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I found myself browsing through the tag, and I think it needs a lot of help. I'm not sure it can be saved, but I'll outline the problems I'm seeing and maybe the community can come up with some good solutions.

Tag Description Overlap

First, we've got some tag overlap based on tag descriptions:

For questions primarily about characters. A character is being controlled in the game either by a player (player character) or the gamemaster (non-player character).

NPC (non-player characters) refers to any character in an RPG whose decisions and actions are handled by the game master (or a designated assistant) rather than by a player.

For questions about strictly, or primarily, adversarial characters controlled by the game master, use . Or for the main adversarial character(s) see For questions about characters controlled by the game master, but who acts alongside the player characters see .

For questions relating to characters controlled by players rather than by a game master.

Of these three, has by far the best guidance. It defines its scope, and has guidance for when to use an alternative tag instead. On the other hand, and have nearly identical descriptions, except that says it can also be about NPCs. I think we would prefer questions about NPCs to use the tag. Upon reviewing how the other tags are being used, it seems the rarely used (7 questions) tag is being used identically to one of the ways we are using the tag. I say "one of the ways" because is getting applied to a lot of stuff, which brings me to the second problem...

Tag Overuse

It seems to me that has more or less lost all its meaning because it has been applied to all sort of questions, really any time a player's character is mentioned, you might find the tag, even if the questions has nothing to do with the concept or idea of a character. For example, consider this question: Can one PC throw another?. This question is about the mechanics of throwing a person. It's a question about the mechanics of something a character does, not a question about characters. To give a rough estimate, it looks like around 28 out of the 80 open questions with the tag follow this pattern.

Next, 17 out of 80 open questions with are cotagged with . It is not clear to me that any of these 17 questions are different from the other 1,310 questions in the tag that aren't cotagged (as well as some questions tagged that were about character creation that didn't have the tag for it). Some of them might be, but the purpose of is pretty unclear to me at this point, so I don't know.

Next, most of the remaining questions that don't fit into the two bins above are specifically about player characters and how the players relate to their characters.

One more thing, 45 out of 125 questions with the tag have been closed, only 7 as duplicates. I'm not sure what to do with that, but it seems like an unusually high proportion.

All that said, I don't really have any idea what this tag is for, and unless someone has some good ideas for fixing it, retagging with and where appropriate and then burninating it might not be a bad idea.


Update March 10, 2022

Based on the unanimous voting pattern on my answer below, I have begun removing from the mechanical questions that weren't about the concept of player characters (see the answer for a list). Once I've finished, I'll notify the moderators to have them merge and . Keeping the pace at a modest five per day, I should be finished in less than a week.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My thoughts are distilled here \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's worth noting that the [player-characters] tag was created much more recently than the others (I believe), so a lot of the questions that are tagged with [character] should actually have the [player-characters] tag instead. (Personally, I don't think [character] serves much purpose on its own when the [player-characters] and [npc] tags - and other tags such as [character-creation] - exist and cover clearer ground.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Mar 10 at 2:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is now completed, with merging [character] into [player-characters] saving some 94 retags. If there are now oddly tagged questions in there, folks are free to fix those obviously. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Mar 29 at 21:01

1 Answer 1

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I recommend some retagging and then 🔥BURNINATION🔥

I thought about this for a couple days, and I've decided to recommend burninating the tag. I think that between the tags ,, , , and we can cover all of the questions that are actually about some kind of character, and I cannot conceive of a question about the concept of a "character" that isn't covered by one of our tags that qualifies the concept in some way.

That said, it will require some retagging before we burninate. Scrolling through that question list, it looks like a lot of these questions are good candidates for the underused tag. I recommend retagging these questions with and then burninating , which will remove it from all the questions that didn't need a character tag to begin with. Depending on how much daily retagging volume we're okay with, retagging would take 1-2 weeks. I can volunteer to handle this myself, and if there are any questions about what I'm doing, we should be able to resolve them in comments or chat, as usual.


I will maintain a list here of the questions from which I have removed :

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Depending on how many of the questions with the [character] tag should be retagged to [player-characters] (vs. how many shouldn't), it may also make sense to retag the questions that shouldn't have the [player-characters] tag, and then just merge the [character] tag into [player-characters] instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Mar 7 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Right, figure out which one requires less retagging, and do that one? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep. If the [character] questions are 90% [player-characters] questions, then a merge would be simpler after retagging the questions that don't fit; if the [player-characters] tag wouldn't make sense on most of them, then manual retagging might be better. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Mar 7 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast After some review, that's probably the way to go. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ In previous burninations I made a list of what questions were affected so that we had something to see if we wanted to reassess, revert, or just get some historic information that would simply vanish. It's not strictly necessary but it's record keeping that has no drawbacks. Let me know if you'd like me to compile a similar list, it becomes trivial effort with appropriate application of some client-side code. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10 at 13:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Good idea, I'll keep up with it here. Thanks for the input. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10 at 14:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ For whatever reason, an "empty" search for the tag sorts (on relevance) by number of tags, which might be a reasonably efficient way to find questions which need retagging (ie where the question isn't just noise). \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Mar 11 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil: Interesting! That could also be useful for finding questions that only have a particular tag and no others, e.g. before CMs completely get rid of a tag (that has too many questions to feasibly retag all of them manually). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Mar 12 at 2:50

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