I am suggesting to create a guideline post describing how to tag specifically for the ELU taxonomy. The discussions in chat and all the posts and comments regarding tags on meta lead me to believe that such a guideline could massively improve the state of our taxonomy going forward. If it's well accepted we might link it on the ELU tagging page. Here we go.
I am suggesting to create and use a tagging guideline, offering this as a first draft. A guideline that represents the taxonomy as it is. Such a guideline can help the editors and users to choose the proper tags. Let us move discussions on the validity of single tags out of this discussion.
I guess my question is, do you agree that a tagging guideline would be helpful for ELU?
ELU tagging guideline
Tags for questions looking for
- ... words, phrases, idioms, expressions. These request questions are our quiz or reverse dictionary questions. The appropriate tags are
- single-word-requests when looking for one word,
- phrase-requests when looking for several words and
- idiom-request when looking for a set idiomatic expression.
- ... a decision on a choice between given alternatives. These choice questions are those which require the question to contain all alternatives. The appropriate tags are
- word-choice when deciding between two or more given words and
- expression-choice when deciding between two or more given expressions.
- Those two are mutually exclusive.
- ... explanation of meaning of something given. These meaning questions need to contain what they are asking about and sufficient context. The appropriate tags are
- meaning for questions about nuances of words and phrases,
- meaning-in-context for questions of understanding of parts of longer texts,
- phrase-meaning specifically regarding phrases and
- idiom-meaning for idioms.
- Only one of those tags should be used.
- ... clarifications about the usage of something given. These usage questions need to contain what they are asking about and an explanation what's unclear about the usage. The appropriate tags are
- word-usage for the usage of certain words and
- phrase-usage for the usage of certain phrases.
Tags for questions regarding
- ... specific topics that are part of the language or linguistics. These tags can stand on their own. A multitude of our tags fall into that category, the lists are not complete.
- They are lexical items like nouns, verbs, prepositions, idioms,
- fields of linguistics like etymology, grammar, punctuation, pronunciation, sentence-structure ,
- grammatical categories like tenses, passive-voice,
- grammatical units like phrases, clauses,
- dialects and variations of English like american-english, british-english, australian-english, slang.
The two groups above make the bulk of our tags and every question should have at least one of those tags. The following groups of tags offer additional information on the questions but cannot stand on their own. This is either due to the fact that they are not sufficiently able to describe a question or that they are hyponyms that should also be tagged with their hypernym tag. (Remark: I expect this last sentence to be controversial.)
Tags describing further question information
- ... by adding field of usage or further categorization to the question.
- They are field of usage like science, mathematics, academia,
- time periods like old-english, middle-english, 1600s, 1700s,
- source languages for translations and relations for etymology like latin, french, german,
- superfluous information like vocabulary, synonyms, terminology, translation, antonym,
Tags that refine the main question tag
- ... by refining a popular tag. The hypernym tag should be used as well.
- Specific tenses like simple-past, present-tense refine tenses.
- Specific symbols like comma, question-mark refine punctuation.
There are some commonly misused tags even though the tag wikis describe their usage differently. Those are
- grammar vs grammaticality
- grammar describes questions regarding grammar itself
- grammaticality describes questions regarding the grammaticality of sentences, clauses and the like.
Do not create or use meta tags under any circumstances!
- The use of meta tags is heavily discouraged on the StackExchange network. The reasoning can be found in this blog post.
- It is also already on the ELU tagging page
- Bad examples of meta tags on ELU are words, language, homework (cf. SO.meta), test, English, gre, etc..
For now I'll leave it at that and wait for some feedback. Of course, this can be enhanced and refined. I think this will give our editors a fighting chance to adhere to the taxonomy as intended. After all we are editing two-thirds of all questions anyways. Here's the query. If we make an easy guideline available to the people editing the questions and raise some awareness to edit the tags as well, we should be able to dramatically increase the ELU tag precision.
A second activity should be to improve the tag wikis, starting with the top 30 most used tags. I'll suggest a structure in another meta post which can then also be used as a blueprint. (EDIT 09/09/16: Blueprint suggestion)