dnd4e, dnd 4.0, 4e should all be expanded to "Dungeons and Dragons 4e"

The tag wiki could include instructions on how to search the community wiki for hints, links to the compendium, and the rules updates.

3.5 should have the same.

DitV should be expanded to Dogs in the Vineyard.

There are no reasons for having "abbreviated tags" when no-one searches from online services to dnd4.0

Edit: I've made a few questions with "Dungeons-and-Dragons-4e" in them. How do people like the look versus dnd4.0?

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4.0 in any form bugs me. The game is 4th edition D&D. There is no .0 attached in any way. –  Pat Ludwig Nov 12 '10 at 14:14
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If our tag wikis are reasonably complete and contain the long name, Google will know that a question tagged "dnd4.0" should show up in search results for "Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition". We only need to worry about whether the tags are convenient for us. That said, I loath the decimal scheme. [dnd3.5], yes. [adnd2.0] is just nonsense, and [dnd4.0] is too. [dnd4.0-essentials] is even worse. We might as well call it [ditv1.0] and [ditv-revised], if we're just going to make up tagging schemes on a whim. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 12 '10 at 18:19
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I would suggest we consult the SE SEO people before making rampant tag changes based on our imperfect understanding of how this works. Brevity in tags is usually a virtue. We shouldn't have to spell them out super long - what, to make sure both D&D and Dungeons & Dragons show up, do we tag everything under multiple? What about the ampersands, what ever shall we do without ampersands? –  mxyzplk Nov 13 '10 at 0:08
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Question posed to the SE SEO people on MSO: How do tags influence the StackExchange's SEO? (thanks CRoss). –  yhw42 Nov 13 '10 at 16:32
    
Once one creates a synonym, how does one get the word out so that it might be voted up? I've linked the two D&D4e ones here: rpg.stackexchange.com/tags/dnd-4.0/synonyms –  Jadasc Dec 14 '10 at 13:13
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The synonym needs to go in the other direction. dnd-4.0 is incorrect –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 15 '10 at 1:09
    
@Brian Tried that; it said that because of the sheer number of entries under dnd-4.0, it couldn't be used as a synonym for the new one. Synonyms aren't transitive? –  Jadasc Dec 15 '10 at 13:12
    
Nope. If we make a syn of dungeons-and-dragons-4e to dnd-4.0 the long form will be deleted without warning. How do we go voting on a mass retagging? I think its time. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 15 '10 at 22:36
    
I like the shorter form. Long tags discourage tagging in my experience. –  F. Randall Farmer Dec 16 '10 at 8:24
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Why? We have auto-complete. I don't type anything but the first 2-3 characters in any regards. And dnd-4.0 is still wrong. Encourage dnd-4e once we get the synonyms up, if you want. It'd be nice to do a/b testing. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 16 '10 at 8:33
    
I have changed over dnd and dnd-3.0 as a test run. –  C. Ross Jan 3 '11 at 23:39
    
This should be closed as a dupe of the tag-synonym suggestion wiki at meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/430 (or too localized since it served its purpose, but the dupe would add the link) –  yhw42 Jan 26 '11 at 5:58

6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

This is what I think the tags should be, as well as their implied hierarchies:

  • [dnd]
    • [odnd]
    • [dnd-bx]
    • [dnd-becmi]
    • [adnd]
    • [adnd-2e]
    • [dnd-3e]
    • [dnd-3.5e]
    • [dnd-4e]
    • [dnd-essentials]

There are a few advantages to tagging things like this.

First, they just look right. These are the abbreviations people already use. (Well, almost—less the ampersand, for technical reasons.) They don't look like unfamiliar jargon—they're familiar jargon. ;)

Second, they're no harder to discover than the existing scheme. People starting to tag something "dnd" will find everything except rules-cyclopedia, and if they're asking about that they're going to start typing "Rules…" anyway. Or we retag them, which is what us experienced people are for. For the same reason, all D&D tags can be added to a user's ignored or interesting tags using wildcards.

Third, people playing, say, AD&D 1st edition do not care if the tags are consistent with D&D 3.x naming conventions. In fact, they might be annoyed if they are.


