I asked this question: Name for games that have abusive in app purchases

I picked the best tag I could see for my question ().

My question was closed as “off-topic” because the terminology tag wiki said it was not for questions like mine. A quick read through the help center page about on-topic questions did not seem to indicate that my question was off topic, however.

It seems odd that a tag wiki can decide what is off topic for the site. I would have thought a retagging would be the right course (and that the terminology tag might have a suggested tag to aid me with this).

I am not super active on this stack exchange site (I am mostly on Stack Overflow). So I thought I would ask if this is how it works here.

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    Bear in mind that your question was mod closed. Mods have the power to override all rules, consensus, and common sense. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 7:50
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    I didn't feel as though the question fit a too broad response. You gave a constraint and examples (in comments - which should probably be added to the question) to reference and further define the question. The answer is fairly concise and provides, imo, a suitable answer to the question. It's not an incredibly vague question - most people seem to understand the objective of the question.
    – n_plum
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 14:42

4 Answers 4


has a long history, so let's try to retrace it.

The tag's first revision, back in 2010, explicitly mentions questions like yours as problematic, and the wording never left the description afterwards. This first revision also makes it clear that "single questions which ask for a list of answers (with one term per answer) do not fit well into the engine and are likely to be closed". This is not a rule specific to the tag, but an explanation of how the general rules apply to the tag.

The tag's wiki excerpt was edited shortly after to

For questions that ask what a gaming-specific term means.

This wording brings the information found only in the full description to the more accessible excerpt, although implicitly.

The tag then went untouched while questions kept getting asked, eventually resulting in this meta: Do we want to support "Is there a term for x" questions?

In it, a decision was seemingly reached, with answers against and for such questions scoring respectively +18/-1 and +13/-5 after two weeks.

This rule was not, however, added to the Tour or any Help pages - maybe because it could still fit under "Too broad", maybe because we only have four custom off-topic reasons - later resulting in meta questions like this: Add prohibition of "name this mechanic/design"-style questions to the tour
(For the record, I think all rules should be in the Tour and Help pages now)

In order to make the rule more visible, I later edited the wiki excerpt to explicitly mention the issues with such questions:

This tag is only for questions that ask what a gaming-specific term means - not for questions that ask to find terms that describe parts or characteristics of games; such questions are likely to be closed.

Not too long after, Robotnik edited the tag wiki into much better shape, providing better examples of allowed questions, ultimately also adding an example of questions that are not allowed in the excerpt.

So the tag wiki is not dictating that questions like yours are off-topic, it is explaining so.

As a side note, the meta where these questions were voted against no longer shows any consensus due to votes that were cast long after the question was asked. Whether this is from users disagreeing with having their own question closed and expressing that disagreement with their votes, or a genuine attempt to reverse the decision, I cannot say, but it might be time to revisit this rule. And, if the rule remains, add it to the Tour and Help pages.

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    I agree that it should be added to the Tour and Help pages.
    – Vaccano
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 7:11
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    How does "the community" define which opinions count and which don't? Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 14:43
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    I've gone ahead and made a meta to revisit this policy, since the community seems divided on the issue.
    – Wipqozn Mod
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 16:55

To align with the 'no game identification except if you have some very precice information' directive, I would say the ­terminology tag works in the way of explaining a term, not giving a loose description and getting the term as an answer.

So a question like the one asked in the post would be off topic. But a question like this would be on topic What does BM stand for in Gaming?


Tag wiki policy information must be based on community consensus (in a meta post).

Should a question be closed because it does not align with a tag’s wiki?

Yes. But only if: the policy stated in the tag wiki reflects community consensus. In this case, it didn't, so it should not have been closed.

Reviewing the relevant meta post

At the time your question was closed, the meta post, Do we want to support “Is there a term for x” questions? was the relevant meta post on the topic.

The two top-voted answers in that meta post are:

  1. The answer by DCShannon saying: Yes. (currently at 22 votes)
  2. The answer by badp saying: No. Only questions that ask to define a term in the context of a single game should be allowed. (currently at 16 votes)

No community consensus

There has been no community consensus in that meta post for years now. DCShannon's "yes" answer has had a few more votes than badp's "no" answer for years and not just a few months or weeks ago. See this SEDE query with the scores over time (credits to @Schism for providing the SEDE query in their comment). Notice that for most of the meta post's existence, the two answers were voted to near parity (i.e., no consensus).

Tag wiki edit was not based on community consensus

At the time Wrigglenite edited the tag wiki to explicitly mention that "is there a term for x" questions aren't allowed (on Sept. 11, 2018, from its previous revision over 7 years prior, in March 2011), the scores were +22/-6 (yes) and +24/-4 (no). Even at that time, (almost 3 years ago) there was no consensus.

Wrigglenite admits this in a Sept. 20, 2018 comment at Genre name for real-time, 2D games where you create soldiers that automatically advance to the enemy base?

Oak: @Wrigglenite thanks for the link, I think that meta is pretty relevant! Though I don't think any consensus was reached there, and I don't entirely agree with your recent change to the tag excerpt.

Wrigglenite: @Oak I know no consensus was reached, but the tag's description has been the same for as long as it has existed, and it's really just a more specific type of "Too broad" close reason, as I've mentioned in this meta before.

Like Oak, I believe that tag wiki edit shouldn't have been made in the first place as it is not based on community consensus.

Later on (in June 2020), pppery suggested an edit (that got approved) removing "questions that ask to find the right term(s) to describe something are not allowed here", stating correctly that "there does not appear to be consensus for this rule." This edit was later rolled back by Frank, with no reason stated for the rollback.

Policy suggestion not followed properly

badp's answer (the policy suggestion that was being invoked as the reason to close your question and other similar ones) states that only questions that ask to define a term in the context of a single game should be allowed. Multiple examples of questions that shouldn't be allowed are given in the introduction of their answer. (Most of these questions are currently open.)

Most of the questions with the tag will be off-topic if that policy suggestion is implemented as it was written. Most questions tagged with apply to all games or to a broad game genre. The policy suggestion being invoked was not being followed properly.

Now, what?

Currently, we have a clear community consensus allowing “is there a term for x” questions at the meta post: Do we want to change our policy on “Is There a Term for X?” questions?, which was made after your question was closed. I've since edited the tag wiki (wiki edit) (excerpt edit) to reflect the community consensus.

As per our current community consensus, your question should be reopened.

I'd vote to reopen again, but I can't vote to reopen twice. The message I get is: "You have previously voted to reopen this question." Hopefully, a mod will reopen it as it was initially closed by a mod.

Moral of the story

Users with the Trusted User privilege (20K rep) and users with the approve tag wiki edits privilege (5K rep) should make sure that any tag wiki edits they make or approve, especially ones that add or modify policy information, should reflect the community consensus. Check the relevant meta posts for community consensus before making or allowing any tag wiki edits that add or modify policy information. Doing so will help prevent confusion about the site's policies, like what happened here.


No, never. If a question is inappropriate for a tag, the tag should simply be removed from the question.

If the question is also off-topic for the site, then it should be closed.

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