I'm not convinced that this question should have been closed: Looking for First Person, Physics based, Puzzle games

From what I see, two reasons have been given from Caleb and Gilles:

  • Too broad
  • No purpose

Too broad

The question had an initial burst of answers (only seven of them, mind you) - seven is not really "too broad" by any definition of the term, especially when you consider that the bulk of them were posted by two users (GnomeSlice and I).

No purpose

The purpose seems quite clear to me: the asker is looking for physics based puzzle games - it's right there in the title, and again in the body. This is no different from asking for a Self-hosted replacement for Github or a Cross platform JS/PHP editor software with FTP support and code hinting - and those are our two highest voted questions. The asker is clearly asking for a game with a very specific set of requirements, and that's exactly what we delivered.

It shouldn't (in my opinion) have been closed and it's a great example of a high quality game recommendation request.

With this in mind, can we get this reopened please? Or, can we get complete clarification on exactly why this was closed, as the reasons provided do not make sense (as explained above).


A good question has a purpose. A purpose is “I want to accomplish this”. It's a problem to be solved. Here, there is no problem to be solved, just “I'm looking for something with the following characteristics: …”. A purpose is “I need it for …”.

Without a purpose, what we have is not asking for recommendations, but for a list.

Recommendations have two dimensions: there are requirements, which decide whether a candidate is in or out. And there is the purpose, which decides how well the candidate matches.

Stack Exchange is a questions and answers platform. It does not cope well with lists of items. I've seen that time and time again on Science Fiction & Fantasy (and also on other sites). The end result is always a collection of items with no ranking that makes sense — whoever posts first gets the votes, with a bonus for popularity, but never any idea of answering the question.

The number of answers that have been posted is not a consideration (or at least only a minor one) in determining whether a question is too broad. You do not determine whether it's safe to jump from a building by jumping first and deciding that it was unsafe after all if you fall more than three floors. You look before leaping. By closing as soon as we realize that a question is problematic, we avoid wasting time on an unanswerable question.

It's been my experience (limited because the site was never very active) on Literature (now defunct) as well that good recommendation questions are the ones where the asker defines a purpose, such as designing a reading requirement for a course that must explore a literary period, or understanding the background of a certain writer. Recommendations of games, books and other entertainment material tend to be based on personal enjoyment, and this is intrinsically problematic. I don't claim that they cannot work on Stack Exchange, but they have unique challenges, distinct from the challenges of ordinary software recommendations where the software serves a purpose.

  • 7
    Using this justification, you're making all game recommendations off topic - which have already been declared by the community as on topic. Since all game recommendations will follow the same format, the purpose in the instance of game questions is "to find a game that meets these requirements"
    – Flyk
    Feb 22 '14 at 0:17
  • 5
    Consider this, the purpose of a game is "fun", now - fun, you might say, is subjective - but in this instance we've got a clearly defined list of what "fun" is - physics based, first person, puzzle game, with <features>. With that in mind, this question has a purpose.
    – Flyk
    Feb 22 '14 at 0:29
  • 2
    @Flyk The question doesn't define “fun”. It sets requirements. Requiring that, in addition to the requirements, the game be “fun” could work if you could convey what “fun” means for you — it probably doesn't mean the same thing as for me. I recommend reading Grace Note's answer as well — (s)he has a lot of experience of such questions. Feb 22 '14 at 0:33

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