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I recently marked a question for moderator attention because it was too specific to a given player's particular social situation. It was seemingly removed shortly thereafter - and I thought that was a good decision. I caught it early and it had gotten little attention.

But then I see this question and questions like it and wonder if the same principle applies, even though this one has a lot of activity:

  • Is the question of value to the site and the community?
  • Are the answers going to have value beyond this asker's instance?
  • How can we effectively judge the relative merits of answers? Are "Stay and fix it!" and "Walk!" really going to be differentiated by anything but their popularity?

I genuinely do want to help people with their social gaming problems, but I also genuinely question whether this is the right place to do it. What does the community think?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I personally feel the question in question, is not so much a problem because it's too specific, but because of what you said, bullet point 3 (including do what you're going to do anyways) because I feel about this question, "stop asking me to be your therapist". I'm not opposed to specific social questions, but they should have more than 2 real options for an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – xenoterracide Aug 29 '14 at 0:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like these questions should have answers that are truly specific to "role playing" this question doesn't really, the answers would apply to many contexts of "my friend is being a jerk at reoccurring event, should I leave" \$\endgroup\$ – xenoterracide Aug 29 '14 at 1:04
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Question asking for personal advice "help me fix my game" are squarely on topic here provided that the OP provides enough information about their situation that we can answer intelligently.

There used to be a close reason "too localized", it has been removed and rolled into "unclear what you're asking." Largely, if we're seeing a question that seems so narrow or niche that we're can't answer it, then we should probably be closing it. However, I don't think decently detailed "help me decide whether to fix my game or leave it" questions fall into this.

To answer you bullets:

  • Yes, these are valuable. Even if someone isn't in exactly the same situation, they might well be in a similar one. They show up in google results when people search for their problems, and they are of use to people who use this site. (One way (not the best one, but one way), to see this is with the votes. this question is highly upvoted...)

  • Yes. Most of the time answers on questions like this give good general advice, even as they try to speak to the specific situation. A good answer shouldn't just help the OP solve his problem, but should also help someone in the future in a similar situation.

  • This is why we don't want single sentence answers. A good answer explains why they give the answer they do. Just like we want a question that gives the pertinent details, we want answers that provide solutions to the same. A good answer is a longish answer here. Short can't and shouldn't do. So you judge answers not on the merits of "stay" or "go" but on the merits of their "whys" and "hows".

Lastly, these are the kinds of questions, that if we do well, and give good advice, we can gain a new user who can and will stick around and be a productive member of our community. Almost always these questions are from newish users. If we can help them get to a detailed question, and get a good answer (or several), than we may just find ourselves a new friend.

Community isn't our primary purpose here. But it is something does form here in an organic way. When we can foster and encourage that without sacrificing quality (and in fact by improving it), we're doing what we do, and doing it well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 we are here to fix your problem - unless it's so arcane we can't without sitting down with you - but being broadly applicable is not a requirement. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Aug 26 '14 at 15:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 Although having titles that are more descriptive of the problem would help with them being found in the future, rather than just "How do I solve a problem with my game" \$\endgroup\$ – Mourdos Aug 26 '14 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mourdos absolutely. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Aug 26 '14 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, wax. The reason I took this to meta was because I couldn't tell if I was being insightful or grumpy. \$\endgroup\$ – gomad Aug 26 '14 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've edited your answer to link to the meta Q explaining the reasons for removal of "too localized." It's at odds with what you're saying, though - too localized got replaced by our custom off topic reasons, so that we could pin down specific reasons for specific problematic types of questions being off topic. Being too localized rarely has anything to do with being unclear. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 27 '14 at 4:59
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"Too specific" isn't really a thing. We like people to be specific about their situation, so that we can help resolve their actual problem.

We used to have a close reason called "too localized" which got removed because nobody could agree on what "too localized" really meant, either in terms of time, location, or quantity of people helped. You can read more about that there. Basically, it was useless and did more harm than good. It trained people to not ask about their specific problem, but try and be super-generic, which was stupid because that turned perfectly good questions into ones that were not as good.

What "too localized" was really trying to do was target specific kinds of poor quality questions. As that linked meta Q explains, that got replaced with the custom off topic reasons we have now, so we just targeted those specific kinds of questions explicitly.

So, a better question to ask yourself is: are these questions absolutely useless to everyone else? As wax eagle describes: no, because there's a lot to learn from them, and they're still totally usable and helpful to the people whose situations are very similar but not identical (it might not even matter for the answer).

I'm not sure what would truly be absolutely useless to everyone else here. On Stack Overflow, an example would be someone linking their website and asking people to help fix a programming error on there. Within days, the problem will vanish, and nobody else can really learn very well from the question. That gets closed nowadays with a custom off topic reason requiring the answer to actually provide the problematic code, a description of the problem, and some other things.

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