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Why was this question - my first on this site but far from my first on SE; I certainly don't see how it is overly broad - closed, just when it had begun accruing useful responses? A question requiring broad rather than deep knowledge does not necessarily fail to "focus on one problem only".

What board and card games have full-time professional players?

How ought it to be improved? The point is that I cannot ask a series of questions like, 'Are there any full-time players of Scrabble?', because if I knew which boardgames to ask that question about then in most cases I would already have the answer.

The only logic provided for what I presume was one of the closure votes seems absurd (if one wants to claim there exist 'many games' with full-time professionals that few have ever heard of - when even the most popular games, short of chess/Go/poker, struggle to sustain full-time professionals - the burden of proof for such an odd claim is clearly upon them). No logic whatsoever for the other votes. So nothing to go on to improve the question really.

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When a question asks for a list of things that match some criteria, a proper answer is one that provides a list of things matching that criteria, and the best answer is the one that leaves nothing out of the list, and also doesn't include anything incorrectly.

The fundamental problem with questions like this one, that ask "What board and card games [meet some criteria]?" is that the universe we are selecting from, "board and card games", is unbounded and not completely well defined. There is no canonical list of every board and card game ever, and there is sure to be debate about whether some of the edge cases belong on the list at all. The breadth of that universe makes it very difficult both for a potential answerer to examine all of the possibilities, and for anyone evaluating the answer to verify its completeness. That is why we consider questions of this type "too broad".

One common failure mode of this kind of question, which happened on your question too, is that answers don't even attempt to provide a complete list; instead, they provide a single item from that list. These are not really answers, just components of answers: the answer to your question is not "Bridge" or "Magic: the Gathering", it is a list that contains "Bridge" and "Magic: the Gathering" and presumably some number of other games. If a question is looking for answers like that, the "needs more focus" reason applies even more clearly: the corresponding help center entry describes that close reason like this:

if your question has many valid answers (but no way to determine which - if any - are correct), then it probably needs to be more focused to be successful in our format.

If "Bridge" and "Magic: the Gathering" are both valid answers but neither one is more correct than the other, then the question doesn't fit here.

