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Quite often we get questions on here with no system listed. Often they are by new users. This seems like a fault with the workflow of the site and something that should be able to be corrected. And, moreover, I think it should be corrected.

Having all these questions is a bad experience for new users some of whom just want a quick answer to a question and don't understand all the mechanics of a site. This, again, is a flaw in the site's flow I think.

It is also an issue for mods and other users because we want to answer the question and help the person, but are unable to do so because of site policy against guessing which system OP intended (often restricting our ability to answer the question).

Since that requirement is in place, is there some way we can improve this situation?

This is one such proposal already. I was hoping we could use this question as a place to list proposed solutions as opposed to scattering them around in different questions.

I think similar to the linked question, that the best solution is one that catches the problem before the question is submitted, but I'm curious to see what ideas are out there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Lacking a system tag on a question is not necessarily the same as having to guess what system is being asked about. Just because a question doesn't list a system in the tag doesn't mean its inherently un-answerable if the system is specified in the question body (at which point, just edit it to add the tag). \$\endgroup\$ – Tritium21 Feb 2 '18 at 12:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tritium21 That, I think, I a discussion to be had (and which have been had several times) elsewere than this post \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Nov 22 at 22:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SomeoneEvil If the system is fully mentioned in the question's body then it's perfectly alright to tag it as such. But yeah the don't guess the system policy is very much a thing. It was (I believe) most recently brought up here: "When is it OK to assume the system without it being considered a guess?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Nov 22 at 22:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ There was another suggestion in a comment to this answer: "we could make a community ad that's a PSA reminding people to say or tag which game they're asking about. Not everyone will be shown it since they rotate, and some who are shown it won't notice it, but it'll catch a percentage." It's not my proposed solution, nor do I know much about how it'd be implemented, but I felt it warranted being mentioned as it was rather hidden away \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Nov 23 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 It would be implemented by adding it as an answer to the community promotion ads post. If it gets enough upvotes there it will start appearing on the site. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Nov 24 at 23:58
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The most effective solution is to have the main page and existing question pages model the correct behavior visibly and clearly, by making system tags a more prominent part of UI. Users should see that the site expects and cares about system tags long before they're hovering over the "post" button on a new question, without having to read guiding comments or "how to post" documentation.

This is also a rather practical solution in terms of overall effort vs. effectiveness and long-term payoff, except that volunteer staff without Stack-Exchange developer access can't implement it.


The core problem is this:

The site's normal UI doesn't make it obvious that system tags are important.

Just look at them. They're:

  1. Tiny.
  2. Below the question text.
  3. Stuck together with other tags like "magic weapons" or "gm techniques."

It's not just hard to notice system tags, it's also hard to intuit that they matter *because it's not clear that veteran users will look at the tiny text at the bottom of your post as the first step in answering it."

It's confusing UI even compared to everyone just manually shoving tags into titles (like "[D&D 4e] I get confused tracking initiative") on a forum.

And that's because the main motivation for doing it this way is "we're using an existing Stack Overflow template" rather than any kind of purpose-driven design on our parts. If we were designing the site from scratch, the system tags wouldn't look like regular tiny little tags.

(Indeed, it's possible we're unintentionally sabotaging ourselves a bit by relying on system tags so much we often leave the system out of the question text – a new user may well come to the site, spend half an hour reading several questions off the main page, and still come away with no idea that questions are meant to be carefully and explicitly siloed by system when they try to write their first one.)

So, I think you're going to keep running into the same problem over and over again, with frustrating half-measure solutions, until that can be fixed somehow.

Badgering SE stuff for a technical fix is annoying, and it may take a while, but I'm going to humbly suggest it's probably a necessary part of any solution that really cuts to the heart of the problem.

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