We've got a couple of tags that don't describe the topic of the question, but rather describe the kind of answer being sought. and // are pretty obvious, and there may be others I'm not aware of.

Looking at the tagging section of the our help pages, we get a pretty clear description of what a tag is:

A tag is a word or phrase that describes the topic of the question. Tags are a means of connecting experts with questions they will be able to answer by sorting questions into specific, well-defined categories.

Tags can also be used to help you identify questions that are interesting or relevant to you.

From this, it seems like tags should be used to describe questions, not answers.

To give a reductio ad absurdum example of why I think this could be a problem, please consider that this seems like precedent for ,//, , , , and so forth: all of these describe the kind of answers that are expected, rather than the kind of question being asked, and do very little in terms of attracting experts or helping people find relevant questions later on.

Really, "I would like X kind of answer" is better kept to the body of the question, where it can be explained and put in context. We're already seeing the extant tags being misapplied.

So: Why do we need this kind of tag? Can we take a good hard look at this practice?


Tags should always describe the content of the question. That's the responsibility of the tagger though, not the tag.

All four example bad tags can be used to describe the question, and should only be used that way:

  • : "This question is not about any one system, even if I have mentioned the game we're playing," and similar situations. This should be clear in the question, but tagging it such emphasises that question content.

  • : "This question is about game mechanics." A terrible tag, but not because it's inherently defining acceptable answers. It can easily be used to describe the content of a question that's discussing mechanics. (That it would then apply to >50% of our questions is why it's been burninated as a bad tag.)

  • : Often used to ask us to engage in rules lawyering. In such cases, the tag is inappropriate and should be removed. That doesn't make the tag bad: it can still be used for questions about people who engage in rules-lawyering and problems surrounding that, which is legitimately describing the question content.

  • : "Here is a thing I'm trying to do within the rules as written," is something that could appear in an acceptable question, and this tag would be appropriate on it. Used that way, it's describing the content of the question. Just like the [rules-laywering] tag though, it should be removed from questions where it does not describe the content.

Any tag that doesn't describe the content of a question doesn't belong on the question and should be edited out. That's standard operating procedure. That a tag is commonly put on questions on which it doesn't belong (I'm looking at you, ) doesn't mean it's a bad tag, just that it's a tag that needs us experienced users to eliminate when used inapplicably. Just like all tags, when they're misplaced.


I view as absolutely critical, describing the domain of the question, specifically, we require that any question describe what system(s) it applies to, and system-agnostic is a scoping tag, just like .

In terms of -> -> , I find having something like that very useful to signal that the question refers to rules, not the social contract, intentions, or other fluff of the game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your first point is well taken; Hobbs has a question about the potential misuse of that tag which will be posted shortly. For the second point, though-- is a tag really the place for that? Seems to me like it'd be a lot more useful and nuanced as part of the question itself; I don't think a pithy tag can fulfill that function properly, even if it were what tags are for... and I don't think it is. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jul 3 '13 at 1:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ system-agnostic is critical and not going anywhere, it's like any system tag. The others are about approach, and just like anything you can elaborate in your question, tags aren't the be all end all, but there's no reason to not have tags for desired approach. Practical implementation >>> theory. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Jul 3 '13 at 3:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ We don't actually require that any question describe what system(s) it applies to. We have lots of [gm-techniques] questions that don't, for example (and should not, else sys-ag becomes a "tag tax" that would take up space that could be used for a more relevant tag). In practice, [system-agnostic] fills a useful a functional gap in the folksonomy, but it's not because a system tag is required for every question. It's just that quite a lot of them benefit from having a system tag. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 4 '13 at 1:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, it's also used to "shoo off the flies" who insist you put a system tag on your question because they insist it should only be answered within the scope of a specific system. Until people stop doing that, I'd expect that use - it's a tag tax but it's better than a comment discussion thread tax. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Jul 5 '13 at 16:51

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