A recent meta post about the efficacy of game-rec questions, which had the initial tone of "How are we doing with this question type?" became a tacit vote to ban the question type.

This is problematic. Reading the question, and the first few answers does not make it clear that casting a vote of "Yes, we need to look at this type of question" (the tone of the original post), would be a vote to ban the post type. This caught me off guard, and apparently one third of the users who saw the announcement.


2 Answers 2


The mods were surprised by the overwhelming support for the view that "the guidelines don't work and should be abandoned" (+19/−3, and twice the score of any other feedback).

Given the steadily increasing resistance to the guidelines in practice, followed by that unexpected and overwhelming support for a late suggestion to abandon them, holding a vote-to-confirm-the-votes to revert to Stack Exchange norms would have been superfluous. (We've all known the GM who calls for multiple rolls until a preordained result is rolled—calling for votes to confirm votes has the same problem.) Even then we sat on it to see if there was a reversal coming, until it was past obvious that it was a fait accompli and was waiting only to be implemented. Or more accurately, for our peculiar policy to be recinded.

We also knew there would be objections after recinding it. That is the nature of policy changes.

Regardless: the observed problems with recommendations under that policy, and the reasons for proposing abandoning it, haven't changed. Those reasons can still be challenged, and the feedback meta is still open to answers. Unless there is a clear reversal of consensus there and attendant support for reinstating the policy, there is no reason to return to the previous status quo.

There is also nothing preventing, alternatively, a new suggestion for a policy to permit recommendations at RPG.se. What we have learned about the strengths and weaknesses of the previous policy might even give such a proposal a fighting chance at being effective.

Policy formation at SE is like that: formed organically by talking about what needs doing and coming to decisions. There isn't a formal process, just this free-form use of meta.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 19 may be overwhelming in terms of number of people who voted, but it's still tiny fraction of the community. \$\endgroup\$
    – Barret
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 14:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Drew That's the nature of Meta: decisions are made by those who actively participate. If that seems unfair, consider then that it takes just as many/few to make the kind of new or reverse decisions I mention toward the end of this post. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 17:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Policy reversals suck. We don't want to be doing that a lot, or encouraging a system where that happens a lot. As a new user trying to learn about this site via meta undocumented policy changes were a royal pain, ad whether 5 votes or 10 votes or whatever was enough was never clear to me. And sometimes super highly rated posts don't matter anymore because they've been superceeded by a much lower rated newer post (like in this case). Doing this on occasion is necessary, and the big official saying what's going on post you made is helpful for making this kind of thing good/ok. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ But in any case, establishing policy is much much easier than reversing it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 19:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Yeah, a reversal is unlikely except with (to overuse the word) an overwhelming amount of cogent argument for it. If that was going to happen it would have probably shown up in reaction to the voting on the "ban 'em" proposal, and it didn't, so chances are slim that there is actually much real will to figure out how to fix game-rec. I could still be wrong and be surprised, but if I am, it'll be an awesome proposal, so that's ok. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 19:22

I agree this was unfortunate and inappropriate from the standpoint of jurisprudence. Nonetheless, it's not clear to me that proper procedure would have yielded a different result and the inappropriate action was neither intentionally abusive nor particularly egregious.

I propose we agree that answering with a plan for community action drawing on the other answers on a 'Community Self Evaluation' meta is in bad form. It should probably have been done as a second meta being like "Ok, we've got this data from the community self evaluation, what do we think we should do from here?" "A: all this stuff, so lets not do game-rec any more".

I understand SSD's position that holding a vote to confirm a vote is superflous. The problem is that the first vote never really happened in a nice clear unambiguous manner in the first place, and really shouldn't have been happening where it did anyways. I mean, I disagree with a lot of what he said in the meta answer, but I upvoted it anyways because I thought it was well worded and extremely relevant for the follow up discussion I figured we'd have. Luckily I realized it was turning into a 'lets decide to do this by upvoting this' post before I could no longer reverse my vote, but still.

In any case, I think trying to do anything about this specific issue other than agreeing that it was, in fact, a bit of a screw up, would be more work than it'd be worth and would likely go badly anyways. We don't have mistakes like this very often and it's unfortunate that it happened on something as important as this, but important things are always woollier so it's not entirely unexpected.

Let's hope to do better next time :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Pretty much exactly how I feel and couldn't put into words. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 22:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ re: your third paragraph, remember that votes on meta are there to indicate agreement, it's not like voting on the main site. When you upvote something on meta it's saying "I agree with this" (see: rpg.stackexchange.com/help/whats-meta) \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 12:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WaxEagle That bit only applies to questions tagged feature-request. The preceding paragraph explicitly says upvotes are for "well-written, well-reasoned, well-researched posts," which "may become part of the community-curated FAQ or codified as part of the site’s Help pages." The "I agree" bit is preceded by "On posts tagged feature-request..." The Meta post in question wasn't a feature-request, so it's reasonable for people to assume normal voting patterns apply. \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle no, that's one part of what voting on meta means, and it means that mostly just for proposals (though the help center erroneously says just on feature requests). SSD's answer, being part of an open discussion of how people feel on a community eval, I did not immediately read as a proposal so much as saying that this was what he thought, and why. I figured we'd see a nearly identical post elsewhere as a proposal and that it was put here that way just cause that tone is how SSD writes a lot of the time of meta. I voted it as useful as per the meta voting guidelines for discussions. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 16:43

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