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Looking at the list of questions for the game-rec tag and this meta question, why does this tag even exist if it's off topic?

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It was originally created because the question class was not originally off-topic. It was a contentious subject, and so we used the tag to help classify them en-masse. Generally, this kind of "tagging the kind of question" isn't all that useful on the site, but the usage of [*-rec] for this is actually a Stack Exchange practice that dates back to Super User.

I've stated back when I started deleting those questions that we should phase out that tag after we finally started to erase our library of them.

The game-rec tag is also probably going to be phased out. Remember that one of the reasons we use "*-rec" as a syntax is that it is obscure and less likely to be used. Now that we don't want the question type to come at all, the tag is meaningless as it categorizes an off-topic subject matter. We don't tag shopping-recommendations, and those are equally off-topic.

As such, please do not tag future game-rec questions as "game-rec". Please just vote to close them and direct them to the policy in our updated FAQ. The "good" questions that still have the tag will probably be swapped for some different tag.

The tag currently still persists because the tag has not been completely removed yet, so it's not unusual to imagine that some of the policing users familiar with the policy on the enforcement level did not get the memo about not adding the tag.

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    Those were difficult times... – juan May 31 '11 at 14:52
  • Oops. I think I... missed that memo :) – Oak May 31 '11 at 15:12
  • I add the tag so that, if we ever decide to modify our stance, we can look at that tag within the deleted questions... is that a problem? – badp May 31 '11 at 15:21
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    @badp I think it's ultimately a monstrous endeavour to think about, thanks to all of the inconsistency in the tag. Also, until such a reversal ever occurs, all it does is persist a live tag that no one can use. If you still want to, feel free to tag them after they're deleted - this lets you add the tag, prevents the tag from persisting on the live end, and also prevents you from bumping the question to add that tag. I remain opposed to tagging them while they're still alive. – Grace Note May 31 '11 at 15:26
  • Oops. I think I... also missed that memo. – Brant May 31 '11 at 15:31
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    If we all go insane and decide to allow them, I don't think we'll need to dig up the deleted ones. – Matthew Read May 31 '11 at 15:35
  • @Grace That works too, duly noted. – badp May 31 '11 at 15:51
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    Bringing back all the old game-rec questions would be this site's equivalent of a zombie apocalypse. – bwarner May 31 '11 at 16:58
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    @bwarner Don't worry, I've got my shotgun at the ready. – Dave McClelland May 31 '11 at 17:35
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    @bwarner man, that's a great thing to do on April 1st, undelete them all for just one day :) – Oak May 31 '11 at 17:48
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    @Oak or a little JavaScript that changes all the question titles to some variation of "Can you recommend a good -genre- game for the -system-?" – Dave DuPlantis Jun 1 '11 at 1:13
  • Wait, what? I thought there weren't any 'good' [game-rec] questions. I suggested keeping existing the ones with useful content in the comments to one of your previous posts, but you rejected that. – Nick T Aug 20 '11 at 0:16
  • @NickT If you're referring to my quoted passage, that was referring to questions that had the [game-rec] tag that were not actually game-rec questions. There was only a single instance, really, though I can't even remember what it was other than not really being a stellar question. I stand by exactly by the statement I made earlier. – Grace Note Aug 20 '11 at 1:17

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