# What are the meta tags?

Everyone should read The death of Meta Tags. In order to consoldiate some questions and try to look at it holisitically I thought one question is appropriate.

Please one possible meta tag per answer. Explain why it is a meta tag because:

1. The tag can’t work as the only tag on a question
2. The tag commonly means different things to different people
• If this is one meta tag per answer should it not be CW? I feel weird posting all these separately... – LeguRi Sep 10 '10 at 17:44
• Sadly, although I read the article, I wasn't aware when I read it that it was an authoritative document which constrains our use of tags in this community. I now understand why I seem to be getting on everyone's nerves. – kodi Sep 10 '10 at 20:22
• Authoritative, yes, but constraining, no. It's "explicitly discouraged" to us metatags, but not outright banned. We still have some discretion, but that official stance is from long experience and should be weighed with that in mind. – SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '10 at 21:41
• I also find the comment thread very interesting. The distinction between "beginner" and "best-practices" /"hidden-features" that some of the people argue for seems valid to me. – Numenetics Sep 11 '10 at 1:58
• @nume good luck getting anyone to agree what "beginner" means, or "best-practice" .. and note that "hidden-features" is specific enough to be allowed, at least – Jeff Atwood Sep 11 '10 at 9:20
• @Jeff That's what I mean--the minimal definition of meta isn't sufficient to argue for cutting the tag. You wouldn't use hidden-features alone, but it works. Beginner, on the other hand, is right out. – Numenetics Sep 11 '10 at 13:14
• I think that some are taking the definition for meta tag too far. Taken to an extreme we will have tags like [dnd4e-aquatic-monster-design]. All 4 words in this example, are perfectly valid tags. They are well defined, stand alone concepts. For those say that you would need all of the tags to know what the question is about, I say that is why questions can have up to 5 tags. – Eric Weilnau Sep 12 '10 at 14:19
• Should we merge answers together in two categories? At least most of them? They are hardly readable this way. – Baskakov_Dmitriy Aug 19 '16 at 4:50
• @Baskakov_Dmitriy This is a very old question (6 years old) which was useful early in the site's history when we had to figure out which of our tags were good and which weren't, but we have moved on. New discussions of problematic tags get new meta posts, and tend to be about single tags. I don't see any particular need to do anything with this question. What do you have in mind, and what benefit would it have for the site? – SevenSidedDie Aug 21 '16 at 16:38

Tag no longer exists.

It could not be the only tag on a question, it's too vague and not RPG-specific.

• Advice seems to be meaningless because if you didn't want an answer or advice you wouldn't be asking a question. It wouldn't exist on its own. – anon186 Sep 10 '10 at 18:24

Tag no longer exists.

Interpretation

Of what? Isn't every question one of intepretation? If stuff was cut and dry I wouldn't be asking a question. I feel like this is like tagging questions with the tag "question."

• For the record, I believe this is a ESL translation error, meaning "portrayal" or "character interpretation": hence, this should just be [roleplaying]. – SevenSidedDie Jan 28 '11 at 2:15

Tag no longer exists.

[reference]

I do not see how this tag could stand on its own as the only tag for a question.

• +1 Appears to be synonymous with Community Wiki. – SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '10 at 21:24

Tag no longer exists.

[games]

Judging by the list of questions, this is probably as redundant as the rpg tag would be.

[groups]

I do not see how this tag could stand on its own as the only tag for a question.

• I think this one can be replaced by social in every instance. – SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '10 at 21:21

[trivia]

It fits both criteria.

[players]

I'm not sure about this one. What does everyone else think? It's clear what it means, but I think people are going to differ on what questions should have it and what shouldn't, and I'm not sure what it would mean if it were the only tag on a question. Possibly redundant with social, recruiting, and the more-specific problem-players and new-players tags.

Tag no longer exists.

I think [list] fits the bill, as it begs "a list of what?". It should probably be replaced with [reference]... assuming [reference] isn't deemed a meta tag. I think [reference] is useful.

As shown on Is the “system-agnostic” tag really necessary? this tag meets both criteria. You would never use the tag alone, it always must be accompanied by another tag. And noone can agree on what it means.

