TL; DR: The culture from stackoverflow.com is mostly useful, but not all parts are a perfect fit for BSG.SE, let's only keep the good parts.

While I love that BSG.SE doesn't devolve into flamewars when people ask newbie-like questions and we can avoid having duplicate conversations, the "close thread to get better question and avoid subjective debate" stuff is out of hand. This is not a site where there is or should be a definitive technical answer to every question. Black and white rules questions belong here, certainly, but so do a host of other questions. "Why do/don't you like Race for the Galaxy" should be a fine question to ask. It is certainly subjective, but that doesn't mean it isn't useful and informative. I love reading both positive and negative board game reviews on BGG, especially when they give the profile of the boardgamer and the specific features or design decisions of a game that are liked or hated.

As long as we are respectful of each other, we should encourage subjective discussion. In not doing so, we are simply throwing away an opportunity to grow the community in a fun and spirited way.

I administer a board game blog devoted to just Dominion, with just 3 top level articles per week, and it gets substantially more traffic than this site (according to the merge or close thread from Jeff Atwood), and a big factor in the traffic is the encouragement of spirited, subjective and opinionated debate among relative experts. Certainly sometimes I'd like the ad hominem attacks there to not happen, but given the choice of the sterile "close anything very open ended and non-definitive" and the aggresive anything goes but let's at least try to keep it civil and somewhat on-topic style at the DS.com blog, I vastly prefer the latter.

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Did you read Good Subjective, Bad Subjective?


Those are the parameters to work within. It is possible to have subjective questions so long as they meet enough of the six criteria.

But, ultimately, it might be unfair to compare apples (a blog) and oranges (a Q&A system). If there's enough author interest, we could have a top level blog at, say, blog.boardgames.se.com where these truly discussiony, chatty topics could be hashed out in blog comments -- and the specific questions related to the blog entries could be directed here.

It has been done, and it is something we support; for example see http://blog.superuser.com

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  • I've had my questions closed when they met (IMO) every criteria set forth in Good Subjective Bad Subjective. The problem is that people interpret subjectivity quite subjectively. The users of this site who immediately vote to close anything which doesn't have an obvious black or white answer, as being against the technical manifesto of the site, even when the questions are well-intentioned, good and interesting, drive me up the wall. – thesunneversets Apr 1 '11 at 22:50
  • @thesun can you provide examples? – Jeff Atwood Apr 1 '11 at 23:00
  • @Jeff: Actually, I haven't seen anything in ages that annoyed me... but that's mainly because I've been busy doing other things and the site's been really quiet. When I first arrived I didn't fully "get" the Stack Exchange philosophy and gleefully posted subjective-ish questions which proved briefly popular but were shot down in flames (see meta.boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/281/…). Since then I've seen a couple of new users falling into the same trap and getting pretty mad. I stuck around, but did they? – thesunneversets Apr 1 '11 at 23:12
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    I do feel like people arrive on the site, are delighted by it, then post what they think is "a great question" (and on another site, it probably would be)... and then people are rude to them and their question gets closed down. In some cases I suspect they leave and never come back. It would be nice to guide people towards the right way to use a Stack site without being so high-handed; I think the virtues of the Stack way are non-obvious, certainly at first, and we should recognize that. (Of course, eventually I grew to really like how things are done here!) – thesunneversets Apr 1 '11 at 23:27
  • This guy is an example of someone I recall as turning up on the site, asking a few "inappropriate" questions, and then seeming a bit miffed about them all being closed on him: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/2489/… ... Could we maybe recast well-meaning but not very Stack-y questions into a more appropriate form, instead of just killing them? Easier said than done, I know. – thesunneversets Apr 1 '11 at 23:42
  • I see now that our interests are not aligned. I want a community of helpful people discussing issues with boardgames, curating knowledge into a useful form. You want to own the QA section of that particular market. I have the choice of a mostly good (perhaps overly hostile, but at least interesting) community with a terrible interface for QA and curation in BGG, or a way too small (but helpul and smart about organizing information and avoided repeat debate). It's clear to me that BCG.SE will not get adoption without expanding its focus beyond QA, and it's also clear that you only want QA. – rrenaud Apr 2 '11 at 16:49
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    @rob it is certainly possible that the subject is too broad or simply incompatible with the engine. Regardless, from day one we didn't set out to satisfy everyone -- the only way to make nobody happy, is to try to blindly make everyone happy. – Jeff Atwood Apr 2 '11 at 21:28

This is trying to make the StackExchange system into something it isn't. There's no reason why I can't go to forums on BoardGameGeek when I want subjective, spirited, and open-ended debate, and StackExchange when I have a concrete objective question (probably rules-related). Different sites have different purposes.

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  • The problem is that a large community begets good answers, and I don't think you'll get a large community with the site designed as is. Even though the software is better here, and we have some good "community DNA" in terms of kindness/aversion to duplication, I don't think it's enough to grow the community to the point were the average even objective question will be answered better here than on BGG. Given that we don't want to inject BGG to BCG.SE, Perhaps I should try harder to inject some BCG.SE into BGG. – rrenaud Apr 11 '11 at 20:50
  • the ideal world would be if BGG integrated StackOverflow software into their site and took over this thing. I agree that it's a pretty rough uphill battle to try to get this site to have a comparable community to BGG. Solution: integrate this into BGG and give GG rewards for reputation. – Brian Schroth Apr 14 '11 at 17:53

I personally think it'd be ok to have review questions, where one game is the question, and each answer a review. Then the reviews that get agreed with the most can float to the top, but the big problem with discussion on Stack Exchange sites is that the format doesn't work well for discussion. It was designed for Q&A and objective questions, and trying to squeeze discussion around the one answer per user format just doesn't work very well. Most of the discussion ends up in very limiting comments, and it's hard to follow the flow if it get's too involved or is edited too much.

I don't think this cancels out a limited debate, where a specific question is asked, and then differing viewpoints are put out in the answers. You can reference the strategy questions for when to use certain dominion cards and see that it works at that level.

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    +1'd, as I don't see the problem with a carefully-moderated, one answer-per-user boardgame review format at all. It would add a LOT of value and interest to the site. Literally the only problem I can see with it is that it goes against the Stack philosophy of "objective answers to simple questions only" - which is a huge problem or not a problem at all, depending on your particular point of view! – thesunneversets Apr 1 '11 at 23:06

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