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As of a change made yesterday, the tag's usage guidance states one should "Use this tag for questions about speedrunning in general - if your question is game-specific, please use the game's tag instead." However, of the 17 questions that still have the tag, only 4 actually follow this direction - one of which is closed as Too Broad, and the others could potentially be considered such as well. There's a reason for this: very little in speedrunning is game-independent, with every game tending to have differences in the rules of speedrunning them. Things can even vary widely within a single game depending on the type of run being done.

In particular, there are at least a few situations where I believe the speedrun tag would apply to a game-specific question. Conveniently, I can find at least one existing question for each of the topics.

When "fastest" and "best" aren't necessarily the same

In a speedrun, one obviously wants to complete the necessary tasks as fast as possible. However, this often doesn't coincide with the easiest or most efficient way to do something. Maybe you need to go into a difficult area while underequipped, maybe you need to use a lot of a limited resource, but whatever the case, you're looking for a tactic that you would primarily only use if you're trying to go fast. While one could argue that a person could choose to do such things as a challenge instead, that could largely be applied to anything, and I'd expect the most common use of the information to be more significant when it comes to determining tagging.

Example:
What is the closest Fragrant Branch of Yore to Majula?

Routing questions

Potentially a subset of the above, but it seems sufficiently different that I'll make a separate point for it. When one has options and needs to determine which one would be the fastest to take. As above, it's not necessarily the easiest or most efficient choice, and "routing" in this sense is rarely relevant outside of a speedrun (or imitating a speedrun more slowly).

Examples:
In Super Metroid speedrunning, which backup Super Missiles are fastest to obtain?
In Mario 64 speedruns, why are the keys necessary?

Speedrun rules

Seemingly the most obvious category of game-specific question that the tag would apply to, questions directly relating to speedruns of a particular game, including allowed versions and category rules. (It seems questionable whether this particular category of question is actually valid for our site, but the example question seems to have avoided an attempt to close it, which is currently providing the only precedence I'm aware of.)

Example:
Which version(s) of Super Mario World are allowed when speedrunning on SpeedRunsLive?


As a further note, while a speedrunner of one game is only marginally more capable of answering speedrunning questions for other games, many such questions require knowledge specific to those who have an expertise in speedrunning that particular game, or otherwise have specifically studied speedrunning the game. i.e. "speedrunning Super Metroid" (to use a particularly popular example) is a distinct skill set. Most non-speedrunning Super Metroid players won't be particularly proficient at answering such a question, nor would a non-Super Metroid playing speedrunner (though either of those groups would have a better chance of answering than someone who is in neither group). But requiring a theoretical new tag for such expertise, plus another for every other game-specific speedrunning question, would quickly get out of hand, especially when we can simply use both more-general tags.

With this in mind, does the new intention that the tag be restricted to game-independent questions really make sense?

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    I'm currently mobile at the moment, but see the discussion on the [longplay] meta for my reasons behind changing of the tag excerpt. As for the edits: the change was only made yesterday and to avoid flooding the homepage with edits, I only edited a few of the tag uses, with the intention of eventually bringing the tag down to questions actually about speedrunning (rather then questions about game glitches/character builds/shortcuts and so on) – Robotnik Apr 14 '17 at 17:12
  • @Robotnik Took a look at that discussion at your suggestion. I haven't given it a thorough reading yet, but I think I've got the gist of it. In regards to [longplay], I personally agree with the decision, as (to my admittedly-limited understanding) there isn't much difference between a longplay and playing a game to 100% completion - which is something people do even when they aren't making a longplay video - other than the video creation itself. – Michaellogg Apr 14 '17 at 17:43
  • @Robotnik However, while I can see the similarity, I don't think the same logic quite applies in the same way to speedruns. It's far more rare that a person will be trying to complete a game (or a portion thereof) as fast as possible if they're not speedrunning the game, whether or not they explicitly consider it to be such, since "speedrun" actually describes a specific way of playing the game. Subtle but oddly significant distinction, IMO, that "longplay" tends to be exclusively used for recording video of a particular playstyle, while a "speedrun" is specific to the playstyle itself. – Michaellogg Apr 14 '17 at 17:44
  • @Robotnik As a side note, I discovered this change through the removal of the [speedrun] tag on the gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/264319/… question, but I believe it should have been removed from that question anyway, as its application to speedrunning seems tangential at best (i.e. it's relevant to a non-speedrun of the game as well, beyond simply finishing faster). – Michaellogg Apr 14 '17 at 17:44
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Two years later, this tag is still problematic. Its info page and excerpt have gone unchanged since the edit that prompted this question, and the tag is still used together with game tags in the majority of cases, contrary to the usage guidance; this seems to indicate that either questions are tagged without reading the tag's guidance info, or the community finds value in using the tag even when instructed not to.

For these reasons, I am proposing a new definition of the tag, which should hopefully make it more intuitive and clear to use, as well as make it easier to recognize cases in which it should not be used.

The Speedrun tag should be used when asking about techniques and rules of video game speedruns

That sounds rather simplistic, so I will go into more detail:

The Speedrun tag should be used when asking about speedrunning in general

While not many speedrunning questions can apply to multiple games, such cases exist, probably best exemplified by the question Why do speed-runners usually use the Japanese version of a game?. For questions such as this, only the Speedrun tag should be used.

