I'd honestly like to get an opinion out of the community. Do we have an actual personal issue with List questions/Game-Rec questions or are we deciding against them because that's what the rest of SE does?

The main argument that I've heard is "You can't be an expert in Game-Recs or List", but I'd like to point out that a lot of the questions we answer as 'experts' here are not because we know the answer off the top of our head but because we know where to look better than the OP.

My question is a poll: Do we [not like]/[not enjoy]/[not find useful] the recs and list questions or do we simply not want them because that's what SE does?

Personally, I think allowing such questions leads to a huge repository of knowledge that gamers are in fact out looking for. Also, as we continue to grow, the List questions and Game-Rec questions will subside. There are only a finite number of these questions that are ask-able. I also think that such questions may make the difference between this site being a community and a Q&A site.

The difference is much less prominent on SO since for the large part the requirements of a community and a Q&A site for programmers are pretty similar. And SO also "allows" debugging questions, which are, in my opinion, not in the charter of SE.

So which is it? Do we think that these questions detract from this site or that such questions detract from a SE site in general?


For game lists, let's think of them as Abelian groups, (X, g), of prime order. The operation is key feature X and the identity is the game g0. We close a question if it is equivalent to (X, gi) and there exists a question (X, gk) of which gi is a member.

How's that sound? :D

Basically, we DO have a limited number of List questions because lists ought to be determined by a property and occasionally a game. The only limitation we have to place is that only one property can be listed at a time.

  • +1 for "List<T>" syntax
    – Pops
    Aug 15, 2010 at 21:58

6 Answers 6


I actually like some of them, not all of course (but I do like some of the ones that are currently closed).

This sums up my feelings pretty well: [game-recommendations] and single, correct answers

  • 8
    I agree. I do not believe that game-rec's should go away completely because I honestly believe that a set of "gaming experts" are the best ones to come to for specific game recommendations. See this question for my idea of a good example. No, it may not have broad appeal, but I know if I was some person who was looking for the same thing, I'd be overjoyed to see that someone else was too. Gamers are paradoxical. We like our niches but the common denominator of being a passionate gamer still brings us together.
    – FAE
    Aug 7, 2010 at 17:10
  • 1
    @FallenAngelEyes I think the problem with the idea that "'gaming experts' are the best ones to come up with specific game recommendations" is that the same 'gaming experts' really have no desire to do so. Go to ElitistJerks.com and see what happens when you ask for recommendations for leveling or games or something similar.
    – tzenes
    Aug 8, 2010 at 5:17

While I take a lot of my perspective from experience in the existing SE sites, I do in fact believe these kinds of questions to generally be poisonous to this site specifically. The large quantity of list questions, specifically because people keep adding to them and so they get bumped back to the front page, makes us look more like a shopping plaza than a place to get solutions. Moreover, they are a broken window - we are greatly weakened against closing the more casual subjective lists by having these lists open.

I don't see our goal as being just a repository of lists and lists of games. We have great resources of actual knowledge and help that we can provide to people. But it's not really easy to see that. Every day, someone finishes a game they liked and decides to ask if there are any similar games like it. It's tiresome.

Also, the number of list questions is not finite. It's very far from it. You can have permutations across everything from genre to platform to player support to costume design to theme... and that's not even getting into the whole gamut of questions like "What are games that are like X?" which can literally be asked for every game in existence yet we seem to think is a "narrow enough scope". The fact we're still seeing new ones pop up every day is a testament to the fact that we won't see a decline in them if we just let them be.

All that said, I do realize there is in fact a lot of attraction and attachment to lists. I have been, and am still willing, to find out a middle ground through which we can define an acceptable list. We are ultimately a community-run site - so if it is agreed that the community wishes that we allow lists, we need to define how they can be acceptable. And we really need the people who are pro-list to speak out, as I mostly see a lot coming from the anti-list faction.

  • you should look into this [hidden-features] thing someone told me about. :) As lists go, it is as good as they get, or at least -- the least flawed approach in practice that I have seen. Nov 23, 2010 at 10:44
  • Games are fun. Lists are fun. Having Fun Lists about our Fun Games is suddenly "not a great resource"? Logic fail. I can see blocking "similar games" lists, but not all lists, just because you are bored with "I just finished Half Life 2, what should I play next?". Just make "what should I play next?" an anti-pattern in the FAQ. And infinite list questions. But finite list questions should be explicitly OK.
    – Warren P
    May 6, 2011 at 3:38
  • @Warren Lists such as your first question are A-OK. I wouldn't have closed such. This is an old post, mind you, so it's not really reflective of our current list policy - it was from a time before we really made important distinctions of the different kinds of lists. As far as being a resource for lists of games, we failed at that harder than the logic you provided.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 6, 2011 at 11:14

I agree with Grace's comment "I do in fact believe these kinds of questions to generally be poisonous to this site specifically."

I expanded my opinions on this subject further in another thread, but I'll briefly summarize them here.

I believe that lists are Bad Questions™, and that their presence is detrimental to the growth and production of this site. I believe this because I know that people with specialized information are attracted to that high level of knowledge and, there for, questions which require it. A recommendation does not require a high level of knowledge as it is essentially an opinion (this is the reason opinions are bad).

What's worse, the presence of Recommendations is essentially a mandate to any new users to continue with this trend. In fact if you look in meta.gaming, you will see threads which take the stand point, "There are other game-rec's why was mine closed?" In essence, by allowing even a small number of very specialized game-rec's we are inviting disaster onto ourselves.

