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I came across a question about a demo that has been released. The question is entirely answerable, but this lead me to look up how many demo related tags we have. I found three matched the search results for "demo":

I see good reason for the use of the demo tag. However, I consider it a grey area, concerning whether the questions would apply to the full release, as well.

Questions that are specific to the demo

These questions specifically apply to the demo, but in both cases, they ask about availability of a certain feature. It could be argued that complete answers could only be provided through a comparison of what is available in the full game.

In this question, a user asks how many videos are available in the demo.

In this question, a user asks about the feature limitations of the demo.

Questions that might differ in context

These questions may apply, completely, to the full release. Due to developer changes before release, they may not.

In this question, this question, and this question a user asks how to beat the boss at the end of the demo. This could greatly change for being in the demo, as the demo might limit strategies the player could adapt. Furthermore, the boss might change before the final release, either due to last minute changes or the developers simply making the demo version more difficult.

In this question, the user asks about a secret passage in a level of the demo. Again, this may have changed for the full release.

Questions that directly relate to the full release

These questions are still in context of being a demo, but are related to the full release.

In this question, a user asks about transferring save data, from the demo to the full release

In this question, a user specifically asks where to obtain bonuses that can be transferred into the full release.

My Proposition

Instead of having a tag for each game demo, would it be better to have as its own tag? Questions relating to a games demo could be tagged as both demo and the game title. Questions relating to the full release would more likely be received by users patrolling that games questions, and at the same time, it would be easy to infer if the user is playing the demo or the full version, by their inclusion of the demo tag.

The demo tag could have a disclaimer in its summary to include the tag related to the game title the poster is playing. Users would be able to easily identify the secondary requirement of a "title tag", and it would be easier to tag questions in the future, where the poster makes it known that they are playing the demo of the game, but tags the full release title due to lack of a tag for the demo.

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    I think it's a good idea, one problem i can see is that people will search for the game they're talking about when they're adding a tag say "disgaea" and digaea-5-demo pops up as well as digaea-5 and so they can see that the demo one is actually what they want. If there's a seperate demo tag I think it's unlikely that people will tag it correctly. – Aequitas Sep 21 '15 at 4:28
  • That is a very good point, @Aequitas. That said, I do not think that has been the case, so far. Two of the tags only have a single question, where the user has made the tag at the time of creating the question. The other appears to mostly be populated by the same user. And that also assumes that there is a demo tag for the title being searched. Already existing demo tags could simply be made synonyms for "demo", in which they will just link back to the main tag. – user106385 Sep 21 '15 at 4:36
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Most demos can be considered to be effectively their own separate game, especially if they have functionality, gameplay, levels or story sequences that differ to the main game.

Of course, each demo is unique. Some demos:

  • Can still be played years after release - completely separate from the main game, in their own little corner of the universe.

This is especially true of older games. Think of all the demos that came on those PC Magazine disks or handed out at conventions.

  • Get updated/converted to the main game post-release - making questions specific to the (now unplayable) demo version obsolete.

So what do we do in this case? We should try and update most of them, but sometimes questions just can't be updated. We currently keep questions about unplayable games, so I'd be inclined to leave them alone if they cannot be updated, but we could also close them if need be.

Which brings me to the tagging itself. There is nothing to be gained from compiling them into a tag.

  • It doesn't make questions easier to search/find
  • It doesn't describe a topic area.

Applying the same logic as Jeff Atwood about meta-tags like this:

do you really need this tag on the question? is anyone truly going to follow this tag, for reals?

Who would follow the tag? Would the tag be used consistently? Is someone going to try and browse all the different questions for different games together?

Because on the above points, I'd rather demos continue to be treated as they are currently: having their own separate tags if the demo can continue to be played, or closing & merging with the main game tag when it comes out, rather than having an overarching tag. I don't see why we should need to change them to be less specific then they already are.

  • Also, has there been any consideration to finding and re-tagging all questions that refer to a demo release? Furthermore, once done, adding a demo tag to a question with 5 existing tags won't be possible. – user101016 Sep 21 '15 at 13:27

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