We have a lot of open discussions on the subject of list questions - at least five of them. One conclusion I can draw from analyzing them is that we don't have a conclusion. There seems to be a faint consensus that there is an "acceptable" kind of list, at least within recommendations. But this consensus is very undefined - we don't have anything to measure against except our own opinions. Yes, we are driven by the community and each individual is free to judge these things on their own calls. But a successful system of community moderation involves an actual, concrete substance for us to make our judgment calls off of.
So I think it is time that we started to define the scope of what makes an "acceptable" list. I have selected 7 random questions, and abstracted them to the very essence of what they are a list of. Some are open, some are closed, some are subjective while some are objective.
- Questions asking to list specific personal experience in gaming
- Questions asking to list games according to specific mechanical criteria
- Questions asking to list specific kinds of features in one or more games
- Questions asking to list components used for a specific purpose in the gaming craft
- Questions asking to list strategies used in a specific facet of high level play
- Questions asking to list modifications to a specific game with a specific goal
- Questions asking to list games that are like another game
The goal here is not to judge each of these individual questions as to whether they should be open or closed (but feel free to add that to your answer). The goal is to assess what kinds of lists we have been receiving, and perhaps might receive, and determine what we are and/or should be using to call judgment on these. Use these questions to understand the many different angles that list questions can take - understand what components and varieties of lists exist, what arguments there are to support them, and what arguments there are to fight against them. Attack the very essence - see that essence and see if it can be salvaged. And determine why it is that it may not be able to be salvaged.
We are suffering a lot of inconsistency in what judgment calls are being made because people are observing the scope differently in different posts. For example, on the topic of recommendations, how much narrower of a scope does "being like another game" compare to "being of this genre"? We have one open recommendation asking for games like a certain train simulation game - the essence of the question asking for train simulation (which is naught but a subgenre of transport simulations), yet we close a question asking for tile-based tactics games on a specific platform. We strike down subjective questions about tools and experiences, but allow subjective questions that are naught but shopping recommendations. What is it that makes some lists more valuable than others?
These contradictions we keep making, in letting some lists live while others of basically equivalent scope are harshly struck down, is really leaving holes in our site. Stack Overflow has a huge problem with grandfathered questions which, under the new concept, would not survive minutes. Let's not revive that problem here. If we want to allow list questions, we need to define clear, understandable criteria as to what defines an acceptable list. And whatever conclusion we come to, we need to enforce it, retroactively, and close all questions which do not meet the requirements.
We are 13 days into our Beta - we have been wandering practically blind for almost 2 weeks. Let us start to instate some rules to actually work off of. Please commit your opinions - this community needs to decide what it wants to be, and what it does not want to be. Think about what questions you allow in your definitions, and what our site becomes when these questions are incorporated. Think about what motivation we want people to have when they come to visit this site - what are the answers that people will be seeking.
A question on the parent site recently received some close votes with a reasoning of "Way too limited in scope". People can't ask questions that are too wide in scope, yet when they try to narrow the scope we are also blocking them. We are sending horribly mixed signals and making new users jump through really stupid hoops right now. This is going to kill this site if such a thing continues. This is why it is very important that we start to work harder in identifying what this scope is. It needs to be something that, when a user reads our FAQ, they can look at their question and 95% of the time know very clearly whether their question belongs or not.