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So this question got closed:

https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/148428/who-is-skidrow

It should have stayed open because I cannot see any copyright violation or promotion of piracy or supporting it. As I said in my comments, asking who Hitler was is also not promoting fascism or supporting the holocaust. Therefore, the question should be reopened.

If you guys don't want them mentioned, then bad news for you, they are already well known and nobody will start pirating games just because he or she reads the name. I could now also go into detail about how Skid Row, Fairlight, RELOADED or Hoodlum and other copyright evading groups are deeply tied into the demo scene, which is a huge part of pc gaming and too big to be ignored on a gaming related website.

Closing it is also hypocritical when questions about emulation stay open, which is clearly not allowed since you have to use a bios file, which is copyrighted. One could assume that you can rip it off your own console, but nobody really does that. We all know it.

So how is asking who Skidrow is off topic and asking how to emulate a game someone probably not even owns on topic?

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    I have purged many comments from this question's answers. Let's stick to the question at hand and not bicker over syntax, please! Dec 30, 2013 at 4:03
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    @Assylum no-one wants to stop you from coming here, but you're taking the issue a bit too personally, and it would be a good idea to cool off a bit. Mods deleted most of the comments on the question, because that type of arguing belongs here, on meta, not in comments of the question.
    – 3ventic
    Dec 30, 2013 at 8:17
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    Please do stop the name calling and antagonizing. If you want @RavenDreamer to apologize, you can ask him to without doing that.
    – badp
    Dec 30, 2013 at 11:34

5 Answers 5

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I sympathize with your feelings; whenever we argue about a new kind of question on the site, my feelings are almost invariably of the "why not?" rather than the "what were you thinking?" kind.

After mulling about it for a few moments, though, I came up with a rather fundamental reason why not.

Let's look at it this way: cutting the whole "piracy" angle aside, what would a question like this look like?

Who is John Carmack?

Whenever the press talks about John Carmack, people in comments areas around the internet seem to go batshit insane and agree blindly with everything he says.

What is he, some kind of burrito?

Answer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Carmack

We have established that we are not and should not be a place to ask about upcoming releases, press releases or otherwise announcements because this is a Q&A site, not a news site.

We also have established that if you want to write the book on how to do X, this is not the place to do so. Arqade is more about morsels of valuable, hard-to-get information rather than the whole walkthrough of Megaman X.

As a result, I think that the question is off-topic mainly for a reason of scope. A question shouldn't ask users to "compete" in writing the book about everything there is to know on a given subject. The Stack Exchange model is not the encyclopaedic one; there are blog and wiki engines for when you want to write the book about something.

In other words, we are a Q&A site, not Wikipedia.

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    This leaves us to an IMHO open question: how would we handle "What was the role of John Carmack in the making of DOOM"? We never really did tackle the matter of historical trivia explicitly and, while I don't think that is a question we can answer very well, I can't put the reason in words convincingly.
    – badp
    Dec 30, 2013 at 11:56
  • Wouldn't that fall under game development/design?
    – 3ventic
    Dec 30, 2013 at 12:04
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    @3ventic Not really; it's not about how to make a new videogame, or why it was designed the way it was.
    – badp
    Dec 30, 2013 at 12:20
  • @badp It's still news, though. It isn't information that helps you play the game any better whatsoever. That can be classified as news without any issue.
    – Frank
    Dec 30, 2013 at 14:14
  • "...the question is off-topic mainly for a reason of scope" Instead of 'off-topic', the 'too broad' close vote reason is probably the better choice here, if that's the case. Dec 31, 2013 at 2:03
  • @galacticninja Not scope as in too broad. Scope as in its outside ours. Which is correct. Too broad implies that the question could be acceptable if it was sufficiently narrow, which its not. This question is unsalvageable, because it is outside our supported scope.
    – Frank
    Jan 1, 2014 at 15:30
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    @Frank I don't think it's quite so clear-cut.
    – badp
    Jan 1, 2014 at 19:12
  • @badp Seems pretty clear cut to me; question was closed almost instantly, and deleted as soon as it was possible to.
    – Frank
    Jan 2, 2014 at 18:45
  • @Frank 20kers don't have to wait two days, FYI. Also, piracy was not the only problem with the question.
    – badp
    Jan 2, 2014 at 20:57
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If you read the close reason is says clearly:

This question does not appear to be about videogames or videogame consoles within the scope defined in the help center.

