I just listened to herding code's latest podcast, where Jeff was a guest.

Close to the beginning, he said that he was nervous about the Gaming proposal because "it isn't really a learning topic".

Don't get me wrong, I understand he only said that and nothing else and I'm not panicking or anything, but I was wondering whether this or any proposal can be vetoed for some reason by SO Inc, or if it gets enough traffic to launch, it will, regardless of it being aligned with the vision of SO Inc.

I wanted this proposal for a very long time, and I think it would be useful and fun, even though gaming is not viewed as a useful activity (although I disagree, resting the mind is very important and playing games is how I relax).

What do you think?
Also would be very interesting to get an answer from Robert or Jeff

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closed as too localized by jmfsg Mar 23 '12 at 15:44

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5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The way I heard the podcast, I think you are reading a little more between the lines than you probably should.

The Stack Exchange engine works by encouraging good behaviors, while discouraging behaviors that make other sites fail. But those mechanisms were designed to work with a professional or expert community.

The misgivings you heard come from using the same software with a different type of community. There is simply no way to know how members will utilize the opportunity in the absence of those expert or professional motivations. Stack Exchange is not a magic-bullet, community-building machine. Things can and sometimes do go very wrong. But nobody is saying they will go wrong.

If gaming enthusiasts come here with behaviors (and questions) consistent with professional behavior or expert behavior, this system will be awesome. If the community-policing doesn't shut down users with other motivations — be nice; don't be a jerk — the system will fall apart. But that is true of any community.

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Jeff might well have been just expressing a view that the site doesn't fit well with the Stack Overflow model and might fail to meet the criteria. In that case it's up to us (as the users of the site) to ask great questions and provide excellent answers so that when someone types

"How do I defeat the big bad boss in Beat 'Em Up 23?"

this site (well not this site, but you know what I mean) is the first hit on Google.

Ultimately Jeff and co. can pull the plug on any site, after all they control the software and the servers. However, if the site meets the criteria laid down for "success" then it would be very hard for them to close it down without there being some repercussions. No other site would be "safe" no matter how many users it had or how much traffic it generated.

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Your 2nd paragraph is a slam dunk. If you opened with that, I would give you +5... No, I can't really do that ;) –  Robert Cartaino Jul 12 '10 at 16:19
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@Robert - Can I have the +5 now please ;) –  ChrisF Jul 12 '10 at 19:44
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They can close down any site. But I think they've made it clear that they're prepared to follow the community, so if we manage to keep the site going once it hits public beta and prove to him it does fit, we can prove him wrong. –  user56 Jul 13 '10 at 0:14
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@arda I think this would be the first time I have ever been proved wrong, but I would have to check my records on that.. :) –  Jeff Atwood Jul 14 '10 at 1:55

How is it not a learning topic?

  • Learn how to beat a game you are stuck on
  • Learn about new games/other games you might be interested in
  • Learn more about any game you might be interested in
  • Learn about an aspect of a game you currently play you do not know about
  • Learn about gaming in general.

This is also a teaching topic in the same sense. I could go on but I feel I have made my point.

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I suspect that "not a learning topic" means that it's not an academic or professional topic in the most part (yes, i know there are pro gamers). It's not that you're not learning, it's that what you learn doesn't necessarily build knowledge in a useful sense. –  Jeff Yates Jul 12 '10 at 13:59
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Yes but should that be a requirement for every SE site? This is more of a community assistance than a place to gain useful knowledge. –  Ólafur Waage Jul 12 '10 at 19:48

In a recent blog post, Jeff mentioned that both gaming and web-apps have reached full commitment in the shortest time so far, at 36 days. He also says:

Agree or not with the technical assessment, we faced one incontrovertible fact: A site is not much good to a group of users if they will not show up.

So I think it's pretty clear popularity is the number 1 metric. Check out this great web application from Farseeker: it compares the number of questions per day across the beta sites, and it's easy to see gaming is up there, one of the leading ones.

So this all seems pretty positive for me.

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If this proposal ends up more along the lines of trivia instead of teaching and being a place known for getting expert answers, then it's possible that that will endanger it.

The content we allow or close during this beta period will be crucial in how it handles going forward, if it is allowed to do so.

Working out how we deal with polls, 20 questions and class based questions will matter in if the scope of this proposal aligns with the guidelines for a successful SE continuance.

If we're not getting enough high-quality traffic, that could also weigh in.

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