There are some very vocal users who feel that lore questions should be banned. From what I've been able to find, they were just sort of allowed on Arqade in the first place, as I can't find any meta discussion specifically discussing whether or not they should be allowed.

I did find a question asking if you could ask them, at which point the presumptive answer had already been "Yes". It pointed back at this meta, which discussed some cases where lore questions should be off-topic.

Then, when the text for close reasons recently changed, we seemingly accidentally invented another reason to close lore questions, which I recently started discussing here, believing there to be some major problems with closing questions for that particular reason.

All of the meta questions so far have come from the presumption that lore questions, at least in some form, are acceptable and on-topic for Arqade. And there is no doubt that currently, they are. However, there are some users who feel these questions are problematic and should be made off-topic, and that discussion keeps creeping into all other questions about lore.

So let's have it out... should all lore questions be banned from Arqade?

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    I question this "large number of users" you're quoting, I think this needs to read "1% of our total active users, the ones who reside in the bridge" – kalina Sep 24 '13 at 15:10
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    Not even all of the bridgers – 3ventic Sep 24 '13 at 15:11
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    @kalina Every member is welcome to come to the bridge and to vote on meta topics. Abstaining is a choice. Active users get no more votes than any other user. – Invader Skoodge Sep 24 '13 at 15:11
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    @StrixVaria there is a difference between willingly abstaining and not knowing this post exists on meta and you know there is. Abstaining is not a choice if you're uninformed. – kalina Sep 24 '13 at 15:12
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    @StrixVaria your edit didn't change the fact that an uninformed user who would vote against something like this won't because they're unaware it's happening. If you guys keep making large quantities of questions off topic because "you don't like the questions" there won't be many questions left by the time you're done. This is everybody's site, not just the handful of people who visit the bridge. – kalina Sep 24 '13 at 15:15
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    I would consider all of the users who are unaware of/take no interest in meta, but ask and answer lots of lore questions as against this proposal by default. – GnomeSlice Sep 24 '13 at 15:20
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    If any of the downvotes are due to thinking I worded the question with bias or unclearly or something, please, by all means, edit and reword it. If you're just annoyed I started another topic about this, I understand. – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 15:24
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    @Sterno People are downvoting to show that they disagree with the proposal of banning lore questions. Which is silly beacuase you didn't present either side explicitly in your post. – GnomeSlice Sep 24 '13 at 15:25
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    Can we get a features tag on this? We need wide visibility to get a useful consensus and not have this keep coming up. – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '13 at 16:43
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    Ignorance is a choice; those who don't want to be involved in site governance are not, and vice versa. – Matthew Read Sep 24 '13 at 17:30
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    @MatthewRead True, but entirely irrelevant. Purely as a matter of practicality, we need to seek as wide input as possible. A decision either way will not put this to rest if too many people miss taking part. It's not like policies are politicians who can govern unpopularly so long as their four years are still going. A divisive policy won't stick unless every stakeholder who might later stir up the issue again is part of the process. – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '13 at 21:32
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    @Matthew You're talking nonsense, I'm sorry. This is a community-run site. Policies that aren't handed to us by Stack Inc. do have to have community support. Mods don't have the mandate to enforce policies the community rejects. I'm not suggesting we go and canvas and campaign. I'm saying only that trying to limit this debate's exposure is self-defeating. And besides, your position is losing. Its only chance of acceptance is in more voices joining yours, so I really, really fail to see the point of opposing measures like a featured tag. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 15:32
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    @Gigazelle Your votes are yours to do with as you please, but I was trying my best to avoid any sort of actual position in the question, so that people could vote on the answers. Ultimately, it doesn't much matter what the votes on the question are like, beyond it disappearing off the front page when it hits -2 (or so). – Sterno Sep 26 '13 at 18:46
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    Well then I'll upvote it to give you some rep :) However I fully agree with badp, that lore questions are on-topic. – Gigazelle Sep 26 '13 at 18:48
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    @Gigazelle Meta votes don't affect rep. – Sterno Sep 26 '13 at 18:50

Lore questions, in general, are on-topic.

