Well, lately I have been active on gamedev stackexchange one thing I noticed is that I come by a lot of how to start questions (almost daily). Unfortunately almost all of them are closed being off-topic. I think there's a problem here, since this is clearly a legitimate question and most new people don't really know where to start.

I have a suggestion that new signed up users are asked what level of experience and the reason he/she is coming to stackexchange, for example:

  • Beginner (programming and gamedev)
  • Beginner ( only in gamedev ) but knows how to program.
  • Intermedia in game dev and programming.
  • Expert
  • etc

And then depending on his skill level he/she will be guided for existing resources. This way (I think) will:

  • Get rid of a lot of how to start questions.
  • Help more people get started.
  • Help find appropriate technology depending on their background.

Do you think this is feasible ?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ *Questions. I would suggest an edit, but I cannot :P \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 20:21
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "since this is clearly a legitimate question" - not on this site \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 7:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @sm4 Given that SO is famous for being a programming Q&A site, it would be natural for new users to assume the gamedev version of SO is a Q&A site for game development. That could encompass anything. We already know few people actually go through the help center before posting, so they're going to proceed based on their assumptions. I can not think of a good reason why we should not set up a canonical "getting started" question to which we can refer those asking. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 6:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ktodisco that's what I was trying to say, and for more experienced people maybe we should show them "how to contribute better to the site page". \$\endgroup\$
    – concept3d
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


This sounds great in theory, but it also assumes that users are going to do some research, even if direct links to possibly useful information are provided for them and they don't have to look it up themselves, they still have to read the content.

Truth of the matter is we already do that for them:

Similar Questions

This obviously isn't an answer to the problem as a whole but to answer whether or not I think this is feasible... maybe. Useful? Probably not.

Between the Help Center (especially this question and this question), and the similar questions box when you are asking a question, we've got it covered.

For clarification on why the help center useful, in addition to the guidelines that are really good at explaining what should and should not be on the site, I look to mainly the following section:

Where can I ask subjective, discussion, and other questions not fit for this site?

  • Our chat room

  • Reddit

  • Gamedev.net

  • Did you already search with your favorite search engine to see if your question has been asked/answered elsewhere?

  • Are you simply looking for someone to make a decision for you? Are you suffering from analysis paralysis? Just make a choice and go with it, see where it takes you. Or perhaps you could roll some dice or flip a coin.

The problem is all of this requires the user to take the time to actually read content that is put right before them which is really what seems to not be happening.


Do you think this is feasible?

No, I don't.

It's not just a matter of the software not supporting it (and there being no precedent for a similar site-specific addition anywhere else on the network), nor just the matter that StackExchange is a Q&A archive (not a tutorial repository for neophytes).

No, mostly the problem is correctly establishing the set of "experience buckets" to put users into and relying on them to correctly self-select. It is extremely difficult, in practice, to accurate define a set of skill level tiers that can reasonably cover the gamut of all users. Your example tiers are woefully underspecified.

Furthermore, people are mostly unskilled and unaware of it, and will tend to misdiagnose their own level of competence in a domain.

Additionally, you have the problem of appropriately cataloguing your suggested "tier-appropriate resources" -- under what criteria is something considered a "good" resource for a beginner-level user? Especially considering that vast majority of users seem to fall into the less-experienced tier, community voting on the content is not likely to be a reasonable approach. And also, who is going to curate the content for "expert" users?

Next, there's the usability problem. As ToddersLegrande points out, users are already ignoring the help center links, information that is designed to guide them right from the start. You could argue that the link is too out-of-the-way, and that by forcing a modal UX in front of them when they first sign up, you'd solve that problem. Unfortunately, users don't read dialog boxes (plus, when you are new or unregistered, the sites already display fairly large banner prompts directing you to information about what the site is about).

Finally, it's not what this site is about. We are not here to be everything to everybody, and one of the things we've decided not to be is a wiki for beginner-level bootstrapping tutorials.

  • \$\begingroup\$ well I pretty much agree with everything you said. It's a suggestion that I though would be nice to get feedback on. btw nice article you linked "Journal of personality" \$\endgroup\$
    – concept3d
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 6:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, the Dunning-Kruger effect is particularly prevelant in new developers. Why else would a green developer think they could make an MMO? \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 15:42

This is a problem that obviously isn't going to go away. As Josh said, people don't read dialog boxes (IME they don't even read "readme"s) so no matter how this information is conveyed during the sign-up process, it's just not going to work.

Maybe it's the case that we're taking the wrong tack here. Closing these questions as off-topic is frustrating for the people doing the closing, as well as annoying for the person who's question is closed. Having to continually redirect people to the usual resources is annoying too.

Maybe if we had one good solid asked-and-answered "how to start" question, with the answer containing the usual links, these questions could more usefully be closed as duplicates of it? The original question would also need to be closed, of course, to prevent that from attracting replies and degenerating into a discussion.

This is coming from the perspective of closing-as-duplicate seeming less of a slap-down to new members, and would reduce the workload involved in pointing new members to the usual resources.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly what should be done. In the same way that SO has a question like this, gamedev should have a go-to question about getting started in game development for all to reference. As long as new users can post questions, "getting started" questions are inevitable. Closing and pointing the asker to a comprehensive resource would be better and friendlier than just closing and essentially saying "your question is bad." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 6:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, a stock standard answer is more friendly than telling people their question is bad. Honestly speaking we need more users, gamedev isn't exactly packed. An initial bad experience can often put people off. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 9:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .