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There seems to be a bit of support for the idea of using meta to advertise about games we in the community are running or planning to run. I'd like to ask about whether and how we might do that here.

Last month, Thales asked about a RPG.Exchange Virtual Tabletop (or almost that) for organising and scheduling games within our community. Some of us have done this in chat previously, but not everyone is interested in SE chat. I floated the idea we could do that on meta; I posted in chat about it and got some stars, a couple of chatizens seem enthusiastic. That's not earthshattering demand, but it isn't nothing and seems desired enough to be worth considering.


Can we use RPG Meta to organise and advertise for games? And if so, how should we go about that?

I feel like it's not necessarily totally outside our scope. Other sites have used their metas for community events, and I feel like this is reasonably in that vicinity. It's definitely up for discussion though and I'm not comfortable leaping into doing this without some OK from the community.

A point to solidly consider for yourself: if we did this, would you use it, or feel better for it being a thing our community does with each other?

Some thoughts that come to mind include using a specific new tag (like ) for posting about games in questions if volume is low, and if it becomes large enough, move to having a singular question with ads in answers that gets refreshed every now and then, like how our work.

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No

Meta is specifically for discussing site operations, it's not a main site where the rules don't apply. It's counterintuitive except for site insiders that anything besides site business would be happening here, and it certainly doesn't make use of our format well (the reason it wouldn't be done on the main site either).

Maybe instead start a LFG chat room that can be used for that purpose. Putting together games is a more transitory activity anyway, and better suited to a more transitory format. People have enough trouble finding the key rulings on meta without digging through old game formation posts. And those posts are severely time-limited and of interest to only a couple people at a time - just a bad for for our site format. We shouldn't push any kind of bad-fit content to meta, this is just one example of that.

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Yes.

I'm one of the chatizens mentioned in the initial question. I'm very much in favour of having a place on Meta where members of this community can find and organize games.

The motivation for this is pretty simple: I find that the members of this community that stick around are generally people that I'd like to play games with. Currently, the only way to organize such a game is through chat.

I find chat to be a pretty limiting vector for finding a group for two reasons. First, there is a very small proportion of the site's userbase that uses chat. I'm fairly certain that there are many RPG.SE users that would be potentially interested in an RPG.SE game, but aren't typically on chat. The second is how localized a chat message is. If I post a message in chat saying that I'm interested in starting a game, it's very unlikely that a chatizen is going to see it unless they're actually in the chat.

Moving game ads from chat to meta addresses both issues. A much larger portion of our community reads meta than chat. In addition, meta questions will occasionally be linked on the main site as Hot Meta Posts, increasing their general-community visibility significantly. Also, a meta question is much more persistent and easy to find than a chat message, especially since searching through chat is so much more difficult that searching through meta.

The primary focus for Meta is to handle general site operations, but it's been used by other stacks as a place to handle various community gatherings. As an example, Arqade has a community-events tag that they have been using for a while for their bimonthly movie nights.

What I propose is this:

As a temporary measure, we allow questions on Meta.

This would work like our experiment with on Main. We acknowledge that an ad for a community game might not exactly fit the mission statement of Meta, but it's also a really useful tool for our community if used properly. We would then allow these questions to be on-topic for a fixed length of time, say, six months, and then we re-assess.

While the tag ended up not being a success in the end, I think it shows that we have the ability to run these sorts of experiments in expanding our ability to serve the needs of our community.

Since we still want to avoid unhelpful or low-quality questions, we would need some additional rules for questions like this to be on-topic. The intent behind these rules is to ensure that a reasonable community member can look at the question and know whether or not they would be interested in the game before responding.

  • The question must state what game system or systems are intended to be used. Saying "I'd like to run something either in Fate or Dungeon World" is fine, but "I'll run whatever" is too broad.
  • The question must give a brief summary of any important non-system details (like game setting, the software to be used, etc.).
  • A method of contacting the game-runner. This doesn't have to be any kind of formal contact info like an email address, but could just be "use @DuckTapeAl to contact me in chat".
  • A deadline for joining. There should be a definite cutoff for times when it is appropriate to attempt to join such a game, so that we don't continually get posts on a particular ad, years later.

With such a list of requirements, I think we could have questions like this that have a high quality bar, and can reasonably be used to organize community games.

I don't believe that this would appreciably add to the issue of clutter on Meta. I haven't personally run into any issues finding important rulings on Meta, but I don't think that there will be enough posts of this type to make it more difficult to find things here. Based on the frequency of game ads that I see as a moderately-active chatizen, I would expect roughly one game ad per month to end up on Meta, assuming that more game ads are posted as the idea gains visibility. I count 23 Meta questions asked in the past month, so I don't think game ads will ever be a significant source of Meta posts. In addition, it's fairly easy to exclude particular tags in a search with -[tag], or even hide them entirely if you're not interested in seeing them at all.

I believe that community game ads like this would serve a valuable function to members of our community, while not hindering the normal functions of the Meta site.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate the work that's gone into this proposal, but I don't really see much chance for success. We dropped game recs because folks were unable to follow even the basic network's "good subjective" rules, and you want to introduce a tag with four new specific guidelines. Stars and pins have worked well for the problem of chat's 'transience,' while on meta we frequently get people confusing five-year-old posts for new ones, so that's a tossup if not a point in favour of chat over meta. I'd be a lot more optimistic if we drew on experience from other Stacks who've organised similar events. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Nov 9 '16 at 8:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that something that requires strict formulation rules is unlikely to be successful, because those to whom the rules are inconvenient will decline to follow them. If we're comparing it to [game-rec] it's probably too strict. Community moderation is also slower on meta (the moderation queues are slightly out of the way). Using answers in a single question would keep noise levels down and make posts we perceive as low quality less impactful to the community, for example. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 9 '16 at 12:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem about things being open after a long long time might be solved if questions for game groups are automatically put on hold, preventing any answers to them, and possibly quick deletion after the deadline is passed. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Nov 10 '16 at 9:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Any work we do is going to need to be manual. There's no periodic close automation on Stack Exchange -- even the community ads refresh is done manually by staff. The delete automation features will also not work to our favour, since they're not intended for this purpose. Staff developers extending special features here is unlikely, so we should not rely on any special treatment. (RPG Stack Exchange itself has no special dedicated developers.) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 10 '16 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Honestly, the first two guidelines at least seem like basic "not too broad, not unclear" material, so there's really only two new guidelines for this, one of which is painfully obvious (there needs to be contact info to run a game off-site? you don't say!) and the other also quite obvious and rather well-supported by other community events run by e.g. SE staff. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Nov 12 '16 at 0:03

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