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I wanted to start a discussion about a new feature request related to tags. I am proposing that there might be value in upgrading the tags system and offering more thorough presentations of tags, what each tag should be used for, and examples of appropriate questions for tags.

This is related to the recent Should we tag for play style and mode, more often? discussion question, but is also related to my own personal new user experience of finding myself confused about the finer nature of how different tags should be used even after reading the About and FAQs.

These are some of my ideas about how tags could potentially be improved, and I would be willing to help if feasible:

  • More thorough tag descriptions for every tag wiki, including tips such as "do not use this system-specific tag if answers could reasonably apply to many other systems"
  • Tag wikis to include well-representative examples of what a fitting question would be for that tag as well as links to meta discussions about that tag and meta discussions about topics that include that tag.
  • A better policy of coming back to meta when two or more experienced and respectable members start fighting with tags, switching each others' edits back and forth.
  • Tag hierarchy. It may be useful to show a hierarchy of tags for appropriate tags in tag wikis. For instance, specific systems could show the underling tags of specific versions of that system with brief summaries about why a user may want to try those tags instead. A description could explain the difference and why some questions may be best for specific versions and others may be best for the system in general while still others may be best for system-agnostic. This could also extend to popular associated tags that a player may want to consider instead of or in addition to that tag.

These are some ideas that may or may not be wise to employ, but there may be better ideas out there for improving the tags system on rpg and meta.rpg.

The question is,

Is there a need for an improved tag system?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what your second bullet point is meant to accomplish. Is the existing tag wiki space insufficient? (If you haven't discovered the tag wikis, click on any tag and then click "Learn more..." on the resulting page. I do wish they were more easy to discover...) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 8 '13 at 21:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rest though are all great ideas. Our tag wikis need more love. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 8 '13 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, that'd be my level 0 status peeking through. Found the "Learn more..." link. I will edit to clarify that many tags do not have descriptions yet, none that I have found contain examples of questions (I think this would be useful, open to feedback on this point), and none that I have found contain links to meta discussions (potentially tedious even if semi-automated somehow, but again I think could stand consideration and I invite feedback here as well). Thanks for steering me to the "Learn more..." links. \$\endgroup\$ – James Broyles Mar 8 '13 at 21:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Something worth noting: the system basically assumes that people will learn how to tag appropriately, not that they will know from the get-go. Editing tags has a lower rep requirement than editing itself, that's because we assume that new users are going to get tags wrong and we want them to be fixed by anyone who understands the system. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Mar 9 '13 at 17:04
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These are good ideas. Our tag wikis should be sufficient for holding better guidance on how to use them. We just need to do it.

Our tag is already a model of doing this right, but other high-use tags like and should have much more, and clearer, guidance in their info pages. Heck, the long description of is wrong since we changed our policy on that tag! Ideally, high-profile tags (important, high-use, or commonly-problematic tags) should have extensive how-to guides or decision-flow instructions in their info pages, as well as guidance on what alternative tags an asker might consider instead. Links to relevant meta discussions should be included as well as endnotes, for the especially curious.

One way we could do this is with a tag-wiki party. For one week, pick a high-profile tag and create a meta question for improving its tag wiki. The jam session aims to produce a high-quality text, and serve as a central location for later refining it as necessary. This would give the improvement more visible. Also, it could bring the wider community into the discussion, and allow everyone to contribute to polishing the text even if they don't have enough reputation to edit the wiki directly.

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Tagging by its nature is an emergent folksonomy. Like other content on this site, we try to guide it a little but in the end it's what people write.

The more one tries to 'enforce' a tag hierarchy, the less like tagging it really is - and the less useful it becomes.

Tagging emerged on the Internet in response to all the crappy hierarchies out there that hobble people's categorization to what "someone else thinks." We don't want that here.

Nothing wrong with expanding on the tag wikis, but don't go into it with the theory of you'll be "keeper" of the "correct" tags.

Furthermore, we have no control over changing how tags work and our SE masters don't take small feature requests from us, let alone major ones like that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I can agree, thank you. Perhaps hierarchy was a poor choice of wording on my part. Especially being so new to SE but also for the reasons you stated, I do not intend to "keep" any "correct" tags. Again, maybe my question can stand an edit. What I intended was actually how the dungeons-and-dragons tag wiki looks, with a list of related tags and no more hierarchy than "general tag" and "specific tags." I am looking for ways to help new users find bearing, not to erect an endless banality of rules that I think should be in place. Does this help or am I still missing something? \$\endgroup\$ – James Broyles Mar 9 '13 at 5:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Furthermore, we have no control over changing how tags work and our SE masters don't take small feature requests from us, let alone major ones like that." I hope that's not a suggestion that feature requests generally aren't worth making here! Is it? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 10 '13 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JonathanHobbs The platform SE uses has come a long way just since MIT's 6.002x pilot course. I'm still stumbling around learning how SE is designed (and specifically, rpg.se & meta.rpg.se) but it looks like a lot has been implemented based on feature suggestions and community feedback. To the point, however, none of my ideas should require an overhaul or new features, we can do any of the ideas I suggested in how we edit our tag wikis. \$\endgroup\$ – James Broyles Mar 10 '13 at 19:13

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