Today I created the tag for our now-growing category of posts dealing with issues such as blind players, prone players, dyslexic players, autistic players, etc. I also tagged one post (How can I help my PCs remember clues that they found?) as accessibility as well.

This is why I am asking this question. The latter post that I mentioned does not on the face of it seem to have to do with accommodating disabilities or special needs, and (presumably) for this reason @SevenSidedDie untagged it from accessibility. I would argue that this post is an accessiblity issue, however. First of all, Wikipedia defines accessibility as accommodating all people, especially those with disabilities or special needs. I paraphrased this in the tag excerpt for accessibility. Secondly, the post in question has one answer where the answerer states specifically that they have had these issues in cases with players who had learning disabilities.

Obviously not all questions that have to do with making the game the best experience for players should fall in the accessibility category, but I think that this question should because it deals with a specific problem, that is very much like an issue that one with disabilities might face, that gets in the way of having a good gaming experience for everyone.

How should we treat posts like this? Should we tag them with "accessibility" as I did (resulting in reverting SevenSidedDie's edit), or should we refrain from tagging them as such for the sake of clarity?

I think that we could benefit from having posts like this together in the accessibility category, as it will help people who are having issues like this to find the information that is out there.

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That one question entirely aside, kudos for making the [accessibility] tag. It's a very worthwhile addition. :) –  SevenSidedDie Aug 5 '13 at 19:33
    
@called2voyage Thanks, I felt it was an issue that probably needed better cataloging. Hopefully, we can settle on a clear scope. –  called2voyage Aug 5 '13 at 19:34
    
This came up, and it's only relevant because I was being silly in chat. The difference between "impairment" and "disability." –  Emrakul Aug 5 '13 at 20:47
    
I'm not exactly sure why my last comment turned "@SevenSidedDie" into "@called2voyage", but it won't let me edit it...strange. –  called2voyage Aug 6 '13 at 12:58

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

We need to more carefully define "accessibility." I do not think the tag is inherently too broad, but I think it could be better defined so as to avoid that path. Here is my proposed definition:

Accessibility is only for questions whose contexts require that the normal routes to play and/or solutions to the issue are not possible, and which require changes to the gameplay or mechanics to accommodate. In other words, accessibility is not about making games easier or getting people to work together. Accessibility is about situations in which normal methods for gameplay do not apply.

For instance, the question "How do I get my players to better remember the rules?" has nothing to do with accessibility, because no unusual means are required for gameplay; this is something most people have to deal with at some point. However, the question: "How do I get my memory-impaired players to better remember the rules?" is accessibility, because the normal methods for teaching and learning rules may not apply.

This means that the tag is very specific, and is useful in searches. Its purpose would be clear.

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"Accessibility" is a widely-accepted term in industry and (AFAIK) within relevant communities. It's pretty much the perfect term to use as a tag. Other than a strong virtual -1 for the last paragraph, +1 for the rest. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 6 '13 at 4:35
    
I think the scope of the wikipedia article for Accessibility is a ver good indication that the name is a good one. –  Maurycy Zarzycki Aug 6 '13 at 7:23
    
Weird. I wasn't notified of either of those comments. Yeah, looking into it, I agree. –  Emrakul Aug 12 '13 at 16:40

Here's my attempt at defining the scope for this new tag:

The tag should be used when a question's core focus is a physical or mental disability not found in most participants, preventing an optimal session.

The tag covers temporary and long-term disabilities as such issues and their solutions generally don't change just because the disability lasts a short period of time.

If the source of a problem is not explicitly such a disability and may be explained by other reasons, then the tag does not apply.

If an issue initially deemed to only apply to disabled participants were to objectively match a more common issue applicable to most gamers, the tag would not apply.

(definition edited based on comments)

I would include all the OP's questions under the tag except for the one about remembering quests specifically for the reason that the question does not explicitely state that the memory issue stems from mental difficulties. One may assume it comes from a willful lack of attention for example.

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Users -> players, maybe? Other than that, I agree. –  Emrakul Aug 5 '13 at 21:38
    
@Emrakul Unfortunately, many people define "players" as "participants not including the GM," which would be an unfortunate exclusion. Maybe 'gamers'? –  BESW Aug 5 '13 at 21:39
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Good point. I'd suggest "participants," perhaps? Gamers works too. –  Emrakul Aug 5 '13 at 21:41
    
@BESW Exactly the reason why I hesitated using "players". Participants or gamers seem fine to me. Thoughts? –  leokhorn Aug 6 '13 at 8:29
    
"Participants" is a good solid word! –  BESW Aug 6 '13 at 8:53
    
What about temporary disabilities, such as being prone from knee surgery? It came up in an answer during the prone question; would you consider that in line with your scope? –  cartomancer Aug 7 '13 at 7:41
    
@cartomancer Definitely. I'll edit the definition to make it more obvious. –  leokhorn Aug 7 '13 at 7:53

I believe that SSD was correct in removing the accessibility tag from the question. I have a strong background in working with accessibility in an educational context, and can understand why you felt that the question should be tagged in that way, but ultimately I don't think it should as I think it would widen the scope of the tag so much as to make it far too broad.