Some notes on choices:

  • I think [adnd] doesn't need a "1" qualifier. 1) Almost all AD&D 1e questions are relevant to AD&D 2nd edition since it's not significantly different in most regards. 2) If people say "AD&D" without qualifying, they mean 1st edition. 3) If people mean 2nd edition specifically, they invariably say 2nd edition. Hence [adnd] is a better tag than [adnd1] would be, is more natural, and doesn't cover anything it shouldn't.

  • We don't have tags for Basic D&D (aka BX), or for the Rules Cyclopedia yet. I'm not sure we need them now, but maybe it's just because we haven't got any BD&D players here yet. [becmi] might cover Rules Cyclopedia fine, so be might never need a tag for it. We might want to think of how to tag Basic D&D when it comes up though: [basic-dnd], [bx-dnd], [bdnd]? I like [bx-dnd] myself. (EDIT: Correction, we do have a [bx-dnd] tag. I'd forgotten that I edited that into a question. In any case, I'm not wedded to that exact tag, and since I don't play BX I'm not as familiar with the preferred abbreviation.)

  • I think Essentials doesn't need an edition qualifier. There are almost twice the Google hits for "D&D Essentials" than there are for "D&D 4e Essentials". Both are used, but without "4e" is far more common. For our purposes, [dnd-essentials] is just as easy to discover when typing as [dnd-4e-essentials] would be. There's never been another edition of Essentials, and if there is such thing as "D&D 5e Essentials" at some point, we can cross that bridge with a one-time retag or synonym just fine when we come to it.

  • There's no "parent" tag for 3e tags. There are few uses of the 3.0 tag right now as it is, that I just don't think it matters. Everyone uses 3.5 to mean 3e generically now, only saying "3.0" if they specifically mean that edition. This is much like the AD&D/AD&D 2e situation, but the dominant, default-assumption edition is chronologically reversed.

  • If we really wanted to, it could be [dnd-4] instead, since that's another common form. Either way is easily discoverable and I don't care either way

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I like your structure. You can use wildcards in tag searches so that [dnd] would match them all in a search or as interesting/ignore tags (if we used [bx-dnd] or the like). Also [adnd*] or [dnd3*] would work well. –  yhw42 Nov 12 '10 at 19:47
    
I'd prefer becmi-dnd so there's a dnd in it, and dnd3 instead of 3.0 for the same anti-decimal thing. 3.5 is the only version that properly has one. For the missing parent of 3.0 and 3.5 you could have d20-dnd... –  mxyzplk Nov 13 '10 at 0:12
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@mxyzplk Maybe [dnd3e], [dnd3.5], and [dnd4e]? That's closer to how they're "natively" abbreviated. And [becmi-dnd], though slightly contrived, is pretty good and definitely has the advantages of discoverability and filterability. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '10 at 3:55
    
@SevenSidedDie agreed and [adnd2e] to round it out. And that's fine for becmi, none of us ever called it that back in the day anyway. It was "Dungeons & Dragons" or "Red Box." –  mxyzplk Nov 13 '10 at 3:59
    
@mxyzplk Eh, the people who call AD&D 2nd edition "2e" are the minority. I'd argue against anything-e for games prior to 3e. Really, I'd prefer to see the acronyms that are used in the wild by the core players of the edition used instead. Hm… then again, there isn't really an active acronym for the edition-that-could-be-called 2e anyway. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '10 at 4:15
    
We always called it "second edition" back in the day, assuming we needed to distinguish from "AD&D". –  mxyzplk Nov 13 '10 at 4:21
    
@mxyzplk Us too. It doesn't lend itself to a tag much, does it? I'm not sure what the current hip acronym among avid AD&D 2nd edition players is, either. So I'd say go plainly descriptive for lack of an "official" acronym, with [adnd2], or adopt the "e for edition" convention at the risk of cheesing off people particular about 3e terminology encroaching on their game. I feel like it's a toss-up. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '10 at 4:26
    
Oh, 2e just as an abbreviation for second edition. No one here ever calls 3e "Three-Eee" out loud. It's just the shortened written form. –  mxyzplk Nov 13 '10 at 4:33
    
@mxyzplk …I have. >.> But that's neither here nor there. Yeah, 2e makes sense for the tag. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '10 at 6:05
    
