Both (34 questions) and (80 questions) generally cover software and online service recommendations, and their summaries seem to describe mostly the same thing. Software apparently covers online services, too, which isn't in the typical definition of 'software', but definitely within the scope of tools.

Scanning through the questions in , I really can't see the difference between them.

Let's make a synonym of the more commonly used .

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also there's both tools and gm-tools which have questionable distinction. And online-resources. If we're going to fry this fish let's figure out how to rectify this whole batch. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 15, 2014 at 16:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ gm-tools might need some retagging with gm and tools if we're going to synonimise it. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2014 at 23:58
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm actually not all that convinced of the usefulness of [gm] tagging in general. Anyway, I'd love to see answers that craft a coherent taxonomy out of all this. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 16, 2014 at 0:03

1 Answer 1


How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? That's kind of what this turns into.

Software & tools

seems to be pretty clearly things that could fit comfortably in , as it's almost entirely about some kind of tooling. Hell, "tools" is the second word in the description of , and "software" is the third word in . They're pretty clearly overlapping heavily.

On top of that, if you look at , you'll see software and tools being used interchangeably on a lot of questions in combination with gm-tools.

GM Tools

On the surface this seems somewhat reasonable, as GM tools may not overlap very well with player tools. The problem is that doesn't do a very good job of dividing things up by topic. Looking at gm-tools questions, you also see a bunch of other tags, such as , , , , and in the case of a question like this with , where gm-tools isn't related to tools at all. You'll also find quite a few also tagged with software or tools.

Given that, I'd also create a synonym for gm-tools to tools, and let the more specific tags like map-making let people find questions related to a specific type of tool. This is also going to work for tools that are of interest to players and GMs, like character generators, without raising more questions like "is that a , or question?"

Online Resources

is actually being used for two things at once. One of them is yet another version of tools, only online. Like this. Or this. Unsurprisingly, tools and software show up along with online-resources quite a significant number of times. Even when it's not there, a lot of tools questions are given answers for online tools.

The other use is for online versions of printed material.. Or web enhancements to printed material.

I don't think these two things have any business being together, as they really have no relationship and having them in the same tag doesn't help organization at all.

In the first case, they should be retagged . In the second case... does anybody find that second case useful? I can't decide if it's worth keeping or not. Right now I'm leaning towards no, as "online version of a book" really isn't something I feel needs a tag.

Tag Descriptions

The tools tag description is this:

A device, software, procedure or process used for a specific purpose in relationship to roleplaying games.

The software one is this:

Applications, tools and utilities which assist in character creation, combat management, or DM/GM organization/preparation.

The current tools description is entirely accurate, but not the easiest language to parse. I prefer the software one, as it's very clear on what it's trying to be. Given that, I'll throw out a rough suggestion for a combined wording for tools. This needs more work, but it's something to discuss.

Software, devices, or procedures to assist in character creation, combat management, GM organization/preparation, or game play.

Summary - Steps to take

  1. - Keep as is.
  2. - Make a synonym of tools.
  3. - Make a synonym of tools.
  4. - Go through the 58 questions with this and retag the ones that aren't about online tools to something more appropriate (like a tag for the relevant game system). Then make a synonym of tools.
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is a good cut at an answer. I agree that the second online-resources case is questionable tag value (may as well have [book] and [pdf] tags for information that comes in those formats). Can you clarify your exact desired steps to resolve - is it just synonym and merge software->tools, gm-tools->tools and online-resources->tools or...? \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 20, 2014 at 0:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Close, though online-resouces needs to be sifted through before it's merged. I added the steps I'd like to take to the bottom of the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Mar 20, 2014 at 2:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, I have performed steps 1-3 above. People are welcome to pitch in on #4. I've retagged a couple, but a lot of the online-resources uses I'm leaving (looking for online art, online books, etc). Some are getting changed to online-roleplaying and/or tools but not enough that online-resources will go away currently. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 29, 2014 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Looking at the leftover ones, several of them should just have the tag removed. Like this one: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/29902/… I'll go through and do that for the ones where I think it makes sense. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Apr 9, 2014 at 22:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ And then there's this one, which I actually think might make sense with a harry-potter tag, given the subject matter is a potterverse spell list for use in broomstix. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Apr 9, 2014 at 22:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, we're not going to be able to get rid of all of them sadly. Some of them just don't have anything else that fits. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Apr 15, 2014 at 2:23

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