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A recent question has pointed me to the tag. I liked the sound of it, especially in light of a recent meta question about and s.

It has no tag wiki and is currently used by 6 questions:

  1. How to avoid arguments with a player about what "should" happen?
  2. Attack versus Feint
  3. Audience control over conflict resolution
  4. Is throwing other PC's possible?
  5. In a Mouse Guard fight, does each team target a specific other team with each move?
  6. What is the best way to use extended contests in Gumshoe?

There is no clear line what the tag is supposed to be about.

  • Question 1 is about avoiding false expectations and miscommunications between players and GM, which makes it (if that tag includes OOC interaction during playtime).
  • Questions 2, 4 and 5 are about and should be tagged as such.
  • Questions 3 and 6 are about special non-combat conflict situations, not sure how I'd tag them, not sure if a tag is actually needed.

What are your opinions on the tag? I see three viable options right now

  • Burnination.
  • Make it into the non-combat conflict tag, i.e. non-combat .
  • Make it pertain to OOC conflicts, which are currently often or depending on who writes the question.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ It so happens that I only used that tag because after searching for terms such as "conflict," "agree," "dispute," "argu" (argue / argument), etc. it was the only one I could find. If you do end up changing this, you should probably make the new tag easier to find. I would never have gotten "social" from "conflict." \$\endgroup\$ – Doorknob Sep 4 '14 at 2:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Doorknob I completely agree and dislike [social] as well. SSD has suggested to use [group-conflict] for this type of question, which should show up for "conflict" \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Sep 4 '14 at 7:53
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It really does seem to not mean anything, and the name itself is pretty ambiguous. These questions could just get retagged with [social] or [problem-x] or [combat] or others as you've mentioned, and the tag thus burninated.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ All done, the tag should self-destruct sometime in the next 24 hours afaik. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Sep 5 '14 at 8:29
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TL;DR: for Reasons detailed below:


"Conflict resolution" is a mechanical concept, but we don't need a tag for it

"Conflict resolution" is a bit of RPG terminology and was originally created for that purpose. If we go by its original creation's meaning and use, the recent taggings on group-conflict questions are mistaggings.

In general, when a tag could be read with two meanings, one a general term and one a piece of RPG terminology, I would favour the RPG terminology meaning over the general one. So in this case, I'd say is about the mechanical design concept, not about resolving conflicts between group members.

I'm not sure we need it at all though, as it's unusually specific even where it's used "right". The Shock question is just a rules clarification and derives no search, SEO, or meaning benefit from the tag; the Mouse Gaurd example is just a rules clarification around combat, and doesn't need the tag either. With both games it's redundant with the system tag, as the game systems are entirely built on conflict-resolution. I'm unfamiliar with GUMSHOE, but I expect that's similar. The only kind of question I can see it being valuable on is a question, but then it offers very little value and should probably just be part of the question, not the tags.

So, if we don't need the tag at all for the mechanical concept, perhaps the tag is free for using to mean resolving conflicts around the table.


There are better names than "conflict resolution" for this use

Our existing discussion about merging and achieved consensus for merging them, but we never came up with a good term. The tag looks attractive, but even better would be something more clear, like maybe .

Besides, tags should describe the problem, not the desired solution — some group conflicts should not be resolved (q.v. our many "just leave" answers to such questions). "Conflict resolution" isn't the problem, it's a guess at what the solution might be. At tag that is only ever valid on an XY Problem isn't a tag we should have. So again, something describing the problem, like , is better.

Then, though, it begs the question of what and mean and how they should be used. Perhaps we just have too many ambiguous "stuff happening around the table" tags. I favour specific over general tags though, so I'd say that the existence of and shouldn't stop us from using a nicely-named tag, that just falls into our lap like this, to finally merge and .

So I suggest be made our merged tag, and synonym the otherwise-useless to it after removing it from the questions about the mechanical concept of conflict resolution.

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I googled a bit to find what conflict-resolution is as opposed to task resolution, which is when should be used IMO.
I found this, and I think it needs to be read along with Chris Flood's comment at the end of the page.

In short:

Task resolution is succeed/fail. Conflict resolution is win/lose. You can succeed but lose, fail but win.

This was used to shift RPG mechanics from "I want to open the safe" "Ok, dice say you do it, but nothing is inside" to "I want to get proofs on this secret affairs" "Ok, dice say you do it. The documents were in the chest".

The page I linked says that the concepts are relative ("Ok, dice say you find the documents, but they are useless to prove anything" brings you back to being succubus to the DM's decisions), the comment makes a distinction...

...on when a player must roll the dice. For task resolution, it's when the character's competency is low relative to the complexity of the task at hand, while conflict resolution has the dice kick in when there is a conflict of interest.


It could otherwise be a taga about how to solve a game conflict mechanic of any type (but I'd label it )

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Conflict resolution exists as counterpart to task resolution.

Task resolution is a binary yes/no result, e.g., a Climb check in D&D 3.5, that asks the question “Did you succeed at x?”. Complicated plans often involve a succession of task resolution checks.

Conflict resolution instead states “This is what happens if you succeed” with open-ended, often fail-forward results for failure and generally just one roll of the dice. A classic example in Burning Wheel is: Can I open this door before the guard finds me? On a successful test, yes, absolutely. On a failure, the GM has options: Did you get the door open? Or you did but not before the guard spotted you? Or you set off an alarm that gets the guard's attention? On a failure, the answer to the original question is no, but couched in possibilities that advance the story rather than just saying no.

That said, I'm not sure it needs a tag unless it's about questions like this. Mouse Guard's conflict system is called Conflict, so it makes a little sense that it got tagged in. I think the mouse-guard and conflict tags are fine for those.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If [conflict-resolution] is a useful tag, what about [task-resolution]? If not the latter, could you speak to the difference that makes one a good tag and the other not? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 5 '14 at 16:10

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