Once again, a question on strategy for a trick-taking game has been closed by a set of contributors, none of whom have a single tag credit for a trick-taking game such as Bridge, Euchre, Hearts, or Spades.

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This is the second time in a week that a strategy question on Spades has been closed by 5 contributors with zero experience with the game, or of trick-taking games in general.

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This behaviour can only have the effect of driving trick-taking card games off of the site. Is that the stated intent of the community?

Should there be a community guidelines that contributors be cautious when voting to close a question on games of an unfamiliar type?

Does the community regard such behaviour as acceptable?

  • This question is couched in seemingly civil language, and perhaps you intended it to be fairly objective and impersonal, but realistically, it comes across as fairly aggressive, especially when you get all the way to the point of asking whether other users' behavior is ethical and whether "more severe sanctions" are necessary for those users. Let's try to keep meta discussion focused on the actual question closure issues. (If after everything is settled it turns out we need to enforce a policy, the details of that are up to moderators - so just flag.)
    – Cascabel
    Sep 3, 2018 at 2:28
  • @Cascabel: I have flagged in the past - problem continues. Sep 3, 2018 at 8:07
  • @Cascabel: I have removed the "sanctions" inquiry. However a community that cannot have a discussion on its own ethical standards, simply has none. It is only through discussion of expectations, and where the reasonable limit of the same is, that any agreement on expected behaviour can be reached. Ethics can only exist with consensus. Sep 3, 2018 at 8:44
  • We can absolutely talk about policy and expectations, but I don't think we need to call it ethics. Perhaps try "acceptable" rather than "ethical". And as for flagging - please note the "after everything is settled". Expecting us to have enforced changes in behavior in response to your flags is premature.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:50
  • @Cascabel: Wording change made. I inquired about the desirability of enforced changes, and have since removed that inquiry. I have not stated any expectations other than the development of community guidelines. My understanding of the meaning of guidelines is that it refers solely to recommendations for consideration, as in the online definition: "a general rule, principle, or piece of advice.". Sep 3, 2018 at 12:01
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    The title says "no experience" and the body says "no tag credit [on Board and Card Games]". Do you understand that these are two different things? I have zero tag experience in Spades and Hearts, but I have over 200 hours in Spades and Hearts online.
    – Rainbolt
    Sep 7, 2018 at 14:01
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    It's a hell of a statement to say someone has "no experience with the game or with trick-taking games in general" based solely on the lack of a tag badge. TBB you don't know jack-all about my experience, and I'm a user that you're explicitly calling out. It's your kind of post that causes decent contributors to leave, not the application of standards and procedures baked into the structure of the site itself.
    – Nij
    Sep 11, 2018 at 19:39
  • @Nij: I removed the call-out as suggested as that was an ad hominem, and inappropriate. Would you care to outline your experience in making judgements ontrick-taking games? Sep 11, 2018 at 20:02
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    The calling out remains, you haven't changed a single thing about the post. If my experience is going to be derided as insufficient by your standards anyway, I don't see the point. You've made it clear that nobody except the users you have selected in some arbitrary hidden process are good enough to be making any form of judgement on these questions, and damn the rest that disagree.
    – Nij
    Sep 12, 2018 at 3:11
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    @ForgetIwaseverhere I would strongly suggest taking a step back from this. We all appreciate your contributions and your substantial experience, but that doesn't mean the community has to let you be the sole arbiter on this topic, and it certainly doesn't give you the right to disparage others. (This is not an invitation to debate further on what exactly you have or haven't done. I'm simply letting you know that you don't want to continue down this path.)
    – Cascabel
    Sep 12, 2018 at 6:37
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    Hmm, I'm actually not sure if I was one of those close votes, but I've voted to close several in the last month. Below one of the answers here, I saw an accusation that such users (if not me in this instance, then surely it's me in another one) are voting to close in order to hunt badges. Man, that is childish. I don't care about points or badges, or whatever. Sep 19, 2018 at 2:40

3 Answers 3


There are two entirely separate things going on here: was it correct to close this question, and general policy about who should and shouldn't close questions.

It seems you've decided that the answer to the first is no, the question shouldn't have been closed, and have moved straight on to concluding that this means that other users are voting with insufficient experience. This is, to put it mildly, a bit of a leap.

