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I recently noticed that we have a tag. It seems reasonably useful, if only to link together a bunch of related questions, but it's currently only used on three questions (and I added it to one of those).

A few highly voted questions that perhaps could use this tag, but currently don't, include:

Should I add this tag to more questions, to make it actually useful for searching, or should I remove it from the few questions that have it? And if the former, should (which currently does not exist) be made a synonym for it?


OK, looks like we have a fairly clear consensus that the tag should stay. I've marked nitsua60's answer as accepted (since I can't pick more than one), and I've added the tag to the first four questions listed above, so that they can be found when searching for it. From there on, it should be fine to let it grow organically.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 5/5 on the witty name :) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 2 '15 at 14:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener: Punny titles are kind of traditional on meta questions about specific tags. See e.g. these questions on meta.SO. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Dec 2 '15 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Of course! And among them this one's pretty stellar \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 2 '15 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I should have said in my answer: I think a [tpk] synonym makes complete sense, too. I'd suggest it, but I don't have the requisite score in [total-party-kill]. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Dec 3 '15 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60: I'd have the score to suggest the synonym, but apparently the tag [tpk] would have to exist on at least one post first. If we all agree that a preemptive synonym would be a good idea, it would probably be best to get a mod to create it. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Dec 4 '15 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ The synonym [tpk] → [total-party-kill] is live now! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 4 '15 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think the fifth question (which I asked) really needs this tag. In fact, I never mentioned it in the question. I only said they can't kill an ancient dragon. That doesn't necessarily mean it would kill all of them. \$\endgroup\$ – David Wilkins Dec 4 '15 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidWilkins: OK, fair enough. I thought it would be useful there (particularly since I was originally looking for that very question, to link to a discussion about avoiding TPKs), but if you'd rather not have the tag there, feel free to remove it. It's your question, after all. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Dec 4 '15 at 17:28
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Keep the tag: we've got browsers, too.

Users don't only come here when they've a specific question, but also to browse around in a repository of high-quality analysis and advice. While searching for "TPK" will likely get you a good sampling, utilizing a TPK tag would provide users another avenue to get to questions on the topic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I use tags like this as a browser. Sometimes I recall we probably have an excellent question about something I can refer someone to. If there's a tag for the topic, that makes things much easier, especially when not everyone actually uses the same terminology for this stuff: only one question and two answers in the TPK tag actually use the words "total party kill" at all, so that's 2 questions that wouldn't show up until I go rummaging through possible key words. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 2 '15 at 14:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I also imagine and hope that sometimes, the newbies who ask about topics like this will discover our tag on it (because they applied it, or we applied it, or something) and learn about similar challenges in the same ballpark and read and become better and more knowledgeable as players and GMs and whatnot. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 2 '15 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not just for casual users, either: regulars can and do use tags to find related questions. (In fact, that's what I was trying to do when I came across this tag; the specific TPK-related question I was actually looking for was this one, which I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have found using any of the obvious search keywords, if I hadn't remembered that I'd answered it myself, and so could find it through my answer history.) \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Dec 2 '15 at 14:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd 1+ this for your very scientific approach and devils advocate approach but I don't want to poison the results as I don't agree with the actual argument. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Dec 2 '15 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Tags can also be browsed in pairs with a bit of knowledge of how to use the search feature: [total-party-kill] [dnd-5e] would be an effective search. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 2 '15 at 15:53
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*prepares rope swing*
*swings from balcony*

“Folksonomyyyyy!”

*lands, escapes out second-storey window*


Tags being emergent, they don't really need ratification to continue existing. When in doubt, the default is to leave a tag alone and let it get established (or not) on its merits of utility and appeal to the site's users. They tend to only need discussion when they're trouble or potentially trouble.

This one seems to describe a particular type of problem endemic to RPGs, and appears to be not misbehaving, so it meets the minimum requirements to join the ranks of our site's tags.

As for requiring a system tag to make sense, that's an issue many of our tags share: , , and to name just a few. That's just because of the nature of our subject, where many of our questions need a system tag as well as a tag that describes the subject of the actual problem (whether that's balancing issues or handling TPKs).

In practical terms, that means go ahead and use it where it seems to fit! If nobody protests, nor identifies a subtler problem that needs meta discussion to untangle, then it's evidently fine. My personal prediction is that using it will be uncontroversial.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Was just about to comment on the question that you could also just do nothing and let it progress on its own. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Dec 2 '15 at 15:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JoshuaAslanSmith: That is certainly always an option, but it seems somewhat unsatisfactory that we have a total-party-kill tag, but our best TPK questions aren't actually tagged with it. I'd like to do something about that, hence this meta question. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Dec 2 '15 at 15:46
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Total-Party-Kill probably wouldn't be that helpful of a tag, in fact I'd suggest scrubbing it off those three questions

While a TPK is an RPG cliche and in some systems/tables a staple as a grouping for questions on RPG.SE I can't see it being all that helpful. In almost every case the question ends up being very system specific because creating, avoiding, or figuring out how a TPK occurred always comes down to the balance, rules, and actions taken within the system.

To answer SevenSidedDie's valid point, I feel like or serve to highlight a specific subsection of rules you want to look at whereas TPK is so overly broad as to be non-helpful. To focus on 5e for a moment, a TPK could be caused by DM fiat ("Rocks fall, everyone dies"), a slight misundertanding/miscalculation in balancing an encounter based on CR, due to bad play/poor opitmization of the players, or as the natural outcome of a story choice made by the players.

In my opinion the tag is completely superfluous and and merely repeats information that should already be conveyed in the question title anyway.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Many of our tags are system-specific though, such as [combat] or [character-advancement]. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 2 '15 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie do you mean Aren't? \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Dec 2 '15 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Combat and character advancement have games which aren't applicable, but aren't exactly system specific. Here's some better examples: fate-points, aspects, compels, create-advantage, feats, combat-maneuver, fighter, off the top of my head. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 2 '15 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ TPKs are more like [combat] than [fate-points]. You generally have to use a system tag with it as well. That's a common issue for our tags though, not something unique to [total-party-kill]. It's not really a problem with this tag, unless it's a problem with most of our tags. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 2 '15 at 15:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ doppelgreener sevensideddie you may both be winning me over. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Dec 2 '15 at 16:01

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