Whenever I do something for the first time, I read the instructions. I spend time to understand the rules and try to follow them in good faith. Yet after having spent this effort, if I am later get told that there were other hidden catches, or some rules buried at a location where I could not reasonably have looked at, I get really upset. I know other people are just ok to jump in and make mistakes and don't mind getting corrected later. But for people like me, not having been told the rules in advance is an easy way to get put off. Besides it is a waste of time for me and those who end up forcing me to do a correction.

In this spirit, I would like to propose an improvement to the system-tagging requirement. Please have a look at the screenshot for asking a question:


While not tagging your question is likely to get your question closed, there is no warning about it. Even when you click on the question mark to get help about "How to tag", you don't get an explanation.

To make matters worse, a responsible user might see the "Helpful Links" box on the right side of the page and decide to click on "Find more information about how to ask a good question here". When they do, they are directed to the following page: https://rpg.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask

Yet there is no mention of tags there either. There is not a single sentence stating the utmost importance of properly identifying the system your are interested in, for questions that pertain to individual games. (Not just in tags, not anywhere.)

We could argue that identifying the RPG is something that needs to be done by default and that it should be obvious. But apparently it isn't, given the almost-religious conviction of a considerable number of experienced users about the never-guess-the-system policy.

Could we please try to rectify this situation? Seeing the importance of tagging the system right away would significantly decrease this pitfall, and perhaps we won't need heavy handed solutions like the strict never-guess policy.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure if feature-request is a proper tag for this question, as I am not sure if our own moderators have the privilege to add sentences in the ask question interface. I hope this suggestion doesn't end up in a never-resolved wish list, the requests in some of the posts that Medix2 mentioned. \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Jun 6 '20 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ZwiQ That's the right tag to use. We can't do this ourselves. It'll require development work, and there's a bunch of connected featuers we need. I've added [status-review] which escalates it to Stack Exchange staff's awareness. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 6 '20 at 20:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Adding guidance to the "How to tag" and a couple other places on the ask page is already on the way (see the first of Medix2's links). It had [status-review] added only a few days ago, so lets give the CMs a few days to implement it. We might want to scope this specifically to adding it to adding such guidance to the help pages, otherwise I'm a bit unsure what we'd be asking a CM to do. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Mod Jun 7 '20 at 11:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Received the request, not planned, deferred or denied yet but just letting you know we got it and will discuss it. \$\endgroup\$ – Cesar M ModStaff Sep 1 '20 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ For posterity: Adam Lear did implement the changes suggested in the "New ask page" Meta linked by Medix2 above. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mod Oct 26 '20 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ If I'm reading this right, the post V2Blast links to above addresses most of the concerns being raised here, right? Is potentially editing the "How to ask" help center article the only outstanding request? \$\endgroup\$ – JNat ModStaff Mar 30 at 10:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just realized you may not have been pinged by the above comment, @V2Blast ^_^' \$\endgroup\$ – JNat ModStaff May 6 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JNat: Thanks for the ping! I'll check with the other mods. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mod May 6 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Checking in again, @V2Blast ^_^ \$\endgroup\$ – JNat ModStaff May 24 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JNat: Yep, seems like that's the only outstanding issue in this Meta. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mod May 25 at 4:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JNat: Any update on this issue? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mod Jul 1 at 23:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry for the delay, @V2Blast — we're not gonna edit the help center article because it would mean it'd be out of sync with the network-wide copy, and edits to that would mean extra work in tracking down and editing overridden pages like this. (1/2) \$\endgroup\$ – JNat ModStaff Jul 12 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Alternatively, we bolded some text in the first time asker modal for increased visibility (see here on an incognito window). If you want more than that, see what EL&U has on theirs — start a discussion on that, if you're interested, and tag it [status-review] once you've reached a consensus. In the meantime, I'm tagging this [status-completed] since most of the request was actually completed. (2/2) \$\endgroup\$ – JNat ModStaff Jul 12 at 17:41

Yes, I think our interface should advise users to include a system tag.

They don't always need one—many questions don't need a system tag—but we should have something hinting they should definitely be telling us what game and system they're using!

This would accompany features such as:


You don't need to tag a question to definitively identify the game.

And I hope nobody's playing tag police when someone adds a tag to a question where the original querent specified the system in the question body.

Maybe this text would be good in the "How To Ask" help page, under "Be Specific"?

If you're asking a question about the specifics of a game's rules or lore, please include both the game system and the edition. You can do this by using a system tag to specify them, such as [apocalypse-world-2e] or [call-of-cthulhu-7e], or saying which system you're using in the question, such as "D&D 5th edition" or "the fourth edition of Shadowrun". Or both!

Vocabulary is often shared from edition to edition within games. Sometimes it's even shared between games! Without knowing the game and edition, we can't tell what would make a good answer to your question.

If you don't know what edition of a system you're playing, look for questions about how to identify editions of a game system, or if there aren't any, ask one yourself.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is accurate—it's fine to just say it in the question somewhere. The tag isn't the important part since we can add that ourselves if it's missing but stated in the question. I'm currently rethinking whether we'd want specific system tag level enforcement, especially given there's questions that should not have a system tag at all. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 7 '20 at 9:49

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