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If one tag is finer (more specific) than another, should a question tagged with the former also be tagged with the latter?

For example, a question about is pretty much always going to be about . Likewise, a question about is pretty much always going to be about . Should we tag such questions with also? Should we detag them with ?

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One question is whether the finer tag is really necessary. What value does a "meat" tag bring that "food" and "kashrut" don't bring? (For that matter, is "food" valuable?)

Can the info page for a fine tag include a link to the parent tag? It's not ideal because people won't always go there, but it at least provides a path.

This is another argument for naming "families" of tags with a common prefix; you're more likely to notice the parent tag if they're named, e.g., "food" and "food-meat". Conversely, when you're typing tags, if you meant to type "food" because you didn't know about the finer tags, with that naming scheme you'll probably be offered "food" and "food-meat". Without that, the general tags will collect a lot of stuff that "belongs" in the specific ones except people didn't know about the specific ones so they didn't use them.

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  • Re "whether the finer tag is really necessary": Well, yes. Otherwise, arguably, everything on halacha gets tagged halacha-jewish-law instead of kashrut-kosher, shabbat-sabbath, etc. There have to be finer and coarser tags — or at least finer ones. – msh210 May 19 '11 at 22:09
  • Re "Can the info page for a fine tag include a link to the parent tag? It's not ideal": Yes, it can; and I agree that it's not ideal. – msh210 May 19 '11 at 22:10
  • Re common prefixes: (1) A tag will often be more specific than two distinct tags: which do you use as the prefix? For example, passover-seder-hagada is finer than pesach-passover and meal-seudah, and kashrut-kosher is finer than halacha-jewish-law and food. (2) It doesn't work with synonyms. For example, if permitted-eats sees use, it will be made a synonym of (in your plan) halacha-kashrut (say), but someone typing in permitted-eats thereafter won't see halacha-kashrut-milkandmeat suggested. – msh210 May 19 '11 at 22:18
  • I agree with your main point, that if we use only finer tags and not coarser ones then people won't know about the finer ones and will use the coarser ones instead. However, that's true even if we use the finer and the coarser ones. In that case, too, a question should be tagged with the finer tag but won't be by people who won't know about it. So although I agree that it's a problem in general, it's not a problem specifically with detagging coarser tags. – msh210 May 19 '11 at 22:50
  • I didn't mean to suggest that no finer tag is ever necessary; halacha in particular is over-arching (and maybe too general to be useful?). I'm just saying that as tags get finer we should apply some scrutiny; people will look for kashrut without wanting all of halacha, but will anybody really look for meat but not kashrut? We should ask that question for all the marginal-seeming tags. – Monica Cellio May 20 '11 at 14:24
  • I've never seen synonyms before this site, so I hadn't considered the implications of that. – Monica Cellio May 20 '11 at 14:25
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    Questions tagged meat not about kashrus include "BBQ for Yom Hatzmaut" and "Custom to refrain from eating meat at the Pesach Seder?". Are those interesting to someone searching for 'meat'? Arguably not; in which case, perhaps we should not have a meat tag and instead have a slaughter-shochet-shecht and a milk-and-meat tag. – msh210 May 20 '11 at 15:41
  • @msh210 also there are plenty of questions not about halacha, and several of them could include food and meat. Y'know, questions about "jewish food" (bagels and lox in US, etc)... – AviD May 21 '11 at 22:50
  • @AviD: Definitely questions not about halacha can be tagged food or meat. (But see area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/23276.) – msh210 May 22 '11 at 4:57
  • @msh210 Oh I know bagels aren't "jewish" food... In Israel, they're considered "American" food, so if anything its "American Jews", specifically... But I was using it as an (admittedly poor) example. – AviD May 22 '11 at 8:07
  • @AviD: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/3273. – msh210 May 22 '11 at 16:13
  • @msh210 See? proves my point :). Thanks for examples... – AviD May 22 '11 at 17:19
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While I don't think we should get into the whole "hierarchical tags" type of thing, I do think coarse-grained + fine-grained are both useful.

Taking a different example, , , and .

Sure, we could just tag it with halacha and shabbat... but that's not really the same thing, and hilchot shabbat is a big enough subject of itself to merit its own tag. It also makes sense to encourage that level of specification...
No, it's not the same thing as , since there are plenty of questions and topics to discuss about Shabbat that are not hilchati in nature.

Also, if we were to just use the specific tag, and use only , this removes those questions from the larger set of Shabbat and Halacha. This makes a difference, e.g. if you have a posek (or anybody with a halachic interest in the site) that is interested in all types of halacha questions to the exclusion of e.g. aggada or lamdanut questions. In the same manner, historians may be interested only in , or high-school Tanach teachers (or Machon Herzog ;) ) interested in all questions. On the other side, you might have someone interested in learning anything they can about Shabbat - halachically, historically, experientially...

Hence, I would see all 3 tags (, , ) as fitting, since you might be approaching that area (category+topic) from either direction.

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  • Btw, @msh210 wrt your original example - I see the food tag as coincidentally congruent with kashrut, sure they both involve food, but kashrut isnt really about the food... albeit many of the food questions should have been kashrut, but food really covers other non-kashrut areas. – AviD May 21 '11 at 23:09
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    Wouldn't this approach tend to require many tags per question that say similar things, squeezing out tags that connect to other topics? – Isaac Moses May 22 '11 at 4:09
  • What @IsaacMoses said. Realize there's a five-tag limit per question. – msh210 May 22 '11 at 4:59
  • @Isaac, @msh210, I find it rare that all 5 are used. In this case, if you use the above three, that will usually be enough, and maybe you'll need another tag to be more specific (or a cross-cutting topic). Still leaves another one for edge cases... Remember, tags are for categorization, and not all keywords in the question... – AviD May 22 '11 at 8:09

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