This question covers our list of "bad" tags, tags which don't make sense in general or in the specific context of the site. These include meta tags, tags that are redundant with the focus of the site (game-development), non-specific tags, and so on.

Note that originally this question was set up as a community-wiki, with one answer per bad tag suggestion. Recently we seemed to have moved to a model where we post individual meta questions for each tag, which seems to foster better discussion. You can still post in this topic if you like.

This list can also cover tag synonym suggestions. For example, should be mapped to . Note that you can vote on tag synonyms other people propose. For a list of synonyms currently in the system, go here.

Currently Blacklisted Tags

The tag link pages for each of these should be empty. If you add a new tag here, please preserve the alphabetical ordering for easier browsing. Please link to the discussion that lead to the tag being included on the blacklist for posterity.

Note that there's an easy way to link to tags nowadays. The format is:

[tag:TAG_NAME]

closed as too broad by Josh Oct 20 '16 at 15:29

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    I have closed this question because we've reached the point where the scope of the question is too large to effectively manage the proposals or the discussion using the SE format. We have long since switched over to a model of having individual discussions for each blacklist proposal, and simply linking them from this question when a consensus is arrived at. If you would like to propose a tag for the blacklist or discuss the blacklisted state of a tag, please make a dedicated meta thread for the topic. – Josh Oct 20 '16 at 15:32

39 Answers 39

It's almost, but not quite as bad as having the word in a tag on the "Game Development" Stack Exchange site. It's somewhat implied that all the questions are either about game development in some fashion.

Personally, I don't see any question on that list that if I was trying to categorize it or search for it would be helped by the inclusion of .

  • Seems to be consensus on this one. Jeff Atwood went ahead and removed the tag, but I think people with editing power are going to have to keep an eye out to make sure it doesn't get re-added. – Tetrad Aug 6 '10 at 8:53

Honestly, I don't understand why there's such a tag. If somebody has a flash-related question, they will tag it . I don't think does any good for further classifying flash-related questions.

  • Blandantly useless, used it in just two questions (one of which is closed, btw): removed it. – o0'. Jan 27 '12 at 8:40

Is there a significant difference between hobby development and other forms of development? If I have a question about which physics engine I should use or what kind of school I should go to, will the fact that I'm hobbyist developer make a significant difference?

  • This feels like a "meta" tag to me (read: useless/unadvised). You can argue there is slight precedence with the homework tag on SO. However removing tags (as opposed to merging) is pretty difficult and there isn't an easy way to "ban" tags, so this is lower priority to me. – Tetrad Nov 13 '10 at 3:10

It is synonymous with

  • DONE (a while ago) – Tetrad Nov 16 '10 at 21:03

Make it a synonym of

There were two collision detection questions with the tag before I retagged them (1, 2).

&

I don't really see the need for both of these. Can we keep education and merge/remove learning?

  • 1
    Maybe even make both a synonym for "schooling" or something, so people don't put them in just because they want to learn something from the answer... – user744 Nov 12 '10 at 22:10
  • I'd rather make the education tag more specific to talk about schools specifically so there's less overlap. – Tetrad Nov 13 '10 at 3:21

&

They seem to overlap quite a bit. If no one has any rationale against it, I'll merge.

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    If I was asking a question about sound effects I would not use audio, Sound is more appropriate there, "Sound" deals with vibrations through different mediums with physical properties and characteristics like reverb and Doppler effect. Audio would be the output of all that and included stuff like music which is not really classified as just sound. I think they are different enough to keep separate. – AttackingHobo Nov 11 '10 at 21:33
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    Although I see your point, I think most people would be confused about which one to use, resulting in many cases where each is used incorrectly. Merging these two together could prevent those issues from occurring, which makes somewhat of a case for merging them, at least there are enough tagged questions to provide an easily discernible difference between the two tags. – Ari Patrick Nov 11 '10 at 22:08
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    Based on how the site seems to actually use the tags, [sound]should either find itself inside [audio], or [sound-effects]. The current ones are actually more of the former, but in some ways a synonym towards the latter seems more appropriate post-fix. – Grace Note Mar 30 '11 at 14:16
  • This seems like something that should be revisited and/or discussed. There's a plethora of [sound] tagged stuff that could fit in one of the two mentioned buckets. – Grace Note Dec 26 '12 at 16:37

Probably a controversial opinion, but , kind of like , , , etc. are tags that more often than not describe the type of question and not the content. Most questions are either 1) mistagged, or 2) lists of things to do (i.e. subjective community-wiki questions).

For more discussion: Are questions about best practices bad?

If that's really what you're after - a practice widely-recognized as "best" that you can adopt as your own, then go for it. All too often though, i see people asking for a "best practice" when what they really want to know is:

"Given my situation, what are the available solutions to my specific problem, and which one should I choose?"

