One thing Gaming.stackexchange has been wishy-washy in regards to tags. For instance, When should we use genre tags? In addition to that, we have tags like , or , that run the gamut from incredibly localized (Dwarf-Fortress-Fun used to just be "Fun") to localized, but probably useful (the 3 Starcraft 2 race tags), to broad but underused (the genretags) and finally a more general suite of tags that can actually help differentiate questions.

I was wondering if others saw a use for propagating use of this last group.

Obviously, the extremest version of this would mean that you could not ask a question without one of these tags (how Meta currently works), but I'm not sure that's warranted.

Specifically, I think the following tags are useful in breaking down the most common question types (I suppose the question would be, is it useful to mark every question one of these?)

  • Achievements - How do I unlock/earn achievement X?
  • Game-Mechanics - How does this work?
  • Terminology - What does this mean?
  • Identify-this-game - self-explanatory
  • game-rec - self-explanatory (though I find it odd that the tag exists almost specifically to encourage closure, it does work for that)
  • bug - is this a bug / how do I resolve this bug?
  • Tech-Support - My xbox is emitting smoke, is this normal? (et al. While we're at it, merge with the "technical-issues" tag)
  • Strategy - How do I beat the last level in Starcraft 2 Campaign? (Possibly should be renamed to tactics, as per The two heads of Janus "Strategy" Bifrons)
  • Plot - Why is John Skeet the final boss of the StackOverflow official game(tm)? (Synonym with "Lore", possibly others)

I'm sure I'm forgetting something obvious. Anyway, discussion go!

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Whoops. What's the markup for the tags that I tried (and failed) to do? (Thanks Grace Note) –  Raven Dreamer May 9 '11 at 19:20
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Don't forget [items], [weapons], [boss-fights], and similar ilk! –  Grace Note May 9 '11 at 19:20
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Also, for [game-rec], I'd really like to phase out that tag and have people just close them like anything else we mark as off-topic. –  Grace Note May 9 '11 at 19:22
    
@Grace Does that mean you want to eliminate the game-rec tag completely (e.g. by blacklisting)? –  Mad Scientist May 9 '11 at 20:33
    
@Fabian No, I just want to eliminate its current usage and replace it with something... more descriptive. The original purpose of such an odd phrasing [game-rec] was to help discourage these kinds of questions from coming in at all. Now that we have a policy to close them, and now that we cull them with deletion, it's simply ineffectual as a tag. The only reason I'd blacklist it is if our policing users kept using it to tag what they're about to vote to close, and I'd like to hope we don't need to do that. –  Grace Note May 9 '11 at 20:36
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I really want to make a "StackOverflow: The Game (TM)" now, and implement John Skeet as the final boss. >.< –  Raven Dreamer May 9 '11 at 21:23
    
@Grace - Would it be at all possible to flag certain tags (like [game-rec]) with "off topic," so that when a new user tries to ask an off topic question and tags it with an off topic tag, a message appears or they're directed to the site FAQ, etc? Obviously this would only work in very specific instances, but I think [game-rec] is one of them. –  dlras2 May 11 '11 at 6:41
    
@Cyclotis As my previous comment notes, [game-rec] is oddly phrased to the point that no one uses it when they are new. We've had this suggestion in the past, but the problem is, it will have no impact, if any. The tag is pretty much only applied by the people voting to close, and it's too late by then. Hence why I'm fond of just removing the tag. –  Grace Note May 11 '11 at 12:37
    
@Grace - I agree it is indeed oddly phrased - perhaps if it was renamed to [game-recommendation] it would be used more often? –  dlras2 May 11 '11 at 15:11
    
@Cyclotis I don't think we want it to be used, period. We don't want to see these questions as they are off-topic, so the practice of tagging them is an artifact from back when it was questionable whether they belonged. We don't need a special tag for them any more than we need to tag things with "not-gaming-related". The original point of the odd-phrasing was to discourage their prevalence. Now that we plain discourage the question type period, I believe it's time to phase it out. –  Grace Note May 11 '11 at 15:13
    
I've edited a second tag into some of my recent questions, then I got flagged for editing too many posts (since tag editing bumps them to the top of the active list). I wasn't rep farming, I swear! –  bwarner May 19 '11 at 16:48
    
Just as a note, Raven, if you look at the comments for that question you linked regarding strategy/tactics, you'll note that we're actually less in favor of renaming, and more wanting to kinda scrap that whole tag as well. –  Grace Note May 20 '11 at 19:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

We have to be careful, because some of the thought pattern behind this starts to actually trend into that whole "Meta Tag" phenomenon that people get all uppity about. With good reason, of course, but a lot of premature uppitiness happens.