I'm going to avoid trying to lay out arguments about whether or not the question should've been closed, and focus on the more drastic policy suggestions. If you want to debate the closure of this specific question, I'd suggest asking a separate question focusing strictly on that, without any of the pieces about users' behavior.

Experience requirements

Nope. There should be no tag reputation requirement for close votes.

You have no idea how much experience these users have with spades or other trick-taking games. You know that they haven't posted about them. But there's a pretty good chance they know something about the game, and they've been active enough on the site to learn in general about what makes questions too broad. So it is completely acceptable for them to vote to close on questions about spades.

More broadly, this site cannot be run as a collection of independent sites, one for each tag. Our policies need to carry across tags, and we certainly don't have enough active users to split ourselves up that way. We're a community.

New users

Yup, we should be careful about how we treat new users, but that doesn't mean declining to close questions. We need consistent standards. The best way to avoid driving off new users is to help explain why their question was closed, and even more importantly, what if anything can be done to get it reopened, or ask a new variation of the question that wouldn't be closed.


There are a few things that users with the close vote privilege should keep in mind (but flat-out avoiding tags they're not experts in is not one of them):

  • Edit the question or suggest improvements when possible. It's better for all of us if the question never has to be closed in the first place, or if it's at least quickly reopened.
  • When you do cast a vote, explain yourself, especially with new users, especially if no other users have yet. Our general rules are not always obvious, and the reasons for applying a particular close reason are often even less obvious.
  • Vote based on your best judgment. That may include thinking about whether you understand the question and the kinds of answers it is likely to receive. You've earned the close/reopen vote privilege, which means we generally trust you to make this judgment.
  • Be ready to learn. Follow the reopen queue, read clarifying edits and comments, read meta. If you realize a vote was wrong, great! You can reverse it or cast a reopen vote, and you can do better in the future.

These can be difficult things to do consistently, but we can all try to keep them in mind and see what we can do.


Even more nope. We can talk about what the best policies are for the site, but we're really not to the point of needing to do much more at this point. If a question appears to be incorrectly closed, we can reopen it (likely after meta discussion, especially if it's a borderline case), and that's that. Users with the close vote privilege should try to be aware of this sort of thing, and learn from the example. But mistakes happen; they don't need to be deemed unethical or punished. The best way to improve is to let people learn.

The only time when we should be concerned about users' behavior is when they've had the opportunity to learn but continue to knowingly go against site policy. If you truly think you've seen this, don't call people out on meta, just flag an example, explain in the flag reason, and let moderators handle it. (But that's not what's going on here - please don't go flag that question.)


Because you don't need to have experience with a tag in order to perform moderator type actions on it. And in those cases the questions where reopened.

You need to remember, even if you don't like it, that having a score or certain score in a question tag or area of tags is not required for someone to vote or take action on it.

I would also point out that calling out someone by name on meta is a lot more frowned upon then voting to close a question where you don't have any answers on the related tag. You could have made your point just as well without posting a screen shot of the names of the close voters or their tag list.

I will also point out that just because a user doesn't have any trick taking answers on this site doesn't mean they don't have experience in trick taking games in general. Most of the questions around trick taking games seem to be focused on bridge and there are not a lot of questions on other games such as spades. Which would mean even if someone played them but not bridge they would not have much of an opportunity to answer questions on trick taking games.

