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Sometime during the weeks of wrangling over the tag it occurred to me that, I am pretty sure, we've fallen into a fundamental error that may be the cause of all the problems:

Tags aren't for sending encoded signals to answer-writers

That's the job of the question body itself, organically, by being a question that people are voting on submitted answers to.

Meanwhile, the job of a tag is fairly boring: categorise the topic content of a question post so that the Q&A can be found more easily by others interested in that topic.

Somewhere along the line we've drifted into treating as a special signal about how a question should be answered. Somehow, we've stopped relying on the question itself to explain itself, and started leaning on this one tag to do part of its explaining.[1] We've even embedded this meaning in its tag wiki.

Since that's not what tags are for though, it's unsurprising that it does a really bad job of that. New users don't necessarily know to even look at the tags, let alone that this one tag has a special meaning that's relevant to them. Established users argue over whether the tag applies to a question or not. Chaos ensues and madness takes it toll on the site and community.

Clarifying, tagging, and moving on has been working

The solution seems to me to return to the basics of how to clarify questions: ask for the question's important features to be clarified by the original poster, and if necessary, decorate the result with matching tags.

It's how every other tag[1] on the site is used: they stay on questions that contain the matching content, are removed from questions that don't, and when they make us go “huh?” we dig deeper into what the question is supposed to be about by asking.

This struck me as a lightning bolt of obviousness some time after the data-gathering proposal flew off a cliff and exploded in mid-air. We were including the step of asking what someone meant when they used the tag as a necessary step to gather good data. So why weren't we already doing that, and calling the whole entire problem solved?

I've been implementing this the past few weeks. I'll see a question that includes the tag, but there's no body or title content that says “hey, this would call for the tag if it weren't already there,” and I'll ask what they meant by the tag. Sometimes it means that they misused the tag, sometimes it means that they left something out of the question.

Net result? A clearer question. And here's the critical part: Nobody needs to know what the tag means to write an on-topic answer — they just need to read the question.

This has been working so well that I think the community should adopt it. Not only does it work, but:

  • it's how tags are supposed to be used anyway[1]
  • it avoids anyone needing to guess at the intentions of the OP, which prevents conflicts based on different users' readings of the tea leaves (q.v. “how tags are supposed to be used”)
  • people who want to engage in RAW-focused questions can trust the tag reflects the question content
  • people who want to avoid RAW-focused questions can trust the tag reflects the question content
  • it makes voting take care of the answers naturally, because answers that don't answer the question's body are more obvious to all voters instead of to just those who follow the site's arcane meta discussions
    • as a follow-on result of that benefit, mods have no need to police answers for being Not An Answer: votes down do the job they've always been meant to do, which is disincentivise poor answers and incentivise fixing poor ones / deleting unsalvageable ones
  • it improves every question that receives such attention
  • it attracts more relevant answers to RAW questions in a natural way
  • it shows that we care about curating quality questions for our citizens who enjoy deep engagement with the RAW analysis lens
  • it doesn't require changing the tag's name, just using it like a normal tag
  • it doesn't require adding any other tags to “catch” mis-tags from askers looking for “the tag for rules questions”
  • it no longer has to be precisely and perfectly applied to questions anyway, because the consequences of the tag's presence no longer includes answers being policed, just whose attention the questions attract; this means that my own and others' drive to find the exact line between a RAW and non-RAW question can be set aside, and we can be more organic and relaxed about figuring out where to add/keep the tag

It is, overall, the absolute simplest and least-intervention way to resolve the issues that everyone has had, on all sides of the dispute.

What to do, as a user

None of this requires mod powers. It's something we can all do to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in the tag.

  1. So when you see a question talking about RAW or engaging in implicit RAW analysis: that's what the tag is for labelling, so add it![2] It will signal to our RAW analysis experts that there's something worth their attention.

  2. And when you see a question use the tag without any content that would seemingly justify adding it as in (1) above, ask the poster to clarify what they were meaning when they added the tag. When they respond, revise the post to match, either by adding the overt RAW analysis material to the question's body, or by removing the tag. Don't forget to thank them for clarifying!

