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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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:

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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 - Be Specific" question page?

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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  • 3
    \$\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 at 9:49

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