Maybe we need tag-level descriptions (no, seriously)

Andris and I have been talking about what kind of data can reasonably be pulled out to specs from gamedev questions, especially the really generic (and really really popular) 2D Game Engines. Parallel to this, he’s been wondering if I could write a primer on the essential parts of a game engine targeted at total noobs (with him as the test case). The following conversation ensued after I flooded him with a page and a half of stat column idea analysis:

andris [2:20 PM]
Hmm. Yeah, I think an intro into all of this would be super-helpful. And don’t think it’s worth gathering info on all options. Just, say, top 3 to use as an example and then just let it sit until front-end specs are implemented and people can do that on their own. (edited)

tejon [2:21 PM]
We’ll need a place to put intros, heh.
I vote not Quora.

andris [2:22 PM]
What do you mean?
Why not question description?

tejon [2:22 PM]
I suppose that could work, I just worry about how long it might get.

andris [2:23 PM]
We’ve written longer than these.

tejon [2:24 PM]
Yeah, I didn’t say I was a fan of that. :wink:
Also, the longer it is the more I agree with Stuart about duplication being a bad thing. An intro of this type is applicable to the whole category, should it be on all of them? If it’s only on one, there’s a pretty big decision to make between 2D Game Engines (the most popular) and Game Engines for Beginners (the most likely to need an intro).

tejon [2:26 PM]
This conversation should probably move to meta.

So what it boils down to is, do we want to have a place for categorical consumer education? There’s certainly public value to it, I’d feel like just putting it in a shared Google Doc would be a waste of potential, and in the long run no matter how good a job I do I’m sure it could be improved by public editing.

But on the other hand, it might lie slightly outside our focus. It almost seems like this belongs on a companion site, some sort of ConsumerWiki. Counter to that, integration equals access, and we’re actually getting to the point where dangling this from our brand might get more eyes on it than a no-name Gamasutra blog post – and if the concept is extended to other consumer education (why are health supplements the first thing I thought of?) there’s no one site that would be appropriate for everything we cover. And it does fit our general purview of “get knowledge where it’s needed.”

I can see this working for explaining what the tag is or covers, less for explaining how to make decisions within that tag. I still think that’s question-level information.

Take the 2D & 3D game engine questions. While there’s considerable amount of information overlap between them, there are enough differences that the same q-descr couldn’t be used for both.

The issue of course is duplication.

I understand that we will be able to avoid duplication penalties for options/pros/cons via some sort of meta linking.

Can we maybe apply similar principles to q-descriptions?

And to address if we want that information, here’s my thought process:

A user lands on a question with a query “best game engine”.

I’m pretty confident that the number one use-case for this query is someone who doesn’t know where to start with his research. I think that explaining the basics of the subject is an excellent opportunity to add value to the user and creates a complete vertical experience.