StackExchange Interactive Fiction Q&A site proposal

It looks like this hasn’t been mentioned on here yet, but a proposal has been added to StackExchange for an IF Q&A site: … xMkQVQ6gg2

I think this would be a great idea myself, so please sign up if you agree!

Why is it a better idea than using this web forum?

They’re two different things really.

Forums are great for discussing things, but a Q&A site works much better for specific answers to specific questions. The StackExchange system of reputation and voting makes it much more useful than wading through pages and pages of discussion in a forum.

My first impression of the link you gave is a riot of links and colors and icons. The page is so visually chaotic that I have a difficult time deciphering the individual posts, let alone finding the ones I need.

I have ADHD, however, so take it for what it’s worth.

The above link is just for the planning the eventual site, it doesn’t reflect the final layout. If the proposal is accepted it’ll first look like this before it gets its own theme like any of these sites.

As a regular user of, the one for general programming, I can say that it’s a very handy resource to have. For good, objective questions, it beats a forum by its structure alone. In a forum, a good answer could come halfway through the thread, on page 3, and then be drowned out by further discussion, whereas in a stackexchange site, the best answer rises to the top. That makes it much easier to refer askers of repeat questions to the best solution previously described. Of course it’s possible on a forum but I think it’s much more reasonable on a SE.

That said, the IF scene is, indeed, small and specific compared to a lot of the scenes represented by SE sites. Whereas a person looking for help with, say, a bioinformatics programming question might be overwhelmed by possible forums, blogs, articles, etc., I think an IF coder would very quickly end up at this site and find that it’s the go-to place to talk about such things. Thus, the SE would be redundant or it could split people’s attentions.

I think I’d vote in favor of it but I’m not actively involved in IF coding right now so my opinion’s a weak one.

I regularly use the site at, and it’s a pretty handy Q&A site. If an IF Q&A site was developed, I would support it as I could.

I think a StackExchange site would be great, and better than just this forum.

At least when it comes to programming related problems, Stack Overflow has been the most helpful resource in recent years. Especially for commonly asked questions/recipes.

Benefits over this forum:

  • Easier to search and get the answer you’re looking for. Also almost guaranteed to have the most up to date answer near the top.
  • Much easier to categorize questions. For example, using tags, you can essentially have a forum for each authoring system, instead of one for TADS, one for Inform, and one for “all others”. Have a conversation related question? You can limit your queries to it. NPC question? Search only for questions tagged with NPC.

I can’t think of any downsides, other than that many users will now go to two sites: This forum for ordinary IF related discussions, and StackExchange for technical questions about authoring systems. However, for someone who really needs to ask authoring related questions, there’s no doubt in my mind that StackExchange would be a better resource.

Should the StackExchange site be limited to technical questions about IF authoring systems? Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s been much more questions asked about IF design from before. I personally grok how a StackExchange site can be beneficial, but if it will be more about technical topics, I’d rather get into StackOverflow.

It’s still in the definition phase anyway, so there’s still much room for insight into this.

Perhaps it would be nice if one day this site was so busy that you’d have to search for answers to your questions. But for now, you can usually just ask them again and you’ll get good, fresh answers within hours, sometimes minutes. And that can be valuable, at least for I7, which is still changing so much.

Until that changes, I’m not sure a Q&A style site would be worthwhile.

Somebody asked for something like this here, a year or two ago. A way to mark a topic as “solved” and maybe designate the “best answer” if I remember. I don’t think anything like that is built into PHPBB3, but there might be a mod. At the expense of somebody’s time, it could even be done manually. Have a locked “Q&A Archive” board where a moderator basically re-posts questions and answers if it makes sense to do so, or maybe just moves the topic once it’s solved.

What I’d like even more than this would be some kind of account integration among the disparate IF-related sites: here, the IFDB, IFComp, etc. It would probably require a centralized account server and custom changes to all the existing sites (i.e., user authentication via web services or a CGI post/response). So it’s probably a pipe dream. Would be nice though.

I’d be willing to link in to this if anyone else was up for it. The new ADRIFT site does this, so the forum uses the same account as the adventures page, reviews etc. This has the benefit of linking reviews/ratings to forum accounts. Would be great to link in to all the other sites, altho I imagine it will require quite a bit of effort.