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I've got a few questions in mind that are less "What is the best option?" and more "What options are there?" An example would be "How can you scale the difficulty of your game?", where there aren't really any perfect, best or wrong answers. However, I think this question might be too broad, and I already considered the alternative "How can you scale the difficulty of your action game without resorting to massive HP pools?", which is only slightly less broad.

The main problem I think these questions have is that they're not really a good fit for the stack exchange type of conversation, but I still think that a question like this would be a valuable resource for developers looking for this information.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This question has been asked before, the response is always the same "if its subjective it doesn't belong on GD:SE". General "How do I implement feature X" type questions are always subjective. That includes your example about difficulty scaling. \$\endgroup\$ – War Sep 6 '14 at 12:13
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Maybe. The help is fairly clear on what's allowed in this sense:

Some subjective questions are allowed, but “subjective” does not mean “anything goes”. All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. What does that mean? Constructive subjective questions:

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”
  • tend to have long, not short, answers
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references
  • are more than just mindless social fun

For more detail, read about our guidelines for great subjective questions and blog post about how real questions have answers.

You can have good subjective questions. However, something like "What options are there?" is not really any different than "What do you think the best option(s) is/are?. I can't imagine a good subjective version of that that type of open ended question. It can't be a question where you're just polling what's available. You need to say, "This is my problem, how can I solve it?". The problem can't be too specific, and it can't be too broad. It can't be left open to interpretation.

Unfortunately, deciding if questions are good subjective or bad subjective is often a subjective process in itself. You'll often just have to try asking these questions, and see how well they're received. I suggest you follow the quoted guidelines above to achieve optimal results.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if according to the guidelines above you would say a question like "How can you scale the difficulty of your game?" would probably be rather okay or rather not okay? \$\endgroup\$ – Trilarion Sep 7 '14 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Most likely "How can you scale the difficulty of your game?" would not be OK. Though it's hard to tell from a single sentence question. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Sep 8 '14 at 14:16
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Personally I think this type of question should be allowed but have some sort of flag linked to it that marks it as subjective in some way but others feel that GD:SE is more about "i have this specific situation what is the absolute correct answer".

My thinking though is that game dev is mostly subjective as solving virtually any problem can be done in many ways and just because there are many ways to solve a problem it doesn't mean the commmunity wont benefit in some way by having a listing of those solutions somewhere.

However I agree with your point that these questions should be more "How can you scale the difficulty of your game?" and less "What is the best option?" as the latter is implying I have done no work and just want the community to give me a solution whereas the former is more "I have a game and this part of it needs some external input ..."

But it does open up an interesting extra bit of blur in an already often very misunderstood blurry line of rules.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Stack overflow, Super User and Server Fault were the first sites that used this format, and GD is based on those. those first 3 mainly had questions that had a single answer to them. They even discouraged questions that have multiple options. However, many of the more recent SE subsites don't have the "single correct answer" property. I think we should discuss this on the overall Meta. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Sep 5 '14 at 9:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ GD Moderators seem to be much more eager to focus GD on specifically one size fits all solutions, more so than the other sites IMO. This has nothing to do with the other sites and is specific to GD. This type of question comes around time and time again on here and yet the decision still stands that these type of questions should not be allowed my answer was merely me expressing my views that actually there could be a place for some subjectivity in the context of GD. The down vote suggests disagreement from someone. \$\endgroup\$ – War Sep 6 '14 at 12:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wardy A single downvote in a question that is viewed only 28 times doesn't mean anything statistically speaking. I counteracted it. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Trilarion Sep 7 '14 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeh I know ... it was just an observation ... :) \$\endgroup\$ – War Sep 8 '14 at 18:56
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Depending on the type of game there might be many totally different ways which might all be equally suitable to scale the difficulty. Many of the answers would have to be very extensive to be good. It happens but not very often. Also it could happen that people start discussions if the answers can be opiniated. That's why too broad/too opiniated questions are often seen as not a very good fit for a Q&A format. A discussion place (reddit) or a wiki (wikipedia) would be better places.

"How can you scale the difficulty of your game?" - I'm sure I could give at least 10 different answers to this.

On the other hand these questions are useful and would attract a lot of views.

My advice is:

A) Narrow them down a bit until they are answerable better. Like: "How can you scale the difficulty in jump and run games?", ...

B) Ask and answer these questions somewhere else on the internet where the format is more suitable.

C) Get a number of relevant, canonical topics and make the Qs and As community wiki. That way it is absolutely clear that this is something special.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this "difficulty scaling" would be a very useful question, because it's something that every game developer has to deal with at some point. Maybe it could be one for all genres, and each genre has its own answer where the community can curate the different methods. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Sep 5 '14 at 14:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Its also subjective and dependent upon an individuals implementation ... the point I was trying to make but was down voted for. As you say, these questions have value but are clearlyoutside of the rules of GD:SE at the moment. \$\endgroup\$ – War Sep 6 '14 at 12:04

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