8

Browsing the site today, I came across this question, which was unique in Diablo 3 in that it is the only question with a secondary tag for the player class. Taking guidance from this meta question, it seems that these types of tags shouldn't be allowed. Additionally, while I've seen many class specific questions for Mass Effect 3 (the top two Vanguard related questions), I've never seen them tagged with something like or .

What does the community think?

  • 1
    "Taking guidance from this meta question, it seems that these types of tags shouldn't be allowed" where? diablo-3-demon-hunter isn't a cross-game tag. – badp Apr 21 '12 at 13:59
  • I'm aware of that, but I already knew of the linked meta question, so it was easy to find, and the point is about adding superfluous tags to questions. Discussion in that question wasn't strictly limited to cross-game tags, although that did occupy the majority of the discussion. In particular, @Sterno's answer resonates with me, where tags should only be applied if necessary. – MBraedley Apr 21 '12 at 14:10
  • 1
    @MBraedley You should un-delete your answer, even though it is at -7. On meta, votes generally indicate agreement with a proposal rather than the quality of the entry. It is valuable to keep the disagreement with that proposal around and visible for the future. – Invader Skoodge Apr 21 '12 at 20:02
  • Meh, I say no but the D3 fans seem to say yes, and unless mods intervene that's all that matters – Ben Brocka Apr 21 '12 at 21:22
16

These tags add useful information. For example, I am very interested in Diablo 3, but not at all interested in things having to do with the Barbarian. If I mostly play as Witch Doctor and Monk, I can watch those tags specifically and add my expertise to those classes while not being bothered with questions about Wizards, who I don't know about.

This is very similar to races in StarCraft.

The difficulty here is where do we draw the line? In League of Legends, there are 90-something heroes each with unique skillsets and strategies. Clearly we shouldn't have separate tags for each hero. I think Diablo 3 is going to have enough quantity of questions and few enough class options to warrant distinct tags, but I don't think a blanket policy is going to be able to be created. We will have to analyze games on a case-by-case basis to come to a reasonable decision for that game.

  • I'm not commenting on ME3 because I don't know about ME3. – Invader Skoodge Apr 21 '12 at 13:31
  • 4
    +1 Agree with everything you've said, especially "analyze games on a case-by-case basis". – Wipqozn Apr 21 '12 at 13:41
  • 2
    I guess a case by case basis is a good idea. I was trying to apply a blanket rule which obviously wouldn't work either way. With regards to ME3, It probably wouldn't work as the character class is of little importance to the overall game. Anything you can't do, you have your squad mates to take care of. – MBraedley Apr 21 '12 at 14:21
  • I gave my support of this because the scope domain of classes in Diablo 3, in terms of question base and categorization, parallels that of the races in StarCraft. Which we do because, I'll cite as usual, this lets us group questions that are about Mutalisks with those about Ultralisks without either of them needing to explicitly state "Zerg" somewhere in the question - the race division is a major logical subdivision of the game. To my understanding, the same applies for the need of grouping for Diablo 3 classes. – Grace Note Apr 25 '12 at 14:33
7

I largely agree with bwarner and StrixVaria (particularly StrixVaria's point about judging this on a case-by-case basis).

Update

The below concerns have now been addressed per my suggestion at the end, see:
Change the title when the two most popular tags share a common prefix / substring

The biggest concern I have is the longstanding issue with our tagging system: every question gets the two most popular tags added to its <title> element for the purposes of SEO, provided the tags don't also appear in the title, and the 25-character tag limit.

So, let's say we've decided questions about Demon Hunters in Diablo III are frequent enough to warrant their own tag. And let's take the question at hand:

How long do Caltrops last?

If the Demon Hunter tag is :

Pros

  • <title> element would be:

    diablo 3 demon hunter How long do Caltrops last?

    which would allow us to rank better on "demon hunter" and have no repeated words, decreasing the chances Google gets annoyed for having spammy-looking content.

  • Less chance of hitting the 25-character tag limit for longer game-specific tags

Cons

  • Less discoverability when tagging for people who immediately start typing "diablo 3" (although can be mitigated by a tag synonym)

  • Messes with people who are only looking for questions: past experience here and on Stack Overflow shows some people forget or intentionally omit the more broad tag and you can't set up a wildcard tag (e.g., diablo-3*) to catch all the game-specific tags (could this be mitigated by tag synonyms?).

  • What happens when another game releases something with a demon hunter? Even if that game doesn't attract enough questions to warrant game-specific tags, it'll lead to confusion (or possibly resentment: why does Diablo 3 get to own the "demon hunter" namespace and not Indie Game RPG 4: Eternal Obscurity of the Night?)