  • They've been, for years, unchallenged as a class of questions that belongs on the site, and generally they've been well received (here's a selection). They're even been at the top of the FAQ. I hardly call that sneaky.
  • They pertain to videogames as much as questions about their mechanics do. Games essentially are a framework that you can affect through gameplay. Questions about the gameplay and the framework are equally as essential for a website that's supposed to be about games.
  • While they are not about "problem solving", this hardly matters. Questions about game mechanics and terminology also aren't, and yet there they are prominently - again - in our FAQ.
  • It's been pointed out that lore questions are useless because they don't change the way you play. This is essentially, wrong. Even if better knowledge of the lore doesn't change the sequence and timing of keystrokes you press while playing through a game, knowing that the cake is player-flavoured can still dramatically affect your enjoyment of the game. If it doesn't do that for you, it does that for others - like me, for example.
  • We already attempt to deal with stupid questions on grounds of their stupidity by requiring lore questions can be answered only by knowing canon. Yes, it does mean you have to know the answer before you can vote. No, this is not a problem. You generally are expected to know what you're voting about. If you aren't sure don't vote.
  • At any rate though stupid questions in a category can't be used to rule out the entire question class. If you have a problem with stupid questions, let's discuss what our "stupidity rules" are instead.
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    This. Banning a whole class of questions because some of them stink leaves you with neither bathwater nor babies. Which is too bad, as they're both delicious. – Jaydles Sep 24 '13 at 15:32
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    I strongly disagree that needing to know an answer before voting to close isn't a problem, for reasons I discussed here, but that's a tangent to the discussion and I agree with the rest of your answer. – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 15:34
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    @Jaydles Then we should bring back ITG. – Niro Sep 24 '13 at 15:34
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    Unchallenged? I challenge them every day! Also, "It's been this way for a long time" is by far the worst reason for/against anything. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 15:39
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    Bullet #4 is completely misrepresenting the argument. No one is saying that increasing one's enjoyment of a game isn't valuable, they're saying it's not a practical result. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 15:42
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    @Fluttershy The baby/bathwater ratios between ITG and Story questions are quite different. – Raven Dreamer Sep 24 '13 at 15:47
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    For the uninformed, what's ITG? – shanodin Sep 24 '13 at 17:20
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    @shanodin - Identify This Game - meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/4168/… – au revoir Sep 24 '13 at 17:22
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    @Origami I would not play a game like Skyrim if it weren't for the sense of place and immersion. The story and lore is the entire point of the game for me, and I know I'm not alone given the vast quantity of mods made solely to enhance private roleplaying. Solving problems with understanding lore is entirely practical for such players. – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '13 at 21:16
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    @SevenSidedDie And if the lore question is solving a problem, it isn't the type of question I am against. I have made this very same point before. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 23:42
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    @OrigamiRobot I don't believe that definition of "practical" (i.e., only "I am stuck and need to understand lore to continue puzzle solving" is a practical problem) is inclusive enough to include any of the people I'm referring to. "What is the relationship of the Empire and the Thalmor? I want to know so I can further develop my headcanon" is a practical problem to some people, not for others. What counts as practical appears to be fairly subjective when it comes to lore questions. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 5:20
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    @SevenSidedDie - Very true. I've always thought of the 'practical' part as a bit of a hangover from Stack Overflow - on Arqade, where our business is Games, we should allow questions about all facets of a game, be they physical (I'm stuck here, help?/How do I X?) or mental (I have a problem understanding the relationship between X and Y/Why does person X do action B?) as such I tend to shy away from the wording "practical". – Robotnik Sep 25 '13 at 11:39
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    @Robotnik Bioshock Infinite has several questions that would work in favor of your second example. – Batophobia Sep 25 '13 at 18:18
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    I don't see any language in the FAQ specifically permitting lore questions. Could we add some specific language? Perhaps change "Plot and characters in games" to "Plot, lore, and characters in games" – JSideris Nov 11 '15 at 3:35
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    @Bizorke - You should potentially raise that as it's own meta, as the discussion here is old and won't be seen by many. Link back to this question/answer as justification for the change – Robotnik Mar 7 '16 at 3:04

