We should split game-recommendation up and make it just be for actual recommendations of games. This has come up before, but hear me out, because we only need to create one extra tag to offload all the other stuff in it that isn't recommendations of games, and we're using the tag weirdly to avoid something that isn't actually a problem after all. And the new tag isn't recommendation, which belongs in a bonfire.
A while ago, in Has [system-recommendation] grown too big for its britches?, the idea came up to have a general recommendation tag. That wasn't a good idea. The heavily supported idea was to have some individual *-recommendation tags. mxyzplk wasn't keen on having a whole set of recommendation tags, which is pretty reasonable!
Thus game-rec became the general shopping tag to avoid having a bunch of different recommendation tags.
The issue is though, the tag is weird and confusingly wielded, as SevenSidedDie points out.
"Game recommendation" is meant to be read as either a recommendations of games to play or recommendations for stuff to use with a game.
...No, it's not ideal semantically, but the whole issue of recommendations is full of compromises.
Tags should be transparent in how they should be used, but we tag things that aren't recommendations of games with this tag. Theoretically it's our generic shopping tag, but we also have at least one category of questions we don't tag with game-rec, despite being recommendations for stuff to use in games: questions about props and craft. (And that's fine.)
The compromise (of using the confusing tag) isn't even necessary
I went through the most recently active 200 game recommendations. If you exclude [published-adventures] from the search, the last 200 active questions covers all game-rec questions back to the beginning of 2012. Based on those, game-recommendation is used only in two consistent and regular ways:
- game-recommendation Run of the mill "Recommend me a game to play" questions.
- game-recommendation + published-adventures Which in combination means a published adventure recommendation.
... And that's it! We also have 10 outliers in these 200:
- Four questions that are actual campaign recommendations, without just asking for an RPG to play that fits a setting.
- Two rules recommendations: 1 2. Rules recommendations usually don't come with the game-rec tag, and that's generally a good thing because the answer doesn't necessarily involve a new product. Consider our questions for: naval rules, aerial rules, mass combat rules, etc.
- A tools rec: 3. Out of the 77 tools questions, many of which involve recommendations, only five open questions including that one also use the game-rec tag. One of these is an adventure recommendation. The remaining four seem to be breaking convention: the overwhelming majority of tools recommendations don't use game-rec, and these aren't asking for game recommendations.
- Three questions asking for comparison between three games: 4 5 6. There's no recommendation happening here, and we don't use game-rec for our other system comparison questions. #7 might be a legitimate and run-of-the-mill game rec question, but I'm not sure - either way, it either fits the typical expected use of the game-rec tag, or doesn't need it at all.
What's my point?
Almost every question in the game-recommendation tag is either a recommendation for a game, or for an adventure. Of the ten outliers, the six numbered ones belong to pre-existing well established categories of questions which typically do not need or use this tag, and so these six are breaking convention in using it.
Thus, we use our game-recommendation tag weirdly to avoid creating the following tags:
And possibly setting-recommendation, considering those four campaign setting recommendation questions. However, I'm not convinced these warrant their own tag, nor do they warrant overcomplicating the game-rec tag. We have multiple well established categories of questions that involve recommendations but do not need or use a recommendation tag — I've mentioned two of them (rules and tools). At a cursory look through the questions in the campaign setting tag, we already have at least a couple of campaign setting recommendation questions which do not use the game-rec tag.
In 2012, we were heavily in support of *-recommendation tags. And there's only one (possibly two) tags that we need to create. So let's just create it - for a class of questions we've had all along - and make our game-rec tag specific to actual recommendations of games and drop this weird published-adventure/game-rec combo convention.
We can also have a permanent banner directly addressing games in a non-vague sense, because the game-rec tag will actually be about only one thing, instead of two.