If it's :

Pros

  • Tag is properly namespaced to the game, preventing confusion and allowing different senses of the word for other games

  • Less having to deal with the magic of tag synonyms: tag wildcard filters work out of the box as does tag auto-completion.

Cons

  • The <title> element is:

    diablo 3 diablo 3 demon hunter How long do Caltrops last?

    This looks spammy and can have an adverse affect on our rankings on Google SERPs. Even if Google doesn't penalize it, word repetition in titles, to me, reeks of the over-SEO content farms do and I'm concerned it leads to less people clicking through.

  • More chance of running into the 25-character tag limit for longer game-specific tags, as several characters (10 in the Diablo 3 case) would be dead space.

This is sort being on the horns of a dilemma: the cons for both suck in equal measure to me. It's much easier when we can create tags that are unambiguously about a specific game, like .

But I think the second option, , could suck a lot less if SE would willing to make any of a number of slight chances to the tag system:

  • If a tag has a stem that's equivalent to another tag, remove the stem from the tag in the <title> element. So, take and : since diablo-3 appears in diablo-3-demon-hunter, it should be removed so the <title> element simply begins with "diablo 3 demon hunter".

  • Alternatively, if two tags share the same stem, only show the most popular one. Would be less SEO juice, but would also be less magic in how tags are parsed.

  • Increase the 25-character limit on tags (chances of this happening are slim to none).

  • +1. This isn't a policy problem per-se; right now, it's an implementation problem. – Raven Dreamer Apr 21 '12 at 15:48
  • 2
    While a tag limit increase would be wonderful, I fail to see how it addresses this particular problem. – LessPop_MoreFizz Apr 21 '12 at 15:57
  • 1
    @LessPop_MoreFizz One of the cons I mentioned regarding the use of stemmed tags is the increased chance of hitting the limit. – user3389 Apr 21 '12 at 16:30
  • 2
    You make an excellent point regarding the title; I've opened a feature-request to see if we can convince the admins to deal with it. – Oak Apr 21 '12 at 16:37
  • @Oak: Why didn't you make that request on meta.SO? It seems that the problem effects the entire network. – MBraedley Apr 21 '12 at 20:46
  • @MBraedley displaying two tags is specific to Gaming; other sites add only the single most popular tag to the title. – Oak Apr 22 '12 at 9:47
  • "Less chance of hitting the 25-character tag limit for longer game-specific tags" - we can very easily use abbreviations for prefixes on the assumption there is going to be only so many games with subtags. – badp Apr 23 '12 at 9:29
5

Since I am the culprit here, let me share my reasoning regarding this specific case. If you want my more general opinion, see below.

Specifically about Diablo 3

At the beginning I was wary of creating a tag per each class this way, I thought it's overly spammy.

But then I realized:

  • We already have precedents, with (look at the related tags to the right), , and more. TF2 even has a similar [tf2-class] format.

  • It's not an open-ended list like in LoL, where there are gazillion champions and every version adds more; there are just 5, and only an expansion pack will increase that number.

  • It makes a lot of sense in the context of tags; one can be an expert in Demon Hunters while knowing nothing about other classes, one can wish to filter to just questions about Demon Hunters, or even filter out questions about all the classes one doesn't care about, etc.

  • Every class in D3 is very distinct, with its own set of skills, strategies and quirks. A lot of questions can be easily categorized according to these tags. Furthermore, questions that involve two (or more) of these tags will be unlikely. This is even more pronounced since the Diablo games, although multiplayer-enabled, are very friendly towards the concept of single player. So it's very possible one will spend months playing Diablo and caring only about a single character type. That is very different from the case with SC2, TF2 etc., where a lot of games involve other classes/races.

So I decided this makes a lot of sense and went with it.

Regarding [classname] vs [diablo-3-classname] - going with [diablo-3-classname] was a pretty obvious choice because while Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor can be claimed to be rare in other games, Monk, Barbarian and Wizard (the other classes) certainly aren't!

However, Mark raises an excellent point regarding how these would appear in the title (the other problem he mentions, tag length, is not as bad in my opinion because once you have the game prefix, abbreviations can be used without fear of ambiguity). However, this also applies to any other [gamename-suffix]-style tag, of which we already have a few.

Luckily, both of Mark's suggestions on how to deal with that (we assume the 3rd won't happen) are excellent. I've raised the issue as a feature-request, also adding Mark's suggestions.

