I found that the tag exists. For convenience, here is the tag excerpt:

In Mage: the Ascension, quintessence is the substance that makes a thing "real" or "actual."

And tag wiki:

In Mage: the Ascension, quintessence is the substance that makes a thing "real" or "actual." It's manipulated through the Prime Sphere. Mages store it within their Patterns and spend it to augment spells or create magickal effects. These questions relate to the collection, use, and lore behind this substance.

At the time of writing this, nine questions are tagged with it.

The tag wiki is entirely correct: quintessence is a term with associated mechanics in Mage: The Ascension (MtAs) game which is part of the old/classic World of Darkness lineup. However, I hardly see how it is relevant to have its own tag. It only applies to MtAs games and there is not much knowledge that is related directly to quintessence that is not just knowledge of the lore and mechanics in MtAs games.

I wonder - is this tag really needed?


1 Answer 1


You're sort of asking the wrong question here. No tags are needed; tags being “quintessential” or “really needed” are not requirements we apply to them.

All that a tag needs to do here to justify its own existence is to describe the topic of a question so people can find it and not cause problems. The quintessence tag is doing this job just fine: people can have questions about quintessence and this tag will help them find answers. It's also fine if it's describing a mechanic in only one system.

The tag isn't un-useful, or broken, or problematically nonspecific, and doesn't appear to be causing any chronic overcrowding of the tag line. It's also not a meta-tag (factoring in that the only-tag test is different here).

Other sites you're familiar with may have rules localised to them that would have a tag like this removed, but we don't have any of those to apply here.

By any measure quintessence appears to be a perfectly good tag doing a good job. The question seems to be asked on a basis that the requirements to keep a tag are steeper, that it must do more to justify its own existence, but that's just not the case here. It's a good tag, having it is free, everything is OK here.

If you want to learn more about which tags we have dropped in the past and why, check out our list. Do note some of these requests were declined.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "As a general rule, you should avoid creating new tags if possible, and new users are not allowed to create new tags. Even if you have sufficient reputation, you should only create new tags when you feel you can make a strong case that your question covers a new topic that nobody else has asked about before on this site." I don't feel "not cause problems" is a strong case. Perhaps the Help article should be updated to not make it sound like tags need a case made for them when the opposite seems to be true - tags only don't need a case against them to exist. \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Jun 3, 2022 at 9:55
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ That particular guidance is sort of not written for our site—as shown by it apparently being written under the impression that a new tag is created only when no other tags whatsoever are relevant to the question. If we followed that guidance we'd only have system tags. All that we need that's described in there is that the tag describe a new topic, which [quintessence] does. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2022 at 9:59
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ (Now, granted, some sites like Arqade and Board Games very closely follow those rules to the point that game system tags are basically all they have, but this site doesn't do that since it's more useful for us to drill down into more specifics.) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2022 at 10:03

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