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Third party publishers themselves are awesome, so their existence isn't in question.

Rather, I'm wondering about the tag. Ostensibly it's meant to indicate the question's referencing third party material, but

  • it barely gets used (6 questions since its creation in February this year).
  • we haven't generally needed it for discussing third-party stuff, and I don't see what it adds.
  • I get the feeling it might be a meta tag: it doesn't even mean much on its own, it just means "not by whoever made this game". et al. would be more meaningful. This means the tag describes what it isn't about (first-party material) better than what it is about (any specific third-party publisher).

Tagging's a folksonomy and all that, so we tend to go with whatever people feel should be tagged, but this is a tag I feel we don't need and would be better off removing.

Should we get rid of this tag? Is it beneficial to have or are we better off without it?


This tag has been burninated!

I've removed the tag from these questions:

I will note expressly this was regarding 's use to indicate "I am asking about material which happens to be from a third party publisher in this circumstance".

This doesn't preclude ever having a tag that is for questions specifically about the third party publishing process.

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I noticed when it was first created and was quite dubious about it then,1 but didn't go out of my way to interact with it, preferring to let the community's folksonomy process chew on it a bit.

My sense now is that it hasn't had much uptake, hasn't turned out to categorise anything one can be expert in or want to search for, and so it isn't needed or useful.

I think we should get rid of .


  1. Not only because it should have been , but that's definitely an additional flaw.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ That whole "can't be an expert in this" thing makes sense of why it feels like such a problem that the tag defines itself by what it isn't. One can be an expert on specific publishers (who may sometimes be third-party, like Paizo was for D&D, or sometimes first-party, like Paizo is for Pathfinder), and an expert on publishing, but one cannot be an expert on "third party publishers". \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 5 '17 at 19:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah. Ask about a class or whatnot and say what book it's from, who published the book is usually beside the point. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Jun 5 '17 at 20:35
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I was all set to agree with d7 on this, but something caught my attention and I figure is worth bringing up:

That whole "can't be an expert in this" thing makes sense of why it feels like such a problem that the tag defines itself by what it isn't. One can be an expert on specific publishers (who may sometimes be third-party, like Paizo was for D&D, or sometimes first-party, like Paizo is for Pathfinder), and an expert on publishing, but one cannot be an expert on "third party publishers". – doppelgreener♦

I would actually disagree here—publishing as a third-party is something one could have specific expertise in that someone who is an expert in publishing in general would not necessarily be. Being a third-party publisher means dealing with the licensing framework offered by the first-party publisher. And someone who published as a third-party to a lot of different first-party publishers would perhaps have expertise in how to understand and work within these licensing frameworks.

All that said, I’m not really trying to save the tag here. The above clearly isn’t how the tag is being used, and even if it were that does seem exceedingly narrow (or, conversely, not narrow enough; questions about specific licensing frameworks seem far more useful, commonplace, and likely to have real experts). But just food for thought.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree one can be an expert in third party publishing, and that's probably a great thing to tag for -- but I think that's different from the notion of being an expert on specific materials which in that situation originate from a third party publisher, which is what the 3pp tag is for. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 6 '17 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with @doppelgreener on this. You make a good case for having some sort of publishing tag, but that's not the role the 3pp tag was trying to fill. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Jun 6 '17 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that's a very reasonable defense of a different, non-existent tag. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Jun 9 '17 at 3:06
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The alternative Point of View

It's been useful six times, does no harm, causes no controversy, and may be helpful a seventh (or more) time(s) on a future questoin.

Recommendation: don't fix what isn't actually broken.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't, personally, like the "don't fix what isn't broken" phrase. Aside from the fact I do think something is broken here (it seems meta-tag-ish), Stack Exchange works on a basis of still being able to improve what isn't broken but can stand to be improved. So stuff that's broken, we can fix, stuff that isn't broken, we can work on anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 5 '17 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Having spent a few decades in aircraft maintenance, car maintenance, home maintenance, and some small organizations, I am a strong proponent of Don't Fix What Isn't Broken. To my eye, you have not demonstrated an actual problem to solve. And as I put in my title to the answer, this is The Alternative Point Of View. What it isn't is an invitation to an argument. Your down vote is both noted and accepted. (And it was more or less expected). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 5 '17 at 22:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Meta tag" is a subset of "broken." Were it not for that, I'd likely be in agreement with this answer's assessment--but we don't do meta tags on mainsite, so that's both necessary and sufficient for extirpation. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jun 6 '17 at 2:41

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