It is defined here what is on-topic on the AU Meta site. That currently being:

Meta Ask Ubuntu is the part of the site where users discuss the workings and policies of Ask Ubuntu rather than discussing Ubuntu itself. It is separated from the main Q&A to reduce noise there while providing a legitimate space for people to ask how and why this site works the way it does. Meta is for...

  • ...Ask Ubuntu users to communicate with each other about Ask Ubuntu (asking questions about how the websites work, or about policies and community decisions)

  • ...Ask Ubuntu users to communicate with Stack Overflow the company (posting bugs, suggesting improvements, or proposing new features), and

  • ...Stack Overflow the company to communicate with the community (soliciting feedback on new ideas or features, or discussing policies that affect the whole network)

But recently I saw this which was posted a few years ago by @NathanOsman. Now as this does not match the rules above I would say that it is off-topic because Meta, as defined by those rules, is a place to post about the Ask Ubuntu website, as well as to communicate with Stack Overflow, and for Stack Overflow to communicate with us, but nowhere there does it mention anything about social announcements of leisure activities which may interest the community but have nothing to do with Ask Ubuntu, or Ubuntu, for that matter.

But after looking at the post, I see that it has been rather well received by normal users and moderators alike.
So if this is what the community wants to be on-topic, then it should be defined in the page that I linked which contains the description and what is allowed on the Ask Ubuntu Meta site, or that question should be closed as off-topic.

(The reason why I am bring this up now is because I understand that @NathanOsman is soon to post another one of these posts so it came to my attention and I thought I would ask on Meta about this seemingly off-topic question which has not been closed as such when the rules clearly currently state that it should be.)

Please note that if this is a question which is concidered on-topic, I am only proposing for the rules to be amended (because I don't see how "asking questions about how the websites work, or about policies and community decisions" covers these sorts of social announcements which have very little (if anything) to do with Ubuntu or Ask Ubuntu, and even if you are going to argue that the game is running on an Ubuntu server and thus it is on-topic, then how far does that go? Is a question on-topic about a picture of a Panda if I happen to take it with an Ubuntu phone?), however if this question is not on-topic, then it should be closed.

Clarification: The reason why I have put the is because I am saying that if the community wants social announcements such as this to be on-topic, then the help section should be edited, until then, it is very confusion what is on-topic and what is not because it doesn't clearly say that this is.

  • Good question, I too saw this post a while ago. I was not part of it but I guess they let it go because of the low traffic of meta making it a bit more relaxed on the rules, looking forward to a good answer for this +1 – Mark Kirby Jan 9 '16 at 23:14
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    As the user in question, yes, I suppose this is worth clarifying. I personally don't see anything wrong with posting about community-rallying events. – Nathan Osman Jan 10 '16 at 0:19
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    For now, I think we should continue to use posts. @Nathan If the frequency increases, we can rope in a moderator and start using proper community events. – muru Jan 10 '16 at 8:27
  • What's the feature request here? – muru Jan 11 '16 at 5:27
  • @muru: That if the post really is on-topic that the rules on the help section should be amended. – user364819 Jan 11 '16 at 11:18
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    @muru: Ok, but there needs to be at least some sort of clarification in this area because now I'm really not sure what I can and cannot post here. It seems to me that if people upvote it it's allowed, and if they downvote it it's not. – user364819 Jan 11 '16 at 11:39
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    But that could cause a really unfair system because maybe a person will post about one game and people will like it an consider it on-topic, but then someone else will post another game and people won't like that game so that post will become off-topic even though the two are extremely similar and it's just people having their own personal opinions and discriminating against one. – user364819 Jan 11 '16 at 11:39
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    You're essentially making a mountain out of a non-existent molehill. The posts aren't closed, nobody has actually voiced any complaints about them, yet here you are using ridiculous comparisons and hyperbole to make an issue of it. Your entire post is just bikeshedding, plain and simple. – muru Jan 11 '16 at 13:30
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a non-issue. – muru Jan 11 '16 at 13:30
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    The rules are really unclear at the moment on this, and really need to be made clearer, what's the problem with that? People have even agreed with me on that. – user364819 Jan 11 '16 at 13:38
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    And I am disagreeing with that, since a) as the post I linked to shows, meta is meant to be inclusive, and not exclusive, so by current rules these posts need not be closed, b) but they are not closed, so you're discussing a non-existent issue, and c) as long as nobody objects and closes these posts, what's the need to debate it? – muru Jan 11 '16 at 13:40
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    @muru: It doesn't need to be exclusive, it is more clear on some of the other stuff with "asking questions about how the websites work, or about policies and community decisions", so why can't it be made more clear on this? Also, I object, and have cast a close vote on these social announcement posts because currently it is very unclear if they are on-topic or not (I guess you only care though if they actually get closed). It would really be nice if it was made more clear because how should one know what is on-topic and what is not then? Is everything on-topic here? – user364819 Jan 11 '16 at 13:47
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    "why can't it be made more clear on this?" Because it leaves the community room some leeway for their own interpretation. "I object, and have cast a close vote on these social announcement posts because currently it is very unclear if they are on-topic" So you voted to close even though you don't know if they are? You're misusing your powers? "how should one know what is on-topic and what is not then?" There exists something could reasonability. Something which you have an apparent lack of understanding of. "Is everything on-topic here?" And with your hyperbole again. – muru Jan 11 '16 at 13:50
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    is not the community deciding whether or not to collectively play a game a dicussion about community decisions? – Mateo Jan 11 '16 at 17:41
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    Usually if one is not sure but thinks something might be off-topic, a way of finding out is to vote and then see what the others think in the review queue. – user364819 Jan 12 '16 at 10:53

Quote from the linked What's Meta page

Unlike normal Stack Exchange sites, Meta invites the community to discuss, debate and propose changes to the way the community itself behaves, as well as how the software itself work

If we consider that clause, it appears that Nathan's post does not violate any policies or regulations of Meta site. The post invites the community members to strengthen relations between community members through a game of multiplayer.

