175 Reasons LessPop_MoreFizz Doesn't Like

This is a list of every currently open unanswered ITG Question that has not seen activity in more than a week. All but the first 25 or so are more than a month old. It should be noted that this list is more than four times the size of the list provided by the "Unanswered" list on the tags page. This is because the Unanswered page only lists questions on which there are no upvoted answers. And votes on ITG questions are fundamentally quite worthless. So instead, I went through all 650 ITG questions, and compiled a list of every single question with neither an accepted answer, nor an answer which the OP has commented is correct in a comment. (See, ITG askers are very bad at accepting answers. There are roughly 50 such ITG questions, where there is a correct answer without a checkmark.)

These games are Unidentified, the askers have Forgotten them, and the questions are Old.

Per this old Meta post by Badp, we should be closing these questions as NARQ. To date, we have only ever closed 31 ITG questions.. Given the generally low quality of many of these questions, this is way too few. Even more problematic is that the vast majority of the questions listed above are abandoned. They have largely been asked by users with under 50/150 rep, who have derived all of their rep from their single ITG question. In most cases, they have not returned to Gaming.SE since the initial burst of enthusiasm when they asked their question.

These questions are a Broken Window.

Many of these questions are probably duplicates. Many others are bad questions that are effectively unanswerable. They are cruft that makes it harder to justify the closure of new bad ITG questions, because we have allowed so many old bad ones to stick around.

So, what should we do with them?

My thought is this: Somebody (I'll do it if a Mod won't step up, but I'd suggest a Diamond does it), should go through all 175 of these and leave a comment on each one, asking the OP to either accept one of the existing answers or clarify their question. After one week, all of the abandoned questions that have not been refined or answered should be CLOSED as NARQ, and subsequently deleted.

A few additional notes from having looked at over 200 ITG questions in rapid succession: 'Duplicates' are rampant (though we have no way to be sure, and thus can't do anything about them!), the vast majority of askers have never returned to the site (quite a few have even deleted their accounts! Those questions can never be answered!), even among answered ITG's, the number of deleted answers that should have been comments is sky-high, and a fair number of bounties have been auto-awarded to games that are not the answer. I even saw one or two instances where the asker commented that a particular answer was correct (or self-answered), and a seperate answer, naming a different game was instead the top voted.

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closed as too localized by jmfsg Mar 19 '12 at 1:02

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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This is great, I'm impressed you went through all of them. We definitely should be more vigilant about closing ITGs that don't meet a high standard. –  Matthew Read Feb 16 '12 at 23:05
    
FYI, a search for [identify-this-game] hasaccepted:0 will turn up all the identify-this-game questions with no accepted answer, rather than relying on the 'Unanswered' page or manual trawling. –  DMA57361 Feb 16 '12 at 23:16
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@DMA57361 Yep. I started with that, and then manually trawled through them to eliminate the ones where the original asker self-answered or commented to confirm that an answer was correct, but did not click on the check. Hence the 75 question difference between my list and those search results. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Feb 16 '12 at 23:18
    
Fair enough. I'll admit I didn't read the entire post in depth, just wanted to ensure you had the relevant tools to hand. –  DMA57361 Feb 16 '12 at 23:20
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+1000 - I'm not against ItGs, but there are a LOT of them that are bad questions and need to be dealt with. –  Jason Berkan Feb 17 '12 at 14:29
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Also re: the 31 closed ItG questions - I imagine we've closed a lot more than that, but they've been deleted, so they no longer appear in searches. Jeff's been known to prune the ItG list on his own. –  Jason Berkan Feb 17 '12 at 15:03

3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Agreed, the promised clean up is now in order. I think it would be best to just close and comment and perhaps listen back from people that are actually active and then consider reopening just those questions.

We should probably focus just on those that are old, abandoned and answerless. Those can likely be deleted outright, with a comment suggesting that they try again.

After this batch is done, we can go through the rest... in moderation, so that we don't have to handle 100 angry users at the same time.

Feel free to have a look on the progress table, and perhaps help out if you feel like it!

