is currently used for wildly different topics:

I'd suggest creating a new tag and changing the ones that refer to macro in the sense of scripting to it.


  • +1, nothing else to add.
    – Brant
    Jul 24, 2011 at 3:35
  • 1
    be sure the tag wiki excerpts explain the difference between these tags; see the list at the bottom of blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/03/redesigned-tags-page for guidance Jul 24, 2011 at 9:20
  • I think we're getting fairly game specific. If you were to see the Tag [macro] next to [world-of-warcraft] it would mean one thing, where as [macro] next to [supreme-commander] would mean something else. We could change them to [wow-macro] and [rts-macro] but how much would be gained? I agree it's an overloaded term, but how detrimental is it? Will anyone come to a [world-of-warcraft] question and see [macro] and think: I didn't know WoW was an RTS. I'm not sure what the significant harm is.
    – tzenes
    Jul 25, 2011 at 23:47
  • +1, i never used the word macro for scripts. in the steam-community this was always called scripting.
    – Wandang
    Dec 8, 2013 at 19:20

3 Answers 3


World of Warcraft actually calls them Macros though, which is a different term than the LUA scripting done for Addons. The key difference is Macros are for everyone to use in their day-to-day usage of the game and edited from the client, where as scripting for addons is for more advanced users.

Changing Macros to Scripting would be confusing to users, as that is not the term the game uses.

  • afaik games on steam refer to those things scripts and configs. those are editable from the client too (ingame console).
    – Wandang
    Dec 8, 2013 at 19:10

I like the idea of a tag that represents "using recorded keystrokes to execute multiple actions with one key or key combination". I'm not sure if scripting is the best name for it, if only because to me, that implies more than just recording macros.

Also, using this question about Minecraft as an example, I don't think it's a good idea to use a tag for something that has meaning in only one game. (Of course, that instance was easier to resolve because the term in question was Portal.) If "macro" in Starcraft 2 means something different than "macro" in Game X or "macro" in Game Y, well, we probably shouldn't use for all of them, and do we gain anything from using a Starcraft-2-specific tag rather than, say, ?

I would prefer to use for macros and retag the Starcraft 2 questions with something that indicates the more localized meaning, like .

Either way, as Jeff says, we should also create tag wikis to help categorize questions moving forward.

