By adhering to a strict non-open-ended, non-chatty, question/answer format, it becomes pretty much impossible to help people to improve their game design. So instead of covering questions that actually distinguish GD from other SE sites, we end up being a somewhat specialized sub-site of SO, with mostly programming related questions. For example, I couldn't find a single question about a specific story or story element, a specific character, or a specific task or obstacle that a player faces in a game.
Here are some examples of questions that I would like to ask and answer:
- "How could I change this mechanic X to make it a better fit with my general theme, which is Y?"
- "What could be a twist for the hero's call in my particular hero's journey-like story that involves the notion of death? Please consider this plot summary when giving answers ..."
- "How could I make this enemy X more engaging in terms of interactivity? Here is a summary of the controls and X's abilities and AI so far: ..."
- "I would like to add some peripheral game mechanics to my game that depend on real world data or events. The game mechanics should involve player interaction and underline the concept of greed (or sin in general), which the game is based on. Here is a summary of the other parts of the game: ... Any ideas?"
Personally, I felt discouraged from asking these questions both by the FAQ and by not seeing any similar questions on the site. Just to be sure, I asked in the chat whether or not these questions would be welcome on GDSE, and the reaction was that they would most likely be closed, and that they should rather be discussed on gamedev.net or some other discussion-based platform.
Is this actually common sense among GDSE users? Would you vote for closing any of these example questions? Or do you think that we should be more lax when it comes to SE's question/answer format to see more game design questions like these?
My personal opinion is that all of these questions can be "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" (FAQ). True, there is not just one answer for any of these questions, so the pros and cons of any given answer might be debatable. Some questions are also open-ended in the sense that there is no limit to the number of suggestions that people can make. They can even have a tendency to be chatty in the sense that each suggestion can lead to further comments, edits in other answers, or even new answers. Despite these tendencies and slight deviations from a strict question/answer format, I would definitely opt for allowing these questions. They fit in SE's core template of questions, answers, and upvoting interesting questions and helpful answers. And, more importantly, it would make GDSE a much more useful website for game developers in general, and especially for game developers who are not also (or only) programmers.
Edit: Nicol Bolas and Tetrad pointed out that game design questions like the ones I mentioned need to provide sufficient context and specific guidelines as described in this community wiki entry on Writers.SE's meta site: https://writers.meta.stackexchange.com/a/167. I updated my example questions to indicate how context and guidelines could be provided in these cases. The answer is linked in Writers.SE's FAQ. I think we should have something similar for game design questions, including a link in our FAQ. Maybe we should open up a new answer and make it a community wiki in which we can specify our own criteria?