(I had been meaning to ask this a few months ago, but only got around to it today.)

Should and be blacklisted?

Ostensibly, these tags are as redundant as , but if any of you guys have dissenting opinions, I'd want to hear them.

  • 2
    Although not all Mma is about math, I think the scope of those tags are far too broad to be useful. I'd go for tagging more specific math areas if needed. So +1 Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 7:54
  • @Verde, yes and we're already doing this more or less (e.g. calculus-and-analysis, probability). Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 8:03
  • Downvoted because I've attempted to tag several question with math myself. Until I'm certain these tags are of no value I wouldn't want them blacklisted. Have you had to remove a lot of math tags, J. M.? Other than mine I mean. ;-)
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 8:41
  • I agree, however how about tags like "algebra". I dislike how on the maths stack excange sites it's hard to find the required tag for algebra questions because there is no algebra tag, similarly with "angles", "operations", etc... It's all "algebra-pre-post-calculus", "algebra-numeric-etymology", "algebra-more-jargon" and the such.
    – alan2here
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 17:01
  • @alan2here, the algebra tag in math.SE has a long and sordid history, which is why we actively stamp it out every time we see it there. Search the meta site of math.SE for more on this. Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


I have never thought about that question before, but your question made me thinking about it. At first, I immediately agreed with you but after some further thinking I hestitate now.

Let me first look at your arguments. In fact there aren't really that much. You simply state that the tags are redundant, but are they really? The statement means that every question about Mathematica would be about math. So, what about a call to ChemicalData, would that be tagged math? Would you qualify Line as math, just because it takes numerical arguments? Is StringSplit math? I would be tempted to say no.

Now the other side. Would it be useful to have such a tag? Well, if we would include all the bean counting math (addition, multiplication, etc.) you're right. I'd say too many of the questions could be labeled with math. Would people really be thinking about doing that? I dont think so.

What if we would reserve math for all questions about math beyond say highschool level? The fields, rings, branch cuts etc. They don't have a tag (I think, but I may be wrong), nor do I think it would be wise to create a bunch of very specialized tags. It is my current feeling that for those questions it could be useful to apply the math tag. I can imagine people just tracking this tag because they want to devour the scary stuff.

  • 2
    A scary-stuff or math-beyond-basics seems better suited than just math. Any novice user will be tempted to use math for almost anything and the comments below will be bloated with teaching the tag's usage criteria. And no ... people usually don't read tag specs. Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 8:02
  • 1
    @verde You pre-empted my tag-wiki response, you !$#@#. Anyway, I don't agree with the other part (beginners...almost anything): I've never seen that tag been used before (or have we been aggresively removing them?). Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 8:08
  • The worst case is keeping a useless tag that we could remove later, so I think it does not deserve too much time discussing it. You may well be right Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 9:09
  • 1
    but the math tag is inherently unhelpful... what do I go there for? Algebra? Calculus? Topology? Bean counting? We have been fairly meticulous in dividing math areas into reasonable tags such as calculus-and-analysis, combinatorics, probability, polynomials, etc. I'd like to continue that instead of having a catchall math tag. Keeping a useless tag that we could remove later as Verde says is not an easy solution. Removing 1 tag out of 100 posts is not easy and floods the homepage if not done slowly (SE won't burninate tags for you that easily).
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 12:49
  • 2
    I'm fine with the wait till it becomes a problem before blacklisting approach (SE will ask you to do that anyway), but I wouldn't advocate using the math tag for anything. This whole advanced stuff/scary math is very subjective... in fact, the programming tag is a mess right now, because anytime someone asks a question with more than 4 lines of code, I see that tag. But the wiki says it is for non trivial stuff. What is non-trivial to one is trivial to another...
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 12:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .