Game recommendation applies to both the recommending of games and the recommending of products for games, such as tools. The recommending of game systems in particular is the basis for our game-recommendation guidelines/banner. Do these guidelines need to be followed on other sorts of recommendation questions other than system recommendations? If someone asks, for example, whether to purchase Complete Psionic or Expanded Psionics Handbook for their 3.5 game, must I have actual play experience with Complete Psionic to answer or is "Complete Psionic is one of the worst books written for 3.5 [citation][citation][citation] (none of which cite actual play directly, but rather cite thorough rules analysis, balance analysis, rpg theories, etc). The Expanded Psionics Handbook is one of the best books written for 3.5 [similar citations]. You should get the Expanded Psionics Handbook." an acceptable answer, since it's not a recommendation for a game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am going to go fishing this weekend, and am grateful for the nice can of worms ... grin \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 18 '15 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your previous title was asking if the game-rec guidelines applied to all the kinds of game-rec questions, which is... tautological, and not consistent with the question in your body. I've changed your title to say all the kinds of recommendations (full stop) instead, to match the phrasing in your question body. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 18 '15 at 4:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener No, I in fact meant all game-rec questions because that currently is all on-topic reccomendation questions, including (theoretically) tool rec, as you address in your answer. This is silly, and, as you point out, we have moderate support for not doing this, but until we actually use different tags for other kinds of recommendation the game-rec banner goes up on tagged questions (like the one linked) and I want to make sure ignoring it and answering withing the broader GS/BS guidelines is correct behavior before doing it. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 18 '15 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer That's why I made the edit - [game-rec] does not include [tool-rec], or any other kind of recommendation, except the limited ones we've agreed it does. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 19 '15 at 1:46

Do these guidelines need to be followed on other sorts of recommendation questions other than system recommendations?

No. Our game recommendation guidelines never really got genericised. It is not universal. It applies spottily to some things other than the recommendation of actual games, but not to all recommendations.

What applies to all recommendation questions is good subjective guidelines. Our game-rec rules just translate these with some extra specifics. The good subjective guidelines are the one that carry the famous Back It Up principle, i.e. our iron-clad rule you must be able to say you've seen it done, or else back your statements up with a conclusive reference.

We've had some discussion on the generic-ness of our game rec rules. Here's the results:

The community has never expressed strong support for universalising the game-rec rules. Historically stronger support seems to be for not doing that. Game-rec rules have been extended into one place only: adventure modules and other published game material expansions. The important bits are already standard procedure: back it up, don't be too broad, don't ask a question that's entirely opinion based, etc, and we don't need the game-rec rules to implement those.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In practice we certainly have been enforcing the same rules around *-recommendations, we just didn't want tag sprawl for the *. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 18 '15 at 20:20

Yes and no. Yes, officially, game-rec covers anything recommended for a game, not just the recommendation of games themselves. This includes everything under the tag as well (which is just a tagging convenience due to volume, not a separate site-rules jurisdiction).

However, in practice the tool-recs aren't a problem like other game-recs are. Are they full of great answers? Not usually. They're usually pretty crappy list questions, actually. But in practice, we don't see the same massive partisanship and popularity-voting on those questions. So in practice, they're benevolently neglected as regards the game-rec guidelines.

They still get closed when they're too-broad list questions, mostly a matter of opinion, or insufficiently specified (i.e., unclear) though. Sometimes they're slow to be closed, as the community waits to see evidentially if they're going to be a good or bad question. That's the thing though: the normal SE processes tend to work fine, so those processes are left to take care of it as normal.

So yes, de jure they are under the game-rec guidelines.
But de facto they don't get the guidelines as zealously applied to them, so long as they don't make a nuisance of themselves.

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    \$\begingroup\$ On what basis do you say our game-rec rules officially cover anything recommended for a game? You say de jure, what law? The first portion of our game rec guidelines suggests that shopping recommendations can be on topic, but the rest of the answer caters very specifically to recommendations of games, and we don't enforce and cite the game rec rules within tool recommendations that I have seen. You appear to be asserting the game-rec rules are more broadly impactful than the community has ever agreed with. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 20 '15 at 3:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener The tag's wiki excerpt has said so explicitly since 2013, as part of implementing this proposal at the time. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 20 '15 at 3:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tool rec's wiki excerpt doesn't appear to mention anything about the game rec guidelines, unless I've misunderstood. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 20 '15 at 3:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener What are our requirements for tool recommendation questions and answers? (A: all game-rec stuff applies) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 20 '15 at 3:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, now I see the game-rec wiki. It hasn't been used that way, though. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 20 '15 at 3:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ That tool rec answer got barely agreed with. Considering I plan to rewrite that answer to make references to GSBS instead of Game Rec guidelines, I suggest you do not cite me. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 20 '15 at 3:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener It's true! At first I thought that was an odd failure of enforcement, but pondering how to answer this... well, this answer is the result. They're not great Q&As, but they're also not being nuisances. Smooth functioning of the site is the guiding light (rather than perfect application of the rules for the rules' sake), and tool-rec hasn't risen to the level of nuisance yet. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 20 '15 at 3:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener If the winds keep blowing as they appear to be, this particular meta won't have relevance anymore even if that one does, so citing it here or not won't matter either way. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 20 '15 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's fine, I don't care strongly about the existence of game recommendations. I do care about members not interpreting this as meaning we handle other recommendations with the draconian force we've (by necessity) applied to game recommendation questions. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 20 '15 at 3:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Back to my original response though - I suggest this would be better off being backed up by citing what makes this official and to what extent. I'm no longer confident in my answer on this question and would consider deleting it if I could (I can't, being accepted), given I think I misread some of what I cited. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 20 '15 at 3:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener If the game-recs go, then our draconian bandaid solution for them will go too, I have no doubt. Whether tool-rec and such will live on after is probably something that will take some time to shake out, but regardless they'll be managed on their own merits. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 20 '15 at 3:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Recs of any sort that don't follow GS/BS, I will personally take measures to stamp out... \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 21 '15 at 2:54

The game-recommendation tag applies to any recommendation question, per earlier discussions like Has [system-recommendation] grown too big for its britches?. In fact, we changed the tag from system-recommendation to game-recommendation to genericize it.

Note that this guidance is really just a codification of general SE best practices for an edge case where people seem really tempted to ignore them.

As a result, no, personal speculative opinions are not a valid answer. Neither is citing other peoples' personal speculative opinions. Only experience, personal or documented on behalf of someone else, is proper support for a subjective question. I'm not going to bother linking Good Subjective, Bad Subjective again, but read it, it applies to all subjective content on this SE. Of course, where there is objective content (e.g. this generates a higher DPS), that is not subjective and doesn't fall under that requirement.

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    \$\begingroup\$ -1: Expertise from things other than play experience is not 'personal speculative opinion'. And personal speculative opinion is not the only alternative to personal experience/documented experience of others. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 18 '15 at 18:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Obviously where the other documented information is stack valid it's stack valid, where it's not it's not. But you're drawing a false dichotomy between game-recs and any other question here, the GS/BS guidance applies to everything with a subjective component. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 18 '15 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not think our game-rec guidelines our equivalent to GS/BS. Our game-rec guidelines are significantly stricter and also approach things from a fundamentally different angle. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 18 '15 at 20:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do not believe that to be true. It is just a place where we explain GS/BS in detail for a specific use case and enforce it with deliberate zeal. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 18 '15 at 21:57

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