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While reading "Does this armor set work RAW?" I stumbled upon the tag for the first time. Because I felt the overlap with should be quite large, I proceeded to have a look at the only 19 questions under this tag.

I think they can be sufficiently categorized into three types (number of questions per category in brackets):

  1. questions. Some already have this tag as well, others (like these four questions) can be reassigned (15/19).

  2. , such as these two, or this one that already has this tag as well (3/19).

  3. No additional tags needed at all, such as the question I quoted above, which would work just fine with (1/19).

I therefore think the tag is highly unnecessary and should be purged in the flames of hell removed or reassigned.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ please hold off on the tag changes - you are removing powergaming from ones I specifically left it on because that is what they are about... Powergaming should stay on "problem" questions. The phrases "too overpowered," "nerf," etc. signal it. "I want to make my thief get more sneak attack damage" is optimization. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil May 30 '14 at 17:36
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I am reluctant to blacklist the tag, if only because removing common words from the tag space is generally a poor idea.

I'm also not sure whether subsuming it into problem-players is helpful - it makes the term wayyyyy more generic. Can we not use more specific terms about player problems than one big bucket? We have for a more specific issue, I think powergaming can fill that niche as well.

We could use the tag wiki summary to help - we could keep powergaming as the negative use and in the summary basically say "if you're looking for this as a positive practice, use optimization instead" and similarly in optimization "the negative extreme of this practice as a problem in-game should be tagged powergaming."

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the tag wiki method of dealing with this. I'm iffy about defining powergaming as the negative version, since it's used either way currently, but it's certainly the most useful solution. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 20 '14 at 0:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ This would put it in the same company as [rules-lawyering] as a specific kind of table problem. Since we have that precedent and it's working fine, this approach seems sensible. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 20 '14 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have added a tag wiki to powergaming explaining it's "munchkinism" and to see optimization for positive uses, and vice versa. Let's see how that does before we take more drastic steps. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil May 30 '14 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have accepted this answer for now and edited some questions according to the new tag wiki. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon May 30 '14 at 15:43
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I agree, it's probably unnecessary because it can be rolled into other tags like you've described, without losing any particular benefit.

However, it is also probably an inevitable tag which will be repeatedly re-created. I'm not sure what all the tag re-assignment and purging options available are, but I expect this to be a Lazarus tag.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would it be an option to clean up the existing questions, and make powergaming a synonym for optimization? That way, new posters should see the tag wiki entry for optimization and check if it fits. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon May 19 '14 at 11:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that is an option, but would it be a good one? I ask because you identified two distinctly different tags that it might be replaced with, depending on context. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 19 '14 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ optimization is the far more prevalent one. Half-ish of the questions already have that tag, I listed only some that don't have it right now. OTOH, I think I listed all questions that pertain to problem-players \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon May 19 '14 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then that seems reasonable! Make it an answer and we'll see if anyone salutes. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 19 '14 at 11:12
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I propose cleanup of the tag, integrating the existing questions into and as outlined in the question.

However, as BESW points out, the tag will likely be re-created by new posters. I think making a synonym to will be sufficient to prevent that, and the large majority of the questions fall under this tag.

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    \$\begingroup\$ does the synonym work considering that powergaming could be either optimization or problem-players as pointed out? I guess I'm asking if we're prepared to define powergaming as optimization for the purpose of RPG.SE? \$\endgroup\$ – Chuck Dee May 19 '14 at 12:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wraith808 I think it does, since synonyms are actually converted on the fly in the "add tags" interface. The people whose powergamers are problem players will see that it doesn't match. OTOH, the problem-players tag shows up in the list when looking for "player" tags, and can thus be found easily if needed, even if you don't know the tags exact name. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon May 19 '14 at 12:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wraith808 That was my thought too. Here's where that ended up though, in addition to MrLemon's reasoning: Depending on the view of the person asking, "powergaming" might be a "problem-player" question or it might be a "optimizing" question, which are kind of the opposite. However, a synonym to [optimization] is likely to be simply confusing if it's a problem-player question, while a synonym to [problem-players] would be insulting if it's an optimisation question. Seems like synonyming to [optimization] is suboptimal (hah) but the least problematic! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 19 '14 at 19:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - Point taken, and the line of reasoning makes sense. Just wanted to make sure it was brought up! \$\endgroup\$ – Chuck Dee May 19 '14 at 20:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wraith808 Yes, definitely worth considering! Personally I'd rather [powergaming] -> [problem-players] since that's mostly how people mean it now... but it's probably wiser to have [powergaming] -> [optimization] so that we satisfy the principles of least surprise and least offense. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 19 '14 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I hadn't seen that line of reasoning before responding to the comment on my answer; that's an extremely valid point that I hadn't considered. You are quite right there. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 19 '14 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Oh, uh, sorry! Totally my bad: I should have pointed to it, since it definitely factors into how much I was weighing the accuracy issue in those comments. I do agree it would be more accurate otherwise! The existence of a minority who use "powergaming" non-pejoratively + this stuff tips it just barely in the other direction, though, yeah. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 19 '14 at 21:13
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Regardless of how it has been used, I tend to think of the word powergaming as being a subset of , and not of . While optimization is commonly used with respect to power (i.e. optimizing a character’s power), it is far from the only use of optimization. Moreover, powergaming as a term is typically a pejorative in the RPG community, wherein the problem being described is a player’s devotion to mechanical power, at the detriment of the game as a whole.

