I guess one of the best ways to get your message across is putting a TL;DR in the beginning. If you agree with the sentiments of the TL;DR the rest might not be necessary to read but if grammar has saved your life somewhere, bear with me so I'll tell you why it's not a good tag. So here goes:
We believe that grammar isn't a good tag on ELL; it's too broad and being misapplied to so many questions, hence has greatly lost its value as a tag. So what should we do about it?
Grammar is a bad, bad tag
Experts on tagging can tell from afar when a tag isn't useful. I wasn't one, thus I boiled all that meta experience to a small test to determine whether if a tag is a good one or not. Here are grammar's answers:
Let's review my answers:
- "Partially" since there are not many people who are experts in every aspect of the English grammar.
- "Yes"; and that's what many learners claim, which is sometimes not true.
- "No" for God's sake, no! Almost any other grammar-related tag is naturally a subset of grammar, which means tagging something with only grammar means something like tagging as ell-question. We don't have many editors and that's another issue but if you are going to edit carefully you won't leave that tag alone in there.
- "No", a bunch of ELLers tag their question as grammar to just circumvent the error you need to add at least add one tag.
- "Partially". There's no consensus on what should be tagged with grammar, though there's a crude interpretation of what "grammar" is.
- "No". This, IMO, is the weakest point of grammar. ELLers interpret grammar to mean almost anything; from pronouns to prepositions and relative-clauses and sometimes even comprehension, meaning-in-context etc.
- "No". There are way too many questions on ELL with grammar. >20%, 1,700 of which are questions only tagged with grammar.
- "No", at least not any decent answerers I know of. There's not much difference between including and not including
[grammar]in searches now is there?
- "Partially", since all I can think of is 'ignoring' grammar not to see some uninteresting questions. Favoriting grammar will turn half of the questions on the current main page yellow, so I'm not sure if there's use in doing that either.
- "Yes". This question was designed to tackle with the off-topic-ness of some tags on the site. grammar is an ELL tag, for sure, but it's sick in another way.
If you take a look at my meta post, you'll see that each "yes" wins 2 scores, "partially" wins 1 and "no" loses 1. Thus, grammar's score is a measly 2. That's way lower than the threshold for a possibly acceptable tag, which should be >11.
Where the problem lies
Now this is obviously a problem: The most popular tag on a site as big as ELL clearly fails some known tests designed to diagnose a tag's health.
Jimsug made a very good point back in chat: On SO, the origin of Stack Exchange communities, people know how to tag their questions; e.g. if you have a question about R, then you're going to tag it as such.
On ELL, however, people do not usually know what they're asking about. The terminology behind the nomenclature of tags follows the standards of linguistics (as it should), which many learners aren't familiar with at all.
I hope it's clear enough for you; in fact, if this were the beginning of ELL I would've proposed a blacklisting of grammar. There should certainly be some course of actions against this tumor.
What should we do about it? Run a version of TRE here? Blacklist grammar? Or sit and watch painfully as the tagging system on ELL continues to lag? Sorry for being frank, but the truth currently bites
Regarding where the main problem lies, I believe the best choice we have is to edit more. What do you think?