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As we all know, D&D and Pathfinder have lots of classes, and tons of subclasses, and the same is probably true for many other systems that I'm unfamiliar with.

Anyway, I've recently noticed the usage of tags for subclasses, which raises some questions about their usage and usefulness for me; namely, there seems to be a lot of inconsistency.

Let's look at a few tags:

  • : explicitly described as a 5e-exclusive tag by the tag wiki, relevant only for the fighter subclass.
  • : described as a D&D-tag in general, non-edition-exclusive (which makes sense, as it appears in multiple editions).
  • : very open-ended, the tag wiki might as well be a dictionary entry for assassins if it weren't for the term "character class or type". Of course, people use (/abuse?) this tag for question about the 5e rogue subclass, while there are also questions about 3.5e, 4e, Pathfinder and D&D-semi-related (?) questions, for example about .
  • : pretty much the same thing as the assassin tag.
  • : at first glance, one could think this is about the fighter subclass present in 5e and potentially previous editions. Looking at the 3 questions posted with this tag, though, they're all about pathfinder-2e. Yet I'm sure that if the Champion subclass in 5e wasn't so simple (i.e. there are very few issues to ask about in the first place), it would have been used for 5e questions as well (unless maybe it did, and the tag got deleted automatically at some point because of low use; the pathfinder-2e questions are all relatively new).
    Either way, the tag will likely be used for 5e questions in the future, turning this into another fuzzy multi-system (sub)class tag.

I'm not sure how to handle tags like those above (I probably missed a few). Some of them are 5e-exclusive by virtue of the tag wiki, even though other systems/editions use the same term for something as well. Some are D&D-specific (potentially including pathfinder), but not to be used for other systems that use the same term for something.
And other ones are super-generic and about as useful as a "sword-user" tag would be. More precisely, I'm hoping nobody here has real-world knowledge of assassination beyond watching Léon: The Professional, so having e.g. a gold badge for the assassination tag would be absolutely meaningless, as it encompasses lots of different systems or contexts.

Is this inconsistent handling of subclass tags a problem in the first place, or am I being too pedantic? If it is problematic, how should we tackle this issue?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is the inconsistency you've noticed the tag descriptions or their actual usage? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 25 at 12:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil both, but the root cause are the descriptions. Some people may ignore tag wikis, but most people aren't going to tag their question about a 3.5e battlemaster with battle-master if the wiki explicitly limits the tag to 5e - and if they do, it's not too unlikely someone will spot that and edit the tag out. I suppose the answer to my question would revolve around what to write in the tag wiki(s), but the question remains whether we want edition-specific, system-specific, or very open, generic tags. Or maybe a "dnd-5e" pre- or suffix, though I think that would be a bad solution \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster May 25 at 12:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Battle Master prestige classes I'm finding for D&D 3.5e are homebrew from dandwiki, possibly an attempt to backport the subclass from D&D 5e. Are we sure it's in D&D 3.5e? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 25 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener you're right, that indeed seems to be homebrew. Bad job on my superficial research there, my apologies ^^ \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster May 25 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ As an outsider these just seem like good compound tags with, at worst, a bad description. \$\endgroup\$ – user27102 May 25 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a bit confused by the following statement: "so having e.g. a gold badge for the assassination tag would be absolutely meaningless, as it encompasses lots of different systems or contexts." Wouldn't that apply to basically every tag except ones that are truly system-specific? A gold badge in spells or monsters doesn't mean much when every system treats spells and monsters completely differently \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 25 at 16:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Somewhat related past question about a subclass tag: "Burninate [draconic-bloodline]?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 25 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ If current use is a problem (which I don't think it is) then what's the proposed solution? A separate tag for each class/system combination? That's not workable. Getting rid of class or sub-class tags? The current system works as is, IMO. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak May 25 at 22:47
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There's no need to limit tags for non-system specific topics to specific topics

In the case of tags for (sub)classes the actual topic they are tying together is a specific character archetype, which certain systems (generally D&D-likes) has as a named character option (ie. class or subclass). Most character archetypes can appear in any number of systems and thus the tag should reflect that.

If the archetype, or at least the archetype by that specific name, is only occurring in a single system and/or we only have questions about it for that one system, there's nothing wrong with the tag excerpt describing it as occurring in that one system. That's more accurate, and makes it easier for a reader to understand what the tag (currently) refers to. If the archetype spreads to other systems, we can update the tag description to reflect that.

If you find a tag that is used across systems, or which should be, but it's tag description seems to limit it to a specific system, fix the tag description.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ how would you treat the assassin or thief tags, then? The latter, for example, refers to both D&D, pathfinder, dungeon world, etc. This a very broad spectrum that doesn't have a lot in common, so I'm not sure what the benefit of having the tag versus not having it is. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster May 25 at 14:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster I believe Someone_Evil is, in fact, describing how we treat the assassin and thief tags. Those are archetypes that exist in multiple systems and we have updated the tag description to reflect that. When the tag relates to only one system (e.g. battle master) it's fine for the description to say it occurs in only that system. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 25 at 15:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bear in mind our tags often only make sense inside the context of a system. Therefore, [dnd-5e] [thief] is a different thief to [dungeon-world] [thief]. But those questions are still about thieves so they all get the thief tag. This is just like how [pathfinder-1e] [combat] is different to [savage-worlds] [combat]: they're describing combat so they get the combat tag, even if the actual combat mechanics have no relationship to each other between those systems. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener May 25 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tags narrow the scopes of expertise necessary to answer the question (or narrow the scope of the topic, at least.) I think most people are fine recognizing the appropriate scopes of [dnd-5e][thief] vs [dnd-5e][warlock]. Where is the difficulty in [dnd-5e][thief] vs [dungeon-world][thief]? \$\endgroup\$ – Novak May 25 at 22:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener: This approach has advantages when the same tag applies to similar but different systems. But across totally different systems, it makes the concept of tag-score and tag badges nonsense. I guess that's an acceptable tradeoff? We probably don't expect any gold badge holders to exist for most of these, let alone worry about them abusing their dup-hammer for [thief] questions about a system they know nothing about. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Jun 5 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes Yeah, that's the trade-off. The alternative is namespacing every tag ([dnd-5e-thief], [pathfinder-1e-thief], [dungeon-world-thief], etc) and I don't think we're at the point of needing or wanting that. We are relying on those gold badge holders to use their powers responsibly. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 5 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener: I could imagine preferring that if I wanted to watch a set of tags. I'm not sure Stack Exchange's current custom tag filter system lets you do boolean expressions like ([dnd-5e][thief]) OR ([dnd-5e][battle-master]), if you just want to see the 5e versions, not unrelated systems that happen to have the same name. Names like [dnd-5e-thief] do introduce the risk that people will forget to tag the system as well, so people watching just the base tag will miss it until someone adds the 5e tag (which would unambiguously apply, for once) \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Jun 5 at 19:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know on Stack Overflow I'd be annoyed if I [sse] was used for both x86 SIMD and [server-sent-events], and I couldn't follow one without the other. I'm guessing that's not currently a problem on a smaller site like rpg.SE, and where you don't have a relatively high traffic thing sharing a tag with an unrelated low-traffic thing. I guess tag filters to totally ignore some system with a [thief] you don't want to see could work. Anyway, maybe food for thought / future planning; those downsides might not outweigh the upsides of the current way. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Jun 5 at 19:53

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