In the comments on this question I noticed a discussion, and on visiting chat I saw someone already talking about it. Here are the relevant comments from the question's comment section:

One more thing, the dnd-4e tag may be misleading unless you think that 4e, in particular, may provide some important tools for this that other editions don't. I only mention this because I deliberately mute the dnd-4e tag to avoid content that I'm not familiar with. The generic dungeons-and-dragons may be better, but this is the OP's choice. – Aventinus


@Aventinus Tags exist to describe the content of the question, and nothing more or less than that. The querent is playing D&D 4e and the tag reflects that. There's nothing misleading about it. Tags aren't meant to communicate meaning beyond reflecting the content of the question, so adding the generic tag wouldn't be appropriate. Whether the solutions would be 4e-specific is neither here nor there in terms of what the tags should say; in addition answers should be answering the question, not the tags, whatever the tags happened to say. – doppelgreener

According to the help page, the purpose of tags isn't to describe the content of the question (the question's content already does that), it's to help answerers find questions that they can answer by describing the topic of the question.

But here we have people who may otherwise be able to answer having difficulty finding the question because it has been tagged with something that is unlikely to have any bearing on the answer, besides providing a little context.

Tagging based on content raises questions, should that question be tagged with forgotten realms, gnomes, worldbuilding, etc?

  • What is the purpose of tags on this site?
  • How should tags be used on this site?
  • Is it more useful to have tags describe the content of the question rather than the topic?
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Should I use a narrow system tag, or use a broader tag? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2020 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Linking to MSE's help on tags might be a bit misleading, as the help pages are identical across the network and not site specific (except for the on-topic page AFAIK). \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Feb 7, 2020 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil I didn't know that. Clearly the existing policy here is different to there, so I just linked that one. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 8, 2020 at 2:41

1 Answer 1


The purpose of tags is to connect people with questions and answers

From our help page on tagging (which IIRC is identical network-wide):

A tag is a word or phrase that describes the topic of the question. Tags are a means of connecting experts with questions they will be able to answer by sorting questions into specific, well-defined categories.

So, if the topic of gnomes is key to your question, we'd add the tag to it. If your question happens to be about a gnome character, but the gnome-iness of the character has no bearing on the question, then the tag would be superfluous and we'd generally remove it. Adding is a way to allow people who are searching for questions or answers about gnomes to more easily find them. Note that this tag makes more sense than a simple search term specifically since a search for "gnome" would bring up every time it is even mentioned, whereas the tag will focus only on questions about gnomes.

System tags are tags that indicate what game you're playing. While they don't exactly fit into the category of describing the "topic" of the question, they do assist with connecting experts to questions, which is the main purpose of a tag. If you tag it makes this question much easier to find and search for by 5e experts. This is very similar to the way coding language tags work on Stack Overflow and game tags work on BCG.se (by my understanding).

Note that not every question needs a system tag, though, and there's some grey area around when it should or should not be included if the system isn't essential to the question. Mainly because, sometimes it is hard to tell if the system is essential or not. Given the nature of the topics, no rule can be created to cover all the cases so the edge cases must be worked out and decided by the community as they come up. This appears as if it may have been one of those cases.

In the end, generally, we should add a tag if it helps to connect that question with more answerers/browsers. This is consistent with the the stated guidelines for tag use network-wide.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't this imply that every tag should be something you can be an expert in? I don't think that one can really be an expert in damage or attack especially when they could be about any system. Though maybe you're just saying the combination of tags should help an expert find the question? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2020 at 17:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Correct, tags help sort things so experts can find them.That doesn't mean every tag must be something you can be an expert in in isolation (IMO). However, generally speaking, when we think about creating new tags a major part of thinking is whether it will help connect experts to questions of interest. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2020 at 18:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget browsers, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Feb 7, 2020 at 18:34

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