There's no specific discussion on Meta nor any mention in the ios tag wiki of how we should be using this tag and whether or not it's being used properly, so I wanted to discuss it here. We currently have 198 questions with the ios tag, and it seems like either our current policy is not being enforced or the current policy has changed, both of which should merit some discussion and/or documentation.
Our current standing policy regarding tagging with the platform is that we should tag it when a question is either about the platform itself, or about a property of the game that is platform-specific. While we dabbled with the idea of using platforms for sorting (fav/ignore) in the early beta days, we dismissed this because of how unwieldy it would get given the tag limit (5) and the way many games have mixed genres (3rd person action RPG tower defense!) or genres that are just plain hard to try to classify (what genre is Jetpack Joyride?).
This policy seems to have been reinforced on that question as recently as this past November.
However, we did have someone ask about an exception for iOS games on that question, which received very little attention, and in the past month, we've had several new questions being asked about iOS games where the user appended the platform tag on them.
These questions are, in my opinion, good examples of the tag usage under our current policy:
- Are the class requirements different in Final Fantasy Tactics for the iPhone?
- How does one swap out spells in Puzzle Quest 2 on the iPad/iPhone?
- How do I sync Angry Birds progress across iOS devices?
However, I'm not so sure about questions like this:
How does distance measurement work in Temple Run? This game's available for both Android and iOS. 8/11 temple-run questions include ios, and all of the Temple Run questions are about properties of the game which I would assume are the same across both platforms. However, lacking the ability to play it, I cannot say for sure, so I have not edited them.
12/24 tiny-tower questions (another game on both Android and iOS) are also tagged with ios and of them, the only one which would deserve the tag under the current policy is this one: Can I back up my Tiny Tower game?
As you can see, we have several cases where the tag is being misused under the current policy and we've been getting more and more questions with a seemingly unnecessary ios tag.
What do we do?
We need to either go through and tag these properly in accordance with our current platform tagging policy, or we need to determine if we're making an exception for ios and then communicate that clearly through notes in the tag wiki and this discussion here.
Now, the argument that I linked earlier asking about an exception for iOS games asked for it on these grounds, bold mine:
In addition to the favorite answer, I think there should be a special case where the adding the platform can help answerers find questions more easily. I would even except an exemption for iOS only. Given that there aren't very many questions for iOS, and the games themselves are only popular for such a short time, it is very useful to be able to search just based on the platform. I think as RLH points out that this would benefit old platforms as well.
So, more generally - I suggest to add the suggestion that platforms be added when the volume of questions for the platform is low.
However, I think we run into the issues of determining a reasonable threshold for a "low" amount of questions. On the first page of tags, these platform tags are listed:
- pc x595
- xbox-360 x560
- steam x422 (I'm treating Steam as a platform because we do require steam tags on questions to conform to the "platform-specific question" or "question about the platform itself" policy)
- ps3 x363
- ios x198
- wii x179
- osx x133
We can't determine how many of our questions are about all games on these respective platforms because we have been enforcing the policy fairly well, so many games that are multiplatform are not tagged here. ios game questions have an inordinate amount of (what I believe) are unnecessary ios tags.
I'd like to note that the same argument for flash games has been brought up before in the same vein as ios, that due to the low volume of questions asked on the platform, we should allow them for searching/favorites.
Do we need to do a massive cleanup, or do we want to re-evaluate the criteria for which we allow platform tags? Personally, I'm learning towards cleanup and more consistent reinforcement of policy, for which we'd need the help of our users who play these games in order for us to judge whether or not the platform tag is appropriate.