Yes! Custom close-reasons are now a thing that is coming fast to our site! Among with other important changes to closing putting questions on hold. Start here:

Closing changes: [on hold], unclear, too broad, opinion-based, off-topic reasons, bye-bye to Too Localized

Those changes aren't yet live on Arqade, but they'll soon be. And just as soon, we'll get to customize the off-topic close reasons. This what SE came up with on MSO:

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In other words, we'll use this to enumerate our blanket questions bans, perhaps with an explanatory link and tips on how to fix them if possible. To my recollection our blanket question bans are about:

  • Game recommendation
  • Game identification without concrete elements (a.k.a. identify-this-game)
  • Lore questions without supporting canon
  • Piracy and support thereof
  • Speculation about unreleased games
  • Game design ("Why did they do it like X?" a.k.a. ask the devs)
  • Multiplayer cheating which violates a games end user agreement.

Where do you come in? Well, those close reason aren't gonna write themselves! SE team will have to okay our entries, but our destiny is mostly in our hands. Plus, I might've missed something.

Some things to keep in mind to make everybody's life easier:

  • Make it simple. New users will be reading those and they won't be used to our lingo.
  • Make it solid. Avoid using expressions that could be used as an (invalid) retort to the close reason: don't say we require something concrete or else the question is guesswork/unclear/unhelpful/who cares; just say we require something concrete period. We can explain if asked.
  • Make it short. There's no need to write a treaty. The limit is 500 characters of markdown (links count!).
  • Make it need-to-know. Linking to meta is only helpful so far as it helps users drag the question into the realms of acceptability. There's simply no need to point a new user to the eleventy bajillion questions on meta and discussion on chat we've had about game-rec. Want to point to LessPop's treaty on acceptable game identification? That's more useful.
  • Make it three. Apparently three close reasons is all we get, at least at the beginning.
  • 12
    "Confuses @badp"
    – SaintWacko
    Jun 12, 2013 at 21:48
  • Also game dev. I think "Collections" fall under recommendations but the full reason would probably need to make it clear. http://gaming.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic Jun 12, 2013 at 21:52
  • @MatthewRead I'd kinda rather game-dev close reasons would actually be migrate-to-game-dev close reasons rather than just OT close reasons, but sure, let's add that too.
    – badp
    Jun 12, 2013 at 21:54
  • 2
    You might find this useful... Also, try to focus on the most important reasons, as the number of available slots is limited (to three, at least initially).
    – Shog9
    Jun 12, 2013 at 21:59
  • We don't need a "piracy" close reason, this is already covered by the off topic close reason and is specifically mentioned in /help
    – user27134
    Jun 14, 2013 at 11:03
  • @kali That's why I deleted meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/a/7297/23
    – badp
    Jun 14, 2013 at 11:29
  • 2
    @kalina The blanket 'off topic' close reason is going away. Going forward, questions will be Off Topic->Reason 1, Off Topic-> Reason 2, Off Topic ->Reason 3, or Off Topic -> Custom Text. Ideally, all 3 of our custom close reasons will be covered in /help. That doesn't obviate the need for them. Jun 14, 2013 at 11:36
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz mmk
    – user27134
    Jun 14, 2013 at 11:44

4 Answers 4


I'll take a crack.

