(Yes, my question comes after reading The official help and I'm still not sure)

I am IT engineer, and usually conceive games like other programs. When I have an issue, I try to ask myself questions from the programmer's viewpoint, and as engineer find the solution. Such topics relate to:

  • Database engine choosing, model design, optimization, cache, and app layer.
  • Networking and stuff related to... lag (our worst enemy in online games: the lag; I make exceptions in this point if I think someone has specific experience with a commonly used protocol, service, library, what's the experience in already built-in networking libs in game development environments...).
  • Software architecture (say classes, utilities, libraries).
  • Algorithms, complexity, evaluation contexts.

At the end, I come to this website and have less topics to ask about:

  • Specific game creation tools (say: Clickteam Fusion, YoYo Game Maker Studio, ...).
  • Stuff regarding game concepts (edit: this one would fit in the first item in the official help, which actually confuses me). Since I am not a game developer, most of the questions I ask could be related to the UX side of the game (although from the IT solution I would have a possible answer, most of the times it implies a differente UX which could not be applied to games, and that's why Game Design is another degree career separate from IT).

But happened to me that when asking about A good MMORPG battle system for android devices, it was marked as off-topic because it is being primarily opinion based.

I may be wrong, but I always had the idea that everything outside the technical issues (which mostly belongs to IT somehow and could fit in StackOverflow, Security, Code Review, even Ask Ubuntu) was about being a craft: techniques, design decisions, trade-ff between several UX topics, ... and most of those topics are opinion-based (e.g. Lineage II handles lag and UX in a totally synchronous way, while Argentum Online in a totally asynchronous way, and Tales of Pirates (Pirate King Online) in an intermediate of both).

So, topics aside specific game development environments (say: Game Maker) and libraries (say: Starling for Flex): What's considered ontopic to ask here that could not be asked in IT-related sites and does not fall in primarily-opinion based category?

More specificly: What is valid to ask, in the scope of the first point in the official help? In particular related to the closed question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is a really broad question that's generally what the help center is supposed to be about answering. It's not clear to me what parts of the help center's explanation of our policies are confusing you in general... could you clarify? Or are you really just trying to ask why that specific question was closed? \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Dec 17, 2015 at 22:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, would like to know the second point, and not to fall in it again. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2015 at 23:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added more details to the question \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2015 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


The basic formula you should use to see if a question is on or off-topic is primarily one of testing for rejection, not acceptance. This is because the StackExchange network is not a discussion forum, it's a network of sites dedicated to provided concrete and objective answers to questions (with some minor exceptions for some sites devoted to more "softer" domains).

So, after looking at a question and verifying that the question is at least in some form related to game development, you then check the question for criteria that would disqualify it from the site:

  • is it asking "what should I learn" or "how should I start making games" or "which technology should I use for this problem?"
  • is it an open-ended discussion that will primarily generate responses that are the thoughts or opinions of the answerers (as opposed to statements that can be backed up by facts)
  • and so on

That's why the help center presents it's information in the order it does: first it tells you what the subject domain is and then it tells you what disqualifies a question (even if it passes the first set of criteria).

Some amount of subjectivity is allowed, because as you noted in your linked question, game design is not an absolute science. But we're still a site on the StackExchange network and so we still expect questions to have some level of objectivity to them.

As for your specific questions, there are a few key points that render it off-topic in the form it is currently (or was when I closed it):

"I need a tip..." is generally a preface that suggests the question is too broad. It usually means the question is going to end up polling for ideas from the userbase, and poll-type questions (which are asking "what do you think" or otherwise forming a list of items of equal or indeterminate value) are off-topic.

You go on to use qualifications like "good balance," "mobile-device-friendliness," and "pain in the ass," to frame your request. All of those are highly subjective criteria. You further assert that "suggestions" are acceptable (suggestions are generally not objective answers).

All of this makes the question you posed more a subject for discussion and debate -- an interesting discussion and debate, I'm sure, but not a debate that fits well within StackExchange's guidelines (or indeed, the technical workings of its software).

Your question meets the basic initial criteria being on GDSE (it's about games), but it almost meets a lot of the later criteria that subsequently disqualify it. It would be better on a real discussion forum, such as GDNet.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like to agree with "Some amount of subjectivity is allowed" by what the content of the link suggests, and my last question in the site, but that's not the case for the last question I did (even when the relevant parts of the question were technical and not subjective). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 28, 2015 at 15:17

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