I am playing D&D 4e and I have a question about how I can create an excellent pirate adventure. Since people have pirate adventures in other RPG systems, and Stack Exchange is about useful answers, should I tag my question with dungeons-and-dragons or maybe system-agnostic in order to cover a wider variety of responses and be more helpful to other people making pirate adventures, even if I'm only interested in the dnd-4e answers myself? Also, I've seen questions get closed as "too localized." Would doing this help keep my question from getting closed?
Always tag your question with the exact system you're using if you're asking a question to help you out in a problem about your system and you're only really interested in answers relevant to your system. Even if your question could be relevant to other RPG systems, or a broader category of RPG systems, ask about your exact problem in your exact RPG. There's no need to broaden your question to, say, dungeons-and-dragons and system-agnostic if you're not genuinely interested in answers broader than your own system.
If you're playing in one RPG system and want answers about creating a pirate adventure for that system, and you see a similar question asked for a different system which has answers which are not helpful to you or not what you're after, feel free to ask your question tagged with your own system.
System-specific can be much more useful to you and others than a broader scope
Even if it is an issue that could be relevant to other systems, if you're not interested in broader answers, you should just focus on getting your own problem solved, not everyone else's. Ask about the problem you're actually facing in your own system and get a solution to your specific problem in your own system. There's no need to broaden the system scope of your question unless you specifically want broader answers.
If the issue is relevant to other systems, players of those other systems can still often learn just fine from questions targeted at your own system. In my personal experience when I only played D&D, I learned some things from questions about Fate, Burning Wheel and other systems, and often the specific philosophies that those RPGs bring to the table broadened my experiences and taught me things I could bring back to my own D&D gameplay.
If players of other systems don't get the answers they need, they can ask another question scoped to their own system, or ask a broader-scoped question if they're interested in broader-scoped answers.
This is OK if it's what you're after:
system-agnostic adventures How can I make an excellent pirate adventure?
Answers contain sorta-helpful stuff for your system of choice.
But this is more useful for solving system-specific issues:
dnd-4e adventures How can I make an excellent pirate adventure?
Answers are targeted straight at 4e, mentioning classes and themes and monsters and terrain and other content available.
ars-magica-5 adventures How can I make an excellent pirate adventure?
Answers are targeted straight at Ars Magica 5 and contain spell recommendations and other useful information.
fate-core adventures How can I make an excellent pirate adventure?
Answers targeted straight at Fate core, recommending piratey aspects, what skills and stunts various pirates should have, mooks and groups and characters, and possibly some recommendations from the magic system toolkit
I would prefer to see the same kind of question asked several times and for different systems each time by users wanting answers in those specific systems, than one that attempts to deal with all possible systems and whose answers are only of limited help to anyone wanting answers for their specific systems.
5\$\begingroup\$ I still think a lot of this stands on the unfounded supposition that people are worried about their question getting closed as too localized because it's limited to one system. As I mentioned, this has never ever happened and I also don't see any of the quotes/links above or any other question where someone's said that was a concern. I think that's not really a thing and would like to see some proof of it. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 15:10
1\$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk It does not stand on that. BESW and I tried to make that a smaller issue in the question by only asking it as an aside at the end. It stands on people asking broad questions not because they want broad answers or because broad answers will be more useful to them, but because they conclude that the issue, possibly being broader than their own system, can/should be asked more broadly and do so. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 21:45
\$\begingroup\$ "Adventure" seems redundant with any system tag that might be attached… and possibly always redundant? \$\endgroup\$– okeefeJul 12, 2013 at 5:20
1\$\begingroup\$ @okeefe I don't know why it'd be redundant. A system tag doesn't imply adventure - we can have questions under all sorts of systems that have nothing to do with asking about an adventure. See for immediate example: any D&D spell/power rules clarification question. A question asking about items or magic-items gets the corresponding tag, one asking about spells or powers does too, so asking about adventures gets the adventure tag. Right? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2013 at 6:02
You should tag a question with a specific system if you want it answered for a specific system, and you should tag more widely if you're trying to solve a wider problem.
