I've noticed that there have been some edits recently involving meta tags: specifically, on questions like these ...

meta tags are being removed. I know there has been some previous discussion about meta tags here ... is there a new consensus on how (or if) we should be using meta tags? I'm asking mostly so I don't undo work or cause extra work; I frequently scan the home page for things I can fix and want to make sure I'm doing it "right" and not just leaving something for someone else to do.

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    Hm, in regards to the PS2 game and the Asteroids game question, I thought we'd agreed to leave the platform/genre tags on those because they were ITG questions. In other cases, we restrict those tags to questions about platform-specific features or questions about the genre, respectively. Perhaps @Gnome was working on that policy in the removal of those tags for those 2 questions without realizing we have a standing exception.
    – FAE
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


Grace Note has already talked about this extensively, here, here, and here, and possibly elsewhere as well. In short, I agree with him. Tagging is harder on Gaming simply because we have such a larger pool to generate tags from; every individual game deserves a tag of its own!

The problem with the stance of "Meta Tags are BS, eliminate them all", is that it tends to lead to questions being tagged with only the game, and nothing else. If every question only has a single tag, what's the point of having a tag system anyway?

The true benefit of having a tag system, is because of the associations it can establish. If you're looking for advice on TF2 weapons, you search [tf2] and [weapons]. If you want to know how to get all the trophies on Deus Ex:HR, you search [Deus-Ex-Human-Revolution] and [Achievements].

I totally agree that this makes things like my bronze achievements badge meaningless -- but that's a quirk of the tag system, not an issue of a bad tag. Am I an expert on "achievements"? It's a ridiculous concept, I'll admit, but, again, that's not indicative that we should ax the "achievements" tag because of it.

Meta-tags cannot always stand on their own -- but at the same time, they very rarely should be used alone in the first place. Their use is that they help filter both questions and answers, and removing them because they're being used at all is a foolish way to look at it.

I'm going to quote Grace Note here, because I think this is still our best choice when it comes to what we should strive for:

Ultimately, the basic tag rules that I most often use, and which I encourage, are the following. I do admit to having broken the platform on a few occasions when it came to a platform exclusive game.

  • Tag the game, if you're asking about a specific game.
  • Tag the aspects of the game which you are asking about, if possible (, , , etc.).
  • Tag the platform if your question is specifically about one platform, or about one platform's exclusive features for a game.
  • Tag the genre if your question is specifically about that genre.
  • Try to avoid tags that are ambiguous (many of us work on disambiguating various tags).
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    How do meta-tags like gaming-mechanics help?
    – Nick T
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 15:54
  • @NickT why must the burden of proof be on their existence? How do meta-tags like game-mechanics hinder? Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 16:05
  • someone could just tag a question with game-mechanics or weapons, and it additionally harms SEO as those extremely broad tags will always trump any more-relevant (e.g. a game) tag.
    – Nick T
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 17:38
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    @NickT - I have never seen a question tagged with just those tags. Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 18:23
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    Personally, I'd modify Tag the genre if your question is specifically about that genre. to Tag the genre if your question is of relevance to other games in the genre - i.e. questions about terminology in LoL generally apply to all DOTA clones, or questions about broader timing strategies in Starcraft that have relevance to RTS players in general. Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 20:30

I, for one, absolutely despise meta-tags. A collection of questions about or (or or or ) are borderline totally useless. One should be able to become something of an expert within the realm of a given tag, which is totally violated with these terrible, terrible tags.

The text of the question itself should be worth something, the jist of it doesn't need to be totally duplicated in tags.

How do I use the Conniver's Kurani?

Yes, no, sorta (see below), no, no, no (but whatever). Yes, these are all real tags.

That said, lots of these tags I would love to see be more specific, ( good, bad) then people could look at these (sub-)tags and get something out of them because they consist of a related body of knowledge. I'm a passable TF2 sniper and I could answer some questions on it, but I can't even name a sniper weapon in BF:BC2, let alone know how one would use a mortar strike.

This sort of sub-tagging is done with a couple Minecraft things ( and , not like they really needed disambiguation anyways...) and I would love to see it done more frequently.


  • I agree; most of the "Class" tags should probably die. Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 23:28
  • @Raven why? They're at least useful compared to game-mechanics, weapons, if a bit ambiguous
    – Nick T
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 16:10
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    I'm saying "tf2-sniper" is better than "sniper". Ambiguity is what I'm taking offense to. Game-Mechanics, or Weapons are not ambiguous. Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 16:20
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    @Raven, no, but they're so broad they're useless
    – Nick T
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 17:36
  • They're useless alone. So just don't use them alone. Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 17:37
  • I don't like this kind of tag, but they're not meta tags. If I ask a question about spawning then spawning is a real, topical tag. Something like hard-to-answer would be a meta tag since it's about the question rather than what the question's about. Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 0:53
  • Direct your comments at the OP then. I've been calling them meta-tags because others seem to have been.
    – Nick T
    Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 2:00

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