We have right now, which is just the current “brand name” for D&D 5e playtest material. Why not call a spade a spade and have a tag for all our playtest material question needs?

Naturally would be a synonym, so it would still pop up for people looking for that tag name when writing questions, but what would show up after submitting would be .

As a side benefit, this might also solve our old tagging problem with old D&D Next questions that can't be rewritten to be about the published D&D 5e rules, especially since the consensus that developed in that meta was that we should tag them distinctly somehow. I think is the natural solution to that specific problem as well as to the general problem. We wouldn't go on a tagging spree for old Next questions, but could be added to them reactively as they get noticed or bumped, slowly putting that difficulty to rest.

Other games occasionally see questions about playtest materials too. I think it would be useful to be able to distinctly tag questions about playtest materials regardless of game, for searching and future clarity. I think that would be an improvement over having brand-name tags for playtest material for different specific games.

I think would be useful and we should adopt it. Are there any thoughts on downsides that should stay our hands?


2 Answers 2


I do not think we should make this change. I mulled it over and I do not feel it solves any problem we have, nor do I feel we have any compelling reason to have a generic tag like this.

  • The current tag is calling a spade a spade. As you may be aware, the "call a spade a spade" idiom means to speak plainly and straightforwardly. What's more straightforward than "I'm asking about material from the Unearthed Arcana column, so I'm going to tag this "? There are no problems cited here with the Unearthed Arcana tag; neither of us have observed any ambiguity problems as you mentioned in a comment. The folksonomy seems to be working just fine here.

  • This doesn't solve our D&D Next issue. If I see a question about so-and-so game mechanic tagged , is this a question about the olde D&D Next, or Unearthed Arcana publications, or some other source of playtest material such as from a third party publisher testing new content slated for release under the D&D 5e OGL?

    In fact this creates new ambiguity, since is already quite clear it is neither D&D Next nor playtest material from any source beside Unearthed Arcana.

  • I am not aware of any tagging or communication problems around any other game's playtest on the site so far. None have been cited here other than the D&D Next issue. We could speculate on when and how we might use the tag, but tagging is based on current need, not projected need.

    In fact the only other playtests I've been aware of so far have had a form of non-disclosure agreement (NDA) attached, so we couldn't ask questions about them here even if we wanted to. For example, we have no questions about the recent Dresden Files Accelerated playtest — my playgroup participated in it, and we had questions, but we couldn't really ask them without giving away information we agreed to keep secret.

  • I am concerned that I cannot really meaningfully say I'm an expert in . I would rather see us examine case by case whether a particular playtest would benefit from certain tagging practices, or communication in posts about it (as I did for a D&D Next question).

    I think presuming a tag is appropriate for all playtest-y stuff is also jumping the gun — BESW's Surgadores is a perpetual no-NDA playtest; is unfinished; both are quite playable on their own. This may be a strike against using the tag at all.

Despite responding in the negative I approve of you coming forward with such an idea. We might see a need for it in the future, but at present I don't think we benefit from this tag, and replacing with it is unwarranted and probably does more harm than good.

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    \$\begingroup\$ These are all good points. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 22, 2017 at 1:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thanks. It means a lot to hear that from you, being the one who put this forward. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 22, 2017 at 1:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I think the point that [dnd-5e][playtest-materials] is ambiguous and doesn't actually solve our old Next tagging problem is conclusive. I totally didn't see that until you pointed it out. :) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 22, 2017 at 1:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie To add a bit to what doppelgreener says in their answer, I think this would be a classic example of a "meta tag". You can't be an expert in playtest-materials, it would exist only to modify other tags. Not sure if RPG.SE follows exactly the same recommendations (wrt meta tags) as SO, but that's my view on it. \$\endgroup\$
    – mbrig
    Feb 22, 2017 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mbrig No more than [spells] or [wizard] is a meta tag. Because so many of our questions require a game-system tag, that test for meta-tag-ness is broken here — very few tags here wouldn't be considered meta tags by that standard. Instead we have to allow for needing a system tag before we consider whether a tag can stand on its own. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2017 at 18:51

One slight concern, that I think can probably be safely ignored.

Unearthed Arcana has been the name for optional rules for D&D for several editions - a book of that name is part of the 3-3.5e SRD, and another was published for AD&D (1e?). While these are optional rules, they are not specifically playtest material.

But having a quick look at questions with that tag, all are 5e, so I think it should not cause any confusion with these other UA's. There have been several 3.5e questions about UA 3.5 that do not use any tag to signify it - it's just another source in the 3.5 library.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, we avoid having tags for specific books. That's overkill. The existing [unearthed-arcana] doesn't seem to have developed any ambiguity problems in that regard, so I think we can consider that aspect already stress-tested. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21, 2017 at 0:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ In fact, that makes a generic tag more valuable, since there's no chance of confusing it with a very different product that has the same name for the sake of tradition. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Feb 21, 2017 at 1:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do it. There may be other games that have playtest material that can use the tag. Right? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21, 2017 at 20:33

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