system-agnostic has been bugging me lately, and I think it's because it's become a meta tag, at least in how it's commonly used now.
In The Death of Meta Tags, they're described thus:
meta-tags […] do not describe the content of the question. They describe some other aspect of the question, like the author’s skill level, or the author’s motivation for asking it, or generally what “kind” of question it is (poll, how-to, etc.).
A proper tag describes the content of the question – it merely labels something already there. It seems to me that system-agnostic has recently been tacked on as a constraining instruction that doesn't always have any mention in the question body. That sounds like a meta tag to me.
It's also falling afoul of a less-obvious telltale of a meta tag (emphasis original):
system-agnostic often gets tacked onto questions that can't actually be answered without knowing, if not the exact system involved, at least the sort of system. The question How can I deal with players who are reluctant to spend resources? became a bit of a mess because the asker wanted to cover a bunch of systems, but it's functionally unanswerable without focusing the problem to how those specific systems work. Notice all the answers that mention systems by name in order to answer usefully, and how all the "bad" answers are the ones that are truly ignoring the systems that the asker is actually asking about; not agnostic ("unknowing") of the system involved at all. I see this happen frequently with questions that require the assumption of a trad system too, when a truly system agnostic question would include a much wider set of mechanical designs in valid answers. Apparently system-agnostic means different things to different people, which makes it likely a meta tag.
It's also getting tacked onto questions unnecessarily. Do we really need to be told that How do I avoid clichés while improvising? is not about any one system? Doesn't gm-technique and roleplaying cover the question more than enough? I don't think over-use is evidence that it's a meta-tag—I think this happens because it's such a pervasive tag that people feel like it's necessary to include if a question doesn't otherwise have a system tag. I do think that the pervasiveness of system-agnostic may be the fault of being a meta tag, though, indirectly causing this kind of over-use.
I do think the tag is seeing legitimate, non–meta tag uses as well. That makes it less obvious whether how it's being used is actually a problem. I might just be cranky.
Is system-agnostic a meta tag?
If it is a meta tag, can we figure out a policy for its proper, non-meta-tag uses so we can keep it?