306 questions
15 questions
12 questions
16 questions

  • @ForgetIwaseverhere The questions you are complaining about where reopened which means the community didn't agree with the closure. Also with the size of this site it is still trivial to track down the users in questions based on the tag scores that are posted and the question you linked. You really should remove all of that from your question as you can make the same point without that information and just the basic idea of a lack of answers on the questions. I don't think anyone is going to question your credibility if you where to remove the pictures from your question.
    – Joe W
    Sep 2, 2018 at 15:31
  • I have removed the Tag details as suggested. Two of the users are long-time repeat offenders of the practice, so I likely allowed my emotions to interfere with better judgement. I also suspect that the practice may be motivated by "*badge hunting", where the Stack Exchange rules actually encourage misbehaviour in this regard. Sep 2, 2018 at 15:35
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    re "The questions .... were reopened ....". So if the community regularly disagrees with the closing of these questions, perhaps the users who insist on quickly closing these questions are blatantly disregarding community standards? Shouldn't it be possible to discourage these users from their practice of quickly closing questions on games they dislike? Sep 2, 2018 at 15:44
  • @ForgetIwaseverhere You should stop that line of thought right away. Voting to close questions on this site has nothing to do with liking or disliking the game in question but if the person thinks that the question doesn't fit the standard of the site. If people are actually voting to close questions because they dislike the question that is an entirely different (and almost impossible to prove) then voting to close because they think the question has issues.
    – Joe W
    Sep 2, 2018 at 15:50
  • More than three years seeing the same small set of names, over and over and over, on successful Close votes for question on trick-taking games. Sure I can usually get the question re-opened, but often the users asking the question have long left the site by then. That's why I am finally asking the question here. You have asked me to redact the names and I have. But the coincidence is too striking in my mind to be omitted. Sep 2, 2018 at 15:56
  • @ForgetIwaseverhere You are making this way to personal if you had an issue you could have brought it up in chat or on this site long ago without having to name names and let the frustration build up over time. But it seems you are just jumping to conclusions about the motives of the people in question because you don't like what they are doing.
    – Joe W
    Sep 2, 2018 at 15:57
  • You assume I'm wrong. What if I'm correct? You have asked me to remove all evidence supporting my suspicion from the question and I have. Do you have any actual evidence that I am mistaken? Sep 2, 2018 at 16:00
  • Okay, you believe there is a better way to handle this. I am all ears. I thought a Meta question might be more discreet than an open Chat. If there is a better wya, please explain your thoughts. Sep 2, 2018 at 16:02
  • @ForgetIwaseverhere I meta question is fine, but you didn't have to name the people in question or leave comments stating that people are closing the questions because they dislike the game. As for your statement of evidence this question shouldn't need that as it is more of a question on should close votes require a person to have a answers in that tag or certain other ones.
    – Joe W
    Sep 2, 2018 at 16:06
  • @ForgetIwaseverhere And my overall point was that you let your frustration build up instead of asking about this earlier and getting to a solution faster.
    – Joe W
    Sep 2, 2018 at 16:07
  • Experience can never be rushed - and the question rate is not high for these games. I also wished to ensure it wasn't just a temporary fad or phenomenon. The names are redacted, and if some of our comments were deleted there would be little evidence that they were ever there. Sep 2, 2018 at 16:14
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Sep 2, 2018 at 16:24

Should there be a community guidelines that contributors be cautious when voting to close a question on games of an unfamiliar type?

I do believe that sometimes not being an expert or knowledgeable on a specific topic/CG may give way to misinterpretation of the post in question.

Perhaps it's also not so tidy and with good format, or perhaps it's not the most understandable (both scenarios solved by taking an edit and asking for clarification), and that may cause not-so-knowledgeable users to think the post is unclear, or otherwise off-topic, and Vote, when a knowledgeable one could have seen the "obvious" issue in an instant.

It would help if one thinks twice before Voting on posts that are on Card Games that are not our expertise, or that we know but not so much. I think it's better to leave the post be a while, to give chance for knowledgeable users to answer or bring some light to the situation, and refrain from instant Voting.

Perhaps an example of a negative situation not doing this happened on this post: Why can't I activate Rank-Up-Magic Admiration Of Thousands on duelingnexus.com?

It was a YGO post, but not-so-knowledgeable users on that subject failed to see the "obvious" issue, and also didn't take time to help this New user edit their post to better shape. After some edit I took, the post is now much more understandable, and is now more clear that it's answerable.

Furthermore, here is a link to a Meta post on The Workplace of a similar situation, where users tend to swiftly cast votes when the post could be answerable (and even understood properly) by someone that knows about the subject... seems an analogous situation to the one on this site: Closing questions for lack of familiarity of industry/culture/nature of work

  • I agree in principle with most of this, but I think that the waiting to vote part is problematic. If you know enough to vote, just vote. And: don't let one expert on these games pressure you into thinking your experience is insufficient. Yes, it's possible to not understand a question well enough to vote, but folks should focus on using good judgment about whether or not they understand the given question, not on whether they're an expert.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 16, 2018 at 16:15
  • By the way, your first example does demonstrate that we don't all always get it right, but it shows someone who just didn't know about site policy (thought video game versions of board games were off-topic), not anything to do with the fact that someone wasn't an expert at a particular game.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 16, 2018 at 16:17

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