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A recent question in the meta addressed whether cross-system questions should ever be combined if the answer to both questions was determined to be the same.

I understand (and agree with) the answers posted in response, but it made me wonder what the tagging policy on such a question would be. If I asked "How does {Generic Mechanic that's identical between 3.5 and Pathfinder} work?"* would it be best to tag that question as a 3.5 question, a Pathfinder question, both, or apply no system tag what so ever?

*Please assume such a question exists and is valid, unless issuing a frame challenge that such questions inherently cannot exist.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The recent question was not asking about "combining" both questions. It was about whether you'd close one as a duplicate of the other. Notably, the duplication target would not be edited to also cover a different and incompatible edition — it would remain a Pathfinder question. I say this wondering if part of your confusion is over an assumption we'd edit the earlier question to ask about both D&D 5e and Pathfinder at once. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 27 '16 at 20:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do we consider the closed question's redirection to be sufficient for users searching for the question, then? When I'm searching the site for questions I always narrow the search down via the tag search, and I suspect the question tags also affect search engine results, seeing only closed questions when searching might lead me to be unable to find the answer I'm looking for. I just want to make sure that policy isn't detrimental to the experience of casual users of the stack. \$\endgroup\$ – lithas Oct 27 '16 at 20:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that when searching, duplicates don't show up as “[closed]” questions, they show up with “[duplicate]”. That indicates that there is something worth reading to be found by clicking it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 27 '16 at 21:31
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Tag to describe your question's context.

If you're using both 3.5 and Pathfinder, tag for them both. If you're not actually using both in your game, only tag with the one you're using.

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This is one of the cases where system expertise is necessary to tag correctly. That is, the asker might reasonably believe a mechanic to be identical between editions/systems, but turn out to be mistaken. If so, the question will just need to be retagged.

Therefore, starting out by tagging both systems (and indicating which one is primary in case of conflict) is the way to go.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This way, can we tag [system-agnostic] and then a specific system tag for questions without system specific stuff required to answer but indicating that the OP is using that system? \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Oct 28 '16 at 3:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @daze413: I guess. I'm not sure there's much point to it, but I suppose you could. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Oct 28 '16 at 3:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ It shouldn't matter if the systems are identical or not; what matters is if the querent is using them both in the situation they're asking for help with. That's not an issue of system mastery, just the person describing the reality of their game. (Non-identical systems clashing in the same game will need extra-insightful answers.) \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Oct 28 '16 at 3:17

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