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We have the following extremely ambiguous tag: at 43 count.

It is nebulous because in the realm of gaming it is already used extremely ambiguously and context-sensitively. This is a bit of a problem because some of the definitions for "mod" can apply to nigh anything, yet some games have very exclusive definitions of mod.

The word itself has already caused undue confusion. And as the tag has recently popped up into our tag wiki excerpt effort, we're going to need to define it. And in the process, we're going to need to clean up the tag, because currently we're covering the following kinds of things under "mod":

This is just what we have tagged. We don't appear to have anything tagged with it to reference in-game usage of the term (like for modifying a weapon, perhaps), so we might be able to restrict the tag to only non-in-game instances. But we still should look into disambiguating it.

Some of these can be replaced with a much less ambiguous term (like, say, [custom-map]). But we should probably figure it all out than to try and hack it one at a time. Thoughts? ♪

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  • In all fairness to the DF Mod Argument, I wanted to remove any discussion of specific configurations (and thus discussions of popular settings). Ultimately the issue wasn't whether or not its a mod, but whether or not such configurations were germane to gaming.se – tzenes Jan 13 '11 at 17:13
  • @tzenes I understood that, and I agree. But I found the confusion to be surrounding not just what is or is not a mod... but just that everyone is talking on completely different wavelengths. Synchronization of meaning is key to communication. The question only appeared as it did due to a misunderstanding of how things worked - a misunderstanding that was not really clarified until fairly late. – Grace Note Jan 13 '11 at 17:16
  • I think "mod" was the Red Herring in that discussion. The confusion seemed to be when I described Phoebes settings. The settings themselves are nothing more than values. Phoebes had changed the values (or it turns out he hadn't) when he repackaged the DF mod. Everyone got focused on the word "mod" and seemed to get away from the fact that I only was discussing the settings. – tzenes Jan 13 '11 at 17:20
  • @tzenes If you ask me, I think the entire question with regards to specific configurations was a red herring. It was the kind of question that, if a different and fundamental piece of knowledge was present beforehand, it would never have been asked in the first place. – Grace Note Jan 14 '11 at 22:15
  • granted, but my goal there was to remove that entire category of questions. At the time I didn't want anything that wasn't about playing games. Since then gaming.se has gone down a different path. That entire conversation is now anacronistic – tzenes Jan 14 '11 at 23:03
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The simple answer matching the current use is:

A modification of any kind to a game, attempting to improve its look and feel, its interface, its gameplay elements or its balance. Questions about custom maps, custom game modes, custom UIs or even official but temporary modifications by the game developers themselves fall under this tag.

That's probably not a good tag, but it's what it is.

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  • I hope we don't start getting questions about custom UIs for custom maps of custom games, then... – Grace Note Jan 13 '11 at 14:58
  • @GraceNote So we don't want questions about Quake 3 Challenge Pro Mode Freeze Tag? :( – badp Jan 13 '11 at 15:03
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    It's a matter of necessity based on existing site patterns. If we don't get questions about multiple levels of "mods", then we can probably continue with using a single tag. But once we need differentiation, then separate tags would really help. That way, I can find a question about HUD changes in Quake 3 Challenge Pro Mode Freeze Tag without needing to sift through all the questions about HUD changes in Quake 3. Some of this is alleviated by game name tags, but sometimes it just helps to distinguish one kind from another. – Grace Note Jan 13 '11 at 15:07
  • @grace I guess we can make custom-game-mode, custom-map, custom-skin and custom-ui, but having those tags won't stop people from using the mod tag instead :) – badp Jan 13 '11 at 15:13
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    That's what tag blacklisting is for. ♪ But as mentioned, I want to try and hash it all out first before we suggest that kind of measure. – Grace Note Jan 13 '11 at 15:15
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    It figures that your answer is no longer unanimously supported by the time I finally decide to accept it. Nevertheless, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it" applies here. We might look back into this if problems do develop, but we're coping well enough for now. – Grace Note Jan 18 '11 at 16:29
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Obvious candidates for retagging would be for hardware and for user interfaces (or maybe to cover things like high-resolution texture packs or alternate models?) This would narrow the scope of somewhat to things that pertain directly to gameplay such as maps, balance/game variable changes, or content.

For better or for worse, "mod" is one of those really fuzzy words that means different things to different people.

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  • Continuing that trend, I'd suggest: "Gameplay Mod", perhaps blacklist "mod" on it's own. – Raven Dreamer Jan 14 '11 at 2:36
  • I like the suggestions you've provided. For now, we don't seem to have an erupting need for fixing the tags, so I'm inclined to accept leaving them be as a "fuzzy word". But if it does turn into a problem, I think we already have some good options for what to divide them as. – Grace Note Jan 18 '11 at 16:30

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