The Speedrun tag should be used when asking about speedrunning a specific game

Some questions only make sense in a speedrunning context; maybe the question is asking about a new possible speedrunning route and would like to know if it is actually faster, maybe the question is about the rules surrounding submissions of speedruns of that specific game. Examples of these questions are:

The Speedrun tag should be used when asking about a specific speedrun

Maybe the most common type of speedrunning questions, these ask about a glitch or technique that the asker saw during a speedrun, and would like to know more about how they work or how to perform them. Examples of these questions are:

The Speedrun tag should not be used when trying to beat arbitrary time goals

Playing through a game quickly does not a speedrun make. Many games have achievements and trophies for beating a level or the entire game in a certain amount of time, but while a speedrunner would certainly be able to answer these questions, they are not about speedrunning, i.e. completing a level in the lowest possible time, not just lower than a certain time. For an extreme example, consider racing games, where almost every question about winning a race could be seen as a speedrunning question. Examples of these questions are:

But wait, using Speedrun together with game tags makes it a meta tag!

The fact that there are questions that only use the tag should already mean that Speedrun is not, in fact, a meta tag. Even if we were to count Speedrun as a meta tag, I think that some meta tags are acceptable on Arqade and, in fact, accepted. The tag is almost exclusively used together with a game tag, as is the tag.

These tags are useful the same way any other tag is useful, by letting users browse, follow, or block an entire topic of our expertise, and by letting experts find interesting questions they might want to answer. I am not alone in finding speedruns of games fascinating even when I've never played the games themselves, the popularity of Games Done Quick speaks for itself, so I believe browsing the tag would be interesting for our users.

I think the tag, used the way I've described, would be just as useful as .


Since this proposal has a relatively high score and the tag was not only used for speedrunning questions in general, I have edited the tag's description to match what I've said in this post.

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    I feel like some of the questions in category 4 would have some utility in speedrunning. How to move quickly in God of War is probably useful both for getting a sub 5 run for an achievement and pursuing a top 10 leaderboard spot with a run below 1:30:00. – Unionhawk May 22 at 16:29
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    @Unionhawk I agree in some way, I wasn't 100% sure about that specific question; but I don't think that just because something can be useful in speedrunning or is related to movement speed, it should be tagged with Speedrun. I'd like the Speedrun tag to be used only when discussing an actual speedrun, that is, playing through a game in the shortest time possible, competing for the number one spot against other players on an online leaderboard. – Wrigglenite May 22 at 16:52
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I'm assuming the change was made based on the outcome of this question, where a mod (Robotnik) states that the tag is valid as long as its questions are about longplaying in general. Since a speedrun is related to longplays (opposite sides of the same coin, so to speak), it makes sense how someone might think the same logic should also apply to the tag.

This logic does make sense. Many of the questions in the tag are asking about how to cause/exploit a glitch in one specific game. Though they are doing this for the purposes of speedrunning, that info is inconsequential for the purposes of narrowing down the focus of the question. Imagine if someone asked something like "I'm trying to catch every Shiny Pokemon in [Pokemon version], what is the spawn rate for Shinies?" The motivation for asking for the spawn rate doesn't matter - the question can still be answered just fine without that info.

For some examples within the tag... one of the more popular questions, How does the 20 minute OOT run work?, is asking how a glitch (or series of glitches) works in a specific game. The fact that the person is asking for the purposes of a speedrun are inconsequential, because it doesn't change the main question at all, and thus the can be safely removed. As a counterexample, if we removed the tag from Why do speed-runners usually use the Japanese version of a game?, now the question can't really be categorized. The question is asking about speedrunning in general, not any specific game, so removing the tag makes the question harder to understand.

  • I agree that the "20 minute OOT run" question could do without the [speedrun] tag, as it's asking for the mechanics/logic behind the glitch, which happens to be used in a speedrun. On the other hand, if it were simply asking how to perform the glitch, I would argue that it would then deserve the [speedrun] tag (alongside the game tag), as that knowledge is only of any real use and desirability in terms of speedrunning the game (why would you want to skip that much of the game if you weren't just trying to beat it quickly?). It's a subtle but, IMO, significant distinction. – Michaellogg Apr 14 '17 at 17:59
  • @Michaellogg Not necessarily. They might be asking because they want to see the glitch in action. I've never done a speedrun in my life, but I have done several "speedrun glitches" just to see them with my own eyes. My point is, an asker's motivation for asking their question shouldn't matter (in most cases) when it comes to tagging the question. The question should be tagged on its own merits only. – Mage Xy Apr 14 '17 at 18:05
  • I...partially agree and partially disagree, but I'm not sure how to put it into words. So I'll leave that alone (at least for now) and instead touch on two other points...though I think they would be better as edits to the question rather than comments on an answer, so I'll work on it there. – Michaellogg Apr 14 '17 at 18:48
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    @Michaellogg I understand what you mean. I actually thought the same way you do, until I started writing up an answer and realizing that my perspective was not fully consistent with the way I think other tags should be used. I think the speedrun tag in general is kind of a weird, meta-yet-not-meta tag which is hard to nail down a specific use for. – Mage Xy Apr 14 '17 at 19:34

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