In other words, I think the common use described by @MrLemon is an inaccurate use.

Unfortunately, that does not lend itself to a happy solution; making a synonym of causes too many people to miss , and as @BESW says, if we don’t make it a synonym of something it will just keep getting recreated. The ideal would be a sort of “did you mean..?” question with both options, but the system doesn’t support that (and I don’t think it would be a particularly good addition in general).

I just think that powergaming and optimization are not synonymous, and establishing the tags as synonyms just seems wrong. Does anyone know if there is any precedent on other SEs about this sort of issue, where you have a tag that’s too frequently used to try to keep deleting it, but is used in two very different senses that don’t lend themselves to a single synonym?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for proposing to look at existing precedents. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel May 19 '14 at 19:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would tend to agree, but then I remember the guy asking "How can I powergame AD&D?", which reminded me that before 3e, the term "optimization" wasn't in the jargon, and it was just "powergaming". It was considered a problem by many, but a sizable minority adopted it with pride to mean exactly what "optmization" means now. So, I wouldn't say it's inaccurate, except within a post-3e community. In non-3e-derived communities (i.e., communities that never played D&D, or which branched off of *D&D communities before 3e), "powergaming" is still meant both ways. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 19 '14 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually tend to agree, having heard optimization and theorycrafting used positively, and powergaming and godmoding used negatively. I don't think there's an easy answer- there's going to be problems any way we do it, including doing nothing. But the reasoning by @SevenSidedDie made the most sense to me as to the lesser of evils. \$\endgroup\$ – Chuck Dee May 19 '14 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I think that the word "optimization" was adopted specifically in order to separate the problem of powergaming from the more neutral practice of optimization. The difference being that a powergamer is out for power at all costs, while an optimizer is merely trying to make the most of the options before him. Considering that you even say that a majority (by inference from the fact that it was a minority that adopted the term) consider it pejorative, I don't think there was ever much of a sense where "powergaming" wasn't. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 19 '14 at 20:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Yeah, but only in the 3e-derived RPG communities. "Optimization" for that purpose may have leaked sideways into non-post-3e communities a bit, but it's not universal jargon yet, judging by our own question data. Its still used non-pejoratively outside the post-3e community, and we shouldn't be arbitraritly picking one community's definition of a term when there are multiple definitions. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 19 '14 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie My argument is that the majority of the usage of "powergaming" in any community is pejorative. That a minority has attempted to reclaim it, or wear what most consider negative with pride, does not make it not pejorative. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 19 '14 at 20:12
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What can we do to keep the tag dead? Blacklist it.

KRyan points out quite well that doesn't fit cleanly into either or , and that people will use it for either, depending on whether powergaming is a good thing or the problem in their situation.

Y'all are asking what alternative there is to simply removing it or synonymising it though: it's blacklisting the tag. As long as the tag's blacklisted, it simply cannot be used, and people will have to seek an alternative or drop the tag altogether. I don't know if RPG.SE has any blacklisted tags, but you could experiment by asking a question on Stack Overflow and trying out the , , or tags.

"the 'code' tag is not allowed"

Mind you, someone might just use for their alternative.

Let's wait to see if this is really necessary though.

Blacklisting is appropriate for a tag that keeps coming back despite all efforts to destroy it, but let's first see if it really is a Lazarus tag (as BESW put it).

I suggest that for now, we burninate . If, further down the line, it comes back and gets our notice, we can re-burninate it and start a new meta topic requesting it be blacklisted on the basis it's definitely a Lazarus tag.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Purge and watch seems to be a reasonable approach. I mean the tag is not actually used much at all, at 5 posts per year on average. Purging it should remove it from the auto-complete list, which might further reduce the incentive to use it. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon May 20 '14 at 7:33

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