I have an idea to improve our answers to game-recommendation questions, and I'm presenting it here as an optional, voluntary practice that community members might wish to adopt: voluntary banners at the top of answers indicating how the post adheres to our game-rec guidelines.
I propose these two, one for each way a recommendation can be backed up with experience:
This recommendation for [item name] cites my own experience using it for the purpose in the question.
This recommendation for [item name] cites someone else's experience using it for the purpose in the question.
Answers could include one of these (without the list bullet) at the very top of the answer, with the part in square brackets replaced with whatever the rest of the answer is recommending. Such a banner would look like this in a real answer post.
(I don't think we need any rules for “validating” the usage of these banners. I think our collective judgement of individual answers will take care of that organically, as usual.)
There are a few interlocking reasons to why I think such a simple and voluntary action could significantly improve our game-rec answers:
Voluntarily reading, choosing, and applying one of these forces oneself to think explicitly about how one's answer fits within the game-rec guidelines. Psychologically speaking, it's hard to choose one of these and then self-justify submitting an answer that doesn't quite follow the banner.
Thus, this voluntary practice will ever-so-slightly improve the answers by users who choose to use it (possibly resulting in getting more votes).
It makes it easier for readers (voters) to know what to expect from the answer, making it easier to absorb what follows. (This would be similar to how academic writing practice includes a thesis statement.) Voters who can more easily absorb an answer are more likely to properly consider it, which leads to more voting. People like (and upvote) clear answers they can grasp sooner more than ones that are hard to follow.
Thus, answers that have banners and fulfill their banners will receive positive reinforcement for following the game-rec guidelines, while answers that don't match their banners won't be well-received, reinforcing truth in advertising.
Those who voluntarily adopt these banners in their answers will, just by example, make others think about how they are considering answering the question. This is especially valuable for new users who skip reading the game-rec banner on the question. People will see these concise statements of how these questions should be answered and imitate it. If answerers never read the game-rec guidelines, but do follow the statements in one of these banners, they'd be fulfilling the game-rec guidelines rather well.
Thus, the practice is likely to both spread and to serve as in-place, hands-on education to everyone else jumping in to recommend something, improving our game-rec answers further.
Because game-rec has enough rules and we don't want to weigh it down with more. And because, ultimately, people following the game-rec guidelines is a matter of site culture rather than enforcement, because enforcement is never perfect, and becomes even less effective when site culture isn't quite aligned with it.
Self-selected optional banners is a way to remind ourselves about what is important in game-rec answers, and provides a visible indication of our site's culture that can spread and involve new users much more effectively than expecting people to voluntarily read a pageful of yet more site rules. Each use of such a banner would reinforce in oneself how game-rec should be answered, and reinforces it in every passing reader.
For easy copying and pasting:
> This recommendation for **[item name]** cites > **my own experience** using it for the purpose in the question.
> This recommendation for **[item name]** cites > **someone else's experience** using it for the purpose in the question.
Can I change the wording?
I don't see why not. These are completely voluntary and, if adopted, would be completely community-driven. Having a standard format is a good place to start, but they're not meant to be straightjackets for answers either.
If you keep in mind the game-rec guidelines and the opinion of voters reading your banner and question, it should work just fine. I see no danger of gaming alterations, since banners that are questionable in their adherence to the game-rec guidelines would likely attract downvotes anyway. So, I don't see any reason why the banner can't be worded a bit differently to adjust for corner cases that these three don't fit perfectly.
These are just suggestions too, and better banners might solidify through community use and become the de facto standard instead.