In this question, two new tags were created: verisimilitude and realism. I'm not sure that we need these tags, and I highly doubt we need both. Is there a different tag they should both become synonyms of, should we synonymise one to the other, or should we leave it as is?
\$\begingroup\$ See This Reddit thread: reddit.com/r/rpg/comments/8xpqa/… \$\endgroup\$– GMNoobDec 23, 2013 at 16:54
\$\begingroup\$ To be Fair I feel that I should state the question was put on hold because both realism and verisimilitude were deemed to be too broad/specialized historical knowledge outside the scope of RPG.SE \$\endgroup\$– Joshua Aslan SmithDec 23, 2013 at 17:02
\$\begingroup\$ @JoshuaAslanSmith so should we remove both tags? \$\endgroup\$– GMNoobDec 23, 2013 at 17:39
\$\begingroup\$ @GMNoob thats my real opinion, that neither tag is appropriate, especially since 2 whole new tags were created that are synonyms on a question that was closed. Didn't post it as answer because I wasn't sure if it would be deemed appropriate. \$\endgroup\$– Joshua Aslan SmithDec 23, 2013 at 18:11
\$\begingroup\$ @JoshuaAslanSmith I think it's a valid answer. The lack of a tag might be a good hint that a question is likely off topic. \$\endgroup\$– GMNoobDec 23, 2013 at 18:18
While both are synonyms and the argument could easily be made why one is better than the other; neither tag should be kept because both were created from whole cloth as part of a question that was ultimately closed for both being too broad (never really nailed down a system or series of systems) and too specific (real-world historical poisons knowledge) and thus outside the scope of the site. People can and will ask verisimilitude/realism questions, but since both terms are very, very vague and their application extremely system specific and tempered by personal opinion they should not exist as tags. Someone looking for answers regarding the verisimilitude of D&D's vancian casting will not be aided by the verisimilitude of Cyperpunk 188.8.131.52.'s Friday Night Firefight System.
\$\begingroup\$ So basically these tags should be replaced with the system that the question applies to? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 18:32
\$\begingroup\$ @GMNoob yes, I feel that's the only way to get a real answer that might meet site guidelines. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 18:42
1\$\begingroup\$ Great answer, much better than mine. I hadn't considered that they might need to be replaced with system specific tags \$\endgroup\$– WibbsDec 23, 2013 at 19:55
\$\begingroup\$ On the contrary, "versimilitude" is not at all vague. It has a very specific definition. It's a good word, and useful. The people who insist on arguing over its meaning have given the illusion that it's vague, but it isn't; those people are just wrong and should consult a dictionary. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 20:21
1\$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Its a vague term not because the meaning of the word itself is vague, but because it means a different thing to each person whereas a tag like D&DNext or Shadowrun5e are much stronger tags. I'm saying a system tag plus a description of verisimilitude is superior to a verisimilitude tag plus a description of the mechanics at work. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 20:24
1\$\begingroup\$ I will grant that it's very system-specific though, so I'm not disagreeing with this answer. Still, people who say it means something different to them than what it actually means are usually just engaging in goalpost-moving shenanigans to win arguments, and don't get a vote in what the word means. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 20:26
Here's the executive summary:
No, we don't need the tag(s) now, but we should not kneecap our future selves by informally banning them either.
Here's the actual answer that leads to that conclusion.
Trying to figure out whether we need the tag(s) is a bit like asking which carriage is faster: you can't ask which carriage is faster until you put horses in front of it, and then it's really a matter of which horses are faster. So the first question that should be asked isn't whether we need the tags, it actually is:
Are questions about verisimilitude or realism on-topic?
I'd say they're on-topic yes. They are, as we would expect the terms to get used, inherently about roleplaying games and the use thereof. However, being on-topic isn't enough to make a question acceptable here. RPG plots are also on-topic, but questions about where to find lists of plots are un-acceptable for our site's scope regardless of topicality. In the case of questions about verisimilitude/realism, the most likely thing is that questions will be inherently subjective. So the second question to ask is:
Are there any questions about verisimilitude or realism that aren't Bad Subjective?
I'm fairly confident saying that not every question about verisimilitude/realism is going to be subjective in the bad way. For example, the question that inspired this isn't problematic because it's subjective, it's problematic because it's (maybe) out of scope by requiring real-world poison expertise, and (maybe) too broad for asking about poison in RPGs in general. I happen to disagree with both, but that's beside the point since the point is: neither charge is founded on it being too subjective, and that's not the sort of thing people around here are going to fail to point out when a question is being evaluated for close voting.