Usually, tagging for the system you are playing is the right thing to do. You should be asking about the problem you have, and not making it more generic out of an attempt to get wider reach. If you are playing Pathfinder, there may be better specific answers to your question than you'd get by tagging with dnd-3.5e also, or d20, or dungeons-and-dragons in general.
Some people don't just play one game system, however, and there are many gaming techniques widely applicable to the majority of existing games. There's certainly a place on the site for those. You will note there is a wide variety of "system agnostic" products out there that are quite popular - generic NPCs, generic plot hooks, etc. People find these useful and are entitled to look for more generic answers.
For those that really want things hooked into a specific ruleset, that's a valid mode of play and those people can tag with a specific system tag. In the end, it is up to the question asker. Trying to dictate which they 'should' be doing is not an appropriate use of time. Retagging their question might be helpful, but if they revert you should abide by their wishes - if you want to ask that question specific to a system, you ask it.
Just like on Stack Overflow, you can ask for a generic algorithm for a sort, or for that sort in C or Python or Java. They both solve problems - different problems, for different people.
\$\begingroup\$ So, how does this address the issue of someone whose problem is not wide, but they are asking for wide answers? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:39
\$\begingroup\$ That is up to them. Feel free and give them feedback if you think they should be asking more narrowly, and they are welcome to heed or not. But I really don't like the vibe that y'all think you know better what they need than they do. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:40
\$\begingroup\$ As I mentioned in my answer: if you're playing D&D 4e and doing something to do with D&D 4e, but curious about the broader issue, you can ask about D&D 4e and you'll still be able to learn stuff applicable to the wider problem - as well as stuff useful only in D&D 4e which will help you solve your exact problem more effectively. If you're really not playing with a specific system, the system-agnostic tag naturally may be appropriate, but I am not trying to deal with that category of questions - just ones where a specific system is involved but the question is asked at a broader scope. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:42
2\$\begingroup\$ At least three times, people who I manage to get into chat to workshop their question say that they're trying to broaden it beyond their own problem --either so that it doesn't get closed as too local, or so that it'll be more useful to others. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:43
\$\begingroup\$ @BESW so fine, tell them "specific to you is fine." \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:44
1\$\begingroup\$ @JonathanHobbs and that should be the question asker's decision. A lot of people use system-agnostic for good reason, and find that helpful. I have never ever seen a question closed as too localized because it was for one specific game system and I defy you to come up with one. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:46
\$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk No need to defy me to come up with one. I never even said there were any, and I don't know any. I only said that we might have done so. I also said that people may be doing this to avoid their questions being closed as too localised, exactly as BESW just said, and I'm guessing that we've done that in the past and that's why. I don't care whether it's happened so much as the fact people are afraid it'll happen and thus alter their question to prevent that from happening. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:48
\$\begingroup\$ "It's never happened but I think people are afraid of it" is hard to be convinced by. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:49
1\$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I think you're responding to read intent rather than what's actually there. Can you point out what in Hobb's answer you find objectionable instead of accusing him/me of implying things? That might actually produce a discussion instead of a series of attacks. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 3:53
\$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I've done some considerable editing in my answer; I think I can see where you were getting your "y'all think you know better what they need than they do" vibe and that's a result of poor expression on my part about the problem I'm concerned with. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2013 at 4:43
Recently, a discussion came up in some comments to a question which was tagged for group-dynamics. I thought that it warranted me to hazard an additional opinion, so here goes.
I'm not very active here. However, on other Stack Exchange sites, tags are normally used to help notify eager or knowledgeable perusers of a new question in their area of interest or expertise.
Tags are usually never used to categorize the questions nor to limit the answers desired — Puzzling being one exception there, of course.
If the person asking, or anyone else, thinks that adding a tag would be useful to help attract answers, then they do it.
Use of system-agnostic doesn't seem to be synonymous with something like any-system.
It seems to me that it is for answers which do not, at all, make reference to anything pertaining to any certain system. Usually, such an criterion would be one which the asker had added or requested.
In short: I would recommend that you do not use system-agnostic — unless you want an answer which doesn't constrict itself to any system; if you want answers of broad pertinence, whether in a specific answer or in the general slew of answers, then don't tag for any system.