There are about 20 questions tagged , and 8 questions tagged . Both are clearly off-topic according to the Help Center.

Of the existing questions, they are either improperly tagged, or off-topic and unsalvageable. All of them should either be retagged or deleted.

The existence of these tags gives the impression that such questions are allowable on ELL. I propose that they be abolished and blacklisted.

Please indicate your agreement by upvoting the answers, or post a counterproposal as an answer.

  • 1
    It looks like the Community bot just bumped this related question also: meta.ell.stackexchange.com/q/1107/9161
    – ColleenV
    Nov 10, 2014 at 18:47
  • So, at what point would we decide that "yes, it should be deleted" or "no, let's keep it" and what's the next step? It looks like a suggestion was made to delete resources a few months ago and nothing definitive ever came of it.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 12, 2014 at 20:28
  • @ColleenV I was hoping to get more than four measly votes in favour. But if Meta participation is low, maybe that's all the consensus we're going to get. I'll ask the Stack Exchange staff to go ahead with the burnination of resources and etymology. Nov 12, 2014 at 20:31
  • I wonder if it would make sense in the future to post the opposing option as a question also, i.e. "I think we should keep the tag". (Never mind - I just realized I can click on the number to see the totals)
    – ColleenV
    Nov 12, 2014 at 20:38
  • I've made my case in the question. If you want to keep the tags, you should state why, and that requires posting an answer, not just a vote. Nov 12, 2014 at 20:42
  • Yes, you're right - we're not designing a survey here :)
    – ColleenV
    Nov 12, 2014 at 20:43
  • SE staff have recommended that we manually retag each question, since there are not that many of them. Nov 12, 2014 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


I agree that should be abolished and blacklisted. Existing answers with the tag should either be retagged as appropriate, or deleted.

  • 2
    Removing resources seems more clear cut to me. I know etymology is off-topic, but in some cases, a practical look at etymology might be helpful. If someone asks "this word looks a lot like a word in my native language. Is it related?" it is a question of etymology, but it would be helpful in understanding or remembering English words that have crossed over from other languages.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 6, 2014 at 16:42
  • @ColleenV Perhaps you should post that as an answer, proposing deletion but not blacklisting. Nov 6, 2014 at 16:46
  • I guess I'm not clear about the difference between deletion and blacklisting - I assumed it would mean no-one could propose the tag in the future. It makes sense to me that if we go through the trouble of deleting the tag, we wouldn't want it to crop up again in the future.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 6, 2014 at 16:57
  • @ColleenV That is correct. Nov 6, 2014 at 16:57
  • 1
    So, does etymology add information that would be useful in searching the site for similar questions or answers, even though straight etymology questions are off-topic? I'm not sure it does, but with only 20 questions tagged that way, I'm not sure it does too much damage to be left alone if there isn't a clear consensus. I think if we decide to delete it, it should also be blacklisted so we don't have to have this conversation multiple times.
    – ColleenV
    Nov 6, 2014 at 17:58
  • 3
    Most of the etymology questions are only incidentally about etymology, or aren't really about etymology at all. Half of them came recently from a single user, and the community has already expressed considerable distaste for them: after the first few they've been closed. I think the tag can disappear with no loss. Nov 6, 2014 at 19:46
  • I suppose I'm "gaming" the system by upvoting both copies of the same answer, whilst asking the mods to merge the two. But it seems a no-brainer to me that neither of these tags are appropriate. Many questions thus tagged are closed, obviously. But I don't see we'll miss anything useful by removing inappropriate tags from questions which are otherwise acceptable. Tags disappear when they're not used, so a round of tag editing is called for here. Unless anyone seriously wants to post an answer supporting keeping the tags (which I for one would downvote). Nov 6, 2014 at 22:01
  • I've started introducing a roots tag (which also exists on EL&U) for questions about how to interpret a word based on its components, but that do not ask about the history of a word. Nov 12, 2014 at 23:40
  • A question asked today is tagged etymology. I find the tag appropriate for the question and the question appropriate for ELL. Dec 3, 2014 at 16:30
  • @TylerJamesYoung That is a good ELL question. A [roots] tag could work. Or maybe we rename [roots] to [word-deconstruction] (and synonymize). Or we abolish the prohibition against etymology questions. Either way, something needs to be done. What do you think? Dec 3, 2014 at 17:06
  • @200_success As far as what should be done? I’m not sure. It seems likely that most people using the tag will be in the process of asking an OT question, but not in every case. If there’s room in the tag description, maybe we could craft a warning or disclaimer. Dec 3, 2014 at 18:07

I agree that should be abolished and blacklisted. Existing answers with the tag should either be retagged as appropriate, or deleted.

  • 1
    I've removed the resources tag from all questions which bore it. Dec 14, 2014 at 14:28

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