Feedback

As strongly as I believe that back-to-basics treatment of this one tag works and will strip away the angst around it and around the subcommunity it's related to, I have experienced incorrectness in the past! If I'm totally out to lunch, let me know where this thing is in error.


  1. I know that we make an exception to this rule for game tags. That's for good reasons that don't apply to any other tags.
  2. Note that a question talking about just rules is not enough for it to be about rules as written. The correct tag for “the question is mentioning rules” is the tag, which has been blacklisted since it's useless. is not just a synonym of !

Responses to objections

This section contains responses to specific objections, in the manner of academic discourse in published papers.

The objection that there is no problem that needs fixing

This is still a solution in search of a problem

There are at least two overt problems that would justify seeking a solution, if not this one.

  1. There is considerable community friction over how the tag is used.

    There are concerns that altering the tag's usage at all, especially by mods, is a prelude to expunging RAW experts from the site. There are concerns that it is being used as a synonym for by site novices. There are concerns that the status quo involves excessive intervention among answers on questions with the tag.

    These are all real problems, in the sense that they are a source of community conflict. If this is a solution in search of a problem, finding a problem is by no means difficult, nor a reason to pre-emptively reject the solution as effective for solving the problem of conflict. A rejection must be based on the merits of the solution to resolve the problem of community conflict.

  2. Using to signal what answers are acceptable is a misuse of tags.

    Tags must describe body or title content. The job of signaling what answers are acceptable is for the body or the title content. It is a prima facia problem if is being used for a job that is contrary to the purpose of tags.

    Again, rejecting this solution pre-emptively because it has no problem to solve is invalid, as the problem it aims to solve has already been explicitly stated. A rejection of the solution must be based on its merits instead.

    Regarding the problem of being used to encode information absent from the question itself, it is a direct solution to that problem. Other solutions may be better at eliminating the meta-use of , but the possibility of multiple solutions that would solve the problem is not evidence that the present solution would not work.

