So I saw this today:


If I had identified an typo error in a mail which I just sent (like sending wrong date for an event), what should be my best correction?

Example : Please read it as 'A' instead of 'B' Please ignore 'A' it is 'B'

Which was rightly closed as "Primarily Opinion Based" by 5 different users, including a diamond moderator. In defense of his question, the OP replied to the closure with:

I marked this under – sudheer maddula 1 hour ago

So I went and looked, and yep, indeed the tag wiki for [email] reads:

Any queries concerning the language, or appropriate use of words in emails i.e. greetings, salutations, body, or farewell words. Generally on words acceptable or not or its proper usage relating to emails

This seems to directly invite off-topic POB (subjective) questions.

There are only 36 questions with this tag. I haven't looked through all of them individually, but unless someone can make the case that there are kinds of legitimate, non-subjective questions which can be asked about emails specifically (as opposed to any other medium), I'm going to burninate this tag.

If you don't want this tag burninated, downvote and make an argument in the answers (or upvote an existing answer which makes an argument you agree with).

If you think this tag is unlikely ever to add value to the site and is better burninated, upvote.

  • 1
    I read "I'm going to burninate this tag." in Liam Neeson's "Taken" voice. Go ahead.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 15:48
  • 1
    @NVZ But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for tags like [email].
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 15:49
  • 1
    On second thought, I agree with MetaEd's suggestion "rewrite the tag wiki to avoid POB questions"
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 15:53
  • 1
    On third thought, all style questions really are POB.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 15:59
  • 1
    There are lots of questions that are essentially writing advice: "Can I write this?" or "Is this thing somebody else right or wrong?". All the email tagged things seem to fall under that. Whether it's tagged 'email' or not is usually irrelevant. Maybe it could stay as a tag about 'correspondence'?
    – Mitch
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 17:04
  • 1
    Aww, @Mitch, you ruined my pun :(
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 18:15
  • @DanBron :D or rather :|
    – Mitch
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 18:23

2 Answers 2


The tag wiki seems to invite requests for email writing advice.

Requests to proofread or help write emails are off topic. Requests to critique writing style are off topic.

But this tag would rightly be applied to good questions about salutations, closing words, and other elements of correspondence where the questions and answers are reusable by other visitors. And we do answer questions about style in the sense of register.

I see many tagged questions which essentially want to know about differences between how salutations and closing words are used in email and print mail, and generally how using email instead of paper mail affects register, especially formality.

These are not always good questions, but that is not the fault of the tag nor does it prevent someone from writing a good answer.

So maybe the right solution is to clarify the tag wiki.

  • 2
    Rewriting tag wiki seems like a good idea.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 15:54
  • My principle concern is that questions about appropriate salutations, valedictions, etc are matters of style, and we're pretty consistent with closing all style questions as POB, related to email or not. We even close as POB questions which could in theory be answered by the Chicago or AP Manuals of Style. For the most part, we direct these questions to Writers, where that makes sense. A secondary issue is: are there considerations in the elements of correspondence which are specific to email, sufficient to warrant a tag people are likely to abuse?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 15:55
  • @DanBron Ah, you make me walk my walk back back (or something). On third thought, all style questions really are POB.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 15:58
  • @MetaEd Here's a fresh example of the kind of question I think you're talking about: How to start an official Email when giving Information?. Already it has 4 closevotes (one is mine) for being POB. So a couple questions: is this the kind of question you had in mind? If so, do you think it should stay open and be answered? Also, do you think it would be enhanced by adding the email tag?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 16:03
  • @DanBron I've expanded my answer based on your good points in comment. As for your specific example, not the first part. We are not a grammar checker. But the second half of the question is reasonable. The relative formality of the set phrases "this is to inform you", "I would like to inform you", and "I just wanted to let you know" is something somebody could write a great answer about.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 16:31
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    @MetaEd Thanks; helpful answer. I'm not personally convinced we should encourage email questions, but I'm happy to let the community decide and will comply with the consensus will.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 16:38

I do not understand what makes electronic mail distinct enough from paper mail that it deserves its own tag. I do not deny that there are things that you might find in a piece of electronic mail, that you will not find in a written letter, but the status of "A.O.L. speak" and emoticons being a part of the English Language is questionable, and even if we posit that it is a part of the English Language as defined by our website, these things are scarcely unique to email, as they can be found in other forms of internet discussion. If we really need to discuss such things, which is a discussion that is probably better saved for another meta-question, a more general internet tag would be more appropriate for discussing these topics on the whole, or maybe specific tags for emoticons or 1337.

The only reason I can think of for somebody to tag a question with is because the question is motivated by a desire to write one. However, a tag made for the sole purpose of describing a person's motivation for asking a question is probably a meta-tag and meta-tags are against Stack Exchange policy as discussed in The Death of Meta Tags which was written by one of the website's co-founders, Jeff Atwood.

I agree with Meta Ed that there are aspects of written correspondence that might be well suited for this particular website, since the form of it differs slightly from typical English. However they would be better categorized under a more general tag name. I think the and tags are better candidates for such topics though. Some of the more recent questions with those tags also have or should (which I only write for lack of a better word) have the tag.

Although is by far the more popular of the two alternatives, I actually suggest making and synonyms of . One reason for this is that the letter-writing tag is a little more ambiguous and has clarification the correspondence tag would not need which is "(that is, a written communication between people, not the writing of individual alphabetic characters)".

Afterwards, I would also propose correspondence be given the following tag information:

This tag is for questions regarding the unique aspects of written English in correspondence, whether it is in the form of e-mail or a paper letter.

Granted, I suppose correspondence technically indicates that such communications are being mutually interchanged, but I doubt that this would make much of a practical difference.

If it is later decided that we should excise all such questions for being primarily stylistic, and hence opinion based, I think it'll be easier for us to remove just the one tag than to hunt down all three.

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