This came to my attention when I saw a tag wiki had been proposed. It appears we have a tag on ELL, which has only two questions. The proposed tag wiki is:

For questions about mathematics in English

I suppose that's a fair enough description of the tag, but I'm not certain the tag is necessary. Of the two questions tagged , one is a borderline-proofreading question which would be answered just as well if it had nothing to do with mathematics. The other is a word-request for the names of symbols that are used in math, but I don't know that the tag is beneficial.

So, thoughts? Personally I'd like to blacklist the tag, but 1) would like the community's opinion and 2) don't even think we can do that until we graduate ;) At the very least we can remove it from the questions and agree not to use it, though, should there be community consensus.

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    Blacklist? An innocent tag like mathematics? Really? Blacklisting is for evil tags like words or english, not for things that you don't personally see a use for.
    – Martha
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 17:05
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    @Martha Well 'words' and 'english' are bad tags because they're not useful. My opinion is that 'mathematics' is also not useful, which is why I posted this question to feel out the community's opinion (which appears to be the opposite of mine). That's the great thing about meta, and the beta period--formulating community consensus to define what we want for the site! :)
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 4:14

5 Answers 5


It's worth noting that the tag on ELU has over 80 questions, so it's hardly proved to be a dead tag over there. It's also worth noting that some of niro's recent questions about fixed edges could (maybe should?) be tagged with the tag, too.

Math has its fair share of unique terminology – words like numerator, divisor, and modulo – and even more if you expand "math" to include specialized branches of math such as graph theory and discrete math. The word base has several meanings, but, if I add the tag to a question about the word base, that quickly narrows it down. It's not hard to imagine a non-native speaker studying higher math who might have questions about the English in the course textbook, or that a non-native writing a paper might wonder which of two math terms is more understandable to the layman, or more appropriate for a professional audience.

I'm in agreement with ctype.h on this; I think it's still too early to start eliminating tags based on a low number of questions.


While I see your point about tags which have only a few questions not being particularly useful, the site is fairly new, so it has not yet had time to accumulate a large number of questions. I would much rather create a bunch of new tags now than go through thousands of questions a few years from now to re-tag questions with only one or two very general tags which apply to at least half of the questions on the site.

The tag may only apply to two questions now, but ELL will likely accumulate more questions for which this tag is applicable over time. Therefore I think we should keep it, even though it may take some time before its usefulness becomes apparent.

The tag wiki was derived from the equivalent tag wiki on ELU. Since that description appears to be insufficient, I have suggested a more descriptive tag wiki excerpt on both ELL and ELU:

For questions on the usage and meaning of mathematical terminology and the names for mathematical entities in English.


as a person for which English is not the mothertongue and a graduate in mathematics, I think that even if the tag "mathematics" maybe is not useful, a tag "arithmetic" would be. It may seem odd, but I do not even know if there is some less formal way of saying "ten divided by two is five"...

Sticking with mathematics seems fine to me.


I think we should review and see if would be a better home for the questions it has been applied to. I don't think it is very useful to separate specialized terminology for every technical domain into different categories.

  • I would find this reasonable if there weren't that many questions with those tags (terminology, mathematics). There's currently over a hundred questions tagged with the mathematics tag, and I see nothing wrong with using a separate tag for each field of study. The terminology tag should ideally be used to categorize questions that are about grammar terms, or those used in the study of English, rather than anything else.
    – user3395
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 17:07
  • @userr2684291 I don't understand why you think terminology, which is currently described as For questions about technical or specialized words in fields like grammar, sailing, computers, marketing, research, etc. should be limited to English. Are you suggesting we add tags for all fields of study that might have specialized terminology, but reserve terminology just for English technical terms? So we would need "medicine", "philosophy", "psychology", "computer engineering", "software development", et. al.?
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 21:15
  • Because that interpretation makes the most sense. Tags normally shouldn't be about the content of a question in just every possible sense, but rather with respect to English, which is why I (and I believe everyone else) would normally assume the terminology tag is used to group questions on terminology in the context of learning English (such as grammar, but not philosophy). Grouping just every sort of question involving terminology under a single tag is of little use. And yes, you got it right: every field of study should have a separate tag, created as the need for it arises.
    – user3395
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 0:22
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    terminology seems the perfect tag. Too specific questions about terminology risk to be off-topic (and I would avoid the relative tags). I would not want to see a question like What does "view" mean in Drupal terminology? on ELL.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 21:47

I'd like to see the tag burninated, but I don't think we have that power yet. I don't think this tag is useful, or adds anything to the questions it tags. I think we should remove the tag from the questions it is currently on, and edit the tag wiki to tell users not to use it (similar to the "DO NOT USE" type of tag wiki that was instituted on some Stack Overflow tags some time ago).

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    I concur in this opinion. A question which is principally concerned with the proper use of terms of art should be addressed to experts in that art; it is of value to users of this site only insofar as it raises linguistic issues which transcend a particular art. Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 4:23
  • As the questions using the tag are actually two, there isn't any reason to burninate it. Keep in mind that burninating a tag simply mean remove it from the history of the post using it; at the end, it would be as if the tag was never used from any question. If you remove it from the existing questions, the tag will be deleted in the next 24 hours.
    – apaderno
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 20:28
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    @kiamlaluno Ah, perhaps I misunderstood the concept then. I thought it blacklisted the tag forever and always ;) I'm aware I could remove it, but I was suggesting a more permanent solution (plus wanted to gauge community support before doing so). Seems we're a bit divided so far! sits back and waits for more people to float over to meta and read the question
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 20:30

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