There are at least two obvious problems that need fixing. Treating as a normal tag by getting clarification and making sure the question itself is complete before the tag applies is explicitly aimed at solving both the problem of community conflict and the problem of the tag being used for non-tag purposes. How it would accomplish this has been described in detail already.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related, possibly very important context: Is the Only-Tag Test for meta-tag-ness broken here?; Are our implicit-information tagging practices becoming a problem?. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 24 '16 at 23:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are a lot of places in the post that naturally suggest linking to something (examples I mention, related metas, etc.) that I do intend to chase down and edit in when real life relents slightly. Anyone wanting to make some of these words into their obvious link target is welcome to in the meantime! My apologies that I ran out of time to do it in the first place; I felt posting the text itself sans links was worthwhile in the meantime. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 24 '16 at 23:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. I have a slight deja vu. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 25 '16 at 13:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity... The Rules-As-Written tag seems like a mirror for System-Agnostic, which I railed against quite a lot back in the day. Back then you (and the other mods) used a lot of the things you are now calling problematic as a defense for that tag (e.g. tags dictating answerer behavior). What has changed since then, and/or how does the RAW tag differ from SA? \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Feb 25 '16 at 22:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon If I had had my way that use would be recognised as making it a meta tag, but I didn't. :) I wouldn't stand by that answer from the dawn of the site anymore (should I delete it? this link is way more recent and reflects lessons learned), and I do think that if [system-agnostic] has a use, it's also healthier to be reflecting question content than being used as a meta tag. The only saving grace [system-agnostic] has is not being used much anymore nor causing users to spontaneously combust. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 25 '16 at 22:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Here's a more recent mod posting to the same effect (see the bit with the exclamation and question marks). The tag wiki also has it: "You want solutions to the question that are not directly tied to a game's mechanics," and was written relatively recently by a mod. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Feb 25 '16 at 22:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon There have been frequently fights over the tag's application on specific questions. I could dig some of those up if necessary. Then there's the nuclear explosion that occurred when a mod asked if there were any problems with how the tag was being used. That one is pretty indicative of massive community issues around the tag. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 25 '16 at 22:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon It doesn't condemn the tag, no. It does mean there are issues attached to it. I think I've identified the issue: that it's being used as a meta tag, but should be used as a normal tag. As for system-agnostic: if settling the non-meta-ness of [rules-as-written] works out, then maybe [system-agnostic] will be reexamined with that precedent. Dragging multiple similar things together into one discussion tends to be way less effective than dealing with immediate problems in a focused way, then apply the precedent outwards to similar things. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 25 '16 at 23:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/q/76189/2896 ..sigh. The tag was used because the asker wanted a by the book answer. Seems like the tag was used in a way that was intuitive and meaningful and just makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Feb 26 '16 at 0:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mala You can't do RAW vs. non-RAW answers to “what are the Adventurers League regulations regarding legal races and classes”. Nobody but AL officials get to interpret those (via RAW analysis or otherwise)—they just are. I'll grant that it looks superficially like a question that could take the [rules-as-written] tag, but it would be a significant misuse of the tag. To wit: there is no extra value gained by drawing it to the attention of RAW experts, which is the point of tagging, because it's not a question RAW experts have more than normal expertise about. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '16 at 6:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Still, the highest-voted answer is the link to the site where the rules are written down? And I disagree with your explanation; the subset of people interested in both [dnd-adventureres-league] and [rules-as-written] are most likely the best to answer this question. I don't even want to debate all this, it's just another example of a intuitive use of the tag that seems to make sense to me, to the original asker and other people, but is pushed against by moderation. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Feb 26 '16 at 8:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mala RAW ≠ rules though, so just because the answer is about relevant rules doesn't mean it's about RAW specifically. In addition, people who know how AL works, but who are not fans of the rules-as-written approach to gaming exist (and AL itself is not heavily RAW, note!); they may legitimately have questions tagged [rules-as-written] set to be hidden. Adding the tag would result in a question they're quite capable of answering being hidden from them, incorrectly. Such interventions for precision and practical reasons are normal for other tags, and should be too for [rules-as-written]. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '16 at 8:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Organized play in general needs to rely much more on written rules than private rounds, since they want to offer people a unified experience. While not the case 100% everywhere, this is the expectation. It's much less likely that an AL-DM overrides RAW (both from books or additional rules for Organized Play) than a DM in a round with friends that dislikes a certain rule. And well, if people hide tags, that is their choice. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Feb 26 '16 at 8:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mala That still doesn't make AL questions the exclusive domain of RAW experts, which is what tagging all rules questions about AL with [rules-as-written] would encourage. Rather, questions about how AL is run need to be tagged with [dnd-adventurers-league] so that it's the domain of AL experts, whether RAW-leaning or otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '16 at 8:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Oh oh oh, I just had an epiphany of the kind that seems stupidly obvious in hindsight: if we're going to be less interventionist with the NAA flagging in the answers to RAW questions… then laser-fine precision in whether the tag applies or not isn't needed anymore! I can relax a bit, and not feel any pressure for the tagging to be utterly perfect, because the consequences of the tag being there or not are suddenly much, much lower. This should have been obvious when I was writing this meta Q, but it took your comment right there for me to see it. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 27 '16 at 22:03
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I like this idea! However, I do share concerns over our history of comments that leave a sour taste in folks' mouths.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say this proposal may sink or swim on the basis of how approachable our clarification-requesting comments will be.

Something I've noticed--and several folks have told me they experience it too--is that having a well crafted pre-made comment really helps keep things on a steady emotional keel. Even when I need to modify a comment for a particular post, having that pre-made foundation is very useful.

To that end, I offered to make a new meta question as an update to this old thread, and after the upvotes on this post I've made the thing! It invites users and moderators alike to suggest situations in which a pre-made comment would be useful, and to workshop the best way to phrase such comments. That seems like a good place to work out some best practices for implementing this policy:

Pre-made comments: A resource-gathering & workshopping thread

Many moderators use this script to make commenting more efficient, and I suggest anyone who plans to be active in enacting this proposal take a look and see if it will help them too.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I do think a pro-forma comment would be valuable. My own experience with them is that my best pro-forma comments develop out of trial and error (and then gets pasted into my auto-comment file), but someone else crafting a great one that leaps past that process would be appreciated! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '16 at 5:56
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I also like this idea, but I wonder if it's going to really fix the problem long term.

