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The Question: Are hidden stats a good idea?

Background

This meta post led me to the question at hand of which I made several observations including:

  • The question had 18 up votes
  • The question was closed (unilaterally by a mod)
  • At some point in time there were 3 close votes on the question but (unless I am mistaken with how / when users show up to have voted to close the question) there were no close votes cast in its current state
  • The question had many answers - some were good with many up votes others were bad with negative scores
  • The question had 2 updates amended to it which served as a dialogue between the OP and people who answered the question

After reading the question, comments on the question, and the meta post I had come up with my own conclusions on the question:

  • The question deserved to be closed as it stood
  • The question was attracting bad answers which ultimately lead to its closing

Given the number of up votes, it would appear to me that this is the type of subjective question that the community likes to see asked, and subsequently answer.

My attempt to salvage the question

My personal analysis of the question is that the two amended updates were by far the biggest problem with the question. These updates served as dialogue between the answers the OP was receiving and how that user would like answers to be catered. This ultimately lead to answers addressing the OP's specific needs and "bad subjective" (in my opinion) additional questions that were added as opposed to the "good subjective" (again, in my opinion and perhaps the 18 users that voted up) original question.

My general thought process for salvaging the question would be as follows:

  1. Remove the updates to restore the original intent that likely drew in the up votes as well as the good answers. This would bring us back to a good, albeit poorly written, subjective question
  2. If the question was not reopened effort would then be taken to actually improve the question to be higher quality and to advocate needs of answers often found in good subjective types of questions

Given the time I just wanted to get the ball rolling on this and see how the community reacted, though ideally I would have addressed both items at the same time so that multiple edits did not have to occur. That said, I completed step one above. I removed the two updates leaving the top section intact to see where things would go.

The process ended much sooner than expected.

My edit was rejected with the following, rather unexpected, reason by both users who reviewed the edit:

This edit changes too much in the original post; the original meaning or intent of the post would be lost.

I don't have the privileges to review edits so I don't know what canned options are available so maybe this just comes down to having limited choices when rejecting edits... I can only speculate. Needless to say I was certainly glad I didn't take the effort to complete step 2 with my original edit because that would have changed the original post even further making the close reason seem slightly more valid - but with the edit that was made the reject reason is a bit baffling to me since I edited the question down to the original question.

Is there anything that can be done to save the question?

At this point I don't know exactly what to do. I thought that my opinion on the matter reflected that of the community, given the number of up votes the question and answers had so I made an effort to begin turning (I'll admit the work wasn't 100% complete) this into one of the elusive "good subjective" questions we always hear about and I did not succeed in this attempt. Is there something that can be done to salvage this question?

I realize this is a specific question about a specific question but advice / insight on improving quality of edits that attempt to turn bad questions into good questions (subjective or otherwise) in the future is appreciated as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I can confirm that the post had 4 close votes shortly after it was posted. They aged away after not gathering a 5th vote for a week. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Sep 16 '14 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good to know. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Sep 16 '14 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sort of a side-issue is length. The question currently weighs 599 words. If a question takes longer than a few paragraphs to explain, it's probably getting too broad or it's starting to answer itself. I'd usually aim for 300 words tops, but then again I seem to be GDSE's resident minimalist. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Anko Sep 16 '14 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Anko my edit cut the question down to 168 words... the updates should have never been added IMO. \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Sep 16 '14 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SpartanDonut *slaps self in face* Of course, right, you even wrote that down. Twice. Sorry! (Yes; totally agree with you.) \$\endgroup\$ – Anko Sep 16 '14 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the edits to your question are being flagged as significantly different, that to me says you're entitled to submit it as a new question. \$\endgroup\$ – nathanchere Sep 24 '14 at 7:47
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I think it certainly could have been saved at one point. However, now that it has a number of answers, those answers are all answering the question as it is now. Even if we could find a way to change the question to be good subjective, it would mean either eliminating a number of the answers, or finding ways to heavily modify them as well.

