There has already been some discussion about how to tag questions that are (explicitly) not specific to some discipline (e.g. this one or this one). The author of the first example question I just linked you to put forward the tag 'discipline-agnostic' to take care of this category of questions. One argument that has been brought up is that this is the way analogous types of questions are dealt with on some other Stack Exchange sites.

Personally, I don't think it's a good tag because it is hard to understand what it means; at least at first sight. I was initially under the impression that the tag implies an actual connection to agnosticism (i.e. the question was somehow related to religion), and only realized after pausing to think for a while what it really means. This is a very serious issue for a tag: The main purpose of tags is to clarify and simplify, not to confuse. I, instead, propose using an alternative. Possibilities include 'no-specific-discipline' or 'general-science'. Here, I would like to see a more in-depth discussion of the pro's and con's of each idea, as well as some fresh, new ideas if you have any :-)


3 Answers 3


I agree whole-heartedly with the criticisms of . I, too, thought it had something to with agnosticism in the religious sense.

Stepping back, what is the purpose of this tag? We tag a question , for example, so that someone primarily interested in the history of botany can filter out pertinant questions. When would someone want to look only at questions related to no specific discipline? I suggest only when the user is interested in some other, cross-disciplinary characteristic.

For example: one of the cited questions is tagged , the other (among other tags). Another article currently tagged is How did German become the language of science? Perhaps a tag like would better capture the essence of this question.

Both place and period tags seem like obvious additions: , , etc. I see we already have . Does that mean we need a and a tag? And if not, why is any different?

The argument was made that the Stack Overflow and RPG sites have tags. However, the biology, chemistry, physics, math, and history sites do not. Surely these sites are more relevant as models.


What about 'History of Ideas' as a tag?

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    $\begingroup$ That's far too vague, in my opinion. How would anything on this site not be about the history of ideas? $\endgroup$
    – Danu Mod
    Nov 8, 2014 at 11:53

I agree with the criticism that the word "agnostic" could cause confusion. I think it's okay in the software development case, because it seems to be well-understood in that context. But if our target audience might be confused, we should avoid that confusion.

But I would also go a bit further: I think both and the various discipline tags are all meta tags. From that link:

If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag.

(bold in original)

I don't see how identifying the discipline of a question can ever serve as teh only tag for the question. To take my own question as an example, calling it a question doesn't help anyone find it, and doesn't tell anyone what the content is.

Further, I find the discipline tags redundant. To use my example again, adding doesn't add anything that doesn't. If it's about gravity, then it is certainly about physics. And because we have a limit to the number of tags a question can have, we should be trying to avoid redundant tags when possible.

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    $\begingroup$ I have thought about this issue for a bit, and in fact went through all the questions tagged by 'physics' one-by-one, retagging them whenever I could substitute 'physics' for something more precise. But as it turns out, there really are questions that pertain to physics, but can't usefully be retagged to something more specific. Have a look for yourself if you don't believe me. $\endgroup$
    – Danu Mod
    Nov 9, 2014 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Danu, I quickly looked at the list, and I think I see the questions you're referring to. So you might be right. I'll look at them in more detail, and see if my opinion changes. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2014 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Danu, I added one or two tags to a few of those questions, and I think I got all the questions that were just 'physics'. I am fully convinced that every question tagged physics could have the physics tag replaced with something more specific, with no loss of information. But I should probably bring this issue up on the other Meta question. $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2014 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ that only the tag physics doesnt suffice (and, as a corollary, that you can usefully add more tags to a physics-tag-only question) is quite clear to me; I, however, reject the idea that this carries much relevance as to whether it's a good tag or not. I also remain unconvinced that one can usefully replace all instances of the physics tag by better tags. $\endgroup$
    – Danu Mod
    Nov 13, 2014 at 11:41

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