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I saw a new user asking for paper2d tutorials & getting down voted. There were no comments indicating the reason for down voting, so it being a new user & all, I commented that asking for tutorials was not on-topic. The questioner challenged me on this, citing the tutorial tag. To me, the tag definition doesn't really indicate this sort of question is off topic, but when I reviewed other questions with this tag, things seemed mixed. Many questions requesting tutorials are down voted &/or closed for being off topic, too broad, etc. A few are highly voted, but closed for the same reasons.

I do not yet have full tag wiki privileges & rather than leave it to trial & error, I thought it might be better to hash it out here - should the tag definition be changed to better reflect the community's interpretation? If so, how?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What's the tutorial tag even supposed to mean? "How to get started" is off-topic, and to me asking for a tutorial is the same thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Almo May 9 '16 at 15:16
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The presence (or absence) of tags is not an indication of what topics are or are not permitted here. Tags are for describing what a question is about for search and filter purposes; any user above 300 reputation can create them.

What is on or off topic is decided primarily here, on meta, through discussion. One user cannot unilaterally decree what's on-topic simply by creating a tag for that topic.


The description as of this writing is bad, as it doesn't reflect the current site policy of disallowing questions asking about how to get started or questions asking for lists of tutorials:

Hands-on teaching material for learning different elements of game development. Sometimes also used for topics on "in game tutorials".

For those who want a more direct approach to learning game development, there are plenty of tutorials available. Under this tag, you can find a variety that spans from demonstrating core concepts of design to illustrating the basics of common game genres.

The tag was created in 2011, before our current policies came into place, and simply hasn't been updated. There is a place for this tag on the site: asking questions that relate to implementing tutorials in-game, such as this one or this one.

I will update the tag to account for this, and strip the tag from the questions where it no longer belongs.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I started stripping the tags at least. There's 80+ questions so tagged, so I don't want to spam them all to the front page all at once. EDIT: Mostly cleared out now. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 9 '16 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the proposed limiting the tag. The purpose of of tags as you stated seems counter to my understanding of Jeff's definition: the tags page is an essential map of what your community is, and is not, about. Debating the nature of tags in meta seems logical, but expecting new users to research meta before posting does not. Not trying to be argumentative; being relatively new, I'm trying to learn. \$\endgroup\$ – Pikalek May 9 '16 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pikalek I don't think Jeff's post disagrees, I think it describes a different aspect of tags. One can look at the site's name to see what it's about (game development). Then one can look at the list of tags to see more specifically what topics within game development the community covers. That's what Jeff is saying; not that tags are the mechanism by which a given subject is determined to be on or off topic, but that the tags can be a map of what has been determined to be so. Indeed, there are plenty of valid "game development" topics that we do not consider on-topic here. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 9 '16 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pikalek The on-topic mechanism is generally start with a broad topic (game development), and narrow that by describing exceptions; things that don't fit in (such as questions that are discussion-oriented, opinion-based, et cetera). Further, on-topicness is determined through discussions like this one. Any random 300-reputation user cannot create faa-regulations and suddenly say "FAA regulations discussion is now on-topic here!" The community will eventually see the bogus tag, and as you did, post something on meta where we will decide what to do (or point existing policy on the issue) \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 9 '16 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pikalek As for new user expectations... I don't think we expect them to read all of meta before posting, that'd be crazy. I do think we expect them to read the Help Center, which does outline the basic high-level on- and off-topic rules. That would have covered the case of this example question you linked to. Not everybody reads the Help Center, and that's fine, we're happy to provide guidance to those new users... provided they respond to that guidance in a civil fashion (which, sadly, not everybody does). \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 9 '16 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ That makes sense. Having not created a tag yet myself, I had assumed there was some sort of approval process (other than meta discussion) that a tag from a lower rep user would subjected to. The Help-Center expectation is reasonable. My read on this case is the new user got mixed signals from a vague & out of date tag definition. Assuming users read it, the updated definition should help mitigate future repeats. Thx. \$\endgroup\$ – Pikalek May 9 '16 at 16:21
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I'd like to see tutorial requests as a possible valid type of question on many SE sites not just game dev.

Does seem odd to have a tag for it then disagree with the validity of a question when it's used.

That said ...

The tag itself could be a means to tag questions also tagged with community wiki as a means for users to essentially use SE questions as a means to document / blog something as a subset of the community wiki.

Maybe the issue here is that it hasn't really been ever applied correctly and so should probably be removed or renamed to something more appropriate.

Further thought ...

Vague / very wide in scope questions are generally discouraged on pretty much all SE sites, so maybe this tag should simply be removed to prevent encouraging that.

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