I see that we closed another 'how do I get started' question, as the FAQ forbids them. Fair enough. But in my opinion it's a valid question, and only judged invalid because most of us have moved past that point and no longer see much value in answering it. This means that absolute novices are locked out of GDSE until they've learned enough to have better questions to ask - but they may never reach that point without some help at the start. Closing or voting down bad questions may keep the quality of the site high, but doesn't help to grow the community.

Stack Overflow is not completely averse to helping people get started, eg.:

Admittedly many similar questions are closed, but I think that questions of this nature that are asked in such a way that the answers are useful and generalisable are themselves of value.

I don't think we should allow this sort of question over and over again, as it obviously doesn't contribute much, but we should have somewhere authoritative to direct people when we close their question. We should probably have a community wiki question like, "What are some good resources for getting started in game development?". There would be many answers, some good, some less good, but the voting should bubble the best suggestions to the top, making it a good resource for beginners to consult.


1 Answer 1


We've somewhat already discussed this.

A small idea to prevent new users from posting subjective questions

We kind of already do have questions we can point beginners to, they're just closed.

Must read game development books

Good game design books?

Free ebooks about game development

What are good games to "earn your wings" with?

This somewhat mirrors some of SO's popular threads (but not all of them), for example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1711/what-is-the-single-most-influential-book-every-programmer-should-read

Somewhat relevant discussion on other sites' meta, although there doesn't seem to be a consensus: Where do books & learning sources questions belong?

The problem is, unless that list is actively curated and updated then the links are going to stagnate.

A relevant discussion in the chat room: http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/3027959#3027959

Personally I'm of the opinion that we should close "how do I get started" questions, but put a link in there to the gpwiki how do I get started page. And reinforce that SE's Q&A format is better for specific, answerable problems

  • \$\begingroup\$ Personally I don't think the gpwiki page is a good resource, which is why I'd prefer us to have a selection of possible starting points that we can vote on. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kylotan
    May 15, 2012 at 17:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ As for, "unless that list is actively curated and updated then the links are going to stagnate", that is true of any answer that cites references and external resources. The alternative is to say, "Links will break, but opinions are worthless, so let's pretend the question doesn't exist". I appreciate people want to keep SE full of good questions and answers, but I think that we have to be wary of closing the site to novices by saying that this community of experienced people is basically not allowed to help them because they don't know enough yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kylotan
    May 15, 2012 at 17:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Two points: 1) if you don't think gpwiki is a good resource, there's nothing preventing you (or anybody else) from improving on it (it is a wiki after all) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    May 15, 2012 at 19:02
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ 2) I'd rather steer the site towards being useful for experts and not novices, because experts are going to be the ones that are generating traffic from other experts, providing answers to questions, and in general adding the most value to the site. All of the off topic questions in the FAQ are geared towards keeping the site interesting for the people who have the most to give. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    May 15, 2012 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/11/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    May 15, 2012 at 19:05
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ The one thing that all experts have in common is that they were novices once, so every novice we turn away is a potential future expert who will give nothing to the site. One answer that caters to beginners is hardly going to dilute the quality of it for experts, and to be fair most of the questions here are of little interest to real experts anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kylotan
    May 15, 2012 at 19:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't agree with point 2 above, and heartily agree with Kylotan's comment. Some experts are also teachers, and in fact these so called "off topic" questions are in fact quite interesting, and exactly the thing that some people can answer, and answer well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    May 16, 2012 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that I'm not against novices using the site. I'm firmly in the "no question is too simple" camp. The point that I'm making is that subjective questions ("how do I get started") are bad questions and should be removed. Bad questions drive away experts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    May 16, 2012 at 22:46
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Tetrad still sounds quite snobish as soon as you say anything toward the line of "usable to A, but not B" besides anyone who claims themselves "expert" is probably just inflating their ego. I like the idea of maybe putting something in GDSE's FAQ about please read through this link before posting. A person can be an expert of a subset of the whole, but not an expert of all, and everybody starts somewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – gardian06
    May 16, 2012 at 23:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not a matter of people being novices. It's a matter of bad questions driving away people who can answer. Read the other blog I posted, and read this one as well. blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/06/optimizing-for-pearls-not-sand StackExchange works best for questions that can be answered objectively and stand the test of time. "How do I get started" is going to be subjective, anecdotal at best. It'll be the kind of question that garners a lot of low-scoring answers that are all equally valid. They aren't interesting or useful, and dimish the value of the site as a whole. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    May 17, 2012 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to continue to close "how do I get started" questions as not constructive. People who ask that should really be reading articles, blogs, books, and podcasts (like this one) to get to where they need to be for themselves. SE isn't designed to be all things for all people. At its core it's about expert answers to questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    May 17, 2012 at 1:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the FAQ is pretty clear and the main problem with bad questions is people not reading it. Or not understand what 'open question' and 'objective answer' means. I'm not an 'expert' myself, but I find the expert/novice stuff a moot point. "If the anwer is a book, don't ask" sounds pretty straightforward to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Darkwings
    Jun 4, 2012 at 0:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe having a section on "getting started" in the faq might alleviate the issue. Mostly, beginners are lacking an overview over the field, which leads to questions without focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – Exilyth
    Jun 10, 2012 at 1:00

You must log in to answer this question.

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