# About the [soft-question] and [big-list] tags

The folk coming from Math Overflow generally seem keen to bring across the practice that:

1. Questions that don't look like they will have a single, correct answer should be tagged either [soft-question] if that's because the question isn't precise enough, or [big-list] if that is because we expect the question to invite many different, incomparable answers.
2. These questions should be made Community Wiki

Should that indeed be policy here?

• BTW, what is "soft-question"? I don't think it means "not precise enough" (such questions should be edited), but means "this is not a question with mathematical content, but is only related to mathematics" (e.g. questions about notation, history, software tools, etc.) A few such questions are welcome (and even need not be community wiki when they're not subjective), but should be tagged as such. This seems to be the practice on MathOverflow. Maybe it's worth opening another question to discuss what the [soft-question] tag should mean? – ShreevatsaR Jul 30 '10 at 20:44

I think so. There will be people who don't like soft-questions and big-list questions, and they may want to ignore them. There will also be people who are curious about specifically reading soft questions, so this is a useful organizational device. This, ultimately, is what tags are for.

It's ok if the newbie doesn't know about these tags. High rep users can add them.

One of the reasons CW mode is used on MO is to prevent users from gaining reputation for subjective responses, which aren't necessary "right" or "wrong." This applies here too, I think.

• Note that not everyone who can retag now will be able to when beta ends. The site is currently in 'bootstrap' mode, with lower reputation thresholds for many actions. – Larry Wang Jul 22 '10 at 14:07

Big-list I'm fine with.

Soft-question I'm not sure is necessary. Don't forget, a lot of the askers will be people who aren't heavy users of the site (unlike on MathOverflow, I'm guessing). So you can't really expect them to know about the [soft-question] tag, nor to know when they are asking a soft question. I'm not sure what purpose it serves to add it to their questions, really.

On the other hand, it doesn't cause any harm, so long as no one expects the newbiew to know about these tags.

• Also keep in mind that newbies can not create new tags. This is a neat way to be able to control tag creation until a user has proper understanding of everything. – Justin L. Jul 22 '10 at 21:59
• From Akhil: It's ok if the newbie doesn't know about these tags. High rep users can add them. – Tom Stephens Jul 29 '10 at 12:20

[big-list] is definitely a tag I support, and I think we should include an explanation of when to use that tag in the FAQ, along with a section on community-wiki mode (that will address other issues too).

I've been tagging things [soft-question], but upon more reflection I'm not sure how well that carries over. I guess I've been using it as "I know this isn't strictly mathematical and admits imprecise answers, but I think people here might be interested, so humor me." That doesn't actually seem terribly useful here, and I predict it mostly being used by those coming from or familiar with MO, if it stands as a tag, to distinguish those of their questions with less mathematics.

If we do keep soft-question, presumably its use will have been discussed more fully here, and we can address how to use it in the FAQ.

Stackoverflow uses [subjective] instead of [soft question]. Soft to me is confusing. Infact I had to come to meta to lookup what it meant.

• They are not necessarily the same. For example, this question I think deserves the soft-question label but has a single correct answer. subjective is probably closer to big-list, since they both imply that there are multiple equally good answers – Larry Wang Jul 29 '10 at 11:22