Hello Retrocomputing enthusiasts, I'm Robotnik, an Arqade (Gaming SE) moderator.
Arqade's community is currently in a bit of a re-invigoration effort, and a part of that is improving our FAQs and help articles to better help users get answers to their questions.
We're currently in the process of building an FAQ about places to go for 'Identify this game' questions (the ones based only on the asker's description of the game, which are off-topic on Arqade). Here's the FAQ in question:
I know that Retrocomputing supports some level of game identification, for older games on retro computers, arcade machines, and retro consoles. My questions are:
- What is allowed vs not allowed with regards to 'Identify this' questions on Retrocomputing?
- Would you like to be featured on Arqade's FAQ? - and if so:
- Do you have guidelines that potential askers should take note of before asking 'Identify This Game' questions here?
As requested for context, here's a bit of an overview of Game Identification on Arqade, what we support, and why.
What does Arqade support?
Identify This Game (in all forms) used to be allowed on Arqade. However, a distinction was made to separate two types of 'Game Identification':
- The asker remembers a game, and describes it from their memory.
- The asker sees a game (such as in a TV show, or news article etc), and can provide some sort of evidence to point to.
The first type of question was made off-topic. Why? Here are some of the commonly cited reasons:
- New users would disappear after asking
We call this a 'drive-by' user.
- Compounding the above: only the asker could definitively say an answer was correct
So a lot of our questions were left hanging in limbo
- Community voting on answers was mostly meaningless
In cases where multiple answers were provided, the community would tend to vote based on game popularity rather than 'correctness'.
- Plus they were hard to answer because a lot of asker's memories were inaccurate
Askers have misremembered key information like the platform, characters, colours, and even conflated features from two or more games.
On the other hand, the second type of question remained on-topic for us. Here's why:
- No reliance on the asker sticking around or providing more information
- Other community members could determine if an answer was correct (and vote accordingly)
- No reliance on imperfect memories - there's no room for interpretation when pointing to an episode of breaking bad and asking what game a character is playing.
This is just a summary of a very hotly contested discussion that spans many meta discussions and chat histories. If you're interested in the full story, here's our game identification tag on meta, and some highlights include this discussion about allowing evidence-based identification, and our FAQ Post: What are the requirements for asking a game identification question?
Why did we face these problems?
Personally I think it's a number of different factors: an overwhelming number of ITG questions being asked, the (generally younger) demographic the site caters to, even the feature-set of Stack Exchange at the time the discussions were happening. We faced a large swathe of low quality questions from drive-by users, and we lacked stuff like custom close reasons and review queues which have made site curation a lot easier over the years.
So what's in it for Retrocomputing?
Saying all the above, you'd think that ITG on Arqade was all bad, which wasn't the case. The reason that banning memory-based identifications was so controversial on Arqade, is that there were a lot of gems hidden among the muck. The ITG questions where users interacted with us and had a vested interest in finding an answer, were the good, well maintained and well received ones.
Those are the users we're trying to cater to with our new FAQ; where Retrocomputing could be of help to people. After all - the sort of people that take the time to read our FAQ are the users that ask the 'good' types of ITG, and it's those people we'd like to send your way. What do you think?