I have noticed tonight that there are a few (count 7) questions asked in the space of 3 hours about the game Mahjong. All by the same user.

http://boardgames.stackexchange.com/users/60/mafutrct

From the few that have answers, they seem to be very basic, simple Google Search type answers. I would class this as spam. Should these questions be closed, or are they relevant enough to be "on topic".

I assume the same action should be taken as the Poker Questions http://meta.boardgames.stackexchange.com/q/92/7, so I will flag and vote to close.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

This is a bit different than the poker questions. It's not nearly at the same rate, nor are the questions nearly so formulaic. I think that we should warn mafutrct that asking a series of such similar questions, with such easily Googleable answers, in so short a period, could be seen as spam; point them at this thread. I don't think that this warrants immediate action, except for closing any questions that we would close if they were posted alone.

One of the reasons I hesitate is that many of the questions seem genuine; mafutrct is quoting some set of rules that he finds unclear, and asking for clarification on them. It may be that he is simply getting into mahjong at the moment, and looking for resources for help as he learns.

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Agreed. Reducing to one or two a day, say, would make it nonobjectionable to me. –  Erik P. Oct 28 '10 at 4:15
    
I think the same. Not good questions but if @mafutrct doesn't abuse, they still be open. –  bigown Oct 28 '10 at 4:42
    
Agreed, these are better questions than the poker series, although still spammy. –  lilserf Oct 28 '10 at 4:54

We've gone to the opposite extreme of most SE sites, and seem to panic every time it looks like somebody is asking a lot of questions -- that's the whole point of the site. It doesn't matter how trivially easy the answers are to find elsewhere, that doesn't impact their viability on the site. The spam flag is intended for posts like "hey guys, go to this website to buy sweet handbags at 80% off!"; multiple related questions simultaneously are definitely not spam. The poker questions were an edge case because they were literally copy/pasted with a couple words changed, but these aren't nearly that bad, they're real questions

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I admit I definitely jumped the gun on flagging some of these posts, and you make a good point -- we should not be deterring people from asking questions. I apologize for being too hasty. –  LittleBobbyTables Oct 30 '10 at 2:04

As the person in question, I'd like to confirm that I am getting into Mahjong currently. I do not completely understand the rules yet, nor am I familiar with the slight or not so slight differences between rulesets. I already did some googling but it was nowhere enlightening enough to answer all my questions*. I was hoping that people familiar with the game could shed some light on the issues I have trouble with.

I also planned on having a site specific to Mahjong (Area 51 proposal) but it was closed because "this site can provide a home to the questions" - so I went ahead and added the questions I had to this very site. I did not intend any harm.

Finally, but this is a minor point compared to the above, I've had a similar discussion before (sitting on the other side of the table) and it was confirmed to me that time and order of questions should not affect their "rating" (this happened on SO more than a year back). Edit: Having read the thread about poker spam, I agree that my behavior in this case may have (I'd like to quote this) "caused discomfort", and I'll try and restrain from posting so many question in a short timeframe in the future. Does not hurt to wait a day.


*Also, I believe that googleable questions are welcome on SE, at least that is the policy over at SO.

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Thanks for replying! Yes, I don't think you're doing anything wrong in each individual question, it was just a lot of questions at once; and after the poker spam, we are a bit wary about that. Easily Googlable questions aren't unwelcome, but we'd prefer not to have too many of them; if you just spread your questions out a bit more, they would be fine. –  Brian Campbell Oct 28 '10 at 15:28

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