According to Jeff's response to CRoss's question, we could and maybe should put spaces in the tags as dashes: [dnd-4e] or [dnd-3.0] –  yhw42 Nov 13 '10 at 16:00
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The mods are moving ahead on implementing this FYI. –  mxyzplk Jan 12 '11 at 1:27
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I disagree on the 3.5e, there's no "e" in D&D 3.5. Not sure about the 2e thing either... –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jan 12 '11 at 1:55
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I disagree with putting an e in 3.5 tags too, for SEO reasons. That will reduce the rank on those questions when people search for the standard term. I've no problem with "2e" on those grounds though, since it's the closest thing there is to a standard short name. –  SevenSidedDie Jan 12 '11 at 17:36
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Google "D&D 3.5e" vs "D&D 3.5" - I get 500k vs 100k hits. It's a standard term where I come from. –  mxyzplk Jan 13 '11 at 4:36
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@mxyzplk Really?! Well colour me surprised, but I can't argue with data. –  SevenSidedDie Jan 13 '11 at 16:54

I'm not understanding @SevenSidedDie's point about the tag wiki being enough for Google. (Granted, I'm not a SEO expert).

I picked a recent D&D4e question from this site that didn't explicitly mention the version of the game in the post and asked queried google to see if I could find it.

The question -> http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/4235/can-a-warlock-when-leveling-up-take-hexblade-powers-feats-etc

Google results (rank/total pages returned)

Our tag wiki leads off with the phrase - "Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition". I think until recently that was the full content of the wiki.

It does not appear to be having the desired effect. We are "below the fold" for the queries using "Dungeons & Dragons".

@AceCalhoon suggested comparing to a question that uses Dungeons and Dragons more prominently. I picked -> http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/4170/is-the-use-of-action-points-permitted-in-a-surprise-round as it is of similar vintage (1 day older to be precise) yet still does not have any form of D&D in the title.

Google results (rank/total pages returned)

Higher placements almost universally across the board out of many more total pages returned. Again, I'm no SEO expert, but I believe this shows that with the right terms, RPGSE can place very high in the google ranks.

I think we need to prominently use the words "Dungeons" and "Dragons" on every page that has a question relating to any form of the game. I believe the easiest way to do that is to use them in the tags.

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Being a new site, current Google results aren't predictive of how searchable our site will be when we're more established. It matters less what our site says than who links to us. So long as we've got the questions in a category titled "Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition", Google will pick those questions up at all, even if they don't contain the words "Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition", as your results show. It won't rank us high on those searches until we've proven our worth by getting inbound links. Of course, we'll always rank high on searches for terms no-one else uses, like "dnd4.0". –  SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '10 at 4:00
    
@sevensideddie - Generally I get how things end up in google. What I still don't understand how having terms on one page drives traffic on those terms to other pages. It seems to me that it would be preferable to have the terms that people are going to search on directly on the pages that they are ultimately looking for. –  Pat Ludwig Nov 13 '10 at 4:52
    
@PatLudwig Google looks at pages that link TO a given page, in addition to the contents of the page itself. When doing a very specific search and looking at cached pages (which highlights the search terms), I'll often see terms listed as only being on linking pages. How well Google can translate from the tag index to the individual page, however, I don't know. The best way of checking, I think, is to compare questions which do reference Dungeons and Dragons directly with those that don't. –  AceCalhoon Nov 13 '10 at 5:02
    
@AceCalhoon - I added a comparison to a diff question that used "Dungeons and Dragons" right in the question. –  Pat Ludwig Nov 13 '10 at 5:38
    
It's worth noting that Google handles Stack Overflow crawling/searching in a custom way, so it "gets" how they're set up. I'm sure that will overflow into the StackExchange sites in time. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 13 '10 at 6:04
    
@Seven - Can you point to where that is defined/mentioned? –  Pat Ludwig Dec 17 '10 at 4:32

I propose we change to the short form tags proposed by SevenSidedDie now, see if or how that affects traffic, and leave the "longer tag form / wiki would solve it" question open until we get a definitive word from the SEO people on what would actually help.

