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I think we're getting too many "Game Like ..." questions, like this and that.

These seem to be very subjective with so few details that thousands of games could be listed. You also could make thousands of these types of questions by just subbing another game name in,

"Games of same depth as CandyLand?"

I see this a issue of Rating games, which is already done at BoardGameGeek, and doesn't fit well on this site. What we really are parallel to is the game-specific forums at BGG, though with a much better interface and format.

EDIT: Discussion (as this post is) doesn't really work well on these sites. For example, you can't answer an answer except with little comments, and there's no threading. Forum sites are designed fine for subjective questions, but this site with all answers related to the question, is designed much better for specific-answer types, like rule Q&A and strategy questions. You can see how ungainly it was for me to put all this in the comments to CrazyJugglerDrummer's answer, and how even editing this into my question makes a asynchronous discussion look synchronous, but of course this now makes the comments and some of the answers look out-of-place(time).

What does the community think about this and the effect on our Q&A site?

8

Personally, I'm not a fan of any such questions.

I feel that there is no one objective answer to them and that makes such questions unsuitable for a Q&A site.

This site cannot compete straight up with BGG (and shouldn't). This isn't a forum, and extensive back and forth discussions aren't handled well, by design. If folks want to talk about subjective stuff we should just direct them to BGG.

What we do better, is have peer reviewed answers to questions.

I think our traffic bears out what I've said here. This year, our general traffic is even, or perhaps a bit down. However visits by new people is continually climbing. We need to retain these folks!

What are folks coming here for? (Based on search query terms)

  • Game Strategy
  • Dominion (Agricola is 2nd)
  • Where to play board games online

As you might guess, various Dominion strategy queries are the bee's knees. :)

Hard to say definitely but the top query that I think is recommendation based is about #40 this year - "quick set up board games for adults"

3

I believe recommendation questions were covered, primarily on Gaming.

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/the-pee-wee-herman-rule/

If we get an excellent user who asks a good, thoughtful ["game like..."] question and sticks around in our community to participate, then it’s worth allowing it in those rare cases as a high quality “getting to know you” fun question.

I would say these should be generally discouraged -- but if you see an exceptionally high quality one, indicative of a user that might ultimately be an asset to your community, it can sometimes be allowed in those circumstances.

  • Wasn't that intended to apply to "help me remember this game" questions as opposed to "what is another game like this game" questions? On gaming if you asked something like this question it would be closed in a flash. – Sadly Not Apr 11 '11 at 14:48
  • If you're referring to gaming's policy alone then the policy would be to close these questions. Here are examples of these questions on gaming: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/19145/…, gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/12154/…, gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/11223/…. – Sadly Not Apr 11 '11 at 14:51
  • @sadly I am also referring to the "help me remember this old game" questions, which I personally hate and downvote on sight, but are still "allowed" on gaming. – Jeff Atwood Apr 11 '11 at 18:36
  • Gaming in general hates list-type questions, but strangely allows "Help me remember this game" questions, despite those types of questions being generally unhelpful to anyone but the asker. – Powerlord Apr 12 '11 at 19:50
1

I completely agree that the questions are very subjective, and I suppose they do not follow the guidelines of objective Q&A. But this site isn't really making itself very attractive for the casual viewer. I guess what it boils down to is that I don't really think there's a market for a site that does absolute nothing but answer direct questions about board games.

This site is choosing to be the place for objective questions about rules and perhaps some game mechanics and other strictly policed topics. What you are allowed to discuss is very limited. If you want to ask a question that's not allowed here, meaning virtually anything subjective where you just want to talk to some fellow people who love board games and get there opinions on game related stuff, you might as well leave straightaway. This site is not about fun. This site is not about talking with your fellow gamers casually. This site is about questions, and answers. That will be your only interaction with the community.

Board Game Geek is different because its just....fun. You can do everything that's offered on this site, like talk about rules and strategy, but you can also just relax with your fellow gamers. You can rate games, talk about your sessions, ask the advice of tons of other gamers about what games you might like, and rate games as to how much you've enjoyed them to help others when they're looking to try something new. Heck you can even get into some polite arguments about what games are better than others; it's all in the interest of fun.

You may call all the other stuff 'noise' that gets in the way of the 'true objective questions'. But I don't think anyone else does. You can get whatever experience out of the site that you want. Its just a one-stop-shop for everything you could want to talk about regarding board games, and I still don't see what's to keep people coming here for the tiny topics the sites do overlap in. Yes this site is not at all designed to be like that or have any of those features and they would alter the site greatly if it did, but I don't think we're going to convince people "ask your rule and strategy questions here! (even though that's all we really offer and if you want anything besides that you have to go to other sites that also offer Q&A just like ours. But ask those questions here anyway!)"