I do not think we should ban lore questions as a whole. Let's first look at what we currently prohibit. We've basically got two kinds of major reasons to marking subject matters as off-topic to us. Either they're mechanically incompatible with our Q&A system (ID, gamerec, shopping), or they sit outside the scope of our expertise (design, news). There's also the obviously-not-gaming stuff and then there's piracy which is kinda all kinds of not happening.

Where do lore questions fit into this?

There isn't a mechanical issue. Back in the gamerec debacle, I classified the major question classes we deal with, one of which is "fact finding". It includes game mechanics questions as well as character/plot. In a sense fact-finding is just problem solving where the problem is "I do not understand this concept", but it's identifiable enough to be its own superclass. This division exists largely across the entire network, not just Arqade. Mechanically, lore questions are identical to game mechanic questions in performance for this department, and are typically rated appropriately to their quality.

The main difference between lore and game mechanics is the source of the fact - whether it's in the story of the game, or if it's in the workings of the game. They draw from different expertises, which brings us to the second class of off-topicness. But first, an intermission quote, from a thing I wrote originally as a response to a recent Meta:

Consider news and design questions. It isn't sufficient that there exists a public statement that answers the question - this is, among other things, out of our control to know. That the designer has out and said "We designed it for this reason" doesn't make a question answered by that miraculously on-topic when a question of equal substance that doesn't have an official answer decays. This being outside our measure of expertise is why we blocked those subjects even if we're able to find the answers - we're not the place for it.

The point of this passage and its surroundings was to highlight that "there exists an answer" is a poor metric to acceptability. It's an incompetent measure that makes it difficult for both askers and enforcers to judge a question's validity, and both need to be able to know with relative ease the validity of a question. That passage also refers to the two identified off-topics that are outside the scope of our expertise. So let's boomerang back to that as applied to lore.

Does lore fit within the scope of our expertise? I believe it should. It is rather entrenched in our natural expertise similar to game mechanics. You can play a game and remain ignorant of why all the cats have no legs or arms in the same way you can play a game and remain ignorant of how much each point of strength contributes to your damage. Both have the easy knowledge observed from normal gameplay and then extra knowledge done by going out of one's way with analysis of the game. They're both understandings of facts that people do ask about. And both mechanics and story have questions that are inappropriate for the site even if the main class of questions is acceptable, typically by going out of the bounds of the game's expectations.

To game mechanics, this is wondering about mechanics beyond the scope of in-game means, as typically achieved by glitches or hacking. It's straightforward to identify if someone asks how to modify variables that cannot be manipulated, but there are some things may look hacky so we basically have to use our best judgment when a question asks how to accomplish something that doesn't seem possible in the game. Story is in much the same boat, but wherein the knowledge is obscurely derivative or is present in external reading material. In both cases, the validity can't properly be judged on account of the source and its presence in the game - knowing that a weird fact is revealed in the game is as odd as knowing how to use odd mechanics to break into someone else's sequence. This brings us to "the answer noting that it is in the game" being the validity call, which is a poor experience and we should not operate for this.

We thus have to determine acceptability on a different scale than whether it's in the game. Which we'd probably pick a metric like "relevance" and make judgment calls. There's a division between clear, relevant, and reasonable information found in the games versus obscure and/or banal trivia, and that applies to both mechanics and lore. If average players look at the question and thing "Who cares!?" then it's not so useful to keep, compared to one who sees something and goes "Huh, now I'm wondering that, too." and gets voted on. Unless it's quite painfully obvious to those in the know that the question is irrelevant, then we can swing in as normal.