Here's my reasons (besides the fact that bugs me):

  1. The tag suggestions are more correct than the current versions.
  2. It's currently the highest voted answer to this question.
  3. The most used tag on a question is now prepended to the question's title if it's not in the title already. So most questions now have "dnd 3.5 - < Title >" as the title of the page, for example the Freedom of Movement question. (This might also be an argument against long form tags.)
  4. Google is probably smarter than me:
    • when I type "D&D" as a search term it highlights "Dungeons and Dragons" in results' text.
    • when I use "dnd 4e" it highlights "D&D" and "4th edition."
    • I have no idea if that actually means anything, though!

One additional note: We should work on filling out the tag-wikis as well. When I did some test searching, often the first rpg/SE page in the results was the "New questions in " page which includes the tag excerpt.

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I second the motion. Is there a way for a mod to do mass-retagging? Or shall this be a community... "effort?" Do we tag with the complete hierarchy? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 20 '10 at 22:09
    
@Brian: The mods do have a tag rename tool of some sort that is global. It's been used for the [dd4.0]->[dnd4.0]->[dnd-4.0] progression so far. –  yhw42 Dec 20 '10 at 22:37
    
So does [dnd-4.0] become [dnd] [dnd-4e] as per @Seven's hierarchy? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 20 '10 at 23:01
    
@Brian: No, That isn't how I read it at all! I understood it to mean we should use the most specific one that applied to the question, as we do now. –  yhw42 Dec 20 '10 at 23:21
    
Fair enough. I'll support that interpretation. Though I do think we need a hierarchy of "question types" as well, but that's ... a much lesser problem. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 20 '10 at 23:24
    
@Brian What yhw42 said. –  SevenSidedDie Jan 12 '11 at 17:39

Could someone please take a look at the burningwheel / burning-wheel tag set? I know it's not as big as the DnD issue, but with my current rep I can't fix it and it needs fixing.

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burningwheel is a synonym for burning-wheel. rpg.stackexchange.com/tags/burning-wheel/synonyms or is there a deeper issue with burning wheel tags? –  Simon Withers Jan 25 '11 at 5:11
    
@Simon Withers - Nope! That's what I wanted to have happen! –  gomad Jan 25 '11 at 17:43

For now, I think we should keep the tags as they are.

These are good abbreviations. It's obvious what they mean. And the shortness has an advantage: it keeps lists of tags short. For example, my lists of interesting/ignored tags are long already. If we use the longer versions, lists of tags will rapidly become unmanageable.

Admittedly, the longer versions are more searchable. But they bring problems, too. I think the problems outweigh the advantage.

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What are some of the problems the long tags bring? –  yhw42 Nov 12 '10 at 15:22
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They'll make the lists of interesting/ignored tags very long indeed. –  Graham Nov 12 '10 at 15:43
    
having tags that are not searched for in google is quite a hinderence. I don't think that is balanced by any slight inconvenience in tag lists. –  Pat Ludwig Nov 12 '10 at 15:59
    
For me, it's more than a slight inconvenience. The abbreviated versions work well in lists. The longer versions might get unmanageable, wherever lists of tags are used (the tags attached to a particular post, the ignored list, the interesting list). I agree that being searchable is a sizeable advantage. –  Graham Nov 12 '10 at 16:30
    
@Pat See my comment on the question: short tags aren't a problem for Google if we keep our house in order by filling out our tag wikis right. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 12 '10 at 18:55
    
@Sevensidedide - I don't understand how the tag wikis help, could you explain? I also answered this q myself so that I could format my response better. –  Pat Ludwig Nov 12 '10 at 20:55

There is some logic to this, but there is a 25 character limit.

  • Dungeons-and-Dragons-4.0: 24
  • Dungeons-and-Dragons-3.5: 24
  • Dogs-in-the-vineyard: 20

So those should all be ok. It would probably help people find our site in google. I did a search on dnd4.0 (the term we use to tag), and we were the second result!

So, we should probably change the tags for anything under 25 characters.

Realize that this doesn't mean having to type in the full tag names. We can create a synonym so that our current names work, and are automatically translated into the full form.


Advice from the developers here.

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Dungeons-and-Dragons-Essentials goes way over. Alas! –  mxyzplk Nov 13 '10 at 0:08
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With synonyms it makes no sense not to have longer tags. –  anon186 Nov 13 '10 at 23:01

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