This question has been recently closed by a moderator for being a mod recommendation question (which I reckon, as an extension of the 'game recommendations questions are not allowed' policy):

How do I add character requirements for factions or guilds?

Title of the question when it was closed:
Is there a mod that adds character requirements for factions?

I would like to ask if this question can still be improved and then reopened if it is edited to not ask for mod recommendations only (possibly console commands, or an in-game feature or workaround too), as is common with questions?

I believe, if improved, that question should be reopened as per the current most upvoted answer in this Meta post: Are questions asking for non-game recommendations off topic?

For discussion and comparison, I listed some of the currently non-closed questions that attract 'mod recommendation' answers, but may have console command or in-game feature workarounds:

How do I stop smelling like a wet dog?
Is there a mod or console command which will allow me to push followers out of the way?
Is there a skyrim mod for hiding a follower's helmet?
How to make Skyrim more challenging at higher character levels?
What can I do to minimize my save game size?
How can I find or recall my horse?
Skyrim: Place lights in a House
Any tips for preventing your horse from dying?
Is there a way to limit the amount your followers talk in skyrim?
How can I make stamina regen fast in battle?

My proposed question rewording of How do I add character requirements for factions or guilds? (I already edited the question to be this):

Title: How do I add character requirements for factions or guilds?

Is it possible to add character requirements to joining a faction or path, and therefore cause a character to be unable to join, say, the Mages Guild, or the Thieves Guild?

For example, I don't like the idea that my Orc, who has 80 in archery, heavy armor, two-handed, and single handed fighting, but a <18 in all the magic schools, is easily welcomed into the Mage College. Or that he is asked to join the Thieves Guild. It really ruins immersion for me.

Also, is it ok if I reworded this question to be like that, in attempt to improve it and have it reopened? (I'm not the OP.)

If you agree that this question should be reopened, then please vote to reopen the question.

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It's always* okay to edit posts - especially in the hopes of reopening a question. –  badp Nov 25 '12 at 9:44
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2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

I'd like to push back on the current thinking that is a bad thing. Right now the arguments I've heard against them are that they are bad by association with . The things that are bad about are described in this meta:

So, your typical game recommendation is a question that has two qualities.

  1. A shopping recommendation - shopping recommendations are considered off-topic because of being too localized, often subjective, and tend to attract discussion. These kinds of questions solicit opinions of what is a good buy, or if they think one or more specific items are a good buy.
  2. An itemized list of games satisfying one or more criteria. Real questions may attract multiple valid answers, but a key factor is that each individual answer attempts to provide a solid conclusion to the question. These kinds of questions attract items, not answers, and thus do not individually solve the question.

Game recommendations are either shopping recommendations or itemized lists. They comprise the entire Venn Diagram, not just the overlap.

Mod recommendations are neither of these things. These questions describe a problem and then request a specific solution to that problem.

I would like to do X in a game. I assume the only way to do this is with a mod. Can anyone suggest a mod that does X?

This is not a shopping recommendation (a request for subjective "should I buy this?" advice). The problem can be clearly stated and objectively evaluated in most cases.

It is also not requesting an itemized list to solve the problem. While there may be multiple valid mods that meet the criteria, each individual answer is an independent solution to the problem. The answer isn't the sum of all answers - each individual answer solves the problem, and may be better or worse than other solutions to the problem.

In fact, Grace's second answer on that linked meta goes into some detail on the acceptability of multiple answers, and even says that there are some list questions that can be salvaged. The entirety of both answers is solid reading on this subject.

At worst, these are XY problems - the person has posted their problem and jumped to the assumption that the solution is modding the game. I don't really even see the need to revise these type of questions generally, as answers that solve the problem while ignoring the asker's suggested solution are still answers.

Practically every question on the site can be reworded as "I have this problem, can anyone recommend a solution?" The word recommend, just like the word identify, does not imply that a particular question falls into a particular (bad) class of questions.

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+1 +1 +1 +1 +1 I'm so sick of people blindly saying that mod-rec are off-topic. No. The reason game-rec is gone is because there isn't a real problem to be solved, and it's just a list of peoples favourite games. Questions asking for a mod to solve a problem do not share any of the problems associated with game-rec. There are some mod-rec that share the same problems and should be closed, but it is not an absolute. –  Wipqozn Nov 25 '12 at 16:25
    
+1!!!!!!!!!!!!!! –  Josefvz Nov 26 '12 at 8:16
    
How are these questions not "2. An itemized list of games satisfying one or more criteria"? How is the answer to a game-rec "the sum of all its answers?" How does removing the part where they say "I need a mod to do X" effectively change the question at hand? –  badp Dec 4 '12 at 13:52
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A shopping recommendation isn't just "Should I buy X?", but also includes "I need to do Y, what Z should I pick up?" If we think in terms of graphics cards, it should be obvious why these 2 classes of questions were made off topic. Why, then, wouldn't it be the same case for game mods? –  MBraedley Dec 5 '12 at 11:54
    