History of the RAW Tag

Here's all the meta questions debating the RAW tag and its meaning, use, and validity, stretching back to 2012: https://rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/rules-as-written (it makes for interesting reading, especially as many participants, including mods past present and future, change their minds about the tag over time). And it appears that the problem is festering, because every time the question comes up (posted by different people each time) you can see that it is the cause of an even larger explosion of bad feeling on the site, you can clearly see the escalation in each set of posts as time goes on. That's the core problem that needs fixing, and it's one that is brutally obvious and needs no further proof. We haven't been solving the problem, we've been saying stuff that sounds good and kicking it down the road, allowing it to snowball to where now it is nuclear to even discuss.

We've Talked About This Solution Before - But It Didn't Stick

In these previous questions about [rules-as-written] we've gone through several rounds over the years of declaring "tags should describe questions not answers" and "don't use it as a meta tag" and "tags shouldn't have special rules" and all the same things we're saying here, all of which I agree with per se. But we've said them all before. What exactly are we going to do this time to get this to stop being such a bone of contention?

Disclaimer

Obviously the RAW playstyle is welcome here, just like other playstyles - very few of which we have tags for, I will note. The discussion about tags and how to apply tags is completely separate from playstyle accommodation and shouldn't be viewed as an attack on it. (We planned to burninate the [gm] tag too, and not because of a player-led pogrom against gamemasters everywhere.)

Conclusion: We Need To Bring This To A Conclusion

I don't have a specific solution I am recommending at this time, but we need to solve the problem for good now - if we just kick it down the road again because "it's painful and people are all heated up," we're just relegating the site to 10x as much vitriol and disruption in another X months when it comes up again, brought up by yet another user who perceives the unresolved ambiguities. We should consider whether this proposal does enough or whether it's just a longer version of some of the answers that have already been posed for this problem over the last 4 years, and how we actionably intend for it to turn out differently this time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your statement that "Obviously the RAW playstyle is welcome here" is not so obvious to folks like KRyan; that mistrust is underlying much of the nuclearosity & needs extraordinary effort to shake. I've asked KRyan to see this proposal as an opportunity for folks (specifically but not exclusively you) to demonstrate openness to RAW in attitude & action, & he's agreed. The proposal on its own won't fix the problem, but using it as an opportunity to showcase a new mode of behaviour? That could go a long way toward un-festering the conversation & opening space to find a more lasting solution soon. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 26 '16 at 7:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand your point, which is why I'm clarifying that the playstyle is welcome. But my point is that this approach is not new. This approach, it seems to me, is largely what we have said we should do about this tag several times already over the years, from reading the linked posts. And the trust problems grow every time we had the discussion and just did that and didn't solve the issue. This leads to KRyan feeling like "they're always attacking me and my tag," because it keeps coming up. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 26 '16 at 12:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ If we kick it down the road again and then discuss again in 9 months, will it really have rebuilt trust or just be "they're attacking it again arrgh?" Because that's how it has actually worked out in the real history of this site. I love a good sounding theory but when we've tried the exact same thing multiple times before and it's made things worse, we need to seriously look at ourselves and ask if what we wish would work is realistic. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 26 '16 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Take a minute to go back through those posts and refresh your memory - the very first challenge to the RAW tag came from you. The next came from Joshua Aslan Smith. The next came from dopplegreener. Various people have all gotten concerned about how it's working over time. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 26 '16 at 13:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ We've done RAW question audits before. First waxy (pre-mod) proposed burnination, then Brian proposed it. SSD basically proposed this exact same approach before. It appears to me that the repetition of this cycle is what is causing the trust problem. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 26 '16 at 13:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think there's a significant difference here compared to those: before, it was all about how the tag is used or misused on questions, without recognising that the ambiguity problems might with the questions themselves. That lead to leaving questions' text alone, and people fighting over their perceptions of the questions' meanings and edit warring over the tag's presence. This proposal has that difference: it recognises that tagging problems increase when questions are unclear, so questions need fixing too before the tag's applicability has any chance of being obvious to most/all readers. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '16 at 16:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I get ya... (Although that too was mentioned in several of those Qs, actually - like this one where dopple was downvoted pretty hard on it.) But here's the problem. It's a solution that is pretty much limited to the actions of the... 24? people who have read this meta. On a site with thousands of users. I fear that without any more visible - especially to newbies - guidance on using the tag that doesn't depend on a small squad of people taking action on every single rules question ever, it will leave enough of the issue for it to recur. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 26 '16 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk it at least currently has a main site sidebar slot and has been tweeted (fwiw, the RPG stack tweet bot has 323 followers...). But I wholeheartedly agree that if this is going to work, it has to become something more than a few people are actively doing \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Feb 26 '16 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd hope that new users would pick it up the same way other site culture things are picked up: by observing those in the know taking action. The tag wiki may also need revision to better guide taggers. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '16 at 20:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for historical perspective and pointing out our need for general closure here. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 26 '16 at 23:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk It would be incorrect to characterise the meta I posted as a "challenge to the RAW tag". The other metas you linked questioned the tag's usefulness. Mine questioned a specific practice within that tag (and similar practices in others), without comment on the merits of the tag itself. SSD's proposal seems to be recognising that same problem and I find it's pretty good. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 27 '16 at 5:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dopplegreener "posted about issues with the tag's use" then. Choose to word it however, it's still another incident in the debate over the tag. And my point is the problem was recognized in the same way a year and a half ago, in a 16-upvotes question. meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/5211/… - is "woo it has 28 upvotes now" really what's going to make it work this time? I don't think so, I think there's some core confusion over the scope of the term/tag here we need to iron out before this can work. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 28 '16 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ And luckily I don't think we have to argue about it any more - after talking to KRyan he is also not happy with the way the RAW tag is used all the time, and has agreed to start some questions to that end, so we can all work together on clarifying it, making this proposal more likely to work IMO. I'd prefer to do more moving ahead and less circling around the same stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 28 '16 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like it happened again. Maybe I need to take you to Vegas with me the next time I go, with these predictive powers. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 20 at 13:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah. It’s been causing conflict and confusion for 6 years and for some reason we don’t get the hint. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Mar 20 at 13:44
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The tag really needs to be renamed or made a synonym.