In general

I'm with StrixVaria here, that we should judge it on a case-by-case basis. When judging we should consider:

  • The number of tags involved
  • The popularity (or expected popularity) of the mini tags - I'm not sure this is too appropriate for small iOS releases.
  • Whether it would make sense for anyone to filter according to these tags.
  • Whether someone can be an expert in these tags.
  • 2
    The precedent is extremely weak in WoW tags, class tags have all of 6 or less questions – Ben Brocka Apr 21 '12 at 21:19
  • TF2 also, and none of them have tag wikis. – Raven Dreamer Apr 25 '12 at 22:54
3

Based on Jeff's answer in Have we not been clear enough that meta-tags are a Bad Thing™? and the fact that Diablo 3 will certainly be over the threshold for number of questions in a short period of time, I think this tag makes sense. It is properly specific so that it will not be used for other games, and is broad enough that it should apply to a number of questions in the diablo-3 tag.

2

The problem with class specific tags isn't a contention of whether or not they are useful - the problem is one of consistency: how the tags are used are just as important as whether they're used at all.


Tags exist as means to filter and identify questions!

We've got a fair number of questions on how to respec your character. All three of these questions have ambiguous titles that could apply to any number of games. Yet each of these questions refers to a specific game. Users cannot judge their ability to answer the question based on the title alone, so they use the question blurb and the tags to decide whether or not to open the question.

This is part of why we don't require game names in the title - it's in the tags, and that's good enough when it comes to identifying the requirements of a particular question.


Tags exist to add information about a question!

A while ago, we had a tag. In Dwarf Fortress, "Fun" is related to losing when things go catastrophically wrong - but that's only because it's a bit of an in-joke within the Dwarf Fortress community. But you'll notice something: The tag has been removed from Gaming. It added zero information (all questions are questions), and on top of that, was used inconsistently - either you knew about the joke and added it when things were going catastrophically wrong, or you didn't because you didn't.

The [Dwarf-Fortress-fun] tag was not fulfilling its role as a tag, so there was no reason to keep it around as a tag.

Which brings us to the crux of the argument:


Game-Specific Tags are hard to use consistently

There's two separate issues here that make consistent use of the tag hard. First, there is a sort of "Double-Standard Ignorance" going on: most games have only one tag, so the less savvy users will stop at one tag, especially if they have a clear idea of what they're asking and don't need (or bother to use) the tag auto-complete.

How many questions have we retagged [minecraft-redstone] because users were unaware the latter existed? (Perhaps Agent86 could whip up a script to tell us!)

Then there is the separate issue of "Content Threshold". How much redstone needs to be in a question for it to be ? Is it a question if they want to open a door with a pressure plate? You could use Redstone, but you could just as easily put the pressure plate next to the door, avoiding the issue entirely.

Soldiers are the only class capable of using The Black Box - should questions asking about it have the ? What about a question asking how much damage fire does? Sure, s are the primary way to set someone aflame, but s, s, s, and [tf2-engineer]s (I think?) can all use fire - do you tag with the most pertinent classes? As many as you can? None of them?


Game-specific tags are already being used inconsistently

This isn't an issue specific to Mass Effect 3 or Diablo 3 - we've already got issues where game-specific tags are being used mostly randomly. And if the tags are being used randomly, they're not doing a proper job of filtering things.

Team Fortress 2 has a bunch of questions that fall into this problem.

None of the TF2 game specific tags have tag wikis, either, which certainly doesn't help!

But that's Team Fortress. What about the poster-child of game-specific tags, Starcraft 2?

Well, first some numbers (all of these as per the date of this post).

Total Starcraft 2 Questions: 945

  • Questions Tagged Terran: 65
  • Questions Tagged Zerg: 77
  • Questions Tagged Protoss: 62

Even if you add all these together (and ignore the fact that some questions are tagged with both), you only get 204 questions, which, considering that every game of Starcraft 2 involves at least one of these races, seems rather low. Do we really have 500+ questions that are race-agnostic?

And again, we have Threshold and Ignorance to consider.

Why do questions like these not have race tags?

And, more relevantly, if a question mentions a witch doctor-exclusive skill, does it also need the tag? After all, there's no potential confusion about which class you're talking about. If the tag doesn't reduce confusion, it is nothing more than needless clutter (much like adding to every Skyrim question with ). And finally, if it's just clutter, why have the tag at all?

Ultimately, I think it comes down to the fact that:

Game-Specific tags are not conducive to our current tagging schema.

It is a good theoretical idea, but Gaming hasn't been able to satisfactorily implement such things in the past, and there is nothing different about the situation this time that leads me to think anything differently will happen.

On the whole, I think Game-Specific tags as specific as this do more harm than good, and should not be used for individual character classes.

