I have in the past been told that a question has to/should have a tag because, even though the tag doesn't really describe the question, experts in the tag would be interested in/useful for answering it. Today I was told this is not the case, and we mustn't/shouldn't tag things to attract experts in a given field. What gives?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I added the example from today, do you have a contradicting example you could edit in? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Jun 3, 2015 at 0:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman I'll keep looking, it's a comment from SSD a long time back. It may well have been deleted. Unfortunately he's got a lot of comments and I don't know how to search more narrowly so... \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2015 at 1:29

2 Answers 2


I remember writing the comment that I think you're remembering — it was regarding putting on your question “Is there any reason not to put the +1 level of existing class features from Uncanny Trickster into Uncanny Trickster?

I think the confusion is that, when you objected that the tag maybe didn't suit, I asked if you thought that people who don't engage in optimization would be able to help. The point I was making Socratically was that, if it requires experts who know optimization practices, the question is fundamentally about optimization practices, despite doubts you might have had.

So when one wants to put a tag on a question because “experts in the tag would be interested in/useful for answering it,” there are two distinct paths to arrive at that thought. Only one of those two paths comes from a motive aligned with the function of tags here, though. The non-aligned motive is wanting certain (kinds of) people to see it; the aligned motive is that the question itself is fundamentally about the stuff those experts are knowledgeable about.

How that pans out regarding the tagging on “How can I suggest the DM stop trying to kill us?” is that system-agnosticism isn't really something someone can be an expert in, so the thought that “system-agnostic experts” should see the question doesn't really make sense, and doesn't Socratically reveal any fundamental truth about the nature of the question and what its tags should be.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes! That's the one! I had misremembered as being about something to do with Polaris which had thrown me totally off track. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2015 at 5:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ While system-agnosticism is something I do think you can be an expert in, you're right that that expertise isn't really needed for the question. It makes sense not to tag it that way, then. I think what I should have meant to tag it as is group dynamics. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2015 at 5:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Yeah, that question could maybe take [group-dynamics]; it's not central to the way the problem is articulated, but as outsiders it does look like it describes some of what's going on there. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2015 at 6:10

You're stating this in a false strawmanny way.

Our site help defines tags as:

A tag is a word or phrase that describes the topic of the question. Tags are a means of connecting experts with questions they will be able to answer by sorting questions into specific, well-defined categories.

Tags can also be used to help you identify questions that are interesting or relevant to you.

So you tag with things that describe the question to connect experts among other reasons. You don't tag it "to draw experts." That's a fine but important distinction.

In general, questions are better if they are scoped more specifically. But more urgently, they are better if they are scoped to the poster's problem. This poster doesn't want to know how to negotiate with GMs about a variety of systems. He wants to know how to negotiate challenge with his D&D 5e DM. It's a specific problem, tagged specifically.

If the OP had a question of "hey this comes up across various games I've been in, I want a system-agnostic answer" - why that's fine too. A later question can ask this - if that's that poster's problem!

If someone hates 5e so much that they are ignoring the tag, then yes, they'd miss out on this question. C'est la vie. They might not really have a constructive mindset to do so, is my thinking.

Consider also reviewing:

  • \$\begingroup\$ I could be wrong, but I think you're misunderstanding the question. I mean to be asking whether tagging a thing is to draw experts on that thing because their expertise is relevant is ok even if the tag does not describe the question's content. (I realize this is basically the same as my question's previous phrasing so that probably doesn't help clarify things :/). Since you seem to want to talk about specific example things, in this case I'm not suggesting that the 5e tag be removed, I'm asking why/if the system agnostic tag should be. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2015 at 1:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer "even if the tag does not describe the question's content" - this answer says that tags are meant to describe the question. So if the tag doesn't describe the question, it shouldn't be on there, regardless of which experts it might attract. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Jun 3, 2015 at 1:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman oh ok, didn't understand that from the answer. Cool, thanks :) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2015 at 1:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ mxyzplk: "You're stating this in a false strawmanny way." The rest of the reply was helpful to me to answer both TDW's question and to clarify my own unasked questions about tags. The opening came across as snarky and off-putting. (This may not have been the intent). Miniman's comment further helps answer the question on "best use" of the tag feature ... which as a relatively new user is, like the rest of your answer, helpful. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2015 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ "We shouldn't tag things to attract experts" is a false strawmanny way of stating the real premise, which is that we should put tags that describe the content onto things to attract experts. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jun 4, 2015 at 21:04

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