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If I look at the highest voted closed questions, I find myself wondering if gamedev.stackexchange is overly cautious of subjective questions, to the detriment of the site. I know they discourage me from asking some of the less objective design-oriented questions I think might be of value on this site. Perhaps that just means I'm wrong about what kind of questions might be of value here.

I'm not saying high vote-count makes a question good for the site, but it's a helpful filter to find some questions where one might dispute their being closed.

Good games to earn your wings is, while broad on the surface, something that a lot of experienced developers talk about when giving advice to those who want to learn to make games. The answers there, while broad, are an asset to this site.

How to prevent 'too awesome to use' syndrome is a good game-design question, and good answers have been given to it. It was closed for being primarily opinion-based, but I feel that most questions on game-design would have the same shortcomings, regardless of how well they're worded, and regardless of how valuable they'd be to a game development community. (Also, I think a lot of questions that do use the game-design tag are similarly subjective, but have thankfully dodged closure)

I understand that not every stack exchange community has the same standards of subjectivity (the incredibly useful worldbuilding.stackexchange couldn't possibly exist without far looser subjectivity standards than stackoverflow), but I just wonder: Does the existence of helpful and yet more subjective stack exchanges + the existence of helpful and yet closed game design questions on this exchange perhaps suggest we should open the doors to less objectively answerable questions?

Could we use some more "good subjective"? Or perhaps... do we already have more "good subjective" than I'm implying, and are the examples I've pointed out the exception? (in which case, can their "closed" status be reconsidered?)

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I find myself wondering if gamedev.stackexchange is overly cautious of subjective questions

There's a lot of subjectivity in game development, even within the technical domains like programming. Often times that subjectivity is either discussion-based (which has no place on an SE site) or highly-contextual. The latter could be appropriate here and could be a strong contender for "good subjective," but that context needs to be specified or the question falls back into the extremely broad, discussion-oriented kind of query that's a better fit for a forum.

to the detriment of the site

It's one think to not like that we close a lot of subjective questions. It's another to assert that doing so is damaging the site in some way. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm also not seeing any evidence for such a claim.

I'm not saying high vote-count makes a question good for the site, but it's a helpful filter to find some questions where one might dispute their being closed.

That's good, because vote count is definitely not a metric. Consider also that many of those questions are very, very old relative to the site's total lifespan. That both means they've had much more time to accumulate votes and also that they come from an era of the site when it's focused was being defined.

Further, the number of concrete times somebody has actually attempted to bring up any of those questions for re-opening? If you include your post as such an endorsement, I can probably count those occurrences on two hands instead of one. But generally it doesn't happen that often. There aren't any pending re-open votes on any of those questions and they are very rarely referenced in meta topics like this.

Good games to earn your wings is, while broad on the surface, something that a lot of experienced developers talk about when giving advice to those who want to learn to make games. The answers there, while broad, are an asset to this site.

You can make a pretty strong argument for most closed questions that the answers are an asset to the site. That's not what the site exists for, though. It is not trying to be all things to all people, not trying to be the one-stop resource for all game development questions. It's trying to be a very specific thing, focusing on specific and mostly-objective (ideally canonical) questions with similarly-described answers. There are plenty of other excellent sites for discussion and broader "theory crafting," for lack of a better term, within games, and we aren't trying to replace those. Indeed, we often try to direct people there when their needs are pretty obviously at odds with what this site provides.

How to prevent 'too awesome to use' syndrome is a good game-design question, and good answers have been given to it. It was closed for being primarily opinion-based...

I don't remember closing that, to be honest, but re-reading it now I probably still would. I think the issue with the question is, as I've noted before, a lack of appropriate contextual scope. It's presented as a question about a mechanical aspect of game design without any sort of scoping through a genre, through the specification of additional extra mechanics, and so on. I think that makes it too broad (so I concede that 'opinion-based' is not what I would use to close it today). But that was two years ago.

Does the existence of helpful and yet more subjective stack exchanges + the existence of helpful and yet closed game design questions on this exchange perhaps suggest we should open the doors to less objectively answerable questions?

Potentially. But how would you do that? What is your proposal for "opening the doors," exactly? I don't mean to be harsh, or to pick on you specifically, but but when you want to change a policy you should probably have some kind of idea how you want that change to look like in practice.

I look at these questions and I look for things that give the question a lot of context. Ones that put the question in a framework defined by the game being developed. Questions that provide enough of such context, I think they make "good subjective" questions. Questions that don't, I think they make "bad subjective" questions.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the very detailed response, Josh. \$\endgroup\$ – Jibb Smart May 2 '16 at 23:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Tried to newline...) I think the two most important points of clarification I need to make can be answered in pretty much the same way. When I say "to the detriment of the site", I mean that previously closed questions (especially high-voted ones, as they are easier for users getting to know the site to come across) set expectations for what's acceptable or not, and so users are discouraged from posting similarly subjective questions. The solution (and my proposal for "opening the doors") is re-opening them (or even just changing to protected, since they are so old). \$\endgroup\$ – Jibb Smart May 2 '16 at 23:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the need for the context of the game being developed, I wonder if that's actually a helpful indicator of good vs bad subjectivity. There'd be a lot of overlap between answers for the "too awesome to use" problem (a common trope in games) for different games and genres. And if the asker isn't actually asking for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the community (as is encouraged on SE), should the asker have the same question multiple times for different genres? (my own answer to that would be "yes, if it mostly changes the answers", which is debatable in this specific example) \$\endgroup\$ – Jibb Smart May 3 '16 at 0:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JibbSmart The help center and meta are generally better places for people to be going to find out what is and isn't on-topic. Open and close questions serve as signposts, yes, but it may not be clear from the questions themselves (in isolation) why they're on or off topic. Re-opening those questions would tacitly endorse them as on-topic, so I don't want to do that (unilaterally). You could make a case-by-case argument for each of the questions on meta though, and try to get community support for it (five re-open votes). \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 3 '16 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Protecting" a question doesn't do anything useful in this context, really. It prevents sub-10 reputation users from answering it. I do think that the answer to "should the asker have the same question multiple times for different genres" is "yes, if it mostly changes the answers" in the general sense and that having a game-specific context around an otherwise subjective question does tend to make it a better one for the site. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 3 '16 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ The help center is helpful, and all, but examples tend to illustrate better, and I wouldn't fault a user for looking for practical examples of what is and isn't accepted. Thanks for the answers. I'll consider whether I want to put the time into case-by-case arguments for the topics I do think should be re-opened (and considered on-topic). \$\endgroup\$ – Jibb Smart May 3 '16 at 16:24

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