At the time of this posting there are 1,406 posts (374 questions) about "spellbook" on RPG.SE. This is an area, along with copying of spells, that is a common source of questions at least for D&D 5e, where it might make sense to have a flag to attract expertise, and it also is a general concept that could be useful across many different RPGs.

Is there a strong reason to not add a tag?
(Also, since I made that mistake before, I would not go and add this in large swathes, only when I come across spellbook questions.)

I asked a question for when tags would be harmful, and so far got:

  • not useful (instead use a more general term like ) – could apply here
  • misleading (e.g. being added to non-wall spells) – very unlikely here
  • misinterpretable – very unlikely here
  • duplication, nearly fully intersecting an existing tag - this could apply with the current synonym pointing to the tag. Maybe it should be a synonym? Synonyms do show up the general term when typed into the search box.
  • can't be expert in - does not seem to apply here
  • displaces better tags, as there are only 5 slots

The last point seems to address my underlying question about long tail and real estate. For tagging a given post about spellbooks, both to attract expertise and to help with search, it would seem better to have more specific tags like than generic tags like . It is not possible to be an expert for "equipment" in the same way it is possible to be an expert for "spellbooks".

In the linked question, the argument is that tags that get used a lot get listed first, and then get used even more, and tend to displace other tags such as system identifiers for less common systems. If this is the case, then generic tags like are more harmful, as they generically apply to many more posts than more narrowly focused, specialized tags.
(For example, even if we tagged each of the 374 posts, this would put a tag at rank 61, while is at rank 31).

The only issue is if people add tags on all levels of abstraction, i.e. both and . Would this then be an indication that apart from a few high-level concept tags, we should not have any more specific tags at all?
After all, if I search for , which has only two uses, I still would find posts with the tag, even if they are listed dead last.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ 1st clarification, the 1406 posts are questions and answers which mention the word right (I'd assume that's how you've measured it)? If so, that number doesn't mean there's that many questions about spellbooks. Also, while we might technically be a forum (though that leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding) we sure ain't a wiki. We often use "stack" as the word to refer to main like that, if of interest. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Mar 13, 2022 at 10:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it is all posts, not limited to questions. I since also found that is an equipment synonym called "spellbooks" \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2022 at 10:33
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I was about chime in with that :) As far as I can tell there isn't a meta discussion about this (there needn't have been). That does inherently rework this to whether to break that synonym, which raises what it is "[equipment] search word" or "[equipment][wizard]" doesn't already cover? \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Mar 13, 2022 at 10:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess the use of tags is then not clear to me. I can search for spellbook without it being a tag, so what good are tags then? There certainly is [equipment][wizard] that is not spellbook related, for example spell foci, laboratories, robes, etc. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2022 at 10:43
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not always easy to pin down, and breaks down a little when we're down to these types of tags. From personal experience, tags are quite useful as filters when searching. That is searching for a different term and then including or excluding a tag. Watching isn't a big deal for such tags, nor specialized expertise really. I do see that there's some volume of undertagging so if we go with not breaking the syn, there's still some re-tagging to do here \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Mar 13, 2022 at 10:57
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ (And we should discuss retagging projects with others before undertaking them). \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2022 at 12:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin The use of tags is in the about-ness & discoverability. A few years ago I added some MTG tags on Board Games.SE. For each tagged mechanic you could do an equivalent word search, but 75%-90% of questions were just mentioning the term offhand and it wasn't really about that mechanic. That made it tricky to find questions about the mechanic. Subsequently one of those mechanics was found to have had the exact same Q asked three different times that we'd siply never found + closed as dupe. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2022 at 8:02

1 Answer 1


I see it as a reasonable tag.

Not really sure what else there is to say; the requirements for tags aren’t exactly stiff. I could see it being useful, and I can’t see it being problematic: that alone is like 90% of the way to justifying the tag.

As for whether it’d be different from , I’d say yes. D&D wizards use equipment other than spellbooks—and non-D&D wizards might not use spellbooks at all. Plus both D&D and the wide, wide world of non-D&D has things other than wizards that use spellbooks. For example, could easily be about an archivist or a wu jen, and not a wizard. But really, a question about a spellbook (at least in that system) is almost-always going to be equally-valid for all three: that means a question about spellbooks in that system really is much more than it is even if it does happen to be a wizard in a particular case.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Personal request, could I get some explanation for the downvotes? I'm interested in what peoples' thoughts are here. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17, 2022 at 12:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener: I'm also curious about that. I'm guessing it's just from people who disagree that the tag is necessary – but if people feel that way, I'd suggest that they also leave a separate answer explaining their argument against such a tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 17, 2022 at 22:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .