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To illustrate and explain my source of confusion, I present you two opposing examples.

Example 1 - less tags

I recently asked this question. Because I play Skyrim on the PC and was expecting the answer to be a console command (until I figured out the answer was to just wait the problem out) I tagged with . I have no idea if this particular bug happens on other platforms. As you can see, the PC tag was removed - I added it back, and it was removed again, with the comment

unless you can show that it's a pc-only problem it doesn't get the pc tag

I shrugged and mentally filed away this information since I couldn't find any indication that this was the case or any kind of proof to cite. If the bug happens on the console versions then sure, this Q/A might be useful to them, seems fine to me.

Example 2 - more tags

I know that the purpose of tags is mainly to allow easier filtering and searching within the site. So, when I came across this question I figured that following the assumption "not all questions about are relevant to " the question didn't need the Minecraft tag. Someone interested in vanilla Minecraft may not necessarily be interested in FTB questions. As you can see from the revision history, not everyone agreed with this, and it emerges that:

site policy is that the tag for the base game is included when the question is about mods for a game

In fact, my tagging changes are mentioned in the comments of that question:

Checking the feed-the-beast tag, it looks like a particular user has been rolling back my edits to include that tag, so perhaps a reminder of this policy would be in order. Ha. – Raven Dreamer♦ 4 hours ago

It's not like I've been systematically rolling back edits, but I have removed the Minecraft tag a few times. Often I don't check the revision history before editing when it seems (at least to me) to be a cut-and-dried change. I've also removed parent tags from some Skyrim questions, where the (or other expansion tag) has been used in relation to content about that expansion.

What's the problem?

In my eyes, these policies are at odds with each other. The vast majority of Skyrim bugs are probably cross-platform so sure, by all means get rid of the PC tag from a Skyrim bug question. Conversely, the vast majority of FTB questions are not going to be relevant to vanilla Minecraft, so why not follow this same procedure?

Also, I like to consider myself a 'good' use of the site. I've read a lot of past meta content in order to familiarise myself with what to do/not to do, especially when it comes to stuff that's less than intuitive (tagging and allowable questions especially), and I've never come across the policy of questions about expansion content having a tag for the base game. I actually thought that the opposite was true - anything tagged with is already obviously about Minecraft, therefore the Minecraft tag is unnecessary.

So, what I feel needs to be made much clearer is the site's tagging policy. As is clear, trawling through the meta looking for the relevant/important posts leads to an incomplete or even incorrect grasp on the policies.

What is the sites tagging policy and the main rules/exceptions to be aware of? What are the best/important meta posts to read on tagging? Is there a way to consolidate this information so others don't make the same mistakes I have been unknowingly making?

I thought I was helping - this was clearly not the case, so certainly some stuff needs to be clarified.

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    Re: the pc tag, you'll want to read this meta post. The short answer is that platform tags should generally not be used unless the question is actually about the platform in question. Yes, they're still often misused, but the more people are aware of this and try to fix problems as they see them, the better. – LessPop_MoreFizz Aug 29 '13 at 5:03
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    @LessPop_MoreFizz the most useful and clearly understandable part of the whole thing is this comment: As a simple 'lemon test' of sorts: When adding a platform tag to a question, consider: Is someone who is an expert in how this platform works, regardless of the specific game in question the target audience for this question? steam is a really good example of what I think a Platform Tags question library should look like for the most part. – LessPop_MoreFizz May 11 '12 at 3:32 – shanodin Aug 29 '13 at 17:28
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Actually if you look about it this way you'll see the policy is consistent:

 game tag    +   auxiliary tags
 (always!)      (when helpful)

 [skyrim]    +       [pc]
[minecraft]  +  [feed-the-beast]

In the first question, the tag wasn't helpful, so it was removed. In the second, it was helpful, so it gets to stay.