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  • Thanks for going into it. However, the success of this question could well be simply limited by the expertise of those who have seen it so far, which is a limited pool of members on the site. (In other words, I am suggesting that there may be members capable of answering it fully, who will not do so because it is now closed.) Therefore, the fact that two answers so far mentioned just a couple of games does not mean an answer with a full list is impossible (or even 'extremely difficult') - it is a question of needing somewhat broad experience around ludology May 9, 2021 at 21:02
  • The point is 'the universe we are selecting from' in this case is not really all board & card games, only the world's most popular - so is far from unbounded. If one were to ask, 'what games have more than 50 million active players', this question would be acknowledged as pertaining to a bounded list of games (very much in public domain knowledge), though it may have other problems like 'active players' being hard to define. My question is almost like saying 'Ordering the world's games by popularity, where is the cut-off below which games have no full-time professionals?' May 9, 2021 at 21:05
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    @MobeusZoom How many users giving a similar answer is going to be needed before you can accept it?
    – Joe W
    May 9, 2021 at 21:17
  • @JoeW your idea that if a large number of people agree with you, that makes you correct, is mistaken and very deeply so. A fallacious answer is fallacious no matter how many people advance it. I have pointed out the problem with this reasoning twice now and no-one has addressed my point (that the universe of relevant games is not unbounded because only the most popular need be considered). What is "going to be needed" is a response concerning this argument, not a political weighing of support. May 9, 2021 at 21:23
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    @MobeusZoom To be fair you appear to have a single person agreeing with you.
    – Joe W
    May 9, 2021 at 21:30
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    @MobeusZoom I disagree that we would or should accept "what games have more than 50 million active players?" and even if we did, your suggestion about looking for a popularity cutoff is different, because it is examining the a priori unbounded set of "games more popular than some unknown cutoff to be determined in the answer".
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    May 9, 2021 at 21:46
  • Ok thanks for the actual discussion. So (1) what's wrong with the question "what games have more than 50 million active players?" - to me it seems to be very objectively and clearly defined (except, as I pointed out, the vagueness of 'active')? You gloss over this. (2) We do not have to consider the unbounded set a priori, only games that we know of as the world's most popular (since it is possible to go in rank order: does rank #1 have full-time pros? 'Yes' Does rank #2? 'Yes' ... Does rank #10? 'No'). May 9, 2021 at 21:52
  • I feel we're getting somewhere so let's consider: would it be feasible for a member on this site to be able to identify the world's N most popular games for small N (say, N=10)? (or come close to doing so, i.e. identify say 70%+ of that set). If the answer is yes for some N greater than the number of games with full-time pros, then the universe of games under consideration by that person in answering my question is not unbounded. May 9, 2021 at 21:56
  • The closure votes may well have arisen from people who felt they could not identify most of that set of N most popular games, and (probably erroneously) assumed that no-one else could either. Such people ought to have simply steered clear of the question, though, having less research/knowledge on this subject than I have myself and indicated in the OP (e.g., if one reads 'Xiangqi' and thinks 'hmm that didn't occur to me as one of the most popular games in the world; how could anyone possibly know all of these?' they are not an intended answerer of my question). May 9, 2021 at 22:02
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    The question about games with many active players is fundamentally the same kind of question my answer talks about: taking the universe of all games and selecting a subset based on a criteria, and it's problematic for the reasons I already described. As for your popularity cutoff proposal, you don't know ahead of time how many games you have to check to find the cutoff. That's what "unbounded" means. And the way you worded that variation corresponds not to finding the first "No" in that sequence, but finding the last "Yes", which can only be validated by checking every less popular game.
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    May 9, 2021 at 22:05
  • Aha so here's the point: you assume one has to traverse every game to assign each with a 'Yes' or 'No'. That's not the case: the first n will answer 'Yes' and the remainder 'No'. That is the point David Siegel and I have been trying to make. You only need to find the first "No" and you can curtail your search. May 9, 2021 at 22:10
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    Not to mention that answers would change over time as games grow or shrink in popularity and it would be hard to have a final answer.
    – Joe W
    May 9, 2021 at 22:12
  • @JoeW I doubt that (but you may produce a counterexample, e.g. a game which has suddenly produced full-time professionals in the last year but not before that): unlike video games, the most popular board & card games in the world do not show such volatility. How long have chess, go, poker, Shogi, Xiangqi been at the top of the list? (4 of the 5 have sustained full-time pros for 150+ years) May 9, 2021 at 22:16
  • I keep coming back to the following point as the crux of the resistance: whether it is straightforward to order the world's games by popularity and pinpoint the top N, defining popularity as amount of patronage (which can be determined by the size and activity of the community playing it). I suspect there is a clear answer for say the top 15 (just as I pointed out 5 members of probably the top 5-6) and there should be ludologists who know it. As for Joe's concern about volatility, it's a priori valid but empirically not valid here as the produced examples are highly stable May 9, 2021 at 22:29
  • @MobeusZoom I wasn't referring to your question about professional players but your example question about popularity. Say for example the MTG is in the list of most popular games but they make a sudden announcement that they are going to stop all production and sanctioned play and release a new game. What would happen to the popularity of MTG and the new game? It could invalidate all existing answers on the question as they are really only valid for a point in time.
    – Joe W
    May 9, 2021 at 22:30
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I voted to close it because it is a never ending list. There is an endless amount of possibilities that can be considered having professional players and deciding what game has one and doesn't can get very tricky especially when you consider people who review/stream/play games in general for a living.

This question is likely to just attract answers that add a single game to the ongoing list and the fact that it already received two answers that did just that before it was closed. To me this gives an indication that it will just receive a lot of similar answers and never get a proper answer that contains it all.

