rules-as-written has two purposes right now:
- "this question is about the rules as written"
- "answer must obey special rules"
The latter makes it a meta tag. Meta tags are never, in the long run, a good idea. But tags are for describing what questions are about, and rules-as-written doesn't need to have that second purpose.
There's a simple solution then: kill the special rules attached to rules-as-written with fire, to save it from being a meta tag.
Putting pressure on answer content to suit the question is what votes are for, and we were foolish to try to legislate what is supposed to be already taken care of by the core mechanic of the site.
The special rules for game-rec don't attempt to replace voting and "this is off-topic" delete votes. It has special rules because otherwise those questions are banned. RAW questions aren't banned without their special rules, they don't need them to be permitted here. That lack of corresponding situations is why game-recommendation is not a valid model to look to for how to handle the rules-as-written tag.
rules-as-written is a meta tag. We normally burn meta tags with fire, but we can save it, by reversing what we did to it that made it into a meta-tag monster. A few minutes ago I was writing a proposal to burninate it, and I found myself writing that we would need to find a replacement because it's valid to ask questions about RAW, and aboutness is my sacred yardstick for measuring the non-meta-ness of a tag. And I realised that rules-as-written is the very tag we would naturally want to replace itself with.
So rules-as-written isn't a meta tag, but we've made it into one by turning it into a tag that dictates what answers should say. It's a good tag that doesn't deserve burninating; we have to save it from the inevitable death that comes to all meta tags.
We should save it because it's valuable to a huge community we serve.
We should save it because it legitimately describes many of our questions.
We should save it because people have shown that they want to use it and that's how our tag folksonomy is supposed to work.
We should save it because questions about RAW are on-topic and we need a tag for those.
We should save it.
It should not be a meta tag. We are undermining all its good work and value by making it a meta tag. We're grown-ups, we can handle people answering questions tagged rules-as-written with answers that don't respect the tag. We can use our votes, including delete votes. We can use our words.
We don't need a site policy to make those answers go away. We really don't need a site policy that doesn't even work and wastes so much of our energy and time in divisive arguments about how to fix a problem we've inflicted on ourselves.
Vote with me to set rules-as-written free from the special rules that are weighing it down. Let it do its job in tandem with the voting system. We're competent people here, we can handle telling people with votes and comments that they've made a mistake by ignoring the tag. And sometimes, we might find, that a question tagged rules-as-written gets a really good answer that challenges the frame with a non-RAW solution. The way we expect the site to work.
We need rules-as-written. We don't need policy on how it's used or how its answered.
Current discussion context that's obvious now but will be harder to find as this meta ages: