So, we have a tag. It's a fine tag, and there's nothing majorly wrong with it. Part of its usage advice in the tag wiki, though, says:

Questions that merit more specific tags should not also use magic. Instead:

  • Questions about the interpretation, use, or interactions of specific spells should use .

In general, that's good advice. Usually, general and specific tags sit side by side when new users are trying to figure out what to put on their question and haven't figured out the folksonomy yet.

In actuality, though, sometimes the tag should be next to specific tags, even the tag. For example, Is a caster aware of a thin sheet of lead blocking detect magic? is primarily about the usage of detect magic in 3.5, but is also substantially a question about how magic itself works in 3.5 and what the absence of magic auras is, if that's even a thing. Basically, it's both about the detect magic spell and about magic in general, because those things happen to be weirdly and inordinately tight in 3.5's system (like, for example, lots of rules about magic in general that have nothing to do with detect magic appear nowhere other than the detect magic spell description, or other discussions of the spell's abilities elsewhere).

Furthermore, it's against SE policy for us to have meta tags (i.e. tags with special rules about their usage beyond those inherent in categorizing the question), which this policy, as-is, self-mandates.

Therefore, it seems like this advice is misguided and should be excised. However, possibly I am misunderstanding something or ignorant of a pressing need. Is there a reason this advice ought not to be/have been eliminated? (I'ma go edit the tag wiki now, while we discuss this).


1 Answer 1


It's okay to use both and together. We have 79 questions doing that. If a question is about magic, we tag it as magic; if it's about spells, we tag it as spells; if it's about both we tag it as both.

That tag's guidance doesn't seem right and doesn't correlate to how we use our tags. I think it was trying to say “don't tag everything that is somehow magical with this tag” but was too strong in its wording. I've edited the tag wiki to replace that guidance with something I think better represents our current practices:

The tag is about magic as general a concept, system, quality, or so on in gameplay, mechanics, or game lore.

Note that the tag isn't aiming to be a catch-all for every single question about magical things, so in general if you're asking about something more specific that is also incidentally magical (such as or ), you don't need to use this tag, unless you are also asking specifically about magic as a concept/system/quality/etc.

If there's some other changes you think should be made to that description to help it match what we're currently doing, please do edit it.

Furthermore, it's against SE policy for us to have meta tags (i.e. tags with special rules about their usage beyond those inherent in categorizing the question), which this policy, as-is, self-mandates.

This issue doesn't really have anything to do with meta-tags. As I noted in comments, that isn't how meta-tags are defined, so I think you've misunderstood them somehow. (Frankly though that's not hard at all, they're a confusingly abstract concept and it took me a while for it to click.) Tags are for describing the content of the question for categorisation purposes — when a tag is doing anything other than that, we call it a meta-tag. The theoretical tags [easy] and [subjective] are typical examples of meta-tags. (See The Death of Meta Tags; this lines up with the second big quote block.)

We can have rules around how to use tags; that's not forbidden.

I think you're thinking of something brought up during recent discussions about . It was noted that this tag's presence was taken to magically introduce new constraints and rules around answering the question that were not described in the question. That's doing something other than describing the content of the question, which meant that tag was behaving as a meta-tag.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Aw, I thought my edit took care of that. Yours is fine, too, though. I've read the post you link in the last paragraph; I think we disagree as to what it's saying, but regardless the new wording works to take care of the issues I had with the tag wiki so we're all good. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 15, 2017 at 20:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Honestly I'm open to the idea it still hasn't actually clicked for me what they are given how confusing the topic can be :P \$\endgroup\$ Dec 15, 2017 at 22:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer I just saw your revision actually — I was confused at first but saw the rollback that happened. Yeah, either would have been ok, I might have revised yours further but it wasn't forbidding mingling tags which was good progress. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2017 at 20:20

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