To wit, instead of taking a proactive approach of closure for grey areas, clearing the less-than-not-even-useful could be handled by the automated process of abandoned-and-unwanted-question-cleanup if we just leave them be. I don’t know that we can measure the effectiveness of this on existing data due to all the fighting which, as it were, inspired this ultimatum discussion to turn up. So we’d have to try this out and see if it works. Expiration is not always a proper solution for things compared to proactive moderation, but the nature of this particular problem is what makes me feel that it’s appropriate here. If we don’t think expiration is healthy then we have to decide on a metric that identifies the junk from the sparkle.

That’s what I’d suggest. Not banning the subject matter as a whole - I don’t see lore as any more bannable than analysis of game mechanics. Yes, lore isn’t a part of gameplay, but story is as much a reason and even a culture within gaming as is mechanics. You have folks who care for the prose in lieu of the numbers as often as we have the opposite, and among us in Arqade we have both camps in healthy counts, vocal and otherwise. The areas that cause squabbles in story are greyer and wider than mechanics, but not to a degree that I feel warrants their abandonment. I pointed at news and design earlier as outside our expertise - I don’t think that lore fits as something we're not the place for.

  • The problem is, every mindless piece of trivia makes us go "Huh, now I'm wondering that, too." whether it's relevant or not. That's just how we..err.. you humans are. Look at this question. It has no impact on the game at all, yet it is at +17. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 18:39
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    @OrigamiRobot I think the correct response for those cases is to downvote and move on. Trying to enforce closure or deletion is just going to pick fights with the question owners (or curious passersby) who are usually totally convinced of the importance of their own question (because otherwise, why ask at all?) – Raven Dreamer Sep 24 '13 at 18:49
  • Let me echo this comment here, while I point out that if "no answers" means "no undeleted answers" and we delete all speculative answers while downvoting questions that we don't think have a proper answer... our policy doesn't really change :) – badp Sep 24 '13 at 19:14
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    @badp Deleted answers and comments are not included in the checks. I'm also not actually suggesting we downvote. Rather, just let them sit. Let the lack of interest in the question cause its demise on its own, essentially. – Grace Note Sep 24 '13 at 19:38
  • This is basically the treatment of grey-area lore questions that I'm advocating for in the meta answer that seems to have kicked this off. Said better, as usual. – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '13 at 21:39
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    I'm not a fan of, "Let it sit." It tends to be a policy of apathy more than actual decision making. – Frank Sep 24 '13 at 23:13
  • Don't get me wrong, I love lore as much as the next guy. Story is usually why I play RPGs in the first place. I just don't think they belong here. They make very poor questions, due to a variety of criteria, not least of is the good old, "poke the plot hole" – Frank Sep 24 '13 at 23:19
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    @fbueckert I think this meta would benefit from an answer describing the problems you allude to about why they are poor questions. I don't think fluttershy's answer captured many of the arguments I've heard elsewhere. – Sterno Sep 25 '13 at 0:24
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    @fbueckert Poke the plot hole makes for terrible questions. Other lore questions aren't problems at all (e.g., "Is Skyrim's story related to the previous Elder Scrolls games?"). Surely we are a bunch of smart people who can figure out what categorical distinction makes the first problematic and the second problem-free in our site format? – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 0:46
  • I'm with @fbueckert's first comment. If the advice on an entire subcategory of these questions was to ignore them, or to downvote, then why would we keep them around? Useless questions shouldn't be kept. The only acceptable arguments for keeping them have to be based in the fact that they are useful and wanted, and many such arguments have been made already. – Matthew Read Sep 25 '13 at 15:09
  • @SevenSidedDie I'm firmly of the opinion that questions like that have no impact whatsoever. Fantastic, the plot is or is not related to previous games. I don't see how that knowledge is useful in any way at all. – Frank Sep 25 '13 at 15:11
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    @fbueckert That's where we differ then. Knowing that Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky are set in the same universe doesn't change the words we read, but it hugely changes our understanding of the books and ability to recognise references between them, which is central to the point of appreciating a story. Is Skyrim's story so different? – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 15:20
  • @SevenSidedDie I love storyline. But does the knowledge that the plot is related actually change how you play? You might enjoy the story more, but that has no bearing, as far as I can see, how you play the game. It's, at best, neat backstory. You're still gonna murder the next vampire you see if it attacks you, regardless of reading the book that talks about how misunderstood they are, and should be pitied. – Frank Sep 25 '13 at 16:05
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    @fbueckert Not everyone actually plays that way. For example, one character of mine always attacks Thalmor on sight due to my understanding of the backstory and that character's personality. Another takes pains to avoid killing them and tries to go around. I actually stopped playing a certain character until I understood the theology of the setting more, so I could decide which side in the civil war they would support. For a non-negligible number of players, understanding lore is critical to whether they kill that next vampire. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 16:55