Not there's anything directly wrong with the tag. For people who hang out in RPG forums and are familiar with RAW/RAI arguments it precisely describes what it's all about, and I know a lot of our users who follow the tag come from that environment.

Unfortunately, a lot of the new users who wander into RPG.SE don't come from that environment, and aren't actually looking for a strict RAW analysis when they use the tag. They have a question about rules, that's the only major tag with the word "rules" in its name (since, as mentioned, we blacklisted the tag for being both a meta tag and uselessly vague), so they slap it on their question even though their question has nothing to do with how the RPG.SE community would like the tag to be used (or with how the greater RPG Internet community would understand the tag's name).

Renaming the tag has been proposed before and received a somewhat positive response from the community (as of this the post, the proposal is +6/-3). As mentioned above, the phrase "rules as written" has a very distinct meaning in a broad swathe of the community that perfectly encapsulates how the tag is intended to be used, and the tag's adherents would be absolutely correct to say that changing it to anything else will cost it clarity with users coming from those parts of the greater RPG community. But the current phrasing is also causing a lot of misuse (which as mentioned, is the fault of the blacklisted tag rather than the RAW tag itself).

Further, the tag is somewhat unique in the greater StackExchange ecosystem in that it partially exists to place a constraint on answers rather than simply describing the question. While I think that's a mechanic that has its uses in this case as well as possibly on a few other stacks, it's definitely not the norm for tags on RPG.SE in particular or SE in general. To those who claim that the tag wiki explains its intended use: Don't kid yourselves, hardly anybody, especially new users (who are the most likely to misuse tags) reads tag summaries, much less wikis. The only way to get the message through that this tag has a special use is to make the tag's name itself explain that use. (Apparently that aspect of the tag is part of the problem.)

To sum up, I strongly feel that the RAW tag should be renamed/synonymed to something that better encourages, or even explicitly describes, its correct use so we can finally put the recurring shitstorm that surrounds it to rest.