Now certainly I enjoyed certain recommendations, mostly on the subject of programming and terminals, but I think the price we pay to have them is too high. My stand point on this is clear. All game-rec's must go if we are to be successful as a serious QA site.

  • 1
    By the same token, Gaming.se seems to have become starcraft2.se. Just pointing out... Aug 8, 2010 at 1:11
  • 1
    @Mechko the presence of a new highly anticipated release will necessitate a flood of questions on this topic. As the release fade from being "new" and other new releases come into play, these questions will fade. The same cannot be said about recommendations.
    – tzenes
    Aug 8, 2010 at 3:25
  • 4
    I'd turn it around @Mechko and argue that Starcraft 2 shows the site works: people who have questions about the game are all asking them here! I'd say: mission accomplished, on to the next level/game!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Aug 8, 2010 at 8:39
  • hm. I suppose. I guess I'm a little disappointed that the types of questions I was hoping to be able to ask/answer/read aren't really going to be supported here and that the games which are most represented here (ie, SCII and DF) aren't games that I play or am likely to get into. I guess it's personal preference though. Aug 8, 2010 at 22:47
  • 1
    I call slippery slope fallacy. Just because we have a few game-recs open now (or did anyway) doesn't mean there will be 2 zillion tomorrow.
    – RCIX
    Aug 8, 2010 at 23:28
  • 1
    @RCIX It is still the 4th most popular tag even after heavy closure. Every time we close one, we get another discussion about "Why was mine closed when these others aren't." You yourself opened such a thread. In fact, this thread was a response to such an action. Its the "broken window," and its time we fixed it.
    – tzenes
    Aug 8, 2010 at 23:46
  • @Mechko there are plenty of sites where you can ask for recommendations, there aren't plenty of sites where you can find out how to get past the 72 level of Bubble Bobble Neo for the 360.
    – tzenes
    Aug 8, 2010 at 23:48
  • @tzenes I'm not sure about other people, but I want exactly one site which deals with all my questions. In the month that Gaming has been up, I've gotten to know some group of people relatively well and I like the people I've gotten to know. Maybe SE is not the right family to run Gaming on. The platform is great for the all the types of questions, but perhaps the charter of the SE sites is too narrow to cater a full Gaming Community as opposed to a Game Troubleshooter. SE is primarily a troubleshooter. Aug 9, 2010 at 1:17
  • @Mechko if you want one site for all questions, then why have different SE? Or better yet, why split game-dev from SO? I truly believe the platform is NOT good for all types of questions, as I illustrated in another thread. But troubleshooter? I think you've missed the point.
    – tzenes
    Aug 9, 2010 at 2:52
  • @Mechko With acceptable questions like this, this, this, and this, we're hardly just troubleshooting.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 9, 2010 at 12:06

juan-manuel proposed Game Recommendations on area51

This would help clearing it out of gaming.stackexchange


I've had this negative experience when I came over https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/6399/what-are-some-fps-pc-games-that-you-can-play-on-a-lan-w-out-external-dedicated-se . When I came over the question and saw it was pretty fast closed, I felt like someone took the wind out of my sails. Suddenly the whole joy around gaming was let down.

IMHO such things are substantial for a gaming community.


summary: In my opinion, List/Recs/etc are fundamental to a gaming community, but we need to find that middle ground that Grace Note mentioned.

So a suggestion:

In my opinion, lists are fundamental to gaming in the same way they are fundamental to movies and music -- because, by nature, gamers tend to try and form personal communities rather than professional ones. Programming/Tech use are different in the sense that people usually have a specific question like why am I getting a segfault at 3am or why won't Office2010 start in Windows 3.1 and are looking for a professional community. However, programmers and tech users aren't necessarily looking for a community. Gamers tend to turn into a community or move to a place where they can join one.

Gaming.se must be more lighthearted an a little more lax for the reason that there are already many other places where people can ask their questions, but also hang out. I think we still need to put restrictions on list questions, or somehow separate them and force them to be CW, but that would of course be changing the engine. As I pointed out in my question, we can set strict guidelines for list questions, such as no more than one property per question and no more than one question per property, and that people wanting to find the intersection or union of two properties ought to go read the posts themselves.

Honestly, however, I think the number of list questions are going down significantly and those that do pop up are hugely popular because they are questions that a large portion of the community wants to see the answers to. Also, I'd like to point out that the active members of meta are possibly not the representation of the entire community. It may be good to (once we've found a few options) encourage the whole of SE to come vote on the proposition.

  • If you want to chat, go to chat! We have the most hardcore community of them all according to Jeff
    – Ivo Flipse
    Aug 8, 2010 at 9:24
  • @Ivo chat isn't quite a full answer, because you can only chat with people who are online at the time. While it's great, it would be nice to have a persistent place to ask these questions too. Aug 8, 2010 at 22:43
  • Everyone keep saying scope, scope, scope in terms of something that should limit list questions. "They have to be specific enough so that they aren't too big", basically. But what is that scope? We can't just say "It can't be too broad" or "It can't be too indiscriminate" without some idea of what it is that we can use to judge this. Otherwise, honestly speaking our very own guidelines are as horribly subjective as the lists themselves!
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 9, 2010 at 12:25
  • To target your answer's content specifically, what defines a "property"? Is it narrow or wide? Is "detailed costume design" a property, or is "contains characters who wear EGL costumes (hopefully with hats)" a property?
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 9, 2010 at 12:27
  • 1
    I like the idea of a Gaming.SE vote on it. I do not think that the meta is a valid representative sample.
    – Corv1nus
    Aug 24, 2010 at 21:08

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