For some reason we have a tag. I propose that we burninate it.

  • It tells you nothing about the content of the question.
  • You can't be an expert on "RPG books".
  • There are exactly two questions that have only the tag, and both of those would be better served by having a tag that explicitly focuses on acquiring RPG rulebooks (physical or electronic).

Discussion of the tag has come up before, but it 1) was lumped in with , which is somewhat more defensible, 2) didn't receive a lot of attention from what I can see, and 3) happened before we decided to ban recommendation questions. For that reason I think it's worth rehashing the topic in a new question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please don't upvote the question just for the title! Upvotes for the question are also effectively an upvote for a motion to burninate a tag, and voting based on a clever title make discerning "funny title" votes from "yes, burninate the tag" votes difficult. Ironically that undermines efforts to burninate the tag, since it's easy for me to dismiss some number of votes as just being for the title and not necessarily indicative of any support for the burninate request itself (specifically, right now, 4 points: SSD plus three comment upvotes). \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2017 at 10:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener It's hard to attribute a lot of meaning to meta upvotes. In addition to meaning "I agree with this proposal", they might also mean "I don't agree, but I do think the topic should be discussed", or "I don't have an opinion, but I do think the topic should be discussed", or even just "the title made me lol". \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Mar 29, 2017 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage in a cascading sequence of confusing upvotes, I just upvoted your comment. But to be clear: I agree that "I agree" and "I think discussion is merited" and "I think this was well-posed" are good reasons to upvote in meta, but I don't think "the title made me lol" should garner upvotes in meta. That's why I upvoted the question (good discussion to have), SSD's comment (the title did make me lol), and the answer that says "don't burn books" (because I think the tag's carrying some weight). \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Mar 29, 2017 at 13:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suddenly have BESW's ghostly voice echoing in my head: "avoid proposing action in questions, ask if action should be taken in questions and propose action in answeeeersss.... oOooOoOOOOooo...." (Not to say that I'm not guilty of crossing the streams myself a few times.) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2017 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I took it for granted that if I said “+1 for [silly, irrelevant thing]” it would be obvious that I had proper reasons for upvoting as well. Though I'm sure some regulars would catch that incredibly subtle subtext, it was foolish of me to disregard the appearance it gives, just for the sake of a super-subtle in-joke! +1 for being a worthy subject for meta (and also for clever title). \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2017 at 17:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thanks. It feels like a weirdly small thing to be so important. 😥 \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2017 at 18:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Weirdly small, but important, yes! (To mangle a quote…) it's not only important for us all to run the site well, but to set a helpful example for new users by being seen to run the site well. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2017 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Upvoting because I think it's a reasonable topic of discussion, not because I agree with the proposal. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Mar 31, 2017 at 8:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ You know who else burned books? Hitler! (Someone had to say it ...) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3, 2017 at 19:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener: I thought it was the answers to meta questions that represented the decisions? So upvotes on the question aren't the important thing, its what answer gets upvoted most which determines community opinion. Or have I been using meta wrong all these years? \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris
    Apr 3, 2017 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chris Sometimes when the question proposes a course of action, votes on the meta can be taken to imply support for or against that course of action. There's no clear-cut rule they don't imply support for it. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3, 2017 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tagging this as [status-declined] since it seems to have been agreed we won't be burninating it. That isn't binding; we could revise that in the future. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2017 at 14:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Seems reasonable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Jun 7, 2017 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


There are 73 questions currently tagged with it, and the majority seem to be correctly using the tag. It doesn't appear to be causing problems, which is one reason to burninate a tag.

Would the site benefit notably from the tag not existing? I don't see any particular benefit that would motivate a burnination, but I could be overlooking something.

I do see some losses though:

  • The tag's meaning is questions about books qua books. We have a substantial number of questions that are about books as objects in and of themselves, rather than their contents (where the tag shouldn't be used / should be removed). These would mostly end up with a single system tag if were burninated, and become indistinguishable from uncategorisable questions about a game, and unsearchable. That curated data would be lost.
  • It's possible to be an expert in books in and of themselves. Librarians, collectors, and booksellers come to mind as common examples. Although it's a very small part of the site, our topic does include the book-collector aspect of the RPG hobby.
  • People interested only in book contents and RPG play can add to their ignore list. I can't imagine this will ever be a popular use of the tag, but it's a legitimate use.
  • People who are experts at locating books, how to tell book editions apart, publishing histories, and book identification, and the other subjects about books qua books could favourite the tag. Again not a popular use of the tag (currently 0 people have favourited the tag), but a legitimate use.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could we at least rename it to something that doesn't sound quite so broad, the same way we ditched [rules] for [rules-as-written] to encourage better usage? Maybe [book-collecting] or something similar? \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Mar 27, 2017 at 21:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, again, it seems to mostly be getting used correctly for questions about books as books-in-themselves. For niche subjects, broader is better for tags, because there will always be only so many questions. More specific is for when there's a diversity of topics that need separation (I'm looking at you, D&D sub-tags like [wizard] and [action].) Most existing [books] questions wouldn't be covered by [book-collecting], and we'd need more tags and a discussion about how to divide up the subject, without the benefit of obvious problems as motivation for how to categorise them. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 27, 2017 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, I may sound very dumb, but what does "qua" mean in this context? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 6, 2017 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BlackVegetable Not dumb — I had to look it up myself to check I was using it right before I hit "post". It's in the sense of "books, in their capacity as book objects, rather than in their more usual capacity as rules media". \$\endgroup\$ Apr 6, 2017 at 19:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ If three people had to GOOGLE the word, it shouldn't be in the post. I edited it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Apr 6, 2017 at 19:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nope, it is the precise word for this purpose and it exists and is used exactly for only this purpose. Alternatives are more subject to misunderstanding because they lack the precision of deliberately choosing this meta-meaning-discussion technical term. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 6, 2017 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tritium21 The word is fine; it's not necessary to dumb down word choices anywhere on the site for the sake of clarity, and is actually contrary to site quality. Save that for unclear TLAs or ambiguities. And as if the reminder is necessary: don't edit war, or attack people personally. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 6, 2017 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tritium21 - your previous comment drew offensive flags and was deleted. Please Be Nice about current and past members of this community. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:46

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