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I think all ITGs are bad. I also think mass deleting all of them at once isn't the best solution. Existing ITGs should be heavily scrutinized for quality and answerability. Some are "good" and have answers. Other people have suggested perfectly reasonable compromises that I wont repeat or try to outdo. Hopefully we can wean users off ITGs.


I am a recent self convert to the anti-ITG side. Let me preface this that I do not think ITG questions have zero value. They are helping a user with a problem and could very well help users in the future (however unlikely that may be). I simply think they are bad for this site's format.

Reasons I dislike ITG as a question type

  • You can't properly vote on answers until the asker accepts. Wrong answers should be downvoted. It is impossible to tell which answers are wrong before the asker accepts. All answers are guesses and impossible to confirm/deny by the community.

  • The information in the question could possibly be wildly inaccurate. I asked an ITG. It even got a badge. In the question, I originally said it was a DOS game. I was confident that was correct at the time. It wasn't. This error didn't take away too much from the ability to answer the question, but how can we possibly know the other ITGs don't have worse memory errors.

  • You can't always tell what questions are duplicates. Games have a lot of similarities. Games have a lot of popular mechanics in common. Two seemingly identical ITG questions could very well be about totally different games. Two very different ITGs could be talking about the same game. The inability to tell before the question is answered makes keeping the site nice and orderly that much harder.

ITGs are fun. I love nostalgia and I love helping people relive their favorite old games. They just don't do well in this format. Most ITGs usually require follow up questions. I see this as being prone to discussion. We already know discussion questions are bad for the site. I wish I could answer all the ITGs, just not on this site. They belong in chat at best.

Future ITGs should not be allowed.

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Wrong question for your answer –  badp Feb 17 '12 at 0:03
    
@badp What do you mean? –  user9983 Feb 17 '12 at 0:04
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@OrigamiRobot he means that while this post does make reference to the larger argument against ITG, and I will freely admit, is part of my own personal campaign to kill the tag with fire, the specific question at hand here is dealing with the 175 worst ITG questions - not the future of ITG as a whole. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Feb 17 '12 at 0:19
    
Yes. I am talking about why the questions are bad to start with. On top of that, a lot are bad as in "poorly written." I realize I spent way more time on my feelings about the tag and less about the situation at hand than I wanted –  user9983 Feb 17 '12 at 0:35

May I propose we just close and delete all of them, like we did with game-rec, and thus solve this problem and all future problems with this class of questions once and for all?

As a compromise, we can redirect people with these kinds of questions to our chat.

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While I agree with this, I'm making the case that we deal with these clear broken windows as a first step. For those that support ITG, I'm happy to let them try to put their best foot forward first. And getting rid of these bad questions is how to do it. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Feb 16 '12 at 22:44
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I support this plan. –  Raven Dreamer Feb 16 '12 at 22:46
    
@LessPop_MoreFizz I support your effort in the original post, and maybe taking small steps in the right direction is a good start, but if there's even a chance we'll get to the point where they're off topic, it's better to put the work towards just getting rid of them right now than cleaning them up first, then getting rid of them later. –  StrixVaria Feb 16 '12 at 22:46
    
At the chat room comment, I wonder if anyone will hang around there and actually try to answer questions people ask in chat, considering these questions get so little attention already. –  Resorath Feb 16 '12 at 22:52
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I, too, would love to see them gone –  jmfsg Feb 16 '12 at 23:05
    
@Resorath, I wonder about that too, but it seems like a fair compromise, like with game-recs: game-recs don't belong, but you're welcome to try in chat. The alternative is to say "we don't want your kind (of question) here", which is mostly accurate but somewhat harsh. (On the larger point, I have found myself in the burn-ITG-with-fire camp. There are simply too many bad questions to justify the few good ones we get, and after all, answers on the good questions are guesses, not informed answers. That's not what we want, I think.) –  Dave DuPlantis Feb 16 '12 at 23:21
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Never has it been clearer how the lack of downvotes on comments can create a distorted appearance of consensus. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Feb 17 '12 at 5:18

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