The issue I see is that if we tag any question which is in any way linked to accommodating a certain group of people, then it will become extremely difficult to know where to draw the line. For example, there are questions on here that relate to 'categories' of players and how best to ensure GMs design their sessions in order to cater to them. You could argue then that it is about accessibility, as it is talking about accommodating a particular group of players in the same way as the question you have raised as an issue.

What about questions to do with improving the legibility of hand drawn maps, or using index cards as a GM to help remember NPC stats, or ways of organising notes so that they are easy to locate and remember that touch on the use of mind maps, colours and images?

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We use tags to categorise the content of a question. They may be useful to other people for other reasons than the original asker's reasons, but we don't tag for every hypothetical and real external motive for reading the question. (The five-tag limit is a feature to help encourage the specificity of tags.) In particular, we don't tag questions after the fact based on answers people give.

I agree that it's a very useful question for accessibility concerns, but it's not about accessibility. It could equally be extra-useful for GMs running a sandbox campaign, but the question isn't about running a sandbox campaign so we don't apply the tag either.

The thing about tags is that they're hyper-focused labels on a question so that they can be grouped by question topic. They're an excellent supplement to our search feature, but they're not a replacement for searching the site. A GM needing help with players' memories, regardless of the reason, will find that question via search because they are looking specifically for questions about players' memory. If we start tagging with non-content tags, each question could potentially have many, many new tags that would suit, but that would make the tag system unmanageably and degrade its utility to the point where no-one would use it anymore.

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But as I pointed out, the question does pertain to accessibility, as accessibility is about more than just disabilities. –  called2voyage Aug 5 '13 at 19:15
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@called2voyage "Pertain to" is a synonym of "about". It's still not in the content of the question. Tags are for what the question is about. We don't add tags to questions based on what the tag is about. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 5 '13 at 19:20
    
I still fail to see how the content of the post in question is not inherently an accessibility issue. –  called2voyage Aug 5 '13 at 19:20
    
Helping players remember clues is a very common GMing task, not an especially accessibility-related one. If you define [accessibility] as making games simply more accessible to anyone, then every single question on this site about GMs making the game easier to get into for their players would take the [accessibility] tag. That reductio ad absurdum shows that there needs to be more for a question to quality than "could be useful for accessibility considerations." –  SevenSidedDie Aug 5 '13 at 19:23
    
But I see this question as different than merely a GM helping players question. This is a GM helping the players overcome their physical/mental issues. Other types of GM-helping-players questions are conflict resolution, GM helping novices, GM helping games be more fun, etc. –  called2voyage Aug 5 '13 at 19:27
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Lots of GMing tasks are about helping players overcome issues. Consider this counterargument for including that question in the [accessibility] set of tagged questions: only one answer is focused on actual accessibility solutions. A question that is tagged [accessibility] should have all answers focused on accessibility issues, and that only happens when the person who is asking the question is trying to solve an accessibility issue. So, tag for content, not relatedness. If we want a question about [accessibility] and memory, we wait for someone with that problem to actually ask it. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 5 '13 at 19:28
    
As I see it (helping the players overcome their physical/mental issues), the answers all do focus on accessibility. –  called2voyage Aug 5 '13 at 19:31
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As I said, such a broad definition would capture almost all our questions about helping players. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 5 '13 at 19:31
    
I disagree and I think the ones that it would capture would be useful and pertinent in the same category. –  called2voyage Aug 5 '13 at 19:33
    
Supposing that it is excessively broad, could you propose a narrower scope that wasn't as narrow as simply "disabilities". I feel that narrowing it to just disabilities is too limiting. –  called2voyage Aug 5 '13 at 19:36
    
I think we're merely drawing the line ever so slightly differently then. Yours would somehow include just this other question but not all the others I'm thinking of, but I can't see how, so I draw the line tighter. We may just have to disagree on this nuance of the tag's scope. In any case, I've put forward my proposed reasoning, and the rest of the users who frequent meta can vote it up or down so we can see the consensus form. (Do feel free to downvote this! On meta, votes are for deciding on what we all agree on, and they don't impact rep or anything that would disincentivise voting.) –  SevenSidedDie Aug 5 '13 at 19:37

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