  • FYI, in SC2, Strategy != Macro. Macro represents organizing both your economy and production facilities for maximum throughput. It doesn't represent a specific plan for doing this, only doing this well. You can find a fuller explanation here: gaming.blogoverflow.com/2010/08/26/macro-vs-micro
    – tzenes
    Jul 25, 2011 at 14:27
  • If there is a general term that applies to games in addition to SC2, strategy comes closest to a category into which macro and micro would fall. If you want to apply a specific tag to macro as it is used in SC2, I think starcraft2-macro is a better idea, or perhaps rts-macro (although I don't know if there are questions on other RTS games yet that would apply). Jul 25, 2011 at 15:26
  • I'm not sure you're understanding what I'm saying. Macro is not a strategy, it may be something you do in a strategy, but so are attack, position and half a dozen other words. I would no sooner retag macro to strategy than I would retag Zerg to Strategy. Macro in the RTS sense is applicable to any game which involves building things, Macro in the scripting sense is applicable to any game which involves scripting things... these are both far reaching terms.
    – tzenes
    Jul 25, 2011 at 21:04
  • I feel like you are focusing specifically on the strategy suggestion, so I've edited my post accordingly; do you disagree with the idea of tagging them as starcraft2-macro or rts-macro? If so, we can agree to disagree, I just want to be sure that you disagree with the entire idea rather than one piece that can be changed. Jul 25, 2011 at 21:20
  • I don't think WoW's usage of the word Macro gives it more value than the RTS community's usage of the word Macro.
    – tzenes
    Jul 25, 2011 at 23:43
  • Fair enough. Thanks for going into detail with your explanation; I always like to understand what other people have in mind. Jul 25, 2011 at 23:50
  • 1
    @tzenes Sure it does: how WoW uses the word is how the rest of the world uses it: it's a generic concept and a quick Google search shows no use of "macro" and very little use of "game macro" in the StarCraft sense without "StarCraft" added as a qualifier. rts-macro or sc2-macro makes way more sense than macro and expecting everyone who knows the general meaning of the term to intuit Gaming.SE only uses it in the StarCraft sense.
    – user3389
    Jul 26, 2011 at 21:26
  • 2
    or "macromanagement"? Jul 26, 2011 at 21:57
  • @Mark did you actually read your first link? It doesn't mean Macro the way WoW means macro. It actually means Macro in a way Blizzard forbids macro. Macro actually means two different things in WoW: keyboard-macro and macro-scripting
    – tzenes
    Jul 26, 2011 at 23:24
  • @Ullallulloo Macromanagement actually hashes to something slightly different (not that that stopped Wikipedia from squashing it and the RTS usage into the same page)
    – tzenes
    Jul 26, 2011 at 23:27
  • @tzenes I did, that's why I linked it. WoW uses the term macro like everyone else does: mapping input operations (in WoW's case, a button press on the action bar) to output operations (in WoW's case, a series of commands). A keyboard macro is a subset of macros: I would suggest continuing on and reading the next few sections, including Application macros.
    – user3389
    Jul 27, 2011 at 0:27
  • @Mark, I did, and the point I was making is that it's an overloaded term inside of WoW. The article demonstrates this rather firmly. But if you want to make some sort of argument about macros are mappings, then why not ditch the macro part and just go with mappings? really they're all just messages and... reductio ad absurdum. If you're arguing it's silly to use the same term for both SC Macro and WoW Macro, then it's equally silly to use it for Keyboard Macro and Macro Scripts.
    – tzenes
    Jul 27, 2011 at 0:47
  • @tzenes No, I'm arguing you're straw manning the claim WoW, or any other game that uses macros, has on the macro tag by claiming StarCraft II has an equal (or better) claim to the word. It doesn't: it's not even close. Macro, in the StarCraft sense, should be disambiguated with a prefix. Whether we can use macro to mean what the rest of the world knows it to be is up for debate, although I would definitely argue that the use of the term is only unclear/ambiguous to StarCraft fans.
    – user3389
    Jul 27, 2011 at 0:57
  • @Mark, I'm not sure an appeal to authority is the best argument that the Starcraft (or any other RTS) usage of Macro should be prefixed. Especially when your authority is Wikipedia. Ultimately, WoW's usage of the word is very specific to WoW. There are few games which implement an application level scripting interface similar to WoW (for example Macro in Excel is very different). Ultimately, WoW doesn't have a stronger claim here as it's rather unique. A multiplexing keyboard for multiboxing is equally unique and just as valid a claim.
    – tzenes
    Jul 27, 2011 at 1:07
  • Ultimately my argument is that while Macro means different things in different game context, that doesn't mean we need to start prefixing everything. Quest means different things in different games but we don't prefix that. No one is arguing for a WoW-Quest tag.
    – tzenes
    Jul 27, 2011 at 1:08

So as you said, there are two senses of the word:

  • Macro as it relates to a concept in real-time strategy games, primarily StarCraft and StarCraft II
  • Macro as it relates to generating small "scripts", notably (although not exclusively) in World of Warcraft.

The problem is "macro" is not a very good tag name for either of its current uses.

Let's first take the StarCraft concept of macro. Our primary driver of traffic is Google. If I search for "macro" on Google, I can't find a single result in the first few pages related to StarCraft. The only way to get a StarCraft-related link for macro is to search for "StarCraft macro" or "RTS macro".

However, when searching for just "macro", there are a couple of World of Warcraft-related results. Case closed, right? Not really. All of our other noun tags are pluralized: , , , , etc. As a concept in StarCraft II is pluralized (it's a mass noun), but if it's referring to the macros in World of Warcraft and elsewhere, it's not.

So here's what I propose:

  • Create a tag specifically for the RTS concept: . Then it's clear we're talking about a specific thing that can't be confused with the general sense of the word.
  • Create a new tag for scripting macros: . This keeps it inline with our other noun tags and makes it incredibly unlikely it'll be confused for the StarCraft concept, as in the StarCraft II concept is only "macro".

Then, for cleanup:

This would solve the ambiguity while still allowing StarCraft players to continue using "macro" to segment their questions and WoW players (and others) to use the term the feature's actually called.

More importantly, it would allow us to continue ranking on the terms people are actually using to find information about each specific concept.

  • I'm not sure we need the latter synonym (rts-macro feels clunky), but with good tag wikis and strong community policing, I think the plural/'singular' split is probably the best solution we have available here. Jul 27, 2011 at 3:07
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz I would be inclined to agree if "rts macro" wasn't the only way to get any hits related to the concept in Google. Months of the current status quo of having StarCraft II macro questions tagged macro haven't caused us to own the "macro" keyword in Google or change its results, and there's no reason to believe that'll change in the future. If we want to rank those questions in Google under the macro concept, prefixing is the way to go.
    – user3389
    Jul 27, 2011 at 3:41

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