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Regarding filling the tag excerpt:

What can be done when the tag name represents both a function of a statistical software, but its name also suggests a broader concept of usage?

Example:

The tag, which is a function in R, but it is also an acronym (in a broader sense) for linear mixed effect model. CV has other tags for mixed effect models, but none for linear mixed effect models (besides ).

I had read once on an SO meta post that it was not a good idea to create a tag to refer only to software functions. Unfortunately, I did not find this post. I found this one, which does not have a +10 upvoted and accepted answer.

So, after research, I count 42 posts out of 64 (63.7%) tagged if were also labeled with .
I thought of suggesting an excerpt which could convey the broad sense, but also emphasizing the R aspect of its usage.

From FOX, J. (2002) Linear Mixed Models. Retrieved from here (page 1, last paragraph), I came up with this suggestion for the tag excerpt:

Linear mixed models may be expressed in different but equivalent forms. In the social and behavioral sciences, it is common to express such models in hierarchical form. "lme" also stands as an R function in the formulation described in Laird and Ware (1982) but allowing for nested random effects.

The suggestion was rejected but with different opinions from the reviewers.

So, the objective here is to ask if we have a consensus of what to do when there is a tag that is strongly related to a specific software, but it can also be used for broader concepts, or even in different software. How to fill in the tag excerpt in such situations? And beyond that, are software function tags recommended or not?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you still interested in getting an answer for this Q? $\endgroup$ – amoeba says Reinstate Monica Aug 30 '16 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say that an answer to "What can be done when the tag name represents both a function of a statistical software, but its name also suggests a broader concept of usage?" is -- one should try to re-organize this tag and perhaps split it into two, or deprecate. $\endgroup$ – amoeba says Reinstate Monica Aug 30 '16 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @amoeba, yes, definitely; an answer would be very welcome. I read the current excerpt from 'lme' and agreed to what the guidance there, is. $\endgroup$ – Andre Silva Aug 30 '16 at 17:02
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This Q was mentioned in a recent discussion and I see that it is unanswered, so I thought I would answer.

What can be done when the tag name represents both a function of a statistical software, but its name also suggests a broader concept of usage?

In general, this is a suboptimal situation. I would try to de-ambiguate the tag.

If this is not possible then the next best solution is to write a tag excerpt that provides a clear usage guidelines.

In particular, has the following excerpt:

lme() is the function for estimating Linear Mixed Effects models in the nlme package for the R project for statistical computing. For general questions about mixed effects models, use the [mixed-effect] tag.

which sounds reasonable.

Still, it would be even better if we merge [lme] into [lme4-nlme] and then the temptation to use this tag for mixed model questions that are not about lme() function would disappear.

And beyond that, are software function tags recommended or not?

The current practice is that we allow tags for "prominent" software packages (such as in R or in Python), but do not generally tolerate tags for specific software functions. I think this works fine.

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