No they shouldn't be banned

The problem with some lore questions is that they're asking about information that simply does not exist - they're speculative questions that can only be answered by the development team for the game in question, if at all. We already know these questions are bad and they're already not welcome here. These questions should be dealt with using close votes and delete votes.

However, as per our FAQ you can see at the top, questions regarding lore are on topic here. This has always been the case and there is no reason for this to change. If you do not like lore questions, ignore them. These questions are still about games and still solve a problem for the people who ask the questions.

Stack Exchange exists to provide authoritative answers on questions relating to the subject matter of the site in question - in this instance gaming. Good lore questions are questions that can be answered with factual evidence provided in the game and its associated materials. According to Stack Exchange's mission objective, good lore questions are good questions that should be answered.

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    We control our own FAQ, not the other way round. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 15:45
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    @OrigamiRobot What bullet proof argument do you have for suddenly deciding after three years that something that has always been on topic is now off topic? This entire thing is playing out just like ITG did - a small handful of users decide they don't like something and then stamp their feet until everybody else gives in. – kalina Sep 24 '13 at 15:47
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    I'm saying "It's in the FAQ" is no more the end all be all metric for on-topicness than "It's not in the FAQ" is for off-topicness. This is obviously about changing the FAQ so using "it's in the FAQ" is a moot point. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 15:50
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    Good lore questions are questions that can be answered with factual evidence provided in the game and its associated materials. Stackexchange exists to provide authoritative answers on questions relating to the subject matter of the site in question - in this instance gaming. According to Stackexchange's mission objective, good lore questions are good questions that should be answered. This overrides everything else. The reason your argument worked for ITG is because the vast majority of them could not be authoritatively answered. This is not the case this time around. – kalina Sep 24 '13 at 15:55
  • No one is saying the reason for disallowing this is the same as it was for ITG. If they are, they're wrong. – user9983 Sep 24 '13 at 15:56
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    I'm bringing up ITG because of the similarities in behaviour from nearly exactly the same group of people in both instances. – kalina Sep 24 '13 at 15:57
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    I did not like ITG, due to the kinds of answers it produced and the voting based on not much more than "Yeah, I remember that game! It was cool!" It was not a good fit for a Q&A format, in my opinion. However, I'm okay with lore, because it doesn't have problems fitting the Q&A format. I don't know if there's as much overlap between the two camps as you think there is. – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 16:00
  • @AnnaLear Pedant. :P – user98085 Sep 24 '13 at 18:08
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    @FEichinger Nah, more like a brand loyalist. ;) – Adam Lear Sep 24 '13 at 18:47

Keep lore in general.

Ban banal trivia. If it does not add to the appreciation of a title we don't need it.

