An unofficial but neigh-undisputed pattern that appeared here in gaming is tagging questions with the name of the game they are concerned with. Some questions concern more than one games while others concern no specific games, but the overwhelming majority is about a specific game.

This is absolutely great - very easy to just add all the games I own to the "favorite" list - but using regular tags for this carries some problems:

  1. The threshold to create new tags is 150 reputation - this may be too low for general tags but it's pretty high for game tags, since new users that want to ask about a game nobody ever asked about before cannot tag their question appropriately. Considering we cater also for old and/or unpopular games and that hundreds of games are released each year, this is a problem.

    We already occasionally encounter a question in which the author asks high-rep users to manually add a game tag because she couldn't, and as the site grows larger this will become less scalable.

  2. Tags with only 1 question expire after a while and are removed. This is a bad idea with game tags! I've already seen some old questions that were not tagged with a game name, although originally they had this tag.

  3. Sometimes it's not clear a tag refers to a game name. Is a genre, an action within a game, or a game name? Turns out it's basically all, so we really should reserve it for the game with this name, and making the tag look special would encourage that.

  4. Right now the most popular tag is used as the first word in question page title. This leads to questions such as "pc - how do I kill the orc chief" rather than "orchunter-3 - how do I kill the orc chief". The latter is more informative and much more Googlable.

So I propose a new tag type with a lower rep threshold to create, no expiration and different visual appearance, which will only be used for game names. If a question has only one such tag, it will also be used as the first word in the page title.

I'm not quite sure how these tags will be created or maintained, though, just throwing out this idea.

I have a strong feeling that without something like that, the amount of questions requiring retagging to add the game name, and the amount of question that end up being and forsaken, will rise over time. This will also make our site friendlier to new users (it's clearer a game tag should be used, it's easier to understand what tags are game tags, it's easier to find questions via search).

share
    
Solution: tag by genre. :) –  badp Jan 25 '11 at 23:37
    
Is the current functionality preventing users from asking their questions? It would be interesting to see any statistics about how many times people go to the ask a question page, but don't actually end up asking. –  splattered bits Jan 25 '11 at 23:39
    
@splattered I don't think it's preventing anyone from asking, but it does increase the maintenance required by higher-rep users to edit these tags in. In addition, points (2) and (3) still apply. –  Oak Jan 25 '11 at 23:48
4  
@badp first of all, tagging by genre is not as clear-cut as tagging by game name; and secondly, I personally really like the tag-by-game-name convention, as I've mentioned in the question. –  Oak Jan 25 '11 at 23:56
add comment

8 Answers

Ideally, we shouldn't have tags for games (and limitations thereof). We should have an entire new field for that.

Quick and dirty mockup

...but then we'd want to browse by game, have game synonyms, combine filtering by game and tags, have interesting games, etc.

It just isn't worth it. Game tags have to make do.

share
3  
Actually what you propose is an excellent idea for implementing it. I mean, I still want it to be implemented as a tag behind the scenes and thus enjoy all the things like tag synonyms, but this is a good way to manage it! –  Oak Jan 25 '11 at 23:50
5  
If there were something like this, I think it should be very clear that the "game" field is optional. Most questions have an associated game, but not all. –  sjohnston Jan 26 '11 at 2:57
    
I think its important to note that without the 'suggested tags' starcraft2, starcraft 2, and starcraft-2 could all be viewed as different games with this system –  Aardvark Jan 26 '11 at 16:22
    
@Aardvark I assume we would have autocomplete like with tags in this system. –  Mad Scientist Jan 26 '11 at 18:41
2  
I think this would only be a good solution if the game field provided auto complete similar to how tags work already. Actually don't you think this concept could be applied elsewhere? For instance, stackoverflow for which programming language, etc? –  Earlz Jan 28 '11 at 3:31
add comment

The game tags are the only consistently useful tags for me. I'd fully support making those tags special.

The game tags should be

  • displayed in a different color
  • always used in the title if present (so we don't get spoiler, pc ... inserted into the title automatically)
  • lower rep requirement to create, but there should be a dedicated list in /review for tags created by low-rep users, so that those can be reviewed efficiently.
  • maybe a tag-set functionality to group games in a series (probably too different from the curent system to implement)
    • e.g. under the tag all games of that series should be displayed
    • automatic links to all games of the series in the tag-wiki
  • no expiration

The meta sites already have special tags, so the basic infrastructure for implementing something like that is already there. I'm a bit unsure about the lower rep threshold for creating game tags, it could potentially be as much work cleaning up there as it is to create new tags for low-rep users.

share
    
+1, great suggestion. –  Kevin Y Jan 30 '11 at 22:43
add comment

I find it very useful to have games tagged by game.