Nothing about piracy ;).

Have a nice day :)

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  • Yup. This is pretty cut and dry, folks. Dec 30, 2013 at 4:06
  • Actually, the specific custom close reason was (comment now deleted) : "This question appears to be off-topic because it is about people or groups involved in software piracy, not about playing games." - which is most likely the source of the confusion. Dec 30, 2013 at 4:31
  • From my comments in the closed question: SKIDROW is a scene release group that AFAIK, releases videogames exclusively. "It's not about playing games." There are a lot of allowed questions in Arqade that are not exclusively about playing games, see: When is non-game-specific still on-topic? I would argue that scene videogame release groups are as relevant to gaming as their legal counterparts. SKIDROW is a videogame-specific release group, one of the biggest release group names, & one of the most prolific, hence they're all about gaming. Dec 30, 2013 at 4:55
  • @galacticninja I don't see that custom close reason. All there is is: "This question does not appear to be about videogames or videogame consoles within the scope defined in the help center." Dec 30, 2013 at 15:01
  • @RavenDreamer The comment was already deleted. It is mentioned by FEIchinger in his answer here. It was also in the screenshot of the comments in the question, commented here by Assylum (comment now deleted): i.imgur.com/YMwY7P4.png Dec 30, 2013 at 15:50
  • @galacticninja The Auto-generated Comments only show what an individual voted to close the question as, and unless they're moderators, that's only 1/5 of what's needed to actually close the question. The majority of the closers voted to close for a different reason (Not Gameplay related). I don't understand what's supposed to be under discussion? Dec 30, 2013 at 18:11
  • @RavenDreamer The custom close reason remains in the comments and is automatically upvoted for every additional close vote for that reason. I'm not seeing where you got this "different reason" from, that's just the default text for any off-topic closure.
    – user98085
    Dec 30, 2013 at 19:35
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    Ah, now I see what you're saying. Then I think it's just an issue of the first person taking the right action for the wrong reasons, and it still doesn't merit this much tomfoolery. Dec 30, 2013 at 22:25
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    @RavenDreamer I'm still not seeing how it's "for the wrong reasons". It's not - and by our previous discussions should not - be our expertise, that makes it off-topic, plain and simple.
    – user98085
    Dec 31, 2013 at 5:39
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And I will repeat it once more: We did not close it because it's about piracy. The mere mention of the word "piracy" in the close reason does not suddenly make the close reason "It's about piracy."

We closed it for this reason:

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about people or groups involved in software piracy, not about playing games.

Nowhere does this say we close it because it's about pirating games, downloading cracked copies or anything like that. We close it because it's unrelated to playing games.

The site as a whole does not support piracy. That's clearly been laid out multiple times, and while we have our nuisances about what is and isn't piracy-related - this is not about that. However, it is an important fact to note. Because of our stance on piracy, we are not supposed to be experts on the piracy-scene. The site as a whole is not supposed to have in-depth knowledge of that. As such, we are not the right people to ask who these people are.

Nowhere did anything ever imply that the question was "copyright violation or promotion of piracy". This also has nothing to with some form of hatred for pirates - none of that.

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This question wasn't closed with the piracy close reason, but in my humble opinion, it probably could have been. @FEichinger and I both agree that the question should have been closed, but I would have used the piracy close reason instead of a custom close reason. I expressed my reasoning in chat:

@FEichinger in my view, in the context of Arqade, there isn't [a difference between direct piracy and a third party involved in piracy]. We don't support piracy. Full stop. That means we don't support people that are explicitly involved in piracy.

In this case, there was explicit mention of a person involved with piracy, with the implication of getting closer to that community, i.e. to pirate games.

Mentions of piracy simply does not belong on the main site. We tolerate passing references to piracy on chat, although generally not about games. But there's lots of things we tolerate on chat that we don't on the main site.

Now as to your point on emulation, it's not hypocritical. There are many legitimate uses of emulation. Start with DOSBox, and finish with MAME. Throw in WINE and virtualization for good measure as well. Talking about piracy means talking about something that is explicitly illegal (at least in many countries).

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It's more off-topic because it's not about game play. Not because it's specifically about piracy.

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