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I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and honestly I'm quite conflicted.

I feel that any sport that really is a sport should be on topic here, regardless of it is on topic on another site. Overlap is fine. So the real question is, are e-sports sports?

E-sports is essentially glorified computer gaming. Instead of someone shooting hoops 16 hours a day to be a pro, they play a game (like Starcraft 2) for 16 hours a day.

Now the average athlete will tell you that gaming is about the most nonathletic thing you can do. I would contend for the casual gamer this is true. However professional gamers require great agility, coordination, and endurance to excel at their gaming.

  • In Starcraft gamers are often clocked at performing over 400 actions per minute. That's over 6 per second, consistently.
  • There are specific exercises pro gamers do to increase their agility, reduce repetitive strain injuries, and go for longer periods without a break.
  • Pro gamers practice mouse movements to achieve perfect mousing (that is, they aim to stop their mouse on the exact pixel they intend to) to prevent misclicks which can cost them the game.
  • There are athletic similarities between pro gaming and something like Table Tennis (which I imagine most would agree IS a sport). Consider the paddle to be like the mouse, and the spin/angle to be like the key-hand (pro gamers use a "mousing hand" and a "keyboarding hand").

Now it would seem that perhaps we might be tempted to say "If the question pertains to the athletic component, then perhaps it would be allowed, but the gaming component would not be allowed". But if that's the case, then what about a question about the Tampa Two defense? The athletics of defenders is merely an means by which they achieve their goal of fulfilling the strategy.

I'm sure I could come up with more rational arguments for why it should be allowed. And yet, I find myself unable to flat out say that e-sports would be on topic here.

Another thing I've considered is audience: is the audience that's likely to be on this site going to be able to answer expert level questions about e-sports? My initial thought is probably not. If people are brought to the site as a result of e-sports questions, are they likely to stay? Again, probably not.

So I remain 100% convinced that e-sports are indeed sports. I feel they meet the criteria. But at the same time, I feel they shouldn't be considered on topic. But then that violates the principle that we accept all sports.

So I open it up to the community for some input.


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    Depending on the question, but did it occur to you to ask them on Gaming? – Ivo Flipse Feb 15 '12 at 17:09
  • @Ivo I don't have a question that I need to ask. It's just something I've been weighing in my mind - the idea that pro gaming is a sport, the idea that I believe we should support all sports, and yet the idea that I'm not sure I feel it should be allowed. The three principles contract each other. For what it's worth, I would go to Gaming first - but I also don't feel that what is on topic on other sites should influence what is on topic on this site. – corsiKa Feb 15 '12 at 18:46
  • It seems to me that your bullet points also pertain to violin players. Or surgeons. I think the only possible connection between this site and e-games would be WII Sport type games where the player is actually swinging their hands to throw a ball. But playing Madden's latest version of football isn't a sport any more that playing Pacman is. – Mike Hedman Feb 16 '12 at 2:32
  • I could actually see the case for violin players. Disagree with surgeons unless there are surgery competitions (don't expect me to volunteer for that!) There is no doubt in my mind that e-sports are sports. Considering that ping-pong is widely considered a sport, and the mechanics are virtually identical (replace spin with keying) it would be entirely unreasonable not to also consider e-sports to be sports. My primary concern is that despite their being sports, I don't know if they're suited to this site - but if we open the door of "we don't welcome all sports" we need to justify why. – corsiKa Feb 16 '12 at 3:00
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Given the current discussion in What is counted as sport? where the focus is on the physical aspects of sports, then I would say no.

  • Being involved in that discussion as well, I don't find the same takeaway that the focus is on physical aspects. History, strategy, and regulation are just as important to the site. – corsiKa Feb 15 '12 at 10:10
  • Another aspect could be that there are very little - if none at all - common ground between the traditional sports, like running, biking, and swimming and the e-sports as outlined above. And if the site is going to be partitioned in two independent parts, then there really should be different sites. Or??? The only common aspect I can find here is the competitive mindset, but then one can argue that "anything" (= sport, game, etc) where you compete in on topic... And that will completely ruin the site, IMHO. – Tonny Madsen Feb 15 '12 at 10:44
  • Well not anything. For example chess has no athleticism to it, while progaming does. The outcome of a chess game will not be impacted by an individual's athletic ability - a programing game will. – corsiKa Feb 15 '12 at 15:35
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Another thing I've considered is audience: is the audience that's likely to be on this site going to be able to answer expert level questions about e-sports? My initial thought is probably not. If people are brought to the site as a result of e-sports questions, are they likely to stay? Again, probably not.

I think this is the critical point.

Regardless of everything else, when it comes to audience, there just isn't enough overlap to justify this. Especially in light of the existence of Gaming.SE.

While they may fit all kinds of criteria, the fact is that the audience just isn't here - it's elsewhere.

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