Content-ID is just a duplicate of Product-ID with a excerpt that is presumably objecting to the implicit classification of certain kinds of material as 'product'. Since Product-ID is widely used for everything content-ID covers, and since the wiki has just been updated to make clear its broad applicability, content-ID should be made a synonym.
Although they are not currently the same, they could be made so
I think it would be useful to merge them, but not into either current tag's name.
I think a merge would be useful because it's splitting hairs to have a tag for identifying stuff in books and another for identifying stuff that is books (to somewhat oversimplify the current split). We get plenty of identification requests, so having a tag for that kind of thing makes sense, but there's no utility I see in saying there are two different areas of expertise involved.
I think this is a case of the folksonomy coming up with a distinction that, in the fullness of time, isn't useful — even if the overall idea of tagging ID questions was a useful folksonomic realisation.
Tag them as “materials identification”
“Product” identification used for the contents of products (and content that wasn't even part of any product) is a bit artificial, so I don't think that's a clean solution. “Content” identification used to e.g., help identify a remembered book is similarly stretching it. I don't think the current names overlap enough to be merged as-is. A merged tag would therefore need a different name.
“Identification” is what these questions are about… but I don't think we want a general identification tag. Without stopping to really brainstorm many, I get the feeling that that would cover way more types of questions that what it would be replacing, and being so general it wouldn't directly teach a reader what it should be used for. (I could see someone putting [identification] on “My player is doing X, are they a powergamer?”, and that's a kind of recurrent retagging headache I think we would be wise to avoid pre-emptively!) So there needs to be something qualifying “identification” in the tag's name.
I think what covers both content and products is the phrase “gaming materials” that's relatively common in RPG communities, so how about “materials identification”?
Though “materials” is kinda dry and stuffy on its own, I think it works. As the only “identification” tag I think it would naturally catch the right questions when people start typing stuff in the tag field, and I think it clearly restricts the scope of the tag. We won't get questions about identifying player types, tactical plans, the inventor of metacurrency, and other such things being tagged with it (or if we do, it will be an obvious mistag to the regulars who have retagging privileges).
I think making content-identification and product-identification synonyms would be beneficial, as I could see someone typing
content into the tag bar of the right kinds of questions, choosing one of those old tags, and then the question would be automatically retagged with materials-identification.
I think we should synonymise them. They're a bit different in usage but I think it's splitting hairs and that it's a little confusing.
- Where is Rotharr Hatherhand? is asking where we'd find information on an identified person so it's tagged content-identification. But then...
- Where are Vicious Weapons detailed? is tagged product-identification because it's about really just identifying the product already-known content is in?
I can't keep that straight in my head. They're both [thing-identification] and that's all I need to know really.
In my head, the content inside our books is a product. In D&D a feat is a commercial product, a class is a commercial product, races are commercial products, and because they're useless distributed one-by-one publishers compiled them together into books which are also, themselves, products. I can also access those products other ways, like through D&D's subscription databases and character builders.
I'd rather just call 'em both product-identification and accept the terminology might not be strictly accurate in some corner cases.
content-identification is for identifying forgotten or unfamiliar content based on given details.
e.g., “I forget what it's called, but I remember a feat/class/spell/etc. that does XYZ. What is it?” or “What's this thing in this piece of official art?” or “This character sheet has ability TUV on it I've never heard of, what is it?”
product-identification is for identifying forgotten or unfamiliar products based on given details.
e.g., “What book is the feat/class/spell/etc. named ABC found in?”, or “I know there's a book with a cover that looks like such-and-so, what is it?” or “I found this book. What is it, and what game is it from?”
Although answers to a content-ID question might identify the content and where to find it, this doesn't make them product-ID questions — the source product is not inherently part of a content-ID question. (What are the scenes & monsters on the covers? is an extreme example demonstrating that content identification and product identification are independent types of questions, since it's a content-ID question that cannot be a product-ID question.)
This distinction can be seen by browsing the tags. Although they can easily be conflated when simply looking at the tags' names, in practice the tagging is pretty good, with only a few cases where tagging is been questionable. Although some cleanup would help, I don't see any way to make the case that these:
- Where is the swarm rule in The Cypher System Rulebook?
- What are the scenes & monsters on the covers?
- Where in the book can I find the origin of this Curse of Strahd character's deformity?
… should have product-identification instead, as proposed by this meta question, since they have clearly-identified products already.
(An argument could be made for merging the tags into a new tag-name that did capture a true category covering all these questions, but “they're already the same” isn't a persuasive argument for merging because it's not the case.)