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Is there not a need for one or more special tags for beginners questions?

To me it looks as some posters have no idea what an abstract algebra is and think that their problem has something to do with algebra and this was the first tag that came up.

But then I saw a question about something simple like how do I transform this problem into a simple formula with 1 variable and was mystified which tag should I use to replace the abstract algebra one. (I did settle on recreational mathematics, but that hardly covers the subject )

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I fully agree with Willie Wong in that algebra-precalculus is the appropriate tag. Many US based students (think they) have taken a course in algebra in high school, and have problems tagging here. A couple years back the tag `algebra' was blacklisted and split into algebra-precalculus and abstract-algebra to make the distinction between high school/freshman algebra and higher algebra.

I also think that your suggested solutions are not good. However, I upvoted your question for reminding us all about this persisting problem. It might be a good idea to give more tips about tagging in the relevant section of the Help Center. The current one looks like it is copy/pasted from SO. It might benefit the newcomers to have a few rules of thumb layed down there - together with an assembly of links to the common tag wikis. If the mods are too busy, and this is judged helpful, I might volunteer to make the above changes. Of course, some other people who 1) know the American high school better, 2) know the English language better, and 3) have even more time, would do an even better job, so I won't stand in their way :-)

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  • $\begingroup$ There was a proposal for tagging section in Help Center. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Aug 23 '13 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the link, @Martin. I didn't have anything nearly as comprehensive in mind, as I think that sophomore's and up should know (and do know?) better. I do realize now that the list might still easily become too bloated to be useful. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 23 '13 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the proposal has score -4 and several users commented that it is too detailed. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Aug 23 '13 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ I am almost sure that [algebra] was blacklisted sometime in the past year, and dare I say in 2013. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 23 '13 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf: I can't put a date on the blacklisting. But there was a massive retagging effort in IIRC 2011, when the split to abstract and precalculus algebra was done. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 23 '13 at 10:37
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    $\begingroup$ January 12th, 2013. meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/6299/… $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 23 '13 at 10:47
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    $\begingroup$ IIRC the [algebra] tag had no questions already in February 2013 but it kept popping again and again, until it was finally blacklisted. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Aug 29 '13 at 16:07

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