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I thought of this while reading the “this is DND-ish SE” answer. When the systems you play most have 0 and 11 questions, game tags aren’t a useful option to find questions interesting to you. How do you find questions that are helpful to read or for you to be able to answer?

  • As promising as the tag sounds, there have only been less than 10 open questions asked with this tag in the last year or so. It’s just not an effective tag, especially for new questions.
  • Filters looked like promising as well but you can’t make a tag filter that only ignores tags. The alternative, making a filter that looks for every non-system tag that exists, is unmaintainable.
  • Even ignoring tags doesn’t work. Ignoring DnD doesn’t create a useable question view. Questions that don’t require game/setting knowledge are filtered out because they happened to be tagged with a system tag. The remaining questions usually require knowledge of other systems you don’t play. (And because I’m likely going to play some DnD I would need to be continually switching out the list of ignored tags.)
  • At the cost of being hard to set up (you have to filter out DnD, Pathfinder, and then start ignoring other system tags which clutter the results), a search can almost work. Still, like before, there are questions that use a system tag when they don’t need a system answer that would be missed.
  • Self-answering is a potential option but not everyone wants to do this.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it's best to leave the function (and state) of the sys-ag tag to their own discussions and Q&A, a good starting point would be the relevant FAQ and probably check its linked questions for other aspects and details. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 1 at 22:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ignoring [DnD-*] isn't as bad as ignoring [documentation] used to be ... \$\endgroup\$ – Glorfindel May 3 at 7:52
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Most days, you can't, and you need to be okay with that.

I don't answer questions about D&D 5E mechanics at all. My top non-system tags are , , , , and . The questions I've answered under these tags tend to have the following things true about them, even if they're tagged with a system I don't answer mechanics questions for:

  • they don't mention system-specific mechanics in their title
  • they tend to attract a lot of answers

Of course, seeing mechanics in the title requires you to know a system well enough to recognize its mechanical elements, like spells and character classes. And if you're contributing to a question that has a lot of answers already, you'll really need to make a standout answer in order to get any attention on it.

Coming up with a good self-answered Q&A might actually be the easiest option. At least if you're playing a system with very few questions about it, it's easy to make sure it's not a duplicate! As long as you keep it to like one a day, and the question is a full description of a tricky problem you or someone in your playgroup has actually encountered in running the system, you're probably solid. See this Meta Q&A for more guidance: How legit is it to ask & answer some questions about my favorite RPG system (that I have contributed some small material to)?

Most days, I can't find a question on the site to answer. And I've learned to be okay with that.

Admittedly, this is because I rarely go history-diving anymore. The systems I do answer mechanics questions about have slightly better representation on-site, so when I history-dove, it was mostly for those rather than trying to get the whole history of, say, . There are mechanics questions where somebody already got the answer right, and questions with lots of answers where I don't think I'll be able to provide a usefully distinct perspective.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why can’t you find questions to answer anymore? (If the sheer number of answers on agnostic questions, then agreed.) Also I have to wonder about the reception of self answered questions in obscure systems as it’s always annoying to spend time on something and not see any interaction (or worse—people get tired of seeing your questions on the same topic and downvote, which I’ve seen elsewhere). \$\endgroup\$ – Laurel May 4 at 0:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Laurel: I think "self-answered questions in obscure systems" are totally fine, as long as they're good questions :) The more obscure the system, the less interaction there might be by others (because people not be familiar with the system), but there's nothing wrong with that. (A good question/answer may even draw people's attention even if they don't know the system all that well, just because the question and answer are well-written.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 4 at 3:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast heh, only if the question and answer are well written, I suspect. 😉 Badly written questions don't leave a good impression, regardless of system. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 4 at 16:57
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Search for tags that often describe system-agnostic problems.

Some notable candidates that immediately come to mind are , , and . In these three tags, we have 29, 127, and 41 open question cotagged with . Many of these questions will have system specific solutions, but there are often system agnostic solutions worth presenting as well. Your mileage may vary, just be sure that a system agnostic solution is appropriate.

To find more promising candidates, search and see which tags often describe these system agnostic questions, and search for those tags.

Long Term: Use the system agnostic tag where appropriate.

I've compiled a somewhat lengthy list of questions tagged that do not have or any system tag1. I'm not saying every question there needs the tag, but I'm sure it would be appropriate for some of them.


1 I haven't elimated all of the system tags from this search yet, but I got most of them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is probably a good approach (I'm leaving the sys-ag issue for elsewhere though), though the example choice gives the unfortunate impression that there's only problems-at-the-table left. Would probably be good to expand that list with eg. gm-, player-techniques, roleplaying. The key here would be to find tags which (try to) represent those concepts which contain cross edition utility/expertise. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 3 at 20:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil I agree, though I feel that there is broad community pressure (especially intense with new users) to define a game system when posting a question. My impression is that quite a few system-tagged questions are really asking system-agnostic questions, which has narrowed use of the latter tag to questions where the issue can't be pigeonholed that way. And that happens to encompass mostly problems-at-the-table, and maybe not a whole lot else. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case May 3 at 20:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Upper_Case A question can be about (and should thus be tagged) a specific system, without it being system specific expertise which resolves the problem. What expertise is needed for a problem isn't something for the tag system can handle perfectly, but it can help find if used correctly \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 3 at 20:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I called creating a list of tags for a filter unmaintainable in the question but I can’t help but wonder if we can get a good enough list together. (It doesn’t need to be perfect—even the most popular such tags could do something.) \$\endgroup\$ – Laurel May 4 at 0:34

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