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The stack exchange network recently got a new question page (our meta post which links to the MSE post). With it comes an expansion of customization for the individual site (which needs to be implemented by a Community Manager, who will do that following a meta on the site).

Questions being posted without specifying the system in question is a long standing issue, and how to address them once posted has been much discussed. Most recently in this Q&A which included an answer suggesting to preempt the posting by adding guidance to the new ask page. (I don't believe this will solve that issue, but should reduce the number of cases). So now it is time for that.

What guidance, changes, additions, and/or warnings do we want to add to the new ask a question page, to help new users specify what system they are asking about?

The list of customizable fields is summarized by JNat in the MSE post under the "What's per-site customizable, and what's the procedure to get it live?" heading. Perhaps of particular interest to this discussion is the welcome modal, the draft your question sidebar and the how to tag popup.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for asking this! It may also be good to include a summary/quote of which parts are customizable and the limitations on that (e.g. character limits), to save people having to find that info themselves. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 12 at 0:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've added the [featured] tag to this post to get a bit more visibility and feedback on this thread. :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 18 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...And now removed said tag, to make room in the community bulletin box for other featured posts :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 7 at 3:09
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Let's at least throw the basic "Make sure to specify your system" on there

There are three spots on the new ask page which I think can benefit from telling (new) users to specify their system (and I think we'd rather have it up once too many).

First, as new users will see it, in the welcome modal. (italic here are the bits we can't change which I've included for context):

You’re ready to ask your first question and the community is here to help! To get you the best answers, we’ve provided some guidance:

There are a thousand RPGs out there and we cater to all of them. Therefore it is important that you clearly state which system and edition you are asking about, if appropriate.

Before you post, search the site to make sure your question hasn’t been answered

Secondly, in the Draft your question sidebar:

The community is here to help you with questions about role-playing games. Make sure to specify which game (name and edition) you are asking about, provide details, and share research with your question.

And as tags are our favourite way for systems to be specified, in the How to tag guidance (which pops up when you click on the question mark) this — or a version thereof — should be the first bullet point, in addition to the default three:

  • Make sure you include the system tag for the game system you are asking about (if appropriate and it exists)
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I wish it were possible to have mandatory tags, like in meta.

In meta, you must specify one of the dark tags (e.g. ) to be able to post it at all, unlike the lighter "normal tags" (e.g. ).

If we could have all system tags (I guess we'd need to include tags that are used in place of specific system tags in some cases, such as , as well as for when a system tag really doesn't apply) marked as dark mandatory tags, that would be great, but I doubt such a thing is possible on the main site (or at least, isn't something we can customise, and requesting such a feature would likely prove to be a waste of our time, because it won't happen).

Related declined old meta from Arqade on making a set of tags special (thanks @Someone_Evil).


As an alternative suggestion, I know there are warnings that appear when you have a certain tag selected (e.g. the tag has this warning). Is it possible to have such a warning when no tags are selected, or when a subset of tags are not present?

That way, although it would be somewhat overkill, we could have a rule such that a warning is shown unless you have a system tag (this does mean it would need to be updated every time someone created a new tag for a system, but on the other hand, it is just a warning, meaning a question can still be posted without "obeying" this "rule").

At the moment, such a warning might (occasionally) make a new user stop before using the tag, but if they just don't pick anything, no warnings appear, so no need to stop and consider. So long as they slap any old tag in there, they can post. If there's a "negative rule" in place, at least the warning is there straight away.

Unfortunately, it looks like this isn't possible either, judging by the response @Someone_Evil got from @JNat♦:

I'm a bit unclear what the limits of "regex based" tag warnings are. Of specific interest: would it be possible to show a specific warning if the question isn't tagged with one of a set of tags (or include phrases in the body)? (I'm thinking of system tags for RPG.SE, which are often missing from new askers.) – Someone_Evil Mar 8 at 1:00

Guidance like the example you're suggesting, @Someone_Evil, should go in the "how to tag" dialogue, shown in screenshots 2 and 3. Checking for the absence of tags isn't, as far as I'm aware, something we do anywhere (other than Meta sites). – JNat♦ yesterday


So, I've got nothing. I don't think we can ever solve this problem with the current Ask A Question screen and the customisation limitations we have. New users will always just not read the various notices we put there and will post whatever they want without tagging it properly, because they won't know (unless they read all the various help boxes that are within our customisation) that we require them to specify a system tag (for questions where one is relevant, e.g. rules clarification questions, etc).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related declined old meta from Arqade on making a set of tags special. I also specifically asked about testing for the absence of a set, and it doesn't look to be possible. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Mar 12 at 11:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil Thanks for those links. I kinda figured it wouldn't be possible. I'm tempted to delete this answer, but I suppose it's useful to stop others making the same suggestion, since it's an obvious solution that plenty of people will think of, and it saves you or someone else digging out those two links each time... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Mar 12 at 11:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Yes, I think that is worth doing, rather than relying on comments. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Mar 12 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that even if we were able, we wouldn't be inclined to make system tags mandatory. Not all questions need a system and we want RPG.se to always be able to be a home for those questions as well. This is coming from someone who thought the exact same thing in my second post on RPG meta. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 13 at 12:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are also unthinkably many tabletop games. There are going to be questions from new users about games that don't have a tag, and it'd be the height of foolishness to preemptively add a tag for every tabletop game ever. \$\endgroup\$ – Powerdork Apr 8 at 10:05

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