It isn't a big issue. Scalability will be offset by our constantly growing tag-library. As more users ask more questions the amount of unidentified games will decrease and the amount of high level users (above 150 reputation) capable of adding a tag will increase.

share
    
"I know the question you were referring to where a user asked to add a tag" - there were like half a dozen questions in which I had to add the game tag manually. –  Oak Jan 26 '11 at 8:53
    
Also, I'm really not sure that scalability will be offset by a larger user base. I think otherwise - I think the larger the userbase the more people will ask about obscure / old games, and there are many, many games like that... then again without accurate foresight we cannot tell whether it will be OK. –  Oak Jan 26 '11 at 9:12
    
@Oak I understand that we are attempting to be proactive but shouldn't we watch the progression of this in respect to the community before we brow-beat the devs into building something that may not be necessary? –  Aardvark Jan 26 '11 at 18:59
    
My catalyst was that I've seen question starting to lose their game tag, which is a shame, and that's what prompted me to post this idea. Is it the time? Maybe not, but it's best to "put things on the table". –  Oak Jan 26 '11 at 19:37
add comment

Right now the most popular tag is used as the first word in question page title. This leads to questions such as "pc - how do I kill the orc chief" rather than "orchunter-3 - how do I kill the orc chief". The latter is more informative and much more Googlable.

To ameliorate this issue, the first and second tag will now both be used, but only if they do not already appear in the title, even in partial string form.

Tags with only 1 question expire after a while and are removed. This is a bad idea with game tags! I've already seen some old questions that were not tagged with a game name, although originally they had this tag.

If only one question is ever asked about a game in six months, does that game really matter? If you feel strongly that a game tag should survive, there is a simple solution: make sure there are at least two questions for that game in a six month period. And if you can't be bothered to ask the second question about the game in a six month period either, I ask again: does that game really matter?

Anyway, there is a workaround, which is to tag these highly obscure / rare games with the platform instead, e.g. [flash] or [ios] or [nintendo-64]. You can either do that at the time they become [untagged] in 6 months, or if you're pretty sure the game will be obscure and nobody else will ask about it in 6 months, you can preemptively add the platform due to rarity.

The threshold to create new tags is 150 reputation - this may be too low for general tags but it's pretty high for game tags, since new users that want to ask about a game nobody ever asked about before cannot tag their question appropriately. Considering we cater also for old and/or unpopular games and that hundreds of games are released each year, this is a problem.

Realistically, the site is, and should be, dominated by popular games. I don't think we had to wait long for the first [skyrim] question to be asked. I am sympathetic to the idea that a new user wants to ask about some obscure game, but realistically ... how often does that happen? Most people are playing popular games and current games, by definition. It's the nature of the business.

Additionally, time and time again we've observed that the Stack Exchange engine excels at presenting new content, because our low-noise, no-nonsense Q&A is so much better than the existing alternatives -- and when something is new, there are no alternatives. A question about, say, Ultima IV is going to be completely lost in the massive historical record of all the stuff people have already said about Ultima IV on the internet. It's not a fair fight, if you will -- whereas for brand new game content, everyone is growing at the same rate and we tend to win decisively in that scenario. Thus, it makes way more sense to focus all our effort on new games where we actually have a realistic shot of becoming authoritative.

Sometimes it's not clear a tag refers to a game name. Is colonization a genre, an action within a game, or a game name? Turns out it's basically all, so we really should reserve it for the game with this name, and making the tag look special would encourage that.

Tags that represent broad general concepts, which aren't great anywhere in the Stack Exchange network, are an especially bad idea on gaming.se due to the tension with "every game ever created on every platform since time began gets its own tag" dynamic here. I can't imagine [colonization] being a useful or valid tag in any other scenario other than as a game title. Regardless, if we discourage overly broad tags under the banner of "who the heck would even subscribe to an 'equipment' tag anyway?" it will be a lot clearer. And we don't have to worry about conflicts with Super Equipment Hyper Turbo Alpha EX 3.

(And of course, meta tags are also unusually dangerous on gaming for the same reasons.)

share
6  
"Realistically, the site is, and should be, dominated by popular games." Why should how popular the game is have any effect on whether not it should be getting a lot of questions on the site? Should only popular programming languages get a lot of questions on Stack Overflow? Unpopular questions have the potential to generate just as many questions as unpopular ones, it's just a matter of drawing people that play those unpopular games to our site. –  Wipqozn Dec 13 '11 at 20:48
    
If I didn't know better, I'd think you'd never actually been to the site. –  GnomeSlice Dec 13 '11 at 20:54
    
@RavenDreamer: Wouldn't Oak accepting it work? –  Ullallulloo Dec 13 '11 at 20:59
    
@Ullallulloo As would just using any non-votes sort order (which, active-sort is actually pretty useful to use on Meta sites in general, for exactly this kind of scenario). –  Grace Note Dec 13 '11 at 21:02
3  
Googled "Super Equipment Hyper Turbo Alpha EX 3." Was disappointed. –  badp Dec 13 '11 at 21:32
    