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    So rather than downvotes to determine whether or not I think a question is "banal" or "doesn't add to the appreciation of a title", we should instead cast close and reopen votes to express that opinion? This seems against the intended use of votes. – Sterno Sep 24 '13 at 16:06
  • I understand each stackexchange community is different, but this is basically the same policy that exists on the tv&movie stack exchange and I do not see them having difficulties with such usage. – Colin D Sep 24 '13 at 16:11
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    Is that seriously how it works? Because that sounds really dumb. – GnomeSlice Sep 24 '13 at 16:20
  • @Sterno, if you think the question is banal, vote to put it on hold. Add a comment telling the user to add information to make the question not banal (maybe ask why or how the question is relevant). If the askers edits it to anything other than, "im just curious" vote to reopen (or dont). Putting a rough question on hold until it is improved or forgotten seems in line with my understanding of the 'new' close/onhold mechanics. – Colin D Sep 24 '13 at 17:27
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    I like the idea of banning trivia, in principle. I don't like the idea of banning trivia with only "I knows it when I sees it" as the criteria for judging it. I'm not sure any other criteria is possible, though. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 5:16

Yes they should be banned.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy lore questions. Hell, I enjoyed ITG questions. But the fact of the matter is this: they aren't worth the trouble they cause.

We found a way to allow a certain subset of ITG questions, but we still deal with those off-topic ones more often than the on-topic sort.

The same could be said about lore questions. Some might make the argument that lore questions are bad because they aren't actual problems. Let's take a look at that before we do anything else. Questions like Are Mario and Luigi orphans?, or Why does Harbinger have 4 claws? are trivial at best. They aren't about an actual problem, which some believe is enough to rule them off-topic. Others disagree, obviously, but is there really a reason that two equally terrible trivia-based lore questions have such disparate votes?

The short answer is no. There is no reason for those two questions to be so skewed in their votes. The problem here is the massively separate views of the community. Lore questions are something we've never been able to reach a consensus on. I'm inclined to think we never will reach a consensus.

I, for one, don't feel lore questions add enough (read: any) value to the site. They aren't worth the problems they cause within the community, and the disparate voting sends a poor message to any new users looking to ask similar questions. That is why I suggest banning them outright.

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    I think you make a valid point about voting on Story questions -- but I'd wager that that phenomenon is not an issue with Story questions, but a function of the whole stack exchange paradigm itself. Consider one of our top-voted questions There's no reason this question garnered that many votes, other than it tickled the right number of people the right way. As long as StackExchange lets people vote however they want, you're going to get weird results if you look deep enough. – Raven Dreamer Sep 24 '13 at 17:22
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    +1 I agree completely. The value that is added by lore questions is, at best, minor. – Frank Sep 24 '13 at 23:53
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    If they add any value at all, isn't that good? It's if they remove value that I think we'd be worried. – Sterno Sep 25 '13 at 0:27
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    I think value as a metric might be a red herring. Even ITG have some value; lack of value isn't why they're gone, they're gone because of reasons that are orthogonal to their value (or lack thereof). To judge the category of lore questions, we need to look at some other metric. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 0:40
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    "They aren't about an actual problem, which some believe is enough to rule them off-topic." There are tons of questions that aren't necessarily about a "problem", but those questions aren't downvoted/closed. I honestly think it's a bad thing that seasoned users automatically downvote questions just because they happen to be related to lore, despite the fact there isn't any rule against it. – user47129 Sep 26 '13 at 6:24

Lore questions add nothing tangible or useful whatsoever to our expertise. At best, these questions turn into hunting down obscure bits of relevant info about the in-game story, quite often well outside our scope of playing games. At worst, they cross the line into design territory, or poke a plot hole.

We're defining lore as anything that's part of the canon. That's an incredibly broad scope, and comes with its own host of problems, especially for long established franchises like Star Trek or Star Wars. If someone asks a question about Force Unleashed, say, the scope to answer it is anything that's part of official canon, whether it's in a book, movie, some random official timeline stuff, or from the game itself. That's problematic, because that doesn't play to our core expertise, which is playing games. Any universe that extends beyond just the games themselves is going to run into this issue.