That all said, I've always been a proponent for promoting the use of additional tags beyond just the game. I've always been a strong supporter of the usage of tags like when you're asking about weapon stats and qualities, when you're asking for boss-fight strategies, etc. While I've been lax, I also really support if it can be used much more consistently for the hundreds of "How does this game mechanic work" questions we have. That's a kind of useful category.

Running down your list, I find that 3/4 of my own asked questions fall under none of these categories, though, which is my general opposition to going anywhere past encouragement on this. Sometimes, there just isn't a superclass, and I think that's fine. The outlier is my Muramasa question, which would count as .

  • This question is about PS3 console differences. Pretty straightforward, I don't think we should consider a "comparison" tag or similar.
  • This question asks what are platform exclusive features. Maybe an exclusive-features tag, but otherwise the game name and the platform are pretty strong indications (under the same logic as to how platform tags best operate)
  • This question is somewhat about farming, moreso about item drop harvesting. It's the kind of thing I'd expect to see more questions on, honestly speaking, but we apparently have few.

I think that overall, I do support the endeavor of encouraging multiple tags. But I think that perhaps one of the important steps we need to take towards this is to start adding these tags ourselves. Once the tags start climbing in number, then it'll be easier for new users to understand how they should be applied.


Just to illustrate my point, I just quickly skimmed down the first page of questions. Now, I don't entirely follow the game on account of not playing it, but just from my understanding, all of the following questions are quite much about the , how and when to use them or what they do. You compile all these, and suddenly when you search for , you have a huge list of weapon selection, strategy, and comparison questions. That's precisely how it works best. There may even be others in there that fit, but I figured that it may be wise to get some of the game's players to vouch for that.

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whistles That's a lot of content we'll have to re-tag, but I'm in support of the idea. Upvote~ –  Mana May 9 '11 at 19:55
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@Mana I know you're already in support of it, but think of it this way - if we don't do it now, imagine how big it'll be a few months down the road. ♪ The [minecraft] [game-mechanics] list will probably be larger, though. –  Grace Note May 9 '11 at 19:57
    
this should probably be revisited at some point, since from my perspective it is rather dangerous advice. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 4 '12 at 10:11

I think gaming is somewhat different than most SE sites with regards to tagging. We have one set of tags, those defining which game a question is about, that are by a far margin the most useful tags. Going from my personal experience using the site, I'm tempted to say that the game tags are the only consistently useful tags on the site.

I don't have the data to support this, but I would bet that a huge majority of users have only game-tags as their favorite/ignored tag (with exception of maybe and for ignoring purposes). I'd guess that the explicit use of those tags in searches is also very rare.

I may be lacking in imagination, but I just don't see any reason why I would use any of the non-game tags. I see no reason to take a look at all questions about game mechanics or bugs. Even for narrowing down a search inside a specific game-tag I prefer to use a fulltext search instead of tags.

I'm playing the devil's advocate here a bit, I'm not against more tags per se. I'm just not convinved that it is worth a lot of effort to ensure those tags are applied correctly, if we're not sure if anyone is even using them.

I've one more reason not to use additional tags, it hurts the SEO if the title doesn't contain the game name. Those general tags are used more often than game tags (with some exceptions), so they get into the title. And for us, if the HTML title does not contain the game name, it is very bad SEO.

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I don't have much to work with here on Gaming because of how unused these tags are. But this kind of tagging helps me a lot on Game Dev. I don't hunt-and-peck between, say, [lighting] or [collision-detection] or [camera]. But as I just browse through the questions list, those tags help me figure what things are about far faster than having to open the question each time. It can tell me what an unfamiliar concept is before I have to read it, an experience I often see with the [achievements] tag that we use here. I see it less for explicit searching, more for visual filtering. –  Grace Note May 9 '11 at 20:27
    
That's what I do with tags as well, both here and on SO, more for filtering than for searching ... I've marked [xbox-360] on Gaming so if I search [rock-band-3] (which I also marked), questions specific to the 360 version are highlighted. Granted, that might be an edge case rather than a normal case, but it's a case nonetheless. –  Dave DuPlantis May 13 '11 at 0:57

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