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User BBz removed the beginner tag from 8 questions yesterday, including 3 of mine. I don't agree with at least some of these tag removals, but on the other hand the definition of the tag isn't all that clear:

Someone who is new to a particular game and has seldom, if ever, played it before.

From my perspective, if I've played a simple game less than 5 times or less than a few hours, I'm a beginner. If I've played a really complex game for less than a few hundred hours (i.e. Bridge, Chess, Go), I'm a beginner. According to that definition, there are some basics of the game I still probably don't yet know. For example as a beginner I sure wish I had been given the following advice on Bridge:

Why are beginning to intermediate bridge players told to delay learning how to bid certain types of unusual hands?

As a beginner, it is really useful for me to see efficient learning method discussion like this, as well as basic strategies. Being able to pick out all the "beginner" questions for bridge and read through them (if you've spent less than a couple hundred hours playing Bridge) could be really useful for a beginner, IMO.

What do people think this beginner tag be used for?

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I found two questions with the beginner tag and removed it from both.

Beginner, and terms like it are "meta" tags which are strongly discouraged on the SE network.

I also eliminated "courtesy" and "fair-play" which tended to travel together.

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BBz indicated that the beginner tag was a meta tag, I approved it, and it was removed.

BBz recently indicated that strategy is a meta tag, I rejected it, it still exists.

I have no idea if I made the right decision in either case. In the latter, I decided that strategy was a useful meta tag, because it wasn't referring to a class of board games, but a class of questions. Those types of questions are certainly of interest to some people (although, the same argument has been made about the rules tag), and I know that at least I have favorited the strategy tag.

I could see beginner being useful to some players, but most of those questions came down to strategy questions. The remaining questions were merged into the tag.

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  • So are you suggesting use of the teaching tag for what I described (as my idea for use of) the beginner tag? If that's the case, I can add the teaching tag to the bridge Q cited above. – Joe Golton Jun 28 '12 at 16:13
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    We need to go on a meta tag hunt. I'm on vacation now, but this will e a worthy quest when I get back. – Pat Ludwig Jul 1 '12 at 2:27
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The beginner tag (or something like it) serves well in the following scenario:

I have just learned a game and played it a couple times (or in the case of a complex game like Bridge I've played it for less than 100 total hours). I'd like a guide to:

  1. basic strategy
  2. how to go about learning it and mastering ever more complex strategies

I am already finding Board and Card Games useful for finding such guidance, but it is haphazardly organized. Looking at all questions on Settlers of Catan is an inefficient way to select questions that are appropriate. Selecting Settlers/strategy is of some help but there are some advanced and beginner advice mixed together. What I want is to pick out Settlers/Beginners and read all of them. This accelerates my learning.

Conversely, some people may want to skip over beginner type questions, and having this tag allows such questions to be excluded from view.

This site is in its infancy. Assuming it continues to grow, what is now merely tedious (picking out beginner questions to Settlers of Catan and reading them all, or routinely ignoring beginner questions) will become impossible at higher volumes.

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Thanks for opening this discussion!

It's also been hard for me to draw the line for and, especially, .

Beginner

It's pretty clear to me that is a meta tag and largely unnecessary. I can see most information that is useful to new players also being useful to casual or veteran players, even if it's just a reference.

But what convinces me that isn't useful, is that it only has 1 follower. So hardly anyone noticed that I removed the tags

Strategy

This is a really tough one and deserves it's own meta question.

For one thing, it's a meta tag and in general, I don't see that the tag helps users understand a question more than a well-phrase question would.

I tried to remove tags on questions where I was confident that the question alone could explain that it was a question on strategy, (and not rules). I also purposefully left the tag on a question that was only about strategy, independent of any game (I can't find the link right now).

But it has 15 followers! Clearly some people find it useful.

Nevertheless, its Follower-to-Question ratio of 0.0789 (15 followers for 190 questions) is still very low for being the 3rd most popular tag.

So I think it's not useful for most people because it implies that a user is either 1) interested in learning about any strategies from any game, or 2) knowledgable about any strategies from any game. I'm willing to support this rare case because then strategy wouldn't be a meta tag.

EDIT: After some thought, I wouldn't encourage its use in that rare case either because a question about strategy in general, regardless of the gamem may be too general to answer on B&CG. But I wouldn't remove the tag if the question generated an exceptionally insightful answer.

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    As for the strategy tag, I take it that this tag is just attractive to users, even thought they will end up not being interested in most of the questions it is featured in. There is much more value in tags of intrinsic value like "dominion" or "bridge". Thus I would tend to replace it despite the 15 followers - especially with the low relative ratio you mentioned. – mafu Jul 2 '12 at 16:41
  • Tags are useful for more than just followers! Presumably most regulars of this site aren't beginners at most board games and might not want to follow the beginner tag, yet being able to easily search for those questions could still be useful. – Gregor Thomas Aug 9 '12 at 3:13
  • Though I see that they're definitely meta-tags, which are discouraged. – Gregor Thomas Aug 9 '12 at 3:16

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