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I tagged a question about a role playing game with .

The tag was removed by Drake, and I guess he knew what he was doing, as also the tag wiki states:

Use this tag for questions about the genre, not questions about a RPG game.

As a GSE user, I'd find it helpful if questions relating to a role playing game would be tagged with a genre tag. Obviously, this is not how "it should be done".

So what's the status with genre (or other meta) tags? Is there a tag FAQ?

Note I have found: When should we use genre tags? which makes the removal of the tag even more confusing to me.

I have also found a comment to an answer in Why does Gaming.SE use tags differently from other SE sites? by Grace Note, that makes the whole thing even more confusing for me:

That's what I'm exactly talking about in those links - that value (the one you desire) [following game questions by category] is the one that is difficult to apply, for two reasons. One, because we don't tag every Dragon Age, Final Fantasy, Lunar, etc. with the appropriate genre tag (and lack any form of automating the process), two because the tag limit makes it unreasonable to handle that alongside the platforms and actual categorical tags. It'd be great if we could use them like that. But under the current system, it's a futile endeavor, ...

The fact that not every game question is tagged properly can hardly be a case against genre tags for me, and the argument "the tag limit makes it unreasonable" does seem weird, considering that as I look at the front page right now, basically all questions seem to have one (1) or two tags.

  • possible duplicate of What are the best practices for tagging on Gaming.SE? – LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 25 '11 at 15:16
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    possible duplicate of When should we use genre tags?. This is really the same question... I think that instead of asking a new one (and further confusing people), maybe we just need to update the old one. – Oak Nov 25 '11 at 15:32
  • @Oak We do need to consolidate these better at some point. I'm open to moving my answer here over there, but a lot of context and timing would be lost (nevermind the fact that the accepted answer was entirely opposite to our current policy). This is, however, rather why Meta Stack Overflow tends to delete posts which refer to policies or mechanics which no longer exist or are no longer relevant. – Grace Note Nov 25 '11 at 15:39
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The current policy we established is actually detailed in this post, albeit not containing all arguments on the subject. To summarize, our policy is that genre tags, like platform tags, are only used for question that are about that genre. That is rather what tags are for, after all - even our sub tags.

Should probably cycle out that post you found or otherwise note that it's been superceded as of late.


In a technical sense, genre tags aren't actually a proper form of tag when applied to a gameplay question. They're actually a kind of subtype to a meta tag in that it describes a tag, not the question as a whole. In fact, the fact that the game is an RPG is relevant to your interests in a way that is wholly dissociated from the fact the question is about that game. It essentially is a guidepost for you to find games that may interest you due to the genre, not to help you find questions that'd be of interest to you. Every question about that game would have equal appeal to the person who is interested in that game's genre.

Essentially, the tag's utility is redundant with the game tag, and its only advantage would be telling people who don't know that the game was of that genre. And that's not the responsibility of an extra tag, or our question base, to do that. It'd be like coupling [c#] with [object-oriented-language]. Yes, there are far more gamers who are interested in specific genres than there are programmers who are interested in specific language forms, but the utility remains dissociated from identifying the problem of the question, which is the core job of a tag.


The tag limit argument is something better understood if you take into account that platform tags would have to operate in the same fashion. After all, platforms are static and concrete.

Fact is, if a question isn't about a specific platform, then its content is of interest to anyone on every platform. And you get to the part where some games exist on 4 or more platforms. This primarily came from re-releases, but nowadays there are a lot of games that release on the computer as well as on at least 2 of the major consoles. Genres aren't limited to a single instance, either. You have games like Allegience, which are part FPS and part RTS, or the myriad RPG-hybrids with platformers, action games, FPS, and shmups.

This all leads to filling up the tag set of a question very quickly. And, the key part is, almost all of those tags are going to be worthless for identifying the question to players of the game (which I reiterate is the essence of what a tag does). Our traffic, after all, is people looking for answers to the games they are playing, and the genre and platform of a general gameplay question is completely irrelevant to them. And if a game has a combined genre/platform count of 4 or more, then it completely loses the ability to have any other tags that would help those players filter their questions.


What you ultimately want is a way to be able to find questions about games that are in the genres you like. Adding tags to questions about that game, however, is a very ineffective process to that goal (due to the part where we lack the facilities to link tags with implications), and furthermore is a misuse of the tag system. Tagwise, it is simply redundant with the game tag itself.

  • Accepting the answer, although I do somewhat disagree :-) I'm not that active here, so I'll just play by the rules. – Martin Nov 25 '11 at 18:13
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    Disagreement is fine and should probably have its well-thought reasoning voiced. Either I can hope to counter and quell it so you understand our reasons, or we as a community learn something that can be changed and improved in our policy and system. – Grace Note Nov 25 '11 at 18:17

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