The HTML page title feature which puts the most popular tag on the front of the question is a very useful tool. Problem is two-fold, however.

In general, the theory behind the whole "most popular tag gets in title" is that the most popular tag is the most prominent categorization of the question. It works excellently on Stack Overflow, Super User, Ask Ubuntu, Seasoned Advice... actually, it works pretty well on almost every site on the network. In general, the superset tag is going to be the most popular tag.

Gaming is an exception, though, by necessity. The most prominent element of any question about a game is going to be "What game is this?". However, a game name is not as eclipsing as, say, C# is for Stack Overflow or Windows is for Super User. The platform and genre are the supersets of the game titles, but they are not as important as the game name in terms of identifying the question.

Because they are not the superset, game titles are very easy to get shafted by our SEO optimization, turning it into SEO de-optimization. After some chat, Fabian came up with what I agreed was a viable alternative to changing how the tags are arranged. Please allow us to be able to blacklist certain tags from showing up in the title.

There are far more tags that will not be blacklisted, than there will be tags that we will need to blacklist. For us, we would only need it for a limited number of tags like platforms, genres, and a handful of superset elements like or . Thus, it will not require a whole bunch of continual maintenance as the majority of future incoming tags will generally be of the game-name variety, which should not be blacklisted.

share
1  
The blacklist sounds like a great method of doing this. –  Matthew Read May 19 '11 at 17:46
    
I would have preferred white-listing, but I guess blacklisting is a lot more attainable and maintainable. –  Oak May 19 '11 at 21:41
    
Are you sure this is how it works? In this question: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/22893/… "minecraft" is the title, where as this question: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/22890/… "bukkit" is the title, however they both share nearly the same tags. –  Resorath May 23 '11 at 7:10
    
@Resorath See the second bullet point. If the most popular tag is already in the title organically ("Minecraft" Biome Modification), then the system will skip over to the next. To me, it's fine in the case of [bukkit], as I believe it's a pretty known tool where the name is useful to point out. –  Grace Note May 23 '11 at 12:11
    
I've got something similar proposed here: meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/2781/… –  CyberSkull Sep 13 '11 at 12:21
1  
I take it this idea is just not going anywhere? Love the idea because I feel like I've basically screwed the SEO potential of a lot of the Skyrim questions having to do with PC when I tagged them with PC. –  Doozer Blake Nov 14 '11 at 19:56
    
@Doozer Actually, there's possibly something in the works about this. I can't give any details yet, though, but we may be looking at something nice. Especially thanks to the recent competition. –  Grace Note Nov 14 '11 at 20:04
    
@GraceNote That's good news. Thanks for the update. –  Doozer Blake Nov 14 '11 at 21:42

2 Answers 2

In general, the theory behind the whole "most popular tag gets in title" is that the most popular tag is the most prominent categorization of the question. It works excellently on Stack Overflow, Super User, Ask Ubuntu, Seasoned Advice... actually, it works pretty well on almost every site on the network.

Correct, so the best course of action is to attack the social problems unique to tagging on this site, not proposing global changes to the engine.

Questions will end up with the things like "boss-fights" in front of the game name, and that isn't really helpful.

Because of its nature, this site needs to be religious bordering on zealotry about enforcing three rules:

  1. No meta tags, under penalty of death. Meta tags are normally dangerous in our engine as a general rule, but here they are absolute poison.

  2. Avoid generic "concept" tags. For example, rather than [boss-fights], stick to game-specific tags (a good example of this is [zerg], [terran], etc) that offer better information scent for the particular game like say the actual name of the boss in question, and also won't become generic catch-all tags that nobody actually ever clicks on or subscribes to. Another example: I would also argue that [trophies] and [achievements] is a better set of tags than a generic [achievements] tag as it implies superior platform information scent; it is highly unlikely as an Xbox 360 only owner I would ever, ever care about ps3 trophies in any game; grouping them isn't helpful and creates another uber-tag that will dominate smaller tags.

  3. Use as few tags as possible. But rather than spending a lot of time debating the merits of a particular non-game-name tag, ask yourself -- do we even need this in the first place? Omit needless words. Unless the game in question has hundreds or thousands of questions, it really isn't necessary to start slicing and dicing them into sub-categories. Either you are interested in that game, and click through to read the question, or you aren't.

As mentioned before, we've done two things to assist here:

  1. Cleaned up, as much as we can, all the meta-tags and generic concept tags. This strictness has to be maintained going forward. Simplicity of tagging is always preferred; why does it need to be more complex than "hey, if you play this particular game, click here?"

  2. We changed the site-specific value determining the number of tags we will include in the title (that is, if they aren't already there organically in the question title) from 1 to 2.

We've seen a big jump in traffic on gaming after these changes, though it's hard to disambiguate anything traffic-wise from the 100 year storm that is Skyrim. But since typically 90% of our traffic is from Google search result hits, I suspect #1 and #2 above have paid off -- so your question was definitely warranted.

share
    
"boss-fights" was never meant as a replacement for mentioning the relevant boss in the question (title or body), and I'm sure you're not suggesting we go ahead and create a tag for every single boss out there. –  badp Jan 4 '12 at 23:44
1  
@badp probably rule #3 applies, "use as few tags as possible". Who would honestly actually follow or click through on this tag? Most people search for the name of the specific boss when trying to find solutions to get around a boss; having a generic [boss-fights] tag across all games for all recorded time isn't particularly useful. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 5 '12 at 0:01
    
@badp see the comments at meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/q/3711 for another example of a bad "concept" tag in action. And I didn't even bring it up... –  Jeff Atwood Jan 6 '12 at 10:02

I would suggest a more radical solution, such as the use of primary and secondary tags.

Primary tag would be the very to which the question is directly related, and secondary ones would be complementary. This does nothave to be more cumbersome than just typing ahead tags. Instead of having two input fields, the first one would be the primary, the rest secondary/complementary.

Example:

the-witcher-2 (primary) spoiler character-development (both secondary)

Needless to say, only the primary tag would be shown on the page.

share
    
The problem with this, along with the even simpler idea of "Allow us to specify the order of tags ourselves", is that this changes the tag system very drastically. And we're one of the only sites that this is required for, thus for other sites it becomes something that can either easily be messed up or cause confusion. That said, it's still an option of sorts. –  Grace Note May 23 '11 at 19:57
    
One could limit the creation of primary tags, say, only to the ones with minimum 2000 rep. points. This would establish a community base white-list. So you choose a primary within boundaries, and the complementary ones more freely. –  DrFish May 23 '11 at 20:06
1  
I'd say that the secondary tags would be less likely to need new creations often, and more maintained by the higher rep people, since those would be like the blacklisted ones. –  Ullallulloo Jun 23 '11 at 22:32

You must log in to answer this question.

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