The linked proposal suggested or . Those are... somewhat clumsy, and exacerbate the "tag places requirements on answers instead of describing the question" problem. On the other hand, has been proposed and would solve the primary source of confusion, the word "rules" in the tag that keeps luring new users into misusing it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If we must rename the tag, I would strongly champion [raw] as the alternative. It's as common (if not more common) a term for the same thing among the community that understands it, so it would be easily found, recognised, and understood, and [raw] can't inspire hypothetical misuse by someone looking for a “rules” tag. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 27 '16 at 2:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aside, the community undertaking the solution in the Q would need to adjust the tag wiki to remove the special rules regarding answers, anyway. That it has special rules controlling answers is part of the identified problem to be solved, so that moots the third paragraph of this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 27 '16 at 2:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: I'm having a little trouble distinguishing "How do I do X in [C#/PowerShell/Haskell]?" (an entirely legitimate answers-restricting tag usage on SO, of all places) from "What do the [rules-as-written] say about this?" (which appears mostly to describe the question, if anything). I suspect there's really some valid observation there, but there's some shades of meaning that are currently escaping me. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 27 '16 at 2:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TuggyNE I see language tags on SO as being fairly closely analogous to our game system tags. The RAW tag is more like, "How do I X in Haskell without using recursion?" \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 27 '16 at 2:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage: So, a lot like this question asking for a way to get Erlang to do a thing with tail-recursion instead of regular, then. *shrug* \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 27 '16 at 3:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would propose [rules-as-written-only] as the new tag. It's a very small change, both people familiar with the existing rules-as-written tag and newbs just typing it in will easily find the tag, unlike [raw] or [answer-requires-rules-citation] (the latter of which is about answers and is therefore a meta tag). [raw] as a synonym would be good of course. But I think the "only" would be a marker to indicate "hey... we don't just mean rules questions, we mean questions strictly about the rules as written." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 27 '16 at 3:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage: Although admittedly, that was a particular question; the tag as a whole seems to contain questions about getting tail-recursion code to work along with similar "must be tail-recursive". I dunno, it's pretty subtle. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 27 '16 at 3:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ [strictly-rules-as-written] would be similar but less catchy. I think that, plus maybe some tag wiki editing and a backing post on meta about raw/rai/etc aimed at newbs might shore up this plan to being more sticky once it's not a recent tweet/hot question (we're talking about cycles of 9 months-1 year between blowups, after the "freshness" of the previous earnest declaration of doing better has passed). \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 27 '16 at 3:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do agree that the problem is usually new crops of players (and this is a big deal with 5e getting new players now) that have kinda heard the terms RAW and RAI and decide to use them without really knowing what they mean (@KRyan himself wrote a good meta on how RAI is often used very incorrectly). \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 27 '16 at 3:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think we have to give up on "tags aren't about answers" - the question is about the literal rules in the book. That of course affects the scope of contributed answers but so does the question being about "Java." I think SSD has been trying to get that distinction across (though it's subtle and therefore a little difficult). \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 27 '16 at 3:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TuggyNE Per the mods it's OK for a question to do that; it's not OK for a tag to do that. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 27 '16 at 3:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk My concern is that a lot of new users just aren't going to look any farther than that they found a tag with the word "rules" in it. If we have to keep that word in there then [strictly-rules-as-written] would be better than [rules-as-written-only] since it at least doesn't start with "rules". \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 27 '16 at 3:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do go back and forth on it in my mind though because it is encouraging sloppy questions that use the tag as a substitute for what you really want... Even "RAW" often needs more clarification (So, any published work for that game? Or do you mean just first party not third party? Do you accept the Rules Compendium and FAQ or no? What about Dragon Mag/Website/whatever freaky mobile thing it is now? What about designer tweets? etc....) I think in the tag wiki we should say something about "don't use this as a substitute for using your words..." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 27 '16 at 3:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ However, I think changing the tag is enough of a scope creep to the proposal that I think it will get better exposure and discussion in its own, dedicated meta Q. The back-and-forth crammed into the comments here suggests that there is a need for answer-sized discussion spaces regarding this idea. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 27 '16 at 4:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Seems reasonable. I'm headed to bed soon, I'll put up dedicated question tomorrow morning. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 27 '16 at 4:33

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