It highlights the issue of catching and editing these questions early, before there's too much activity. Probably my fault, I made a comment two minutes after it was created, but didn't suggest an edit to change it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Here's a novel idea. How about moderators take discussions such as closing popular questions to Meta instead of unilaterally imposing their opinion? Seems much more in the spirit of community moderation than the current process of making unilateral decisions and directing the fallout to Meta. \$\endgroup\$ – ClassicThunder Sep 16 '14 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ClassicThunder I'm sure we can try that in the future for older questions like this one. However, there are cases where, as I mentioned, catching questions early is important. Additionally, I think you're being a little over dramatic about "unilaterally imposing their opinion". Cleaning up old questions that don't fit with the current rules of the site is a very common thing, and it's something that's far less likely to be done if a committee has to be created for every off topic question. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Sep 16 '14 at 16:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand that and I'm not suggesting you it for each and every topic. However, for popular question that are in a bit of a grey area I think its worth it. Also doesn't have to be a committee with a majority vote. Just you saying "hey I'm planning on doing this any objects?". \$\endgroup\$ – ClassicThunder Sep 16 '14 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, if you're wanting to remove moderators imposing opinion, defining the rule with something subjective like "a bit of a grey area" doesn't work very well. I didn't see the question as being in a grey area, it was clear to me that it was seeking opinions. Just look at the edits, particularly: "So to get straight to point: Would it be fun if...". OP wanted to know if people thought their game idea was a fun one. That one isn't in a grey area for me. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Sep 16 '14 at 17:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ClassicThunder As I stated in my post, the question as it stands today needs fixing without a doubt. I believe Byte was right to close it. I created this meta post because I thought it had some potential as a good subjective question and was personally unsuccessful in fixing it. \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Sep 16 '14 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 This highlights my main issue with the current moderation. OPs ask a question that benefits them, expecting them to take the larger community and write their question around that is unrealistic. Very often these questions are a few generalizations / assumptions away from being a good question. This is such a case thus I consider it a grey area. Donut and Ankos idea of lets take this, improve it, and make it a contribution to the site should be an attitude / culture shared or even championed by the moderation team. \$\endgroup\$ – ClassicThunder Sep 17 '14 at 16:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure why you think that attitude/culture isn't shared by the moderators. The moderators helped with this in chat yesterday: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/83543/…. I believe I was the one who suggested posting it as a new on-topic question. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Sep 17 '14 at 16:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ And yes, I think when posting questions people should try to generalize for a wider audience. See here: meta.gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/1545/… \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Sep 17 '14 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 I never said they shouldn't... I said its hard and suggested we make a better effort to fix those questions instead of closing and moving on. And while the moderation team helped. Without the intervention of others the question would have been closed and forgotten. \$\endgroup\$ – ClassicThunder Sep 17 '14 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ClassicThunder Realize that a closed question is not gone. It's still on the site, it shows up in searches and it's visible to everyone. There are a number of closed questions that still get plenty of views and are still useful to people. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Sep 17 '14 at 22:09
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(robotic voice) Directive, commander?

Analyse the present situation.

(robotic voice) Affirmative. Commencing analysis and outcome simulation.

A war room, from Dr Strangelove
From Dr Strangelove's war room scene; coloured DEFCON-style by unknown artist

Mission briefing

Situation: The core question is good. The most valuable answers homed in on it. However, the asker's polling-additions distracted some answers into uselessness. The question was closed because of the polling-additions.

Objective: We want the core question, but without polling. All answers should target the core question, not the polling question.

Examining potential strategies.

Strategy 1: Repair

Spartan attempted this independently but failed for administrative reasons. Route to objective:

  1. Rollback/edit to condense the question to its core.
  2. Flag/delete answers that only targeted the opinion-based questions, because they then miss the question.
  3. Edit other answers to remove references to the opinion part.
  4. Flag/delete comments debating question closure.

Discussion of issues:

  • Original asker might resist. Threat of re-closure should silence them.
  • Some opinionated answer material is deleted forever. Unfortunate collateral.

Strategy 2: Redo

This means simply declaring the current state of affairs a failure and re-asking the core question as a separate question altogether.

Discussion of issues:

  • Many great answers are left behind in the closed question. Unfortunate collateral.
  • Both questions may be closed as duplicates of the other by popular vote. Linking to this meta post should silence that. However, that may re-ignite this same discussion at a later time.
  • Readers might confuse the two questions or be confused by them. Could rename the old question, or attach a banner to clarify the situation. This may again cause this same discussion and will remain confusing to some degree.

Conclusions

Repairing the question is harder than redoing it.

Repairing the question causes opinionated answer contents to be deleted.
Redoing the question causes answer duplication and general confusion.

(robotic voice) Analysis complete.


OK, I'm back to human now. :)

I think we should try to fix this question with edits. Losing opinionated answers isn't as bad as all the confusion caused by duplication if anyone ever wants to ask this question again.

It would take work. I'd be up for it though.

Before I start, do I make sense? Have I missed anything that might accidentally cause a bunch of chaos?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I had started to work on a rewrite earlier today per Byte's recommendation and after some encouragement from Noctine I was finally brave enough to post this version. If you have any feedback ping me in chat and let me know. - gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/83543/… \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Sep 17 '14 at 2:18
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OP here.

It took me over a hour to compose that question plus at least 3-4 cancelled attempts in days before, because I already have experience with pedantic privileged users who bite when they see a tiniest bit of imperfection or non-conformance on StackOverflow.

Nowadays I know I can only ask a question on any SE that can be answered with a black on white "here it is the correct answer". I learned that it's pointless asking anything "just out of curiosity" because it would likely have some subjective elements that cause it to be closed quickly. My question only barely escaped that fate (I didn't have enough reputation to see the close votes piling up, only know it from the comments).

In the question I expected game devs know some psychology, because in order to be able to sell the game, you must find hooks so the players want to play it. I expected answers like "This, that and those research papers say players like full control and will be frustrated if you don't give all information to them." or something like that. Not their personal opinion.

If you can reword it so it can inspire answers backed by evidence or research and not personal opinion. Then edit it. You have the powers, do whatever you want with it. I'm just a casual user who is sometimes curious...

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  • \$\begingroup\$ SpartanDonut has given it a shot here - gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/83543/… \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Dorsey Sep 17 '14 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be fantastic if a question could receive real evidence for good-subjective topics, but it is a very difficult scenario. The far more likely result is that it will turn into an opinion poll. So based on reality, closing is the correct option. However, there are occasional surprise answers that meet your description. It would be a shame if we closed questions before those could be posted (though the question may be closed regardless). \$\endgroup\$ – Seth Battin Sep 17 '14 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the way I've phrased the question makes it clear that I would like opinions backed up by experiences or resources / references \$\endgroup\$ – SpartanDonut Sep 17 '14 at 20:40

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