• FWIW, the author of "The Death of Meta-tags" specified that he didn't thing "language-agnostic" was a problematic tag--I admit I'm less convinced of "system-agnostic" than I was, but I'd like to hear an argument for why "system-agnostic" is any different from "language-agnostic," whose utility seems to be acknowledged elsewhere. – Numenetics Sep 11 '10 at 2:08
• Because languages are layered on top of hardware, and the hardware all shares basic principles, you can talk about how to program without talking about a specific language's way of using the hardware. You can also talk about general-purpose algorithms that are relevant to any language, or you can talk about languages themselves as languages, like "Why use a language instead of assembler?" – SevenSidedDie Sep 11 '10 at 5:23
• See, I view game systems very similar to this, with the system being the the programming language of play. Many "algorithms" deal with the underlying rules of play that span all/most systems. Examples would be processes of information flow, plot, character, etc. For an argument that underlying rules of play exist, see Markus Montola's "The Invisible Rules of Roleplaying" marinkacopier.nl/ijrp/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/… – Numenetics Sep 11 '10 at 13:19
• But that viewpoint doesn't demand a system agnostics tag. If I wanted to discuss plotting then its plotting. f I want to talk about information flow its that. System Agnostics itself doesn't explain what you want it to. – anon186 Sep 11 '10 at 14:21
• And some modern game systems, much like the dead Lisp Machine, are trying to change how system and the underlying stuff interact, or changing the underlying stuff itself, in ways that make them distinct. For instance, you can't talk about plotting in Fiasco/Burning Wheel/Polaris/Sorcerer/Apocalypse World without talking mechanics, and you can't talk plotting system-agnosticly except by excluding those many games and assuming more traditionally-structured systems that are chargen+combat+skills?+advancement systems. – SevenSidedDie Sep 11 '10 at 16:18
• @SevenSidedDie Very true. I just think ts as wishywashy and as useless as rpg or indie or rules. – anon186 Sep 11 '10 at 16:22
• All right, I'm sold. Throwing in the towel in 3...2...1. – Numenetics Sep 11 '10 at 21:29

Tag no longer exists, and is blacklisted to prevent re-creation.

[rules]

This one hasn't been settled yet. Means different things to different people at different times in different contexts, and definitely can't stand by itself as the only tag on a question.

Tag has been merged with .

[design]

It can't stand on its own as it begs the question design of what?

So far we have game design, character design, campaign design, class design and adventure design all tagged as [design]

• Agreed. Each design is its own tag. – anon186 Sep 10 '10 at 17:43
• Add adventure-design to what design currently covers. – SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '10 at 21:45

[gaming-style]

What does it mean? Using funny voices vs. talking in 3rd person? Or playing Norwegian style vs. larping vs. tabletop? Narrative vs. gamist vs. simulationist? Specific techniques for achieving X during play? Too many possible meanings.

I've just noticed the powers tag. I believe this to be a meta tag

You can see by the current usage that it is being used only as regards to dnd4.0 it cannot be used on its own.

This tag may mean different things to users of different RPGs, as such, it should not be allowed.

• I think this one is ok. It's somewhat system-specific the way it's used right now, but I can see it being used a lot if we get more Qs about supers games. I think it's ok if it's read as a technical term in D&D4 Qs and as a general term in supers-game Qs. – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '10 at 17:31
• But our definition of meta-tag is to alert if the tag means different things to different people (D&D and supers) and if it is meaningless on its own. Doesn't powers meet both of these criteria? – Pat Ludwig Sep 24 '10 at 17:34
• @Pat Ludwig: I think the vagueness sort of "different things" is what we're avoiding. Tags that are ambiguous —that is, have different but well-defined meanings depending on the context—aren't a problem. Our tag-searching system does allow the user to narrow "powers" down by combining it with the DnD4.0 tag or any other tag. – SevenSidedDie Nov 5 '10 at 6:43
• @SevenSidedDie - w00t, Necro! I've become a little more zen about tag issues. I figure they will sort themselves out at a later date. Personally I have a hard time seeing many folks wanting to search on "powers". I think the various class tags have a lot more value. But to each their own. – Pat Ludwig Nov 5 '10 at 6:48
• @Pat Ludwig: Whereas the never-ending list of class tags drives me batty. ;) But yeah, zen is my policy for tags these days. I think we nipped the really problematic ones already, and the ones left that irk me is more about me than the tags. – SevenSidedDie Nov 5 '10 at 6:53
• @sevensideddie - I'm looking forward to whenever I create my next character and do a search here on dnd4+class to get a nice list of areas of concern with that class. I agree that we've gotten most of the problematic ones. – Pat Ludwig Nov 5 '10 at 7:03

This is only about its use with . It is used under other systems and that may be fine, but I'm not as familiar with them.

As near as I can tell, this tag means everything that happens that isn't roleplaying and involves the tactical rules; i.e. everything that happens while "in initiative". Using that definition, it's too generic and most of our [dnd-4e] questions should be tagged as well. (Currently only 41 questions have it.) That distinction doesn't seem useful to me, since the question is usually about a more specific aspect of the rules that also gets tagged.

I've noticed several meta tags, that I can't see being useful.

Can someone please tell me how these might ever be used?

• Encounter: In D&D 4e encounters are a discrete measure of storytime and have emchanics and story issues around them. The use of this tag is to cover questions specific to the construction, and play, of an encounter. – anon186 Nov 4 '10 at 17:51
• 3d-space: The use of 3d principles to minature (or other representations) of the imaginary play-space. – anon186 Nov 4 '10 at 17:51
• @Jeremiah Tags are an aid for searching and listing. I'm having a hard time imagining people putting encounters as a favorite, or searching for it. – C. Ross Nov 4 '10 at 18:02
• @C. Ross Actually I have searched on it several times. Its a very useful thing to track and compare when writing questions to ensure theres not something fairly similar to what I'm asking.. – anon186 Nov 4 '10 at 18:24
• I'm tempted to leave them be for now. Are any actively harmful in your judgement? If not, then we can afford to wait and see how they get used. We can always axe them later. – SevenSidedDie Nov 5 '10 at 6:47