There are only 4 questions tagged in 2 years, all by the same user. There is no usage guidance for this tag, and all four questions are about the card game , making the intended scope even more unclear. We have four related tags that are more common and better defined: , , , and perhaps .

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    I would consider the ethics tag different then etiquette, cheating and tournament though I am not sure if it is needed or not. – Joe W Apr 29 '16 at 11:24
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    I'm not familiar with bridge, but is ethics a phase of the game, like fuseki in Go? – SocioMatt Apr 29 '16 at 13:12
  • @SocioMatt Bridge (from my limited understanding at least) seems to have a lot of rules that deal with how players share information between partners, and the questions seems to be about when you can deviate from your prior agreements with your partner (I think, more or less, maybe...) – diego Apr 29 '16 at 18:06

It appears that "ethics" has a specific meaning to Bridge players, so as an immediate fix I propose that the existing tag be renamed to bridge-ethics and given corresponding usage guidance by a user who knows more about bridge. The tag isn't used much yet, but perhaps bridge players will start using it more once it's clearer what it's for.

As other answers have pointed out, there are ethical questions that might belong on this site like the ethics of king-making or of making a game that reinforces stereotypes. If and when such questions get asked in the future, we might consider making a new ethics tag.

  • yeah. that works. – Wolfkin May 1 '16 at 19:18
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    I suspect most questions about things like kingmaking would just be social questions, not actual ethical questions. – Cascabel Mod May 1 '16 at 20:37

(This is more replying to "Is it used properly in the bridge questions?" than to the original question; but it is still an answer rather than a comment)

Bridge has (nearly universal) rules that cover the inevitable mistakes; if you revoke by playing one card when you were obliged to play another there is a two trick penalty, reduced to one if the effect was smaller than usual. These rules, deliberately, do not cover the intention of the player; they are purely mechanical, and questions about them use the rules tag.

Like most games involving money and international prestige, bridge also has occasional cheating scandals; international pairs have recently used the positioning of their bidding cards to show partner what they hold. This is flagrant contempt for the whole rules system, and questions about it (if on-topic), use the cheating tag.

But there is also a huge area between the two, covering for example how long you are allowed to hesitate before a bid, when you must (and must not) warn the opposition about the unusual meaning of a bid, and what conventions you can play at a particular tournament. These points are covered by "Rules and Ethics" guidance given by the various rulemaking bodies (mostly but not always national), which usually attempts to 'put the players in the same position they would have been in if everybody had played properly'. Since most people believe they played properly to start with and it is impossible for an adjudicator to know what the player intended, this is not easy, and very many of these questions are discussed at all levels in the bridge world. If they are asked here, ethics is the only reasonable tag.


I think that the ethics tag is just fine but it may or may not be appropriate on the questions it is tagged. As I am not that familiar with bridge I am unable to judge if those tags are used properly or not.

A couple of areas where I think the tag does have some use. Questions about king making in games where a player causes someone else to win/lose while they themselves can't win or the actions prevent them from winning. Another area is co-op games where something may be legal according to the rules but may or may not be against the spirit of the rules.

I don't know if this tag will see a lot of use but I don't see anything wrong with it.


I'm not a bridge player, but I think those questions could all be tagged .

Those four questions appear to all essentially ask whether something is considered cheating in a formal context. If the subject of the question is permissible, it's not cheating, though I suppose it could still be bad etiquette. If it isn't permissible, it's cheating, though it might be a relatively mild form of it.

So the core question is "is this cheating?", and seems appropriate.

I suppose we could consider whether or is a better name for the whole concept. is less loaded, but it's also less specific and not as obvious (only one user has used it?), so I tend to favor .

  • From my point of view something being ethical or not in the game is not dependent on it being cheating or not. To really get into the ethics is a much deeper topic. – Joe W Apr 29 '16 at 21:50
  • @JoeW I agree, but that's not how the tag was used. The "ethical" issues raised appear to all be just asking "is this allowed in formal/serious bridge play?" It looks like bridge players may tend to use the word "ethics" to describe this, but it's what would be called cheating (or not) in most contexts. – Cascabel Mod Apr 29 '16 at 21:52

In the context of board games from the user perspective. The primary arena that really has "ethical" concerns would be publishing. (Is it ethical to report on a publisher that has rejected my game?). That and maybe modern sensitivities (Such as the question of Puerto Rico and the brown colonists cubes). Also the ethics of making a game that reinforces harmful stereotypes. Questions such as Would making The Train1 a fun game instead of an interesting one be ethical? or Should I include slaves in my historic civil war game, or Is it right to make money on a game that causes people harm and others like that.

The thing is I can't imagine many questions with descrete answers appropriate for Stack Exchange, that are also ethical in topic. So yeah in inconsideration with the fact that we have , , , and . I don't see a need for . And based on four questions in two years form one user. It sounds like no one else in the community can come up with a use for them either.

1 - The Train - Designed by SCAD Professor Brenda Brathwaite is a pick up and delivery game in which at the game's conclusion it's revealed that the delivery items are jewish people being delivered to Auschwitz

  • I would disagree with that and say it has as many or more in game play itself. Also I think you are confusing offensive with ethical. – Joe W Apr 30 '16 at 20:31
  • I'm not confusing them but I might not have been clear enough to get my point across. That said while I think I'm reasonably versed on the ethics of board game design, I'm less so on board game play and if you do have reason to believe there are ethical dilemmas that come across in board games worth the effort of stack exchange query I would read your argument. Beyond Kingmaking and pile ons and general issue like that I'm drawing blanks. – Wolfkin Apr 30 '16 at 20:39
  • just noting that while I was writing this you appear to have made your own answer. – Wolfkin Apr 30 '16 at 20:40
  • I don't think the examples you gave have anything to do with ethics but rather something that is designed to be offensive – Joe W Apr 30 '16 at 20:40

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