Note the key difference: if you aren't free to make changes, potentially major, to what you're doing and how you're doing it, then "industry best" is irrelevant - you just need something you can use now. Perhaps it'll happen to be a Best Practice; perhaps it'll merely be the best of a bad set of hacks necessitated by the particular corner you've been painted into. But regardless, the focus has to be on you.

  • 2
    Jeff weighed in on this tag: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags – Ben Zeigler Aug 7 '10 at 7:27
  • To me, this tag is less cut-and-dry than beginner. If you just look at the content of our site compared to SO, a lot of the questions are "let me see good examples of X so I can decide how I want to solve my problem". Which groks with my way of doing things in my professional career as well. I'm personally on the fence about this tag (even though I suggested it), probably because it isn't as "overused" here. – Tetrad Aug 7 '10 at 14:59
  • I'm going to make a judgement call and say we should remove the tag from questions. – Tetrad Mar 31 '11 at 21:10

(Destruction)

Specifically, I'm advocating its replacement with the tags . It probably does not need black-listing, just the initial destruction to remove it from the queue.

Normally I'm a promotor of singular combo tags, but in this scenario I'm actually leaning towards the former. Browsing shows a lot of questions about the Strategy genre that can be safely abstracted from the game's being real-time versus turn-based. Likewise, can be applied to other genres, most predominantly RPG. Those two tags have important meaning to be used on their own as a result, and their combination is literally identical in meaning to the combined tag.

Unlike with what I see on the Gaming Stack Exchange, there seems to be no huge ambiguity as to what "strategy" means - to game developers it applies to the genre. There is one exception, but it needs a big retag and otherwise does not seem like it should trend dangerously. Most "unit strategy" questions actually properly get tagged with .


Turn-based strategy is a much more defined genre compared to, say, turn-based RPGs. You could easily get away with tagging things as RPG without needing to differentiate the different expressions of it, but being turn-based versus real-time is often part of the soul and definition of a strategy game. So a preference to keep is more than understandable. But if this is the case, then it feels like something should be done about the other two tags instead.

First off, it's probably off-topic as this site is supposed to be for "professional and amateur game developers." It's also subjective and localized to the person asking the question. It is also indicative that a lot of the questions tagged with are also tagged with . It's almost redundant.

I'm not really sure of the purpose of that tag. Maybe there's some value in that beginners might be able to search through the tagged questions to find some good starting points, but they would just be as likely to find things under .


edit: It's also now banned on the trilogy sites: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags/

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    I disagree - I think it could be quite useful. In the same way that a homework tag is encouraged (as it gives context to those answering the question about how to construct their answer to best explain it to the asker), tagging as beginner will help those answering target their answer better. As far as being off-topic, I would think that an amateur game developer could be a beginner. In terms of searching for beginner-tagged answers, it's not so useful, but then neither is the (encouraged) homework tag. – Smashery Aug 5 '10 at 3:32
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    I wouldn't exactly say that homework is encouraged on SO. It's mostly just to satisfy the people who think that homework shouldn't belong there so they can filter it out easily. Also, there's a key difference from homework since beginner is subjective to the person, not an absolute. A tutorial is a tutorial. Something that's a beginner task to one person isn't necessarily a beginner task to another. – Tetrad Aug 5 '10 at 3:35
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    I think it's useful. If someone tags it as beginner, it indicates that they're looking for a more basic answer. I mean, a topic about how to store game entities for a beginner wouldn't require a long post about optimizations that could possibly have an effect due to the way something is O(log n) over the fact something else is O(n). Rather, they would just want to know that 'x is probably better to use, because it's faster [at O(log n) speed]. – The Communist Duck Aug 5 '10 at 20:37
  • Before @TheCommunistDuck commented I was all for this being considered useless. While in general, it is fluff. It can be VERY useful for making sure that our answers help the person asking the question. Difficulty is variable in Game Development, this would make the professionals among us be able to say I'm not interested in giving the "for dummies" version of the answer to that. And help with their signal/noise ratio. – Noctrine Aug 6 '10 at 7:21
  • Here's a discussion on meta-tags on another new SE site which I think sums up my opinions on the subject: meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/434/…. Yes, question difficulty is variable, and scope is variable, but at the end of the day we're trying to find answers to problems, and it shouldn't matter the level of the problem or the level of the asker in order to get to a solution. – Tetrad Aug 6 '10 at 7:57
  • Jeff weighed in on this tag: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags – Ben Zeigler Aug 7 '10 at 7:28

Based on the conversation here: Should the "design" tag encompass architecture AND game design questions?, design is too ambiguous a term in game development. It can refer to the art side of things (i.e. character design), the game design side of things (or a subset of that, level design), or the engine design side of things.