  1. Questions that ask which games or other products meet specific criteria are off topic. We primarily deal with questions about playing games, not about which games to play or historical trivia. We make an exception for identifying games based on an audiovisual artifact from the game in question.
  2. Questions about unreleased or illegal content are off topic on Arqade. We only support questions about games available to the general public through legitimate means.
  3. Questions about Game Design and Development are off topic. This includes speculative questions about developer intent, as well as lore questions not addressed directly through in-game sources.
  • These could probably be improved with some appropriate meta links, but I'm lazy, so I figure if they aren't terrible, someone will come along and edit them in for me. Because you guys are awesome like that, and less lazy than I am. Jun 13, 2013 at 1:21
  • 1
    +1! Though I think I agree with @badp that #3 can simply be handled by the mods with off-topic-> migration Jun 13, 2013 at 1:47
  • 2
    This looks good, one thing I thought of while reading this is I am not sure 2. explains if discussing betas is on topic (i.e public betas like diablo 3 had), not sure if this could cause some confusion.
    – SimonL
    Jun 13, 2013 at 2:01
  • @SimonL A link to a meta post would probably help on that front. Jun 13, 2013 at 2:17
  • 3
    @RavenDreamer I have to strongly disagree that #3 is solvable by migration. The vast majority of our 'game dev' questions are not strong candidates for migration. They are often rants poorly disguised as questions asking 'why does [MECHANIC] work like this' - they're better off being simply closed outright. Jun 13, 2013 at 2:19
  • 2
    I kinda liked badp's idea of linking to external sites that would take the question in the close reason. It seems like a good way to be nice to the user.
    – Mana
    Jun 13, 2013 at 3:13
  • 1
    #2 is kinda wrong, private betas are okay
    – badp
    Jun 13, 2013 at 9:33
  • @badp That just depends on your definition of 'general public'. We allow questions about private betas for which are actually invitation-only public betas. We don't allow questions about true private betas, where the only way to be a tester is to be friends with someone who works for the developer. Jun 13, 2013 at 13:16
  • 2
    Fantastic work combining the reasons into categories that make sense. Jun 13, 2013 at 14:00
  • Do we want to broaden number one to include other types of "list questions"? People sometimes like to argue that those aren't identification or recommendation, they just want a list of all games with multi-player support for the 3DS.
    – bwarner
    Jun 13, 2013 at 15:55
  • @bwarner I think the new 'Too Broad' will handle those well enough. Jun 13, 2013 at 16:50
  • 1
    I don't like to put illegal and unreleased content into the same close reasons, those are two fundamentally different reasons and this will likely cause issues when questions about unreleased content are closed, and the users see the word "illegal". Jun 14, 2013 at 10:24
  • "Questions about which games or other products meet specific criteria are off topic." I think this could use some massaging. It just feels a little off when reading it.
    – MBraedley
    Jun 14, 2013 at 11:26
  • @MBraedley I'm open to suggestions! That's the result of a bunch of iterating, but it could definitely use some more! Jun 14, 2013 at 11:35
  • 1
    @MadScient unfortunately, we only get to have 3 for now. However, I think the synthesis of the two works great. Nice job, LessPop.
    – Riking
    Jun 15, 2013 at 0:31
  1. Questions asking us to suggest or recognize a game are off topic, unless you have something concrete like a screenshot or a piece of soundtrack to identify. Otherwise, Reddit can help with suggestions and identification, while Wikipedia can help with videogame categories.
  2. Questions about unreleased games or updates are off topic. We are not a news site. Maybe Wikipedia can help?
  3. Questions about the lore of a videogame series are off-topic if the answer is not covered by its canon. We believe that is the case here; please comment with evidence if you believe otherwise.
  • Not sure If I'm satisfied with the wording, but these are the big three, I think. Jun 13, 2013 at 0:25
  • 1
    Maybe "suggest or identify" or "suggest or remember" rather than "suggest or recognize". I don't think "recognize" is the right word. Jun 13, 2013 at 0:30
  • #3 is really unclear about how fuzzy our line is with lore questions. I'd rather just close the bad ones as 'too broad' or 'primarily opinion based' and use that close reason to deal with piracy or gamedev questions. Jun 13, 2013 at 1:22
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz I believe what I've written is our line with lore questions precisely.
    – badp
    Jun 13, 2013 at 9:35
  • @StrixVaria "recognize" was edited in, the original word was "pick."
    – badp
    Jun 13, 2013 at 9:39
  • 1
    @badp I recognize that. And I still think that language is just too goddamned fuzzy. It's part of why I hate dealing with lore questions in general. :P Jun 13, 2013 at 13:18
  • 1
    The problem with the current wording of #1 is that it implies that game rec is on-topic so long as they provide a screenshot/song from a game they like. Rolling these two together is a good idea though, if the logical scope can be ironed out. Jun 14, 2013 at 21:16

I like badp's #2, and LessPopMoreFizz's number #3, but I'd like to give my own take on number #1

1: Game Identification/Recommendation

Requests for game recommendations are off-topic - they are not a good fit for our Q&A model - as they cannot be objectively answered and tend to promote lengthy discussions. Requests for identification are only permitted when accompanied with an audio-visual clue, such as a screenshot or piece of music.

  • Your description of recommendations doesn't seem correct to me. Recommendations are normally short and off-hand. Jun 13, 2013 at 14:02
  • @MatthewRead - "Which is the best game/console/graphics card/blork for me" is the recommendations I see most often, and they cannot be objectively answered, hence "lengthy discussions". I've edited it a little bit, added the part about them not being objective
    – Robotnik Mod
    Jun 13, 2013 at 23:17
  • 1
    Eh, the way you've written this mainly covers those questions which could be closed using the new Primarily Opinion Based close reason, and completely fails to address all the other list/catalog/what was the first game/what are all the games with feature/etc. questions. Jun 13, 2013 at 23:47

Questions that ask us to help with any form of multiplayer cheating, whether it be pirating or hacking are considered to be off topic on Arqade. Perhaps Reddit can help with that?

  • This isn't necessarily true. Asking about cheating in single player games can be perfectly fine. For example, some consider using the console in Skyrim "cheating". Jun 16, 2013 at 12:31
  • @StrixVaria added the word multiplayer.
    – user28379
    Jun 16, 2013 at 12:42
  • 1
    I wouldn't want to include an offsite resource link - even to a site as innocuous as reddit - for any sort of illicit activity, no matter how minor or benign. It sends the wrong message, IMO. Jun 16, 2013 at 13:21

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