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    This is just blatantly wrong, and you do not seem to address my argument - also now fronted by David Seigel - for why this reasoning is obviously wrong. It is NOT a "never-ending list". Very few games will have full-time professionals. The objective of the question is to determine the few that do. As for your point about review/stream/play, it's equally moot because I clearly defined full-time professionals to be those who make the majority of their income from competitive play and teaching. May 9, 2021 at 19:17
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    @MobeusZoom I wasn't the only one to think it was off topic 4 others also voted to close and there is also another answer on this question supporting what I said so there are at least 5 others who support that it was off topic.
    – Joe W
    May 9, 2021 at 19:22
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    ultimately SE is meant to be an objective space: opinion-based closure is no more acceptable than opinion-based questions or answers. It is likely that the other voters followed your lead, but whether or not they did, no reasoning was provided from anyone but you and yours is fallacious. The point is a closure must have a defensible justification, not 'well, a few other people agreed'. This leaves a question of whether my post was closed mainly because of my new contributor badge, and because it was perceived as unanswerable by you even if it is not generally so. May 9, 2021 at 19:33
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    @MobeusZoom No need to get upset at the messenger. You asked a question and I explained why I cast my close vote and as I have already pointed out I was not the only one who believed that it should be closed. This site doesn't have an issue with people voting to close questions just because someone else has already voted to do it.
    – Joe W
    May 9, 2021 at 19:40
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List questions are frowned upon in most SE sites.

Similarly most sites have meta discussions as to whether they should be permitted. This site has one...
At what point does a question become a list, and are lists really that bad?

There is little you could do to make it on-topic.

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    There is nothing on that thread which suggests this is a 'list question' as defined there. In particular, the closest it comes is If the answer a question needs is a list, then the list should fit in one answer. - my question meets this criterion. May 9, 2021 at 19:23
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I think this is likely to be a sharply limited list, and should not be closed. Only a few games will have professional players as defined in the question, and fewer can be documented as having such players. I have voted to reopen this question, and i urge those who voted to close to retract their votes or vote to reopen.

I also find the rollback of the edits to be improper, and I will flag that for moderator attention. Apparently there is policy on this, and while I disagree with it, The rollback was not out of line by current policy.

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    A question is not supposed to be updated to include answers that are given which is why it was rolled back.
    – Joe W
    May 9, 2021 at 19:05
  • @Joe I can't find any policy post on this meta saying anything of the sort, please cite a source for this assertion. May 9, 2021 at 19:26
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    The basic principle here is that questions belong in the question section and answers belong in the answer section. And there are meta posts about this if you know where to look. This network meta post, for example, says "Editing an answer directly into the body of the question is never acceptable."
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    May 9, 2021 at 19:40
  • @murgatroid99 though I didn't have strong feelings about the rollback, it seems like a borderline case because that part of the answer only confirmed a small part of the question which sought that particular confirmation. What are your thoughts on the broader issue this thread brings up? Perhaps the fact an active contributor (David Siegel) already vocally agrees with me, and that those who voted to close self-professedly do not have clear justification for doing so, warrants a weigh-in from a diamond moderator... May 9, 2021 at 20:04
  • @Mobeus Zoom other close voters may not have posted defending their votes, but they are not required to, and one has posted to this meta discussion besides Joe. The other close voters have not "self-professed" the lack of a "clear justification". They haven't said what their justification might be. They may not even have seen this meta thread yet, or may not have chosen to comment. May 9, 2021 at 20:16
  • @DavidSiegel true: only one has provided any sort of justification, but when no clear guidance precluding this thread was discovered, he fell back to an appeal to popularity. In my opinion closure should have to have a clear justification, not 'guilty until proven innocent', and if it does then that justification should be provided actively. May 9, 2021 at 20:22
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    @MobeusZoom Your question is in the reopen queue and if there are others who agree that it should be reopened that will happen. Continuing to complain about it being closed because you don't agree with the close reason will not change that.
    – Joe W
    May 9, 2021 at 20:24
  • @Mobeus Zoom That might be a better way to run things, but it would not, I suspect, work well on busy parts of SE. Current policy is those with enough rep may vote to close for any reasons.. If this is challenged and a convincing justification is not provided, there may be a reopen vote. But it cannot be presumed that voters who do not post separate justifications do not have them, they may simply agree with one posted, in this case the one by Joe, and not every user is on a site every day, much less every hour, so it is not safe to assume that anyone has yet actively declined to respond. May 9, 2021 at 20:32

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