Don't get me wrong, I love this site to death, and if the community wants me to shut up about this topic I will duct tape my mouth shut, never speak of it again, and continue to answer questions and edit tag wikis gleefully. But I'm honestly worried that other people aren't going to want to join in our little slice of paradise here because we offer so little.

Can anyone point out some flaws in my logic? Can this site really make it as a Q&A only deal? Is having questions with no one objective answer really such a bad thing that we need to purge every example we see no matter what effects it may have? I still don't understand why these subjective questions are so bad in the first place. They only add additional interesting content, variety, and address issues that countless board gamers want to talk about just as much as rules and strategies...

  • 5
    The problem that you're missing (the flaw) is that the user interface for this site SUCKS for discussion. It's completely designed for objective Q&A. The subjective stuff just doesn't work well with the interface and just clogs up the whole site. I go to BoardGameGeek all the time to look up rule questions, and get completely frustrated at their forums because they're NOT designed for Q&A, they're designed for discussion. I look forward to this site taking over the Q&A aspect so that I don't have to spend hours searching BGG for a rules answer. – Lance Roberts Mar 30 '11 at 18:45
  • I'm not sure if this site can attract enough attention from existing sites like BGG to get the Q&A audience, but the world sure needs a site that will. I also think this site will work ok for specific strategy questions, even though those get looser than Q&A questions. – Lance Roberts Mar 30 '11 at 18:48
  • You might be right that a lot of people who just want a forum will be turned off by the type of site we are, but there already is a one-stop-shop called BGG, and trying to compete on that level would be quite ineffective. – Lance Roberts Mar 30 '11 at 18:49
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    Meta-Comment: Notice how many comments I had to leave to make the points I wanted, it's really a sucky interface for a discussion. – Lance Roberts Mar 30 '11 at 18:50
  • To be honest, I don't think the traffic looks good enough that this site is going to make it, but I hope it will. – Lance Roberts Mar 30 '11 at 18:54
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    Eh, @Lance... You could really improve your question by taking some of the points you're making here in comments and putting them front and center. – Shog9 Mar 30 '11 at 19:13
  • @Shog9, valid point. – Lance Roberts Mar 30 '11 at 19:16
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    @Crazy, maybe we should start a new site called "Boardgame Family Trees"... tagging games with all their mechanical and thematic features, strategic depth, time to play, etc etc... so if you want to find a game that features rats, takes 6 players and takes less than an hour to play, it's one click away! That would actually be a jolly fun site. – thesunneversets Apr 1 '11 at 22:47
1

"Game Like" questions can be objective if written properly. "Game Like" answers can be objective if answered properly.

I believe some criteria can be applied to these questions to help keep things objective. The ultimate goal is to have a good question with a definitive answer. And some of these questions do have definitive answers. What would be the worst case is for a "Game Like" question to be down-voted or deleted without the merits of the question being considered at all, just because it contains a known pattern. Especially with this site in beta.

Good:

  • If the question asks for a comparison of game mechanics, then it is a very good question. Most mechanics can be analyzed and compared objectively with other games.

  • If the list of correct answers is too long, then the question should be written to be more specific or broken into multiple questions. The correct answer may even be that the list is too long with a reason of why. This would give gamers new to a game some insight as to a game's classification or a specific mechanics popularity among games in general. "Here are a few popular ones, but there are too many to list." can be a very useful answer in some cases.

  • If the question asks for an answer that can differ between people, it may still be a good question, and the correct answer may be a list of things that should be considered. Questions like game length could fit this category. Game length can be analyzed and calculated for different groups. It may have a large deviation, but it is still a number.

Bad:

  • If the question mentions only a game, but doesn't focus on a mechanic, then it should probably go. Unless the game is so unique that all the mechanics can be considered.

  • If the question is asking for a comparison of a subjective topic, like "fun" or "best", then it is really too broad for a definitive answer and should be closed as such. Fun can't really be

  • If the question is asking for a recommendation of a new game to players of a different game, it should be removed because that is subjective. (Only Netflix can answer that. ;) )

I think the best outcome here is to make these well written questions. The answers may be difficult to find and there may need to be a fair amount of discussion before a correct answer is found, but as long as an answer bubbles up at the end, it was a good question.

These questions are also moving targets, as new games are developed. In which case the selected answer should be added to. It's the same with many programming questions too. Languages are always evolving to give you a better way to do a task and deprecating things.

  • +1 for a good post. I think that for any specifics there would still be too many games to be useful. It would take a ton of specification to narrow it down to anything useful. – Lance Roberts May 20 '11 at 19:42

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