official developer Q&A site is StackOverflow, but AFAIK, that involved an official agreement. While we wouldn't need anything formal, an acknowledgement from us that we can satisfy their support requirements would have been nice.
    – MBraedley
    Sep 11, 2012 at 10:41
  • @MBraedley I e-mailed the people here directly and gave them a heads up. I still have the e-mail. Sep 11, 2012 at 16:10
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    I think Boardgames is going to be even less equipped to handle technical support questions than we are. And since we already allow questions about computer versions of board games, I don't see why we should disallow the game-play type questions here. So what kind of questions would we migrate to boardgames.se?
    – bwarner
    Sep 11, 2012 at 16:46
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    @kelton52: That's fine, but the problem that I have (and presumably fbueckert as well) is that the community wasn't notified. Now I don't know whose fault that was, and I don't want to place blame, so I'll just leave it at that. As is pointed out in the meta.SO question linked by Anna, it's the community that needs to adopt the service first. You mention Steam in your answer, but the difference is that since many Arqade members use Steam, we've adopted it into our community. If Valve were to list us as a secondary support site, I think many of us would be fine with that from the get go.
    – MBraedley
    Sep 11, 2012 at 16:49

No, Boardgames.SE is not a technical support site. These type of questions are a better fit for Superuser.SE

The relevant information was provided by the head support lead for the software, keldon52

The purpose of this software isn't for a specific card game, or board game, it supports many games. The problem is, we aren't forwarding people here for questions on how to play rummy, we're forwarding people here for problems with the software, or port forwarding, or how to log into the client. Other ones would be "How do I make a game, how do I scroll around the board, how do I tap a card, shuffle a deck, invite 4 players and setup some complicated match".

These technical questions are likely not a good fit for the Boardgames.SE. The few questions we do have about Vassal and other online implementations of boardgames are very limited.

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    @kelton, but no one is using your software. Vassal, MtgO, Yucata.de, have a large following. If OCTGN gets big, I could see Boardgames.SE being useful, but at this point I don't see anyone knowing the answers to questions regarding it.
    – user1873
    Sep 12, 2012 at 22:20
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    @kelton52 It makes no sense to send people here, when we don't know OCTGN and can't answer those questions. Since we don't have an established base of OCTGN players/experts the only people who can answer the questions is you and your team, who are also coming here only for OCTGN questions. Result: the only people using the OCTGN tag are you and your users—people who did not come here because they want to Q&A about videogames—so at best you're just piggybacking on our system. Can you see how that's a problem? Sep 12, 2012 at 23:08
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    @Seven I disagree completely. Just because OCTGN users get here via the OCTGN website doesn't mean they won't fit in here. In fact, I think there is an excellent chance that they will fit in here and start to participate in other tags as well. And even if kelton does nothing but answer OCTGN questions, that doesn't mean he doesn't fit in here either. There is no "minimum number of users" for a question to be on-topic here.
    – bwarner
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:16
  • @kelton52 You want to translate your point into English? Sep 13, 2012 at 0:15
  • @bwarner That depends. Are they videogamers, or rummy players who need tech support with their non-videogame software? Would questions about MapTool—a virtual tabletop for playing paper-and-pencil RPGs—be on-topic here? Sep 13, 2012 at 0:18
  • @kelton52 Right, I was missing what it was replying to, sorry. On that note then: no-one here is using it, is I think the point 1873 was making. Sep 13, 2012 at 0:21
  • @kelton52 Hey, you know what I just realised? You should go cool off and ignore this page for a while. You're heavily invested and I'm getting strong emotes that you're frustrated, and that's not helping your cause. Also, your one voice isn't going to count for much in the sea of users who make up this community. This is really an issue our community needs to decide. Maybe let us do that? You've made your case, and repeating yourself is going to get you ignored rather than listened to more. Sep 13, 2012 at 0:23
  • @kelton52 Farewell then. Sep 13, 2012 at 0:49

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