You received a lot of downvotes (as usual for you :), but I actually have to +1 this - you present a very practical approach to solve the issues I've raised. I still think my proposal is better, if only to make the site more approachable to new and passing-by users; but I also think that maintaining a similar interface across stackexchange sites is important. I just think that having different kinds of tags, as done in meta-sites, isn't too radical a change. –  Oak Dec 13 '11 at 21:41
3  
...cripes, why didn't I see that before. @Oak's right! If not an "important" flag, what about just a color change? –  Raven Dreamer Dec 13 '11 at 21:45
    
Oh gods yes, can we PLEASE kill equipment, weapons and their bastard bretheren –  Nick T Dec 13 '11 at 21:50
1  
@RavenDreamer: We'd still have to be able mark them ourselves, and the main bonus IMO is priority in prefixing the title. –  Ullallulloo Dec 13 '11 at 21:51
    
So given point 1, subtags are OK, as long as you limit it to one and only one subtag. That way even if the subtag is more popular than the game tag, we still end up with both of them in the title. –  bwarner Dec 13 '11 at 22:33
    
$20 says Jeff is actually giving us this feature as a Christmas present, and until then he feels obligated to shoot it down. –  GnomeSlice Dec 14 '11 at 1:15
3  
@Gnome I'll take that bet. –  bwarner Dec 14 '11 at 14:39
    
@RavenDreamer And how'd you change the color of some tags but not others without a way to mark some tags as more important than others? :) –  badp Dec 14 '11 at 15:45
    
@badp the same way meta flags (bug, the various status tags, etc) already work. Jeff doesn't want to alter the the Tag system just for the benefit of Gaming. Okay, sure. So why not let us take advantage of the tag system that's already extant? –  Raven Dreamer Dec 14 '11 at 18:19
2  
@RavenDreamer because it doesn't work the way we need it to. Not now anyway. The main problem is those mandatory tags wouldn't be mandatory in the first place as there needs to be a way to ask about games that we don't have tags for, and ask about questions that aren't about games (but about consoles or communities or whatever). All other objections I can think of can probably be addressed through cosmetic code changes, but not this one. –  badp Dec 14 '11 at 18:46
show 3 more comments

Isn't this somewhat important for SEO? I don't think jamming some general tag, which are often more widely used (which seems to be how it's chosen), e.g. , in front of a question title that might also be missing context doesn't help much.

achievements - How can you find all world treasures? - Gaming - Stack Exchange

To me it seems like it would work like the meta-tags , , , and do now, where a question must include one or more of them. The problem would then be how would someone post a question about a new game.

share
add comment

I assume that the Stack platform is the same between all the sites, and doing one-off functionality for sites would create too much maintenance work. So any change would have to apply to all sites.

Maybe tags created by users without the necessary reputation go through an approval process instead of being prohibited.

share
4  
Some sites already have engine specialization - for example LaTeX for TeX and Math, and spoiler support for a few sites that asked for it, ours being one of the major ones. In addition, I suspect such a system can be useful for other sites that revolve more around a list of products than a list of topics, like our site. –  Oak Jan 25 '11 at 23:53
2  
@Oak Spoiler markup is on every site - TeX was denied site-specific requests for both removing spoiler markup as well as changing the CSS of how they are displayed, due to how they affect every site. Considering what we're asking for is an even more drastic change to a much more fundamental aspect of the very core of the system... this really isn't comparable. We can't even get an extension to the tag character limit, so I honestly don't have a lot of faith in this getting through. –  Grace Note Jan 26 '11 at 14:18
    
@Grace I realize that, I just hope someone will come up with some clever way in which this can be implemented with minimal changes from regular tags. Meta sites already have 3 different tag types with specialized rules... also, as I wrote in the previous comment, perhaps this could be useful for other sites as well. –  Oak Jan 26 '11 at 14:24
add comment

I would like this for an additional reason. Currently it's really difficult to scan the question list and know what game a question is referring to. The titles alone don't provide enough context, and the tags aren't noticeable enough.

For example, on the homepage now, I see "Best way to redeem ticket for car", "changing the appearances of characters", and "What does it mean when a light bulb appears over someone's head?". Without reading the tags, I have no idea what these questions are talking about. (I think my favorite example has to be "How do I poison someone?".)

For a simple-to-implement fix, I'd like the title in the question list to show the same thing as the page title when you click on the link, which I think is the question's first tag followed by the question title, unless the question title already contains the first tag. (For example: "die2nite - How do I poison someone?") This should be an easy fix for the SE team, since they have already written the code to do this on page title, and they could presumably call the same function when listing the question title.

share
add comment

Perhaps we should prompt users when they create a tag to tag it with meta-tags?

Say I'm the first to tag a question with . The next prompt/form I am given is to tag my tag. So I would tag it , and the platform .

This would open up possibilities of implicit and explicit viewing, as well as suggested tags and other features. For instance if I were to look at I could choose to see just that tag or it's subtags.

More examples:

share
add comment

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .