The winds of change, they are a'blowin. This week's meta-murder question is:
Have we not been clear enough that meta-tags are a Bad Thing™?
In her answer, Grace specifically calls out previous tag-burning parties I've held here on meta. In further discussing this with her, she said the following:
Excepting the obvious points like "meta", "ambiguous", "worthless", and "too narrow", the main thing is, if it isn't a tag you're going to subscribe to, does it create a meaningful categorization that people will enjoy in the subset within the game? If not, then it is likely to be bad.
I decided to go through a subset of the tags and try to determine if there was some subset of that subset of them that I could mark as meeting these criteria. Some tags are just clearly bad - they're things we close questions for, and they just should not exist. We've allowed a good number of other "meta" tags to proliferate though... I went through about 300 tags, and more than 60-70 of them seemed to qualify.
I was planning on posting all of them here, but on reflection it seemed like the kind of thing that would get me burninated rather than being productive. So I decided to do this first.
Here's the categories of tag that I've identified as being "bad" under what I understand to be the current "criteria for badness." I've also given a percentage estimate of what percentage of all the "bad tags" fall into this category.
- Tags for questions that are highly likely to be closed. I think these should represent a "no-brainer" in most cases. (game-rec, legal, game-development, sales, probably less than 10%)
- Tags that are too specific to be useful, and should be removed from questions and/or merged with other tags as appropriate. (prestige, konami-code, windowed-mode, wireless-controllers, probably about 10-20%)
- Tags that represent common gameplay mechanics across many games. These are commonly used alongside a specific game, which means they cut a wide swath across all games, making them hard to use for subscription and/or to subdivide questions. (campaign, single-player, combat, probably 60-70%)
- Tags that represent genres that are commonly used alongside game tags, making them redundant and meaningless to subdivide questions. (first-person-shooter, sliding-puzzle, probably about 10% or less)
"Non-game specific" questions are the one area where things get tricky. What if I have a genre question? Or a question about game mechanics in general? These tend to be broad questions and a limited percentage of the site's "good" questions land in this zone, although sometimes the ones that do are fascinating. It might make sense to have some "top level" tag that represents these "meta" (have I overloaded this term enough today?) questions.
My personal opinion on this subject is that we should make a decision about these categories, and make some kind of guideline or policy that we can use going forward in order to avoid disagreement among the site's "power users" and mass re-tagging later on down the line. What that decision is doesn't really make that much of a difference to me, personally. I'm doing this on a lark, and whatever happens, I'll just shrug and keep on keepin' on, so, please, don't shoot the messenger. :)
I figure that non "power users" submitting questions are likely to not follow the guideline, but at least if we agree on a policy, then fixing the tags should be easy for anyone with edit rights to do.
I guess the big, bold tl;dr at the end should be: