I'm a very casual user of the site, and yes there seems to be a problem to me. The RAW tag creates a situation where a lot of answers are either fairly reasonable or completely wrong according to whether it is present or not. I am not trying to reiterate the argument whether the tag should exist or not, but its existence has problematic consequences. These may or may not be worse than its non-existence and may or may not have solutions, I don't know.
Even worse, though, there seem to be subjective divisions within divisions, since people don't always agree as to whether a particular answer is or is not RAW. I think I've even seen this happen where people's interpretations of the text differ, such that someone in effect is saying, "this is not a RAW answer, not because it doesn't attempt to be one, but because it attempts to be one and I disagree with your interpretation of the text". To me that doesn't mean it's not a RAW answer, although it might mean it's an incorrect RAW answer. The problem isn't that people disagree, it's that their disagreements are solemnised into site policy regarding the RAW tag and then the mods want to or have to get involved. Something that ideally would be "just site content" is "site rules".
I thought RAW was originally envisaged to distinguish questions asking for help with the rules vs. questions asking how the game can be altered to particular circumstances. For example, "how can I make this fight with orcs harder?" is a different question from "RAW how can I make this fight with orcs harder?", since the former admits answers with house-rules to represent whatever in-fiction consideration means the fight should be harder, and the latter explicitly says not to give those answers because that's not what the question is about. Fair enough, I can think of at least three really good reasons to want to keep a question like that RAW: you don't want to use house rules; you want to know what the published rules say before you start house-ruling for yourself; inviting house rules would make your particular question way too open-ended.
But questions like this and this are about text interpretation, which is a different activity from roleplaying even if the text in question happens to be an RPG text, and even though most roleplayers do need to figure out rules from time to time even when their playstyle is nowhere near RAW. This example is entirely civil despite contradicting answers, so the matter clearly isn't hopeless, it just doesn't always work out like that.
This has apparently resulted in some kind of armed stand-off between certain users and certain other users, including mods. I don't pretend to have a good overview of all the details and all the skirmishes, but it most certainly is a problem in that people are regularly getting into hostile discussions of playstyle as a preamble to whether something is a legitimate answer to a question. It should not be that difficult and contentious on a SE site to figure out how tags dictate answers.
StackOverflow has questions about standards and language-lawyering that have provoked similar sorts of issues (basically, you get answers that say "This works on my machine" to questions that very specifically ask, "is this guaranteed by the C++ standard to work everywhere?", but apparently without it descending into distrust of mods, and without mods needing to implement initiatives to ruthlessly clamp down on answers that fail to address the question as asked.
Skeptics has a similar property that it's very difficult to write adequate answers, but at least there the notion of what's a sub-par answer is built right into the site concept, and they're up-front about the fact that the whole site is not for people who don't want to read and write that sort of answer. RPG tries to be for all playstyles but it does this in effect by filtering questions by playstyle and then yelling at each other over any doubt concerning the boundaries of the filter.
I feel like what people really want, and that the RAW tag only approximates, is to recommend some sort of "same page tool" before even sitting down to ask and answer a question together, as if neither roleplaying nor RPG.SE can be a tolerant compromise. Does it really have to be the case that you agree with each other up-front or you're doomed, and it's expected that all disagreements should result in irreparable schisms? This relates to what LegendaryDude says about criticisms of each other's badwrongfun being endemic in the hobby.
I'm pretty sure that from the outside it's not at all obvious:
- why these different playstyles render so many answers fundamentally useless to those in a different camp from the writer
- why this tag needs to be somehow procedurally different from other tags identifying the context of a question, for example particular games. After all, there aren't continual rows and policing initiatives about people answering D&D questions with GURPS rules, the temptation to disagree seems not to exist in that case.
- why people feel the need for the tag to be aggressively policed and even aggressively meta-policed (i.e. not just the tag itself is seen to need to be taken firmly in hand by mods and others, so are discussions of it). What about this site that means the mods even have to contemplate aggressively deleting answers because a tag on the question means the answers are wrong. What other SE sites need this kind of mod activity? Is the problem genuinely that people who want to know what the D&D rules say about 0 max HP cannot get answers to that question without the protection of an enclave created by site policy and aggressive moderator enforcement? Is the problem that people have different ideas about how the site should be curated (for example that RAW answers and house-rule answers must never mix on the same question)? Is that unless the site can reach and enforce a definition of RAW, the public are so determined that this site must be perfectly curated without visible disagreement, that they won't allow questions about published rules at all (like the death of game-rec) and would rather get rid of them than allow them to exist with inappropriate answers? Is it mostly personal antipathy and playstyle advocacy, and question/answers themselves don't really have anything to do with it? I don't know, but maybe someone does.
- why this division can't be handled by people just naturally ignoring stuff that's not relevant to them (for example, why are people so strongly drawn to answering RAW questions by saying, "the rules are ambiguous or incomplete, but of the plausible interpretations I find the following most practical", drawing accusations of presenting house rules, instead of just not answering RAW questions, or saying "the rules here aren't good enough to answer you question" and leaving that to be voted against rival answers who think the rules do answer the question).
- why people are both upset and hostile about consequences of the whole issue.
I'm not saying this is a mod problem, I'm saying it's a situation which is nigh-on un-moderatable and therefore predictably spawns some problems between mods and users as well as between users.