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Is it an accepted practice to tag console-specific games (PC, PS3, XBox 360, etc) with the platform for which the game in an exclusive game? What about non-exclusive games? If the question is worded such that it doesn't matter which console the game is being played on for the purposes of the question, should the question be tagged with a console tag at all?

On one hand, tagging console-exclusive games means better categorization and it helps identify what kind of gamers people are based on the tags they are active in. On the other hand, I can't see anyone ever really wanting to search for a platform tag all on its own; most searches would also likely include a specific game as well.

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    Related: our first plans and our current status. I'd almost consider this a bit of a duplicate to the second, but things have changed since then. – Grace Note Feb 7 '11 at 18:50
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    Tags aren't really meant for searching, they serve other purposes, such as filtering questions. In that regard filtering out platforms that you do not own is actually a very useful use case, and I believe some users already use it. – Oak Feb 7 '11 at 18:54
  • While there are a lot of opinions floating around both of those questions, I didn't see anything in the way of a definitive course of action aside from a high vote count for "not being mandatory, but making them allowed, although I am hesitant about a real decision on this". It doesn't really tell me if I will suddenly become very annoying to people on this site if I decide to go through and start re-tagging questions or not. It would be ideal if I could receive a sort of "here's our decided policy on this behavior" stance so I could react appropriately. – Shaun Feb 7 '11 at 18:55
  • I kinda meant to indicate that "we don't have a decided policy on this behavior". As mentioned, things have changed and I'm writing an answer. But even with that, we still don't have a decided policy because it's a bit of a nebulous problem. – Grace Note Feb 7 '11 at 18:57
  • One case where they are useful is for platform-specific parts of multiplatform games. E.g. bugs, mods are often only possible on pc and other things that differ between platforms. – Mad Scientist Feb 7 '11 at 19:04
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    Oh, if you're planning on going on any scale of retag for this - do not do it. – Grace Note Feb 7 '11 at 19:06
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    I wasn't intending to go through the database for the purpose of retagging for platforms, but I did intend on including this in the 'tag review' I do when I organically visit a question. – Shaun Feb 7 '11 at 19:21
  • I had a very similar question I was thinking of asking when it came to games that are substantially different between PC and console. For me, I kind of wish the Diablo 3 questions were tagged diablo-3-pc or diablo-3-console, because so much stuff works so differently between the two. – gatherer818 Nov 4 '14 at 16:44
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Things have changed a bit since our last two discussions on this subject.

  1. We still need platform tags for when issues are platform-specific. This is pretty important at times, and there's always the non-game-specific questions about a platform.

  2. We have tag wikis now, so this makes a great place to note the information on consoles. It will not affect the tags on questions, but it gives us a place to store the general platform data for a game when it isn't relevant to the question.

  3. There are now tag sets. While a community-maintained set of tag sets for each platform would be even more ambitious than my previous proposition, it's always a thought. Unfortunately, there's no way to use those for ignoring tags, or directly integrate it with the site of your choice. But perhaps a creative mind can put some of this logic to use.

The strongest benefit of console tags is in tag favorites and tag subscriptions, allowing users to filter information either by what consoles they own or what they do not. Which is a noble endeavor, but ultimately infeasible due to the breadth of platforms and the 5 tag limit. The tag limit, as well as the character limit on tags, is pretty much set in stone. In essence, we are using a very limitted tool to accomplish this filtering. And as time has passed, I feel that our resources in this regard are terribly insufficient and inaccurate, due to the many months of people deciding rather haphazardly whether or not to use a platform tag.

When it comes to questions that are not platform exclusive, it is a very vast amount on both tagged and untagged that trying to enforce either one without consensus is dangerous. Yes, we currently don't have a consensus, but that's because our ideal scenario is the aforementioned noble endeavor, and to a very weak effect it is getting used in that fashion currently. So it actually has been working fine to take this rather... "relaxed" position on this issue for now. Until we either come up with a better solution to allow this filtering, or until we definitively decide to abandon this system outside of platform exclusivity.

Whichever side of the fence you fall on, please don't try to undo or do the status of existing, old questions. The volume is too much to have any impact and the most that will really occur is that mixed signals will be sent. Lots of "Do I or do I not?" Meta questions will not help whilst we do not have a proper answer.

  • In other words, you'd recommend I simply apply some ruleset to new questions and not bother trying to clean up any older questions I happen to visit? – Shaun Feb 7 '11 at 19:29
  • @Shaun As terribly horrid as that sounds... yes. Personally, my stance is to be rid of them on cross-platform - I fully sympathize with the intent and it would be an excellent tool, but it's not currently feasible. I think that since we're nearing elections, though, we can live another week before we decide to come down hard on this. Because this is something that we probably will need to come down hard on. – Grace Note Feb 7 '11 at 19:33
  • Considering the tag limit of 5 (about which I did not know), I agree with you on the "tagging cross-platform games" part of this question. – Shaun Feb 7 '11 at 19:50
  • this is also an indication that your site topic is too broad, FYI – Jeff Atwood Feb 8 '11 at 4:40
  • @Jeff While gaming has a wide breadth for subject matter, this is not really a fault of the site topic. Rather, we are leveraging the system itself by using console tags for cross-platform situations, because at that point it's not actually data that categorizes the question. Rather, it categorizes a subject of the question. It's done for convenience, not for necessity. – Grace Note Feb 8 '11 at 11:17
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    I think @Jeff is right in theory (ideally you'd want a console and a pcgaming site), unfortunately when it comes to community building that theory kind of gets flipped on its head. While it makes sense to break up consoles and pcs (the way SE breaks up Apple and Ubuntu), they share the same community, and dividing that community isn't in the best interest of community building; you don't want to split a single community into two communities below critical mass. – tzenes Feb 8 '11 at 16:34
  • In fact, pc and xbox probably have more community overlap than xbox and playstation... – tzenes Feb 8 '11 at 16:36
  • @tzenes I don't actually think that helps too much - splitting PC and Console fixes barely anything because the majority of cross platform stuff is between different consoles, not between console and PC. If we have to break up by each console type, then it would be far too split up and way too much to coordinate due to the lack of all that much material that is significantly different across the platforms. And, as it were, this problem only shows up because of cross-platform stuff - splitting into platform sites just warrants duplication and a different kind of problem. – Grace Note Feb 8 '11 at 16:37
  • @Grace I think that's kind of my point. It doesn't help. This is a philosophical difference not a practical one. Philosophically consoles are different than PCs. In reality, we're not only the same community, but the overlap (in terms of questions) is much larger than the difference. – tzenes Feb 8 '11 at 17:02
  • Maybe the topic is broad, but each platform has so much in common with its siblings that there would be a ton of duplication among the sites ... there will likely be quite a few game-specific questions that would end up on the individual sites (and what would you call them? Does ps3.SE get questions about the PS2 and PSP?). Besides, I suspect that the vast majority of gamers play on multiple platforms ... granted this will skew high, but only 2 of 20 play on only 1 platform. – Dave DuPlantis Apr 17 '11 at 2:13

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