The way I see it, it is in no way different form a company department using company email to invite it's employees to participate in a little department luch/party/other event.

However, I do believe that moderators should take this to the attention and decide whether or not such posts ( although don't seem to occur too much ) have legitimate place on meta. We do have community chatrooms where users can discuss topics non-related to StackOverflow or Ubuntu , so perhaps these would be more appropriate places for such discussions as gaming between community members, but so far it's defined nowhere that such discussion is off-topic on Meta

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    "propose changes to the way the community itself behaves", I would say that that refers to policies and how the community behaves in that way. Though it is not really elaborated on so there is some room for interpretation. I think though that it should be decided whether they are allowed or not, and then it should be stated in the help section rather than just leaving the rules in their current unclear state. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 18:32
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    Agreed, we do need clarity in the rules – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Jan 10 '16 at 18:34
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    You could take this section to mean really what you want, but it is not explicitly stated what this means, and one can just assume, and I would assume that this refers to policies. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 18:34

I'm not a moderator, so I'll just be stating a personal and subjective opinion:

The Prime Directive is:

Meta Ask Ubuntu is the part of the site where users discuss the workings and policies of Ask Ubuntu rather than discussing Ubuntu itself.

So nothing further needs to be quoted as anything that follows the Prime Directive is subservient to that one.

So IMNSHO, anything that improves inter-human communication and leads to discussion can be posted here on meta:

  • philosophical questions about real questions on the main site.
  • statements that leads to discussion and policy change (or sets existing policy into stone)
  • improvement of inter-human communication by:
    • inviting your fellow Ask Ubuntu co-workers to your birthday party
    • inviting everyone in a certain geographical location to a pub spree
    • inviting people that have become more then acquaintances but are still less then friends to a friendly game of let-me-demolish-your-castle-before-you-demolish-mine running on Ubuntu over the Internet...

Where are the disadvantages? None that I can see...
Where are the advantages? Better inter-human communication!

Edit: So what I'm trying to convene here is: meta and the chat are different from the main site: On the main site, we put our professional hat on, but in meta and chat, we're letting our hair down... And as downvotes and upvotes are unlimited here and don't cost us any rep, we're more critical and more relaxed at the same time! >:-)

You shouldn't be needing a Vorlon disguised as a statue to point out that anything improving inter-human communication is good for your planet!

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    Until they explicitly say this in the rules section it will remain off-topic. Because they do not actually say anything about "improving inter-human communication", they say "where users discuss the workings and policies of Ask Ubuntu rather than discussing Ubuntu itself", nothing there suggests that one can post things not related in any way to the site. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 11:38
  • This is also slightly worrying because it suggests that the rules say one thing, but depending on who's online and how they feel, anything is allowed. So if it is not defined in the rules, how can one know what is on-topic and have a fair system? – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 11:38
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    If this is what the community wants, then the rules should be amended, until then, it remains off-topic. And by your logic, one could probably argue for anything to be posted here, even for me to start posting cute pictures because it may improve how humans feel. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 11:41
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    I'm sorry not to have been clear enough, but you don't seem to be getting my point: the community decides what's on- and off-topic here; cute pictures that will make people feel good would be downvoted into oblivion (my guess, but I could be wrong: try it out ;-)) whereas this has 21 upvotes at the time of this writing! :-) :-) :-) – Fabby Jan 10 '16 at 15:05
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    So one just has to post and see if it is accepted by the community? That doesn't seem very fair because that will depend on who's online, their opinions, and how they are feeling. The reason we have a rules section is to clearly define what can and what cannot be posted here, if the community wants something to be allowed which currently is not in the rules section then the rules should be amended, not just ignored. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 17:35
  • We should have dynamic rules that can change, but we shouldn't just say "ignore the rules and look at the votes you get" because which day I post my post on then could make all the difference. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 17:35
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    It's going to become very confusing and unfair if on one day a post is allowed, and on another it is not just because of who's around. If Meta is more of a relaxed place where you can put these kinds of social announcements, then please, amend the rules. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 17:36
  • The prime directive is "Meta Ask Ubuntu is the part of the site where users discuss the workings and policies of Ask Ubuntu rather than discussing Ubuntu itself. " anything following that is subservient to the prime directive! ;-) editing again... – Fabby Jan 10 '16 at 17:37
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    "the workings and policies of Ask Ubuntu", I don't see how that includes these sorts of social announcements that have nothing to do with how the site works nor its policies. But if this is so, then the rules should be edited to say it in a more clear way, until then, it's going to remain very confusion and an opinionated discussion of how to perceive the meaning of that sentence. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 17:40
  • Who wrote these rules anyway? Maybe we could ask them to come in and clarify... – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 17:41
  • Also in brackets after that sentence it says "asking questions about how the websites work, or about policies and community decisions", so I don't see how social announcements come under any of those, and that is the further explanation of that sentence. – user364819 Jan 10 '16 at 17:45

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