@MBraedley, the "what Z should I pick up?" is the request for recommendation. Recommendation is not a bad thing, though. When we deal with shopping or game rec's, the question becomes "What's a good value?" and "What would I like?" which are both bad subjective and/or too localized. Questions can ask for non-localized good- or non- subjective recommendations, though. When someone describes a particular problem and asks for a solution, we shouldn't judge it solely based on the type of solution they're asking for. –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 14:57
    
@agent86: Let's do a straight (albeit contrived) comparison: "I need to play Crysis 3, what graphics card should I pick up?" and "I need to prevent damage from Creeper explosions, what mod should I use?" Both have implied problems (my computer isn't good enough to play Crysis 3, and Creepers are destroying my town), and both have subjective and localized answers. Luckily, the second question can be salvaged with creative editing so that even if the answers are subjective and localized, the question itself doesn't force them to be. –  MBraedley Dec 5 '12 at 18:14
    
@MBraedley, I feel recommending a mod is not as subjective as you're making it out to be. Once you remove "perceived value" from the equation, you've removed (most? all?) the subjectivity. Describing a problem in enough detail to pass the other "bad question" tests means that it can be objectively answered. Even if I hadn't played Minecraft, I could look at a mod and say "this does or does not solve the problem posed in the question" - that's objective. I can't look at a video card or game and say "this does provide the optimal value to this user." –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 20:08
    
@MBraedley, for my contrived example, let's say someone says "I am fighting (boss) in (game), can anyone recommend a weapon to kill him?" Answers might be things like "go to this shop and buy this kind of weapon" or "Use this build, which makes you resistant to its damage" or "You need to level up more" "kite him around the room like this," etc. If we take out "weapon" and sub in "mod" or "strategy" or "build" how does that make the question bad? –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 20:20
    
@badp Each individual answer to the question is a standalone solution to the problem presented. You don't need a list of all the mods that solve a particular problem to solve that problem - you need just one. Not all game-rec questions fall into this category (the others fall into shopping recommendations, which ask for subjective "value" judgements) –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 20:46
    
@badp, I thought I covered that. game-rec's ask for a "value" choice (outcome: "What thing will I like the best?") and/or a list. A mod rec doesn't ask for either. They present a concrete problem and ask for a (singular) solution. (If it asks for a list, it should be closed, imho) –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 20:53
    
@agent86 Okay, so consider "How can I add ponies in Minecraft." Three answers: "Install CraftPony." "Get Tekkit and the MyLittleCreeper mod." "Get CreePony." How do you suppose one votes on that? –  badp Dec 5 '12 at 20:55
    
@badp, the same way you vote on any question's answers where there are multiple solutions to the same problem. You can evaluate them based on how completely and easily they solve the problem, or you could vote up all the ones that reach the desired outcome equally well. In my contrived "beat the boss" question, how would you vote? Multiple possible routes to the same goal does not make a question bad. See here. –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 20:57
    
Okay, so now consider "I want a game with ponies in it." Three answers: "Applejack's Wedding Cake Creator Game" "Rarity's Wedding Dress Designer Game" and "My Little Pony Friendship Express Train™ Puzzle Adventure." How do you suppose one votes on that? What do you accept? –  badp Dec 5 '12 at 21:00
    
@badp, in this case, the problem can't be pivoted around like you can with a mod-rec. The problem becomes a shopping recommendation - a value judgement. I can't evaluate whether or not a game satisfies your desire for ponies. I can evaluate whether or not a mod solves the problem being posed in the question. –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 21:04
    
You can't evaluate whether or not a game satisfies my desire of ponies but you can evaluate whether or not a mod satisfied my desire for ponies? –  badp Dec 5 '12 at 21:24
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So, your typical game recommendation is a question that has two qualities.

  1. A shopping recommendation - shopping recommendations are considered off-topic because of being too localized, often subjective, and tend to attract discussion. These kinds of questions solicit opinions of what is a good buy, or if they think one or more specific items are a good buy.
  2. An itemized list of games satisfying one or more criteria. Real questions may attract multiple valid answers, but a key factor is that each individual answer attempts to provide a solid conclusion to the question. These kinds of questions attract items, not answers, and thus do not individually solve the question.
  1. Yes, these questions fall under shopping recommendation. Like a shopping recommendation question isn't about how to buy but what to buy, they don't ask how to do something but what to install.
  2. Yes, these questions are itemized lists of game mods satisfying one or more criteria. Just because a list has one item it doesn't mean it's not a list. These questions typically receive a simple "Install the X mod" answer (or "Install the Y mod", or "Install the Z mod") and voting happens on the merits of X vs the merits of Y vs the merits of Z, which is in no way different from "Yeah pick Portal 2 yaaaay!".

I'll also argue that these question cannot be simply fixed by changing:

I want a mod that does X. Give me one

...to:

How can I do X?

...if you then go and accept this answer because you really wanted a mod all along:

Install the Y mod.

...unless this is really all it takes for X to happen. Most of the time, however, it isn't just about installing a mod, it also is about configuring it if necessary and using it in some way. An answer that doesn't explain this isn't a complete answer; at best, it's a comment. If you go about and upvote or accept these questions, you're just admitting the nature of "itemized list" of these questions.