I went through and renamed the existing to , and retagged questions that were talking about engine design to (which may also be due for a rename to have the word in it).

Note that this tag (at the time of this writing) doesn't exist, but I wanted to put this answer in this question anyway for safe keeping.

& (Synonym)

As opposed to this group, this pair deals with the variety of occupations in the game development world, as well as advice on getting those jobs. Between the two tags, there aren't really any distinguishing factors that I can find.

Another "meta-tag" that describes the type of question instead of the content. SE sites aren't a discussion board, and questions with this tag (usually) are the kinds of questions that don't have a point.

It's kind of like .

  • Can't it be viewed as almost exactly the same as beginner? If you want to learn about X, Y, and Z to increase your knowledge, then you must be a beginner at X, Y, and Z. – The Communist Duck Aug 9 '10 at 16:27
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    I'm going to make an executive decision to remove this tag. – Tetrad Oct 21 '11 at 18:49

While looking at some retagging I added a graphics tag before realizing it was overloaded and questioning my decision. It refers to both 3d rendering programming (which would seem to cover better) and , and is on a few questions as well. Does the tag by itself make any sense?

  • I agree. The meaning, like design, is overloaded. It almost seems like graphics-programming and rendering are very similar as well, but I'm not sure enough of they should be synonyms yet. – Tetrad Aug 7 '10 at 15:04

A bit more subjective, but the distinction between 2D physics and just probably isn't worth making.

Plus the programmer in me hates tags that start with a number. Variables aren't supposed to start with a number.

  • 5
    [2d] [physics] would be just as good. – Noctrine Aug 5 '10 at 11:07
  • 2
    hmm, 2d-physics (which also ties into things like mario's physics) has a pretty different connotation to me than normal old physics, which is implicitly 3D to a professional game developer. I assume that is why they are distinct. – Ben Zeigler Aug 7 '10 at 7:27
  • Conceptually, 2D physics are a different beast in quite many ways. For example: rotation (and rotational energy) works very differently, concepts like density have different units (kg/m^2 vs. kg/m^3 for the 3D variant) and consequently the laws of physics are quite different as well. The solutions to Navier-Stokes equations (for fluid dynamics; those are generic differential equations theoretically working on any number of dimensions) even look differently. – Martin Sojka Sep 22 '10 at 8:37

I'm not sure what this tag is supposed to mean. Perhaps it's mostly a synonym for ?

  • There is "generation" other than procedural, such as automatically generated code, but it's still extremely general (after all, wasn't everything generated by SOMETHING?) and doesn't tell potential answerers anything useful. – Anko Mar 19 '12 at 18:06

is ambiguous as users have asked questions tagged with it that are both about entities (i.e. enemy units) and measurements (e.g. unit conversion).

I also believe it doesn't exactly add much in the way of filtering (i.e. searching for questions that are about units in games (usually contained into a much more major category e.g. strategy games where one expects to find units) and units in physics (physics here is a tag that's enough)).

I recommend deletion.

&

  • I think these should be merged under .
  • I think should also link to all the language specific tags (although this will require a moderate amount of upkeep)
  • 2
    I'd almost rather obliterate the languages tag. It's also slightly vague with the localization-related question. It really doesn't add anything to the existing questions. – Tetrad Nov 13 '10 at 3:19

Not sure what this tag really means. It's been used 8 times: half of them are asking the same question about an infinite scrolling background; the other half are asking a variation about an infinite scrolling level that's has a procedural component.

&

Unless there's sound rationale against it, these should probably be merged.

  • 1
    There are a couple of management questions that aren't project-related. Like gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/937/…. I don't think they should be synonyms, but retagging some of the questions that should be project-management to be more specific sounds good to me. Feel free to do that. – Tetrad Nov 16 '10 at 21:00
  • For the question you referenced, I don't see it being so much a "management" related as it is a data structures (how do I store this type of data?) question. – Ari Patrick Nov 17 '10 at 14:47

Is there a need for tags like when you could just combine the and tags? This would ensure that anyone interested in engines wouldn't have to search through engine, 2d engine, 3d engine, xxx engine, etc.

  • I think 3d and 2d game engines are sufficiently different that I do not think they should be merged. – AttackingHobo Nov 12 '10 at 23:57
  • In that case, why don't we remove the generic engine tag, and require people to specify the kind of engine? – Ari Patrick Nov 13 '10 at 0:01
  • Not everything relating to an engine is related to graphics. – Tetrad Nov 13 '10 at 3:07
  • @Tetrad, agreed, but we also have engine architecture, physics engine, etc. tags, so wouldn't it be better to break the engine tag into more specific tags, rather than having a generic tag and a fair amount of specific tags? – Ari Patrick Nov 13 '10 at 14:35
  • Similar: 2d-physics == 2d, physics? – Anko Dec 22 '12 at 2:31

& (Synonym)

Deals with game development as a business, usually for corporate matters such as profitability and legality. Game industry is the business this site deals with, and the questions under both tags cover mostly the same ground.