  • 2
    You just wanted to show off your Markdown skills. But I totally agree. – Ben Brocka Apr 25 '12 at 22:30
  • 3
    The main reason why game specific tags aren't as used is because we still have mixed feelings about them and we don't know when to use them and when not to. Yes, a question about shooting with a black box is specific to the soldier so it should be unquestionably tagged tf2-soldier; your mention of the door example only goes to show that minecraft-redstone needs renaming to minecraft-circruitry or whatever; your respec example is a different kind of subtag, one that's orthogonal to games and not a subset of any specific one. Yes, there are problems. No, the solution isn't giving up entirely. – badp Apr 25 '12 at 22:51
  • @badp I'm not sure what you are referring to re: respeccing (There is no "respec" tag). My solution isn't "give up", it's, "Don't make things worse than they are already". – Raven Dreamer Apr 25 '12 at 22:53
  • The problem of threshold is a non-issue created by Jeff in his previous take on meta tags. At the end of the day a tag can survive with two questions, and if doesn't get two it is deleted automatically. The 'threshold' is built right into the system. The title problem is indeed a big one that we ourselves created and can simply be solved by reducing tags in the title to one. I don't want to sound like I'm picking on our favourite SE cofounder, but I think those extraordinary measures are surviving the situation of extraordinary tagging suck, thus creating more problems than they solve. – badp Apr 25 '12 at 22:54
  • @badp You're really not getting what I'm arguing. It's not, "These tags have low usage, so let's stop using them", but "These tags have low usage despite a conscious effort to increase use of them, and that's a problem". – Raven Dreamer Apr 25 '12 at 23:06
  • You've managed to very clearly articulate my initial reservations to game specific tags. However, having heard the opposing viewpoints, and seeing the traction it's gained in the D3 tagged questions, I now feel it is the duty of those of us with 500+ rep to appropriately add game specific tags to appropriate games when necessary. To reiterate, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 are an appropriate games, LoL, DotA 2, and the Mass Effect series are not. – MBraedley Apr 25 '12 at 23:19
  • @MBraedley Why nix on Mass Effect but not on Diablo 3? – Raven Dreamer Apr 25 '12 at 23:31
  • @RavenDreamer: As explained in one of my earlier comments, in ME3, the character class is only of real importance for combat, and many skills fall into 2 or more classes. In D3, most, if not all skills only fall into one class, and combat plays a much bigger role. – MBraedley Apr 25 '12 at 23:38
  • @MBraedley so how many un-shared combat skills is enough to necessitate a class-specific tag? – Raven Dreamer Apr 25 '12 at 23:44
  • @RavenDreamer: As a bare minimum, more than half. Mass Effect 3, as a whole, barely crosses that threshold. However, this includes grenades, and doesn't include the bonus powers, which can be used by any class. Also not included is a number of skills unique to a player class, but is available with one of your squad mates. – MBraedley Apr 25 '12 at 23:58
  • 1
    @MBraedley Do you understand how needlessly arbitrary that distinction is? Quantity isn't everything. That's why I'm advocating to not "throw more fuel on the fire" before there's a strong consensus about what kind of fire we've actually got. – Raven Dreamer Apr 26 '12 at 0:10
  • @RavenDreamer: Fair enough, but as an example, if I were to see a question tagged [me3-vanguard], it better damn well be about either Biotic Charge or Nova. Anything else, anything at all, is applicable to more than just Vanguards, and therefore not deserving of the [me3-vanguard] tag. With D3, you have, what, 20+ skills that are unique to a single class, plus class weapons. There is much more material to work with in that tag. – MBraedley Apr 26 '12 at 0:48
  • 1
    @MBraedley But the very act of discussing Biotic Charge or Nova means that the tag is unnecessary. We already know it's about vanguards! A question, "How do I kill banshees?" tagged with ME3-Vanguard makes more sense, because the options a vanguard has for killing banshees varies from the options an adept has for killing banshees. – Raven Dreamer Apr 26 '12 at 1:16
  • It's not so bad to judge things on a case by case basis. We don't have to come up with numbers and rules for how to deal with sub-tags within a game right now for every game that could ever be released. When a new game is released, if someone thinks sub-tags are good, then we should discuss them for that game. It's not arbitrary at all. For Diablo 3, they make sense. For most games, they don't. – Invader Skoodge Apr 26 '12 at 11:18
  • @StrixVaria I am not convinced that they are, though. Tagging class-exclusive content with the pertinent class tag is redundant. – Raven Dreamer Apr 26 '12 at 15:01
-5

These tags add little or no value to the questions they're attached to. The relevant information will, by necessity, be in the body of the question, and should also be in the title. One important role that secondary tags play is in search, such as for games that are primarily single player, but include a multiplayer component. I do not see class specific tags fulfilling this role, as I foresee them being a sparse tag set already, even if judiciously applied.

They should not be allowed.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .