# Do we have too many tags?

I recently encountered the , which seems to be to be ... useless for lack of a better word. I've also noticed that we have a lot of tags that are hard to define because they mean different things in different games.

For example:

Do we actually see benefit from these tags? Can we precisely define what they are?

I'm absolutely pants at tagging myself. I realize no benefit from those tags, though I would love an entry on our FAQ of "How to bloody tag a question" so that I could just follow a rubric.

My vote is to err on the side of minimal, useful, tags.

I agree we need to kill some of those. specific-spell was just pitched today, in fact it made the mod light come on, I disagree strongly with its existence. Going to look at new tags, I guess I'm glad cooler heads prevailed and they didn't go through with the [shrink-item] tag.

I think some things are OK - monsters is not 100% general but it's general enough. I'm even OK with stuff like spells, it'll exist in conjunction with a tag that scopes it better per system. I am dubious of the utility, but I guess if someone wants to eventually search on discussions about spells in 4e, it's fine. Specific-spell is awful, and asks us to put specific- on the front of every other word tag. I am off to kill it now.

I removed the tag from that ! - I wish that we could delete tags. Or that the mystic tag reaper thing would delete zero use tags and not 1 or more use tags, as it seems to.

• +1 on mystic tag reaper reaping dead tags. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Apr 24 '11 at 0:49
• synonym: crap-tag -> untagged is the only thing I know of ... – C. Ross Apr 24 '11 at 0:50
• Dang, going to look at the tags indicates that some people have made some insanely specific tags. I think general ones like spells and actions and whatnot are OK, but there are "partial-actions" and "immediate-actions" tags, among other minutiae. Maybe we do need a tagging guide that says "don't overdo it - game system, general categories, otherwise knock it off." Oh, and the tag list doesn't discriminate between tags with 1 use and tags with 0 uses, suck. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Apr 24 '11 at 0:55
• But then again, I guess that's why it's a folksonomy. I don't know how much work we should go to for tag cleanup, as long as I can effectively ignore 4e questions then the tagging system has done its job as far as I need it to. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Apr 24 '11 at 0:56
• Yeah, I'm for minimal intervention, even when a new tag makes my skin crawl. I'm loathe to kill new tags, because being new we've no idea what will suddenly become useful to people and catch on. I'd rather let crap tags hang around for a while and die the minor death of obscurity first to prove that they're useless. I think cleanups should be limited to a) old tags that are also b) really specific. – SevenSidedDie Apr 25 '11 at 16:06

There's two issues here:

The first is fairly easy to deal with most of the time. Purely useless tags such as "specific-spell" are going to crop up on a regular basis. Most users don't really know or care about tagging, and are just typing things in to make the "tag required" error message go away.

MOST of the time, simply deleting the low-use tags as they crop up should be fine. Occasionally the question owner will squawk, which is the only really tricky case there. I'd say just leave it for the reaper (excess tags are annoying, but don't seem to be very annoying). But a case could be made for getting more aggressive...

The deeper issue is what to do about tags like "spells," "feats," or "rituals." These are kind of meta-taggish (they don't have a clear meaning without a system tag). I'm not really sure what the best option here is... I can see searches for "Pathfinder spells" or "dnd-3.5 feats", but only just barely. And "Exalted Spells" is going to mean something much different than "dnd-3.5 spells"...

Of the tags listed, I would personally get rid of skills, powers, rituals, and feats as too redundant to their parent tag (and I'd probably synonym monsters->adversaries). But that's purely my take on it.

Finally, a shout-out for the tag synonym page (linked at the bottom of the "tags" page): https://rpg.stackexchange.com/tags/synonyms

There's a couple synonyms pending that I'd like to see some movement on :)

• and again I'm reminded of how few people can actually vote for those. Not me, in either case :( – Pat Ludwig Apr 25 '11 at 1:15
• It's a shame there isn't a level of rep that allows for auto-synonym the way that you can eventually get auto-tag edit. – Jadasc Apr 25 '11 at 10:51
• Strangely enough, I like some of the cross-game tags like "spells" and "monsters" — many games have them, and seeing those commonalities can be a creative tool. – Jadasc Apr 25 '11 at 10:52

I believe there are "synonym tags". I'd say that "spells" should be synonym-tagged to "magic."

"Monsters" could then be "synonym-tagged" to "adversaries."

• @user1637 There are tag synonyms, which act as a sort of mass rename. The trouble is, the restrictions on who can vote on them are pretty tight, which makes it tough to get moving on them. – AceCalhoon Apr 25 '11 at 17:07
• @Ace Forgive my ignorance, but why is that a problem? If there are fewer people, shouldn't it be even easier to agree? – user1637 Apr 25 '11 at 17:13
• Creating a tag synonym is a vote based process. It takes the creator of the synonym plus four other people to create a new one. Small pool of people eligible to vote + small fraction of that pool aware of tag synonyms + small fraction of THAT pool interested in voting = tag synonyms can float around for quite some time without being created. – AceCalhoon Apr 25 '11 at 18:00
• I think concepts like "monsters" are sufficiently general that I would not support forced super-genericness like "adversaries." Let's worry about the fringe case really bad tags and not tags that many people would reasonably expect to use. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Apr 25 '11 at 19:02
• And mods can single handledly approve synonyms. I've approved the two that were in queue, but am hesitant to approve synonyms for terms as general in the RPG realm as "monsters" or "spells." Tagging is for people's benefit, not to construct some theoretically perfect information architecture that only benefits the taxonomy police. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Apr 26 '11 at 4:08