  • I don't agree with this, but mainly because I think game-industry as a tag should go away. Like you said, the game industry is the business the site deals with, so it should probably be implicit. I don't think any questions with that tag really describes the content of the question. Some of them probably should be tagged with business, though. – Tetrad Mar 30 '11 at 19:23
  • @Tetrad So, probably have to manually sift them, but assume that our main tag for "corporate concerns" will be [business], then? – Grace Note Mar 30 '11 at 19:24
  • Or something similar to it, yes. – Tetrad Mar 30 '11 at 19:27

and

They're both about the same thing.

  • 1
    A majority of the game-component ones seem to be dealing more with specific XNA components than the concept of writing a component-based system, though. Maybe component-based could be renamed to something else. – Tetrad Jan 22 '12 at 8:20

seems to be ambiguous.

About kill cams: Handling game states like Braid's timeshift or Shooter's Killcam

About slow-motion: Easiest Way To Implement "Slow Motion" and variable game speed in XNA?

About update speed: Stuck at enemy movement

About time-travelling gameplay: How to implement time traveling into a game?

About time zones: What time to display in text messages in multiplayer game?

About software design: Splitting a tetris game apart - where to put time-management?

The last one is actually the only one to mention "time management" in the question, but I'm not sure it is actually a thing in the way the asker is using it: a software component.

  • 1
    If you sort by date, you'll notice the (IMO useful) original intent of this tag - production issues of scheduling people over time, not code. – user744 Jun 19 '12 at 22:07
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    I went through the questions in time-management that were unrelated to time management, and generally replaced them with either timing or time-travel (a tag I created just for this; apparently we didn't have one before). The time-travel tag might be better named time control, since slowing down time isn't exactly time travel, but time travel is the more well-known name. Also I added a tag wiki for time-management to explain what it actually is. – doppelgreener Jun 20 '12 at 0:54
  • @JoeWreschnig Yes, that sounds right. I should have included one of those questions in the above list as well. – Eric Jun 20 '12 at 6:30
  • @JonathanHobbs Good solution. I'll keep an eye on it as well. – Eric Jun 20 '12 at 6:30

The term is hardly ever descriptive without other words nearby (surface, movement, edge, etc).

It can't be used on it's own.

There are no experts in general "smoothness" area.

  • I should have finally gotten around to removing all of these. – Josh Jan 27 '15 at 17:26

Seems more like a meta tag, and a pretty bad one at that.

One popular use of the tag is as a synonym for "reasoning" or "method", e.g. "Whats the logic behind XYZ?" but you wouldn't use would you?

Another popular use is part of "game logic", as opposed to things like rendering, and the separation thereof. Analogous to "business logic" in software. But then it's better served by tags like or .

Other times it's a synonym for or , which just shows how uselessly broad this tag is.

Of course there is a proper thing called logic in math and philosophy, and is perhaps the right tag to use if someone were asking a question about making a logic puzzle game. I haven't checked if any of the tagged questions fall under this case. It seems doubtful, and in any case this might be better served by a tag like .

  • I agree with the conclusion that it's probably a meta-tag. 81 questions is a lot though (there's no "obliterate a tag" mechanism, so it has to be removed manually). I would recommend going through the tagged questions and removing or re-tagging as appropriate. I won't be able to get to all of them myself in a timely fashion. – Josh Apr 9 '15 at 15:21

& (Synonym)

With a couple exceptions, the latter seems to refer to the same asset management and handling that the former tag covers. I think it may be useful to make these two the same for the more common scenario, while leaving tags on the non-asset posts to refer to what they are resources for (such as "ai" in the first example).

  • I'd almost want to just nuke the resources tag since it's pretty vague, but in lieu of that I pretty much agree with the synonym. When used in the exceptional cases you linked to, it's pretty much a meta tag and should just go away. – Tetrad Mar 30 '11 at 18:49

This is just misspelled programming, for which there is already a tag.

Edit: This should be deleted, not made into a synonym.

  • 3
    I don't think we should make synonyms for misspellings. I fixed the one case where it was spelled wrong. – Tetrad Aug 17 '12 at 21:14

It should be a synonym of , as UVW-Mapping is a small subset of that, and is covered in the tag wiki.

should be replaced by

has a lot more usage and a much better wiki entry and, as far as I can tell, both tags are being used to mean the exact same thing

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