This is a follow-up to @Caleb's Is "Historical Trivia" off-topic?

The consensus there was that those questions are fine, since it's about video games. This conflicts directly with the older

How do we feel towards specific questions about the history of a certain game mechanic?

And the Request for Tag Burnination: [Game-History], which is

I assume the newer META overrules the older posts, and Historical Trivia is on-topic on Arqade. If you disagree, feel free to discuss this in Caleb's META post linked above.

The problem I wish to address here is the inconsistency between the on-topic page of the help pages and the off-topic flagging reason descriptions.

On-Topic section of Help doesn't explicitly mention historical trivia as off topic. Furthermore,

If your question generally covers things such as [...] Game mechanics and terminology

it is on topic. And historical trivia pertaining to game mechanics and terminology (i.e. almost all of them) "generally covers" those two points. Which means that Help correctly lists them as on topic.

On the other hand, the text for flagging a question as off topic because it's game identification reads in part:

Questions asking for help identifying a game [...] based on [...] any other set of criteria (i.e. "What was the first game to…") are off-topic [...]

Which explicitly states that a large portion of historical trivia questions are off-topic, even though the help page doesn't say so.

The problem here is obvious disparity between the sources, which can (and does in my case, see below) lead to confusion, discussion and other things. The remedy for this, and this posts request is simple:

Update the flagging reasons to not explicitly disallow trivia-type identification questions

Some background as to why this post was made

I just flagged multiple questions with that format as off-topic, after finding the old META post and before seeing Caleb's new META post. I was confused that the help section didn't list them as off-topic at first, but several questions of that type were closed for that very reason, so close-votes it was. And after clicking "off-topic", I was actually confirmed in my assumptions.

Actually, I then commented on the brand-new question "Which MMO first came up with dungeons" that it's off-topic, resulting in the user deleting the question shortly afterwards, and I'm very sorry to the OP for that and I'd like to prevent such things to happen in the future.

  • 3
    A question about the origin of a term (which is what Caleb's question addressed) is a different thing than a question about what was the first game to do X. I do not believe the latter should be considered on-topic (mostly because those are very VERY hard to answer and call for some sort of proof that cannot exist short of patents).
    – badp
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 11:49
  • 3
    We're running into inconsistencies between our policies now. One of our latest metas determines that historical trivia is on-topic. It's a very small step from, "Which game used mechanic X first?" to, "Where did mechanic X come from?". We're sorta hitting magic word syndrome with it, I think.
    – Frank
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 13:53
  • I've posted an answer in our previous discussion as a call to arms to discuss these inconsistencies. I don't know the answer, but it's something we really do need to figure out.
    – Frank
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 14:21
  • This may be irrelevent, but the gaming-history tag was created recently with the tag wiki Questions about the history of games, their terms, or conventions, and how they have developed over time.. This tag seems unnessesary and is pretty much identical to the (now dead) game-history tag.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


I think the fundamental thing here is that the site needs a clear way to make decisions on policy.

Why not create a meta post with two clear answers, give it a timeline of a month/week or so and see which answer has the most votes. use democracy without making it conveluted.

If someone questions it you can link to that.

In future if people decide they want to revote then no issue surely.

Make it stricter and not simply about single instances

  • Democracy is convoluted in nature if you're trying to come to a consensus between many different people with many different views on the 'correct' or 'incorrect' answer. Debating policies is what meta is for, and generally people will do as they see fit. Lore questions are technically on topic but will often get downvoted into oblivion by those who oppose their status as 'relevant'.
    – shanodin
    Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 22:03

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