So, verisimilitude/realism questions are on-topic, and at least some of them are going to be acceptably objective or good subjective. That leaves a final question:
Do we need a tag(s) to describe and categorise these questions?
I'd say no, with a caveat: I wouldn't go on a witch-hunt against the tag, I wouldn't ban it. My imagination is limited by humanity so therefore my provisional "no" answer is also limited – it's entirely possible that some questions will show up that demonstrate the tag's usefulness. In that case, the site would be poorer for having, I dunno, unofficially banned it or something. We should allow it to naturally show up again so that we have the chance to see if there are any questions that prove its worth. And if there really aren't any such questions, then none will show up. So:
No, we don't need the tag. But we might need it for future questions. Leave it an open question.
That said, should the poison question be reopened, I do think it deserves one of these tags...
If we do need the tag(s), do we need both?
No, we don't need both. Keep one – verisimilitude is the one to keep – and synonym realism to it.
Why verisimilitude instead of realism as the word to keep? "Verisimilitude" means "to have the seeming of realism; to behave in a way that makes sense; to have internal fictional consistency". That's what people mean when they use "realism" in an RPG context, so even when they say "realism", they are actually meaning what the word "verisimilitude" means. Thus, that's the word we should use and synonym to.
Verisimilitude probably isn't used by folks nearly as often as realism. But instead of getting rid of verisimilitude entirely, maybe just make it a synonym for realism. That way, people searching for verisimilitude will find the relevant topics, and we can condense the two into a single category. Clearly, when people are using either of these labels, they're probably trying to accomplish the same thing.
I have removed all instances of both.
Remove verisimilitude. I've never heard it used to mean what this question indicates it means. Nobody will search for it, and frankly, I doubt anyone else will use it.
realism, on the other hand, has actual potential value as a tag, and I would like to see it stay. It's a common term for this context, and one people might actually use.
1\$\begingroup\$ See here: rickneal.ca/?p=308 \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 16:51
1\$\begingroup\$ @GMNoob I'm sure somebody uses the term, but I'm not sure it's a commonly-used identifier - if it's not, it wouldn't be good as a tag. \$\endgroup\$– user8248Dec 23, 2013 at 16:53
\$\begingroup\$ Then we should delete both tags? Nobody has used either tag before. But the one person who did, thought that both were needed. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 17:01
\$\begingroup\$ @GMNoob Well, the realism tag actually has a clear purpose, in my opinion. I think it makes sense to keep. \$\endgroup\$– user8248Dec 23, 2013 at 19:49
1\$\begingroup\$ "Verisimilitude" is a very common word in RPG circles, that is used in contexts where people argue that "realism" is meaningless in a game about imaginary things. (Those people are silly, but that's beside the point.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 20:28
\$\begingroup\$ I stand corrected. \$\endgroup\$– user8248Dec 23, 2013 at 21:52
I would get rid of verisimilitude and keep realism. Its a more common, easily recognisable word that people will understand. I would query whether verisimilitude is too narrow a term - how many questions would legitimately use it as a tag? How many questioners would even consider their question needing it?
1\$\begingroup\$ see here: rickneal.ca/?p=308 \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 16:51
\$\begingroup\$ Apparently as many questions as need a realism tag. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 17:03
I suggest combining them into one tag. verisimilitude-realism.
Versimilitude is a very common word in some gaming circles (the ones I read), which is used instead of realism. The reason for this, is that there is nothing "realistic" about a Fantasy world.
But there is no reason to have two tags, as it's really the same idea with one using more accurate language than the other.
See this blog post for more about it: http://www.rickneal.ca/?p=308
Also this reddit thread
People are more likely to type in "realism" by hand, but by having the hyphenated tag, we can avoid such confusion or debates in the questions, trying to understand what type of "realism" the questioner is asking about.
1\$\begingroup\$ "Verisimilitude vs. realism" is a classic example of "I've redefined this term to be wrong, to force you to use this other term instead!" "Realism" has a long and storied tradition as a term outside of gaming. \$\endgroup\$– Alex PDec 23, 2013 at 18:10
\$\begingroup\$ @AlexP it does, but that has nothing to do with what realism means inside of gaming or rpg culture. When someone asks "Where are the bathrooms on the air ship?" It becomes a realism question. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 18:20
6\$\begingroup\$ I agree with the reasoning but disagree with the conclusion: [versimilitude-realism] goes against every tag-naming convention we use. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2013 at 20:33