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Prompted by the "new tag suggestions" question, I wondered about

"guidance on tagging principles: should we aim for more generality, thereby associating each tag with more threads and enriching their semantic web, or aim for more specificity, which risks "Balkanizing" otherwise related ideas?"

I suspect general tags are better, because in appropriate combinations they can characterize any question precisely while linking it quite broadly with other questions. What is the community's opinion?

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  • $\begingroup$ What would be an example of "general" vs "specific"? $\endgroup$ – svadali Sep 7 '10 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ General: statistics, probability, modeling. Specific: computational-statistics, conditional-probability, random-effects-model. (All are actual examples.) Somewhat contrary to what I wrote in the question, it seems possible for some tags to be too general to be of much use, such as "statistics." $\endgroup$ – whuber Sep 7 '10 at 22:57
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    $\begingroup$ It seems there are several threads roughly related to this (and this is one) but I can't find a point blank answer to the question - when should you (or not) create a tag? A few minutes ago on this thread: stats.stackexchange.com/questions/27550/…, I created the z-test tag, because it seemed odd to me that it didn't exist. But, I didn't know if it was bad form to just create it out of nowhere since it's so similar to the t-test tag (which I could've used instead). Is there a link to a discussion on this or should I create a new question? $\endgroup$ – Macro Jun 8 '12 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Macro The SE FAQ on tags may have what you are looking for. I found the emphasis on using broad tags to be especially interesting. $\endgroup$ – whuber Jun 8 '12 at 14:28
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I think general tags are not very helpful especially since we can only have 5 tags per question. In addition, searching for questions via a combination of tags seems an additional step that is not user friendly.

Having said that, creating a semantic network among tags is a good idea but this may need new functionality. I am not sure if changing how we tag (general instead of specific) is the best way to create a semantic web.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for the reminder about the tag limitation: I had forgotten that. It certainly influences what one can do. I don't see how using a combination of tags is user-unfriendly, though. Considering that the alternative is to find a tag specific to one's question--and there might be many of them--it seems to me that the ability to give a list of terms that are vaguely related to one's question and home in on material that is somewhat related to all the terms is going to permit more successful searches that attempting to identify specific tags a priori. $\endgroup$ – whuber Sep 10 '10 at 2:26
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    $\begingroup$ +1 in that general tags are not helpful once a site matures. delicious is a great example (and appropriate since it brought tagging to the web) -- it's a lot easier to find relevant bookmarks when you have a specific tags in mind. I think the combination of tags can be helpful though -- at least on StackOverflow, I find myself looking through say "python + regression" or "R + web-scraping" more often than any of those terms by themselves. $\endgroup$ – ars Sep 23 '10 at 15:05

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