And then we run into questions that run very, very close to the, "Why did they design it that way?" questions that we disallow. For lore questions, whether or not it's addressed in the canon can determine where it falls on this line. It requires knowledge of the answer to determine acceptability, and like the question that kicked off this one, that's a rather crummy criteria to use to determine if it's on or off-topic.

The vast majority of lore questions turn out to be trivia. They play the "poke the plot hole" game, and rely on us as a search engine to fill in the gaps. We close those types of questions, but we leave open questions we can answer, which, again, is not a good criteria to use when voting to close.

Some example lore questions:

  • Are Mario & Luigi orphans? - Trivia. Does it honestly matter whether they are or are not orphans? Does knowing this information make you play the game(s) differently in any way? This information is completely, absolutely, useless. It does nothing!
  • Why does Harbinger have only 4 claws? - Again, trivia. The only reason this is currently allowed is due to the answer, which is actually dancing around the question and not directly answering it. And does it matter whether or not he's got a different number of arms? Is there any battle where you'd have to pay attention to that? At most, it's flavor detail.
  • What is Tyrael? - Who cares!? Does knowing he's an angel before finishing Act 1 change anything? Anything at all? He's a walking, talking deus ex machina. Diablo 3 has crappy story. Expecting us to make sense of it is doing us a disservice, since the people who should've done it, didn't.

And that kinda brings me to the main point: the vast majority of lore questions boil down to, "Who cares!?". For the vast, vast, vast majority of games, knowing little tiny details of the game has zero impact whatsoever on it. Fantastic, you know Tyreal's an angel. And? There's nothing you can do with this knowledge! You can't just go up to him and say, "Yeah, you lost your memory. Here's your sword back." The in-game story is driven in a certain fashion, and trying to act outside of that isn't supported. This knowledge provides absolutely no advantage in game.

And there's the driving force of Arqade: we're here to provide gamers with information that they can use to their advantage. Game mechanics down to a science. Helpful boosts past parts that have you stuck. Strategies that give you a leg up.

Lore does none of this. It's fluff.

