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This question is asking about an issue that seems like it is pretty clear of system mechanics. However, it started as being tagged with and it is clear that is the game being played.

I removed the 5e tag originally because I saw nothing that the system can contribute, but then I did think of a couple instances where the system might have an impact and where answerers would be helped by having 5e knowledge. For example, 5e doesn't really have any way to deal with players dropping out in an easy way so solutions along those lines would be helped taking the system into consideration.

Generally, I am of the opinion that adding system tags does not hurt because it only adds context, but some have argued the other way.

Even more confusing is looking back through similar older questions I have found ones labeled with a system and some labeled as agnostic. What is the better choice here?

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It should just have no system tag and no system-agnostic tag. It's just a social question, and system-agnostic is functionally meaningless enough to be tag tax.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your second sentence seems like more of a statement on the usefulness of s-a tag as a whole and not just in this specific instance. Am I reading that correctly? I've read through the older s-a metas and they do seem to indicate that it has some purpose at least, but it is never clearly defined. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 27 at 15:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel that even if the tag might have merit in some situations, it's just tag tax here. My personal stance is the tag has no merit or relevance to our site today, and is somewhere between useless and actively harmful. The sole reason we kept it when last examined ("people expect a system tag so this fills that blank, otherwise people close the question") isn't true anymore, if it ever was. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 27 at 16:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hm. So, before this comment, I was actually on the verge of asking another meta about s-a, specifically how it should be used currently (given the guidance on it dates to the founding of the site basically). I wonder now if this is a good idea or if I'm poking a beehive for no reason. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 27 at 16:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose We haven't had a meta in a long time because we used to have debates and discussions on it on meta every few months; it was simply the most-discussed thing beside RAW and sometime in 2013 it looks like everyone just decided to stop prodding the issue. None of that's really been the case for years at this point though. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 27 at 16:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ well, I posted it [puts on bee suit just in case] \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 27 at 16:43
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One of the reasons to reject a suggested tag edit is when it adds tags that don’t describe the problem itself. The guidance the reject reason gives, paraphrased: tags should reflect what the question is about, not just what it contains.

To my eye, that is a group management problem, and what game they’re playing is useful context to have in the body, but it’s not about Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, so I don’t think it should have the tag.

It shouldn’t have the tag. I don’t see any need for the tag either. It should just have tags describing it as about attendance and group dynamics. (I don’t think it deserves the overused either, but that’s a whole other complex discussion.)

(Speaking only as an experienced user, not dictating anything site-critical as a mod. I could be wrong after all. :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not disagreeing with your overall point, but an I confused. I thought system tags were considered to be meta (ish) and thus that tag guidance didn't really apply to them particularly well. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 27 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose They’re normal tags. The only exceptional treatment is that we let them indicate question topic by themselves (that is, without always needing to repeat the system information in the body (and this exception is just current convention that might one day change)); and we kind of have to discount them when asking if other tags are meta tags using the “can this (other) tag be alone on a question?” (because otherwise tag like [spells] would falsely test as meta tags). System tags are mostly normal tags. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 27 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks for clearing that up! \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 27 at 16:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose No problem. This stuff is less obvious than it could be. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 27 at 16:57
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Acceptable But Not Mandatory

The [system-agnostic] tag is meant when 'You want solutions to the question that are not directly tied to a game's mechanics'; in this case, it is a useful signal to indicate that one doesn't want answers along the lines of 'Oh, let the players miss the XP from missed sessions and have them regret it!' or the like. But one can also not add it if one also accepts mechanics-specific solutions. Thus, in this case, let the author decide depending on the marker or lack thereof needed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. You should not be worrying about/deciding if someone else’s question needs which tag. If they just play 5e and want an answer rooted in 5e they’ll tag with that and if they play multiple games and want something that works in general they’ll tag system-agnostic. It’s one of the last tags someone other than the querent should be sticking their nose into. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 28 at 0:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk this seems like it assumes that every user has a complete working knowledge of our tagging system and how best to use it to get what they need. There are lots of cases of users misusing or misunderstanding the tagging system. Even experienced users sometimes. Our goal as community moderators is to help people navigate the system to get the best answers for their question. I think that means that we often explicitly need to "stick our nose" into things. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 28 at 2:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not understanding a tag seems like a double good reason to keep your hands off it. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 28 at 3:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk what I meant is that I'm unsure that people think about system tags in that way. For example the user in this example may not have even considered the fact that putting the tag there would limit the answers in this way. After all, system tagging is pretty ubiquitous and the user may have added it just because all their other questions needed it and they didn't know they had any other option. What this says to me is that if we have a doubt we should be asking the user what their intent is. And I still think that is something we can help with if they responded. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 28 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Re: “…a useful signal to indicate…”. Beware that tags don’t add hidden answering rules. The SE (not site) policy is that tags only reflect existing topic details in the body of the post. Adding a tag should not be trying to add information; information should be added to the post body, and then the matching tag is valid. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 1 at 1:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I know that's the party line, but from what I've seen so far it doesn't match reality. A question of 'How do I do X?' tagged with different languages will get different answers, as will a question tagged with different systems, and often this how-to-answer information is only present in the tag, not title, not text. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh Mar 1 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh Game tags are explicitly the only exception to that rule because a) it would add undue burden to force all questions to repeat the system in-body, b) letting game tags work that way, in practice, has been relatively non-problematic. All other tags have to follow that rule; in the past when we haven’t enforced it for non-game tags, significant problems followed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 1 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie And this is de facto a game tag, much in the same way that 'What is your religion?' can be validly answered 'I'm an atheist'. It serves pretty much the same purpose as, say, [fate]: it sets scope of the question in regards to mechanics/systems. Even the FAQ talks about it setting the scope like that (rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/a/8836/50419). \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh Mar 1 at 9:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @vicky_molokh That’s a perspective I hadn’t considered. It doesn’t actually behave consistently like one (where “behave” is its emergent behaviour arising from community treatment, including both regulars and those not “in the know”). Being naturally recognised as a de facto game tag by some readers and not by others would explain its odd behaviour. It leaves it in a halfway place, a pseudo game tag that doesn’t quite function as a fully-fledged game tag. Hence things like this meta. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 1 at 15:29
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No, it should not be.

The querent is playing D&D 5e and they are asking in a D&D 5e context. Therefore changing the tag is inappropriate and I have reverted it.

If you have a question about players not showing up that you personally want an answer to that can work regardless of game system, you are welcome to ask it. But that is not the problem the OP thinks they have and it's not the question they are asking, so leave it alone.

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