The very question you cite as a paragon of awesomeness is just a shopping list of mods. "Oh I don't know, use one of those six mods and figure it out on your own."

In the end, "What games let you play with hydraulics?" is no different from "What mods let you play with hydraulics... in Minecraft?" and they should treated equally. If we want to close all of the former we need to close all of the latter too.

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"...it isn't just about installing a mod, it also is about configuring it if necessary and using it in some way." "'Oh I don't know, use one of those six mods and figure it out on your own.'" Most of these mods already have instructions in their descriptions or readmes on how to install, configure and use them. If the asker needs help with installing or using a mod and the answer didn't mention it, they could always comment on the answer to ask for more info. It is redundant and repetitive to include mod installation and usage instructions in every answer that mentions a mod. –  galacticninja Dec 4 '12 at 15:12
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@galacticninja That's besides the point. We can't fix "What do I install for X" by changing the question to "How do I do X?" if we then answer "Install X." That is a farce, that's what it is. –  badp Dec 4 '12 at 15:16
    
What if 'installing X' is the solution to 'How do I do X' questions? I'm guessing you're having reservations with answers mentioning mods that do not include instructions on how to install and use the said mods, which is why I wrote my comment above. In the case of [skyrim] questions, a lot of the 'How do I do X?' questions will have answers mentioning mods, because of the 'moddability' of the Skyrim engine. –  galacticninja Dec 5 '12 at 4:22
    
About changing [mod-rec]-sounding questions to 'How do I do X?' questions, agent86 stated that "...answers that solve the problem while ignoring the asker's suggested solution are still answers." The question I mentioned didn't have to be edited at all. I initially edited that question to look for general solutions, instead of mods only, because I thought that questions looking specifically for mods are not allowed as per policy. –  galacticninja Dec 5 '12 at 4:24
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@galacticninja My remarks on "how to use and install mods" are more grounded in the Minecraft reality, where installing a mod such as BuildCraft is only the first step and then you need to craft the new items and connect them and whatnot to obtain "X" -- definitely more than just "Get the Buildcraft mod!" I honestly don't know how Skyrim mods work, but I don't really see the value in this site being a proxy search service for mods honestly. –  badp Dec 5 '12 at 9:51
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I disagree with you, but I don't think I can say anything that I didn't put in my answer already. So... yeah. Take that. –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 15:55
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@agent86 So I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, or more precisely we'll have to agree that you're just wrong. –  badp Dec 5 '12 at 16:04
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@badp, no, this is meta, so we must ARGUE INTO INFINITY, or until you admit your total wrongness and lack of any rightness, whichever comes first. –  agent86 Dec 5 '12 at 17:17
    
@agent86 Bring it on, man. You move first. –  badp Dec 5 '12 at 17:59
    
How do you separate other types of "-rec" questions from this? For instance, "I can't beat (boss) in borderlands, what weapon should I get?" It's not about how, it's about what. It could be considered a "X item list" (buy a Torgue, buy something acid, etc). The solution space is huge! It's even literally shopping advice! But, I still think it's a question that doesn't need closure. We could edit it, but why? If a question gives us part of a solution to a problem, we're free to discard it. I could suggest a skill tree or set of tactics and provide a valid answer that way instead. –  agent86 Dec 6 '12 at 16:13
    
My point is this - what is specific about mods that puts it in the bucket with "shopping" and not the bucket with "OK recommendations"? I think I've made a case that the occasional correlation between "request for mod" and "bad question" does not imply a causative link between "mod request" and "bad questions" and doesn't require a special rule for automatic closure. –  agent86 Dec 6 '12 at 16:15
    
@agent86 "I can't beat (boss) in borderlands, what weapon should I get?" is kind of a poor example, given that for most bosses what really matters is weapon level and elemental damage type. Sure, there are exceptions, I probably know what you're hinting at and the answer it got is miles better than the average *-rec question. In other words, the solution space is so huge, answering "what" is mostly pointless and most of the question explains "how" to approach the fight. –  badp Dec 6 '12 at 18:59
    
@agent86 It's kind of disingenuous to try and put mods and games in the same bin as in-game "strategy recommendation" questions. "Defeating Terramorphous" is one of the objectives and of the quests in the game; it is entirely possible and the game is designed to let you do it. It's nowhere near the same league as "How can I replace the TF2 Scout with Goopy? LOL." I do acknowledge there's a continuum in there, and the line you can draw in between is the subjectivity question. "What to install?" is bad subjective, "How can I choose my weapons" is good subjective. –  badp Dec 6 '12 at 19:03
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To your point about game design, more and more games are being designed to be modded - Minecraft, Skyrim, Civilization, Fallout, etc. Modding is as much a game mechanic as is the assets in the base game. Increasingly we should expect to see people thinking "a mod is the answer" when they encounter a problem with a game. Punishing them or forcing them to ask their question in a different wording just because "mod rec is bad by association with certain stupid questions you can ask about mods" is a silly way to go about things. –  agent86 Dec 6 '12 at 20:31
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(off the top of my head, Halo 4 and Civ5 both have achievements for rating or sharing mods) –  agent86 Dec 6 '12 at 20:32
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