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    Knowing the lore aids immersion, immersion has as much impact of gaming as any of the mechanics do. Dismissing immersion as "useless" makes me want to ask why you're even into gaming in the first place? Knowing the lore of a story driven game is one of the most important factors, the success of and eventual uproar at the end of the Mass Effect series demonstrates that lore means more to gamers than many - if not all - of the mechanics in a game. Most of the issues you've bought up are already covered under one of our other rules if you want to close a truly bad question. – kalina Sep 25 '13 at 19:28
  • Immersion gets broken anyways, either by glaring plot holes, or stopping play to ask here. People will even ignore story inconsistencies halfway through, in the assumption that it will be explained down the road. Once you've finished the game, it doesn't help immersion because you've finished the game. Now all you're looking for is explanation. Immersion is all fine and dandy, but just using this site will break it. I don't see how that's at all something we can help with, when our very purpose hinders it. – Frank Sep 25 '13 at 23:29
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    Not all games are linear railroads where the story is just set dressing that doesn't matter. Furthermore, "who care's" doesn't qualify as problematic; rather, that's the very definition of personal opinion. We don't ban questions for mere taste or whim. "Fluff" may be distasteful to some users, but nothing makes "fluff" off topic except that some people wish it was. We're not Game Maths SE, we're Gaming SE. Fluff is part of gaming. Which isn't to say there can't be a reason that makes lore off topic, but that is not a valid reason. – SevenSidedDie Sep 25 '13 at 23:49
  • The entire point of the site is utility. That literally means uselessness is gotten rid of. Fluff is crap. There's no usefulness to it whatsoever, so it should be gotten rid of. It really is a valid reason to delete it. – Frank Sep 26 '13 at 0:04
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    @fbueckert - I disagree. Immersion is something that sticks with you forever. You become attached to characters, you know the history of 'the place' and, through playing the game, in your own way helped shape it. With this knowledge you have a sense of ownership, a duty to that world. With good enough immersion, a player will be more willing to suspend disbelief. So I don't understand your logic of how simply asking a question here (or reading one) breaks immersion. – Robotnik Sep 26 '13 at 0:22
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    And I completely disagree that we're here simply to "get game mechanics down to a science". That might be where you get enjoyment out of gaming, but mechanics is only one facet of the rich medium that is gaming. – Robotnik Sep 26 '13 at 0:47
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    There really isn't any way to argue that lore has no utility unless you presume the antecedent, which is a fallacy that voids an argument that uses it. – SevenSidedDie Sep 26 '13 at 0:53
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    Diablo 3 doesn't have a crappy story, its merely the most epic trolling attempt ever. Let bad guy tell you exactly where to go... check. Let 'Lord of Lies' be the most obvious character in the game...check. Let the best tactician in the demonic realm attack the strongest fortress in the world, and let his army be destroyed by a single character...check. Oh, and not to mention letting the so called tactician hide behind his concubine when things to bad :P – l I Sep 26 '13 at 2:32
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    "Lore does none of this. It's fluff." Lore adds depth to games, and sometimes it can even help you. I'll use LoL as an example: when Rengar & Kha'Zix (not on the same team) are playing against each other once a few conditions are met an event called "The Hunt is On!" is triggered. The LoL Wiki sums it up nicely "Each champion is assigned to kill the other and the first to achieve this claims victory and is rewarded (assists count)." Both Rengar & Kha'Zix are hunters (described in their lore), and this "event" can, and does show that [1] – user47129 Sep 26 '13 at 6:56
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    Immersion gets broken anyways, either by glaring plot holes or stopping play to ask here - @fbueckert I think the score on your post demonstrates that you're pretty much alone in your assumptions. – kalina Sep 26 '13 at 8:30
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    @Scootaloo I think the fundamental problem with arguing about whether or not lore can be "useful" is that once it is, in the sense fbueckert talks about such as in that LoL example, it becomes a game mechanic and is no longer just lore. I'm not sure you've proven anything to him, or ever can with such examples. It is no longer just lore at that point. – Sterno Sep 26 '13 at 11:05
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    @Scootaloo For an example of what Sterno means, here's an abridged comment I made elsewhere: "For example, one Skyrim character of mine always attacks Thalmor on sight due to my understanding of the backstory and that character's personality. Another takes pains to avoid killing them and tries to go around. I actually stopped playing a certain character until I understood the theology of the setting more, so I could decide which side in the civil war they would support. For a non-negligible number of players, understanding lore is critical." No mechanics, just lore, still useful. – SevenSidedDie Sep 26 '13 at 18:13
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    @Batphobia That is not actually what's happening in that example. It's not mechanics, not race. It's how one political faction is reacted to by the player (me) based on lore. I'm guessing you're unfamiliar with Skyrim? – SevenSidedDie Sep 27 '13 at 16:20
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    @fbueckert " Once you've finished the game, it doesn't help immersion because you've finished the game" I disagree. If a user found the end of, say, Bioshock Infinite confusing, then questioning the lore may help them understand the ending and thus add immersion. Or take something like Mass effect where the sequels build off of your previous playthroughs. Lore from the ending of the first game might play a major role in the sequels. – Batophobia Sep 27 '13 at 16:24
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    @Batphobia Uh, no. There is no mechanic involved. I'm describing the choices and personality of the character. A personality and choice that exists only in my head, and which is different in the same game, based on what I know about the lore and how the imaginary person I'm playing relates to the lore. "Attacks on sight" is not an auto-attack mechanic, it's a description of how my game choices are majorly informed by lore. – SevenSidedDie Sep 27 '13 at 16:36

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