Why keep the minecraft tag? There is no hierarchy in the tag system. [minecraft-feed-the-beast] is not some kind of [minecraft] subtag. Removing [minecraft] makes it so that the question:

  • wouldn't appear on the list of minecraft questions
  • wouldn't count towards your progress for minecraft tag badges

Also, we can't do this through prefixes in general:

  • we can't always handle "tag hierarchy" through prefixes; see our Elder Scrolls tags.
  • it doesn't make sense for votes to "transfer" between different games (why would your [portal-2] questions count towards [portal]?)
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    This directly contradicts the upvoted answer on the meta about platform tags (though it doesn't contradict your answer on that question). I mention this not so much to argue with you, as obviously your stance has not changed, but to point out to others there's another popular opinion on this issue that has not yet been expressed by an answer to this question. – Sterno Aug 29 '13 at 16:20
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    @Sterno I said "helpful" in a generic fashion as to mean "acceptable according to the community standards" or, in the specific case, "if the question actually is about the way skyrim interacts with the 'pc' platforms" – badp Aug 29 '13 at 16:24
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    I stand corrected. – Sterno Aug 29 '13 at 16:28
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Ultimately, a lot of this comes down to the main purposes tags exist for: favouriting, ignoring, and watching them. If someone plays Minecraft constantly, using various mods and mod packs, and is overall extremely knowledgeable about Minecraft in general, which seems like the better solution:

  • All Minecraft questions, regardless of mods, have a single tag they can favorite.
  • Every major mod has its own tag, meaning they have to not only favorite each one separately, they also need to keep a close eye on the list of tags if they want to spot new mods getting tags.

Similarly, if someone hates Minecraft, and wants to avoid ever seeing anything having to do with it, does it make more sense to have one master tag they can ignore, or to have them keep ignoring every individual mod?

This reasoning applies to the platform tags, too. As a Skyrim player whose only gaming systems are a Wii and a PC, I like that I can favourite the Skyrim tag, ignore the Xbox 360 and PS3 tags, and this lets me easily spot Skyrim issues that are not specific to the systems I don't own.

If the system tags were applied to every question, not just ones that are specific to that platform, then favouriting and ignoring them becomes meaningless.

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    What about people who are knowledgeable about vanilla Minecraft, but aren't interested in mods? – kotekzot Aug 30 '13 at 2:01
  • @kotekzot Honestly? They follow the Minecraft tag. If someone comes along with an issue in their FTB game that's actually caused by Minecraft itself, I'd rather have the people following Minecraft see it than not. Also, we currently have about twenty five questions tagged Minecraft for every one tagged Feed The Beast. If the FTB questions really bother someone, then that's part of the point of the FTB tag; ignoring it. And, as one last note, no matter the policy, there will always be mod-related questions for mods not popular enough to have a tag, meaning the question will only get Minecraft. – Billy Mailman Aug 30 '13 at 2:28
  • I was referring to your "least amount of tags to favorite/ignore" argument in the 1st and 2nd paragraphs. People who know Minecraft but not all of its mods will have to not only ignore each one separately, but also keep updating their ignored list every time a new mod tag crops up. – kotekzot Aug 30 '13 at 3:49
  • @kotekzot - addressing your first point, I put [minecraft] in my favourites, and [minecraft-feed-the-beast] in my ignored list. That works fine for me – Robotnik Aug 30 '13 at 7:15
  • @kotekzot I knew what you were referring to. That was why I pointed out that the mod tags are very rare compared to the main tags, that such people's knowledge is often useful in general, and that they could never ignore all the mods anyway, since only a handful have tags. – Billy Mailman Aug 30 '13 at 10:48
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The major problem here is the old one of tag hierarchy. The powers that be once upon a time decided that all tags are equal, and yet even on grandmother StackOverflow there exist hierarchies in tags, e.g. specific versions of development environments VS the environments in general. Both the arguments for and against implementing such an hierarchy make sense, which is why so far nothing has changed.

Your example is very exemplary of this issue. Yes, FTB is a mod, but should someone interested only on vanilla (or another mod, e.g. ), why should their browsing the tag show FTB questions they potentially cannot answer nor will benefit from due to the non-vanilla features? Yet on the other hand, FTB is a minecraft mod, so that connection should be indicated. Once upon a time I made a feature request for an implicit tagging hierarchy, hoping that in your example one would usually use only the tag and the question would implicitly be tagged without using up a tag slot and maybe only show up in queries when an "include implcitly tagged questions" option is active. For FTB one could sure enough simply use tag-wildcards, e.g. [tag:minecraft*] (note how this fails to become a tag link...), but as an example closer to your first example , take a game that only exists on , a tag which I ignore. Should I have to add every PS3-exclusive game to my ignore list?

And on the other hand, when a game has e.g. both a version and a one, someone might tag their question due to unexpected behaviour that may be related to the console - but it could also be the same on , so now if the game implicitly were tagged that question could still turn out to be interesting to me since maybe the actual issue is cross-platform.

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