There exists tag (created by this user). The tag-excerpt is as follows:

Use this tag for questions asking about "problem books", "exercise books", and their solutions.

So the tag should be used for questions about problem books, solution manuals, etc. But many people do not read tag-excerpt. So the tag is used simply for any exercises (which is not surprising, if the poster chooses tag only based on the name of the tag).

Should we rename the tag? Maybe to or something similar?

Or would it be better to get rid of the tag completely? We already have the tag (which was made synonym of ) and (which was discussed here) for questions about books.

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    $\begingroup$ I have also pinged the tag creator to let them know about this thread. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 17 '14 at 6:55
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    $\begingroup$ It doesn't look like the tag usage is at all consistent with the wiki. People are using it to simply indicate that they're working on an exercise - so at a minimum, the tag's title is unclear in its current state. I'd do away with it entirely, and make up a new tag that's direct about what its purpose is. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jul 17 '14 at 7:01
  • $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers I have occasionally retagged questions, which were used not according to the tag-wiki. And there are other users who try to retag questions correctly, so other people might have done the same. There are at least some questions where the tag is used in the way the tag-excerpt suggests: math.stackexchange.com/search?q=[exercises-and-solutions]+book $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 17 '14 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer Done. When the algebra tag was blacklisted, somethings similar was discussed, see this comment. It seems that there was no possibility to customize the message for blacklisted tag; see Warning when using a blacklisted tag - is it customizable?. If such thing is possible now, maybe we could add some message for algebra tag? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 23 '14 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ Continuation of the discussion about algebra here in chat. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 23 '14 at 14:08

The tag has been burninated and blacklisted. Users trying to use it will see the following message as it's rejected:

Please use tags that describe the technical aspects of your question. The fact that it's an exercise isn't relevant.

The wording there can be changed if needed, so if you hate it and have a better suggestion, feel free to comment on my answer :)


I personally don't see anything about the tag-wiki/-excerpt that would incline me to want to keep such a tag around at all (even if it was unambiguously named). As the current tag appears to be mostly misused, I would suggest that we simply kill it.

Update. After chatting quickly with Tim Post, it appears that we basically just need to ensure that no question has as its only tag, and he'll do the old burninate and blacklist routine. From the SEDE link provided in This is much healthier.'s answer below, there's probably only about a handful of such questions left. (The SE data dump isn't perfectly up to date (however it was updated at about 03.00 UTC today 21 July 2014), so there's a chance that there's some discrepancy between the data the SEDE query provides, and what's in the current SE database.)

  • $\begingroup$ I think that the voting here seems pretty conclusive. IIRC mods have the ability to remove tags, don't they? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 20 '14 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak. Unfortunately, the mods cannot simply delete a tag from the system. I'll try to get into contact with someone from the comm team to see if this is something they'd consider doing. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jul 21 '14 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ When I ran the query now there were six, and I retagged three of those. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 21 '14 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ I think we are good to go. Those in SEDE were retagged. Whatever is not in SEDE would show up on the list of active questions with this tag. And this list shows there are no recently active questions with this tag and no other. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 21 '14 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila If you are looking for ways to procrastinate, I expanded the query for sole homework tag to include also the question score and whether it's been closed. I figure that no matter what decision is made about the tag, something has to be done with these. I worked on the list a bit, retagging/editing/closing/downvoting, but ran out of votes of either kind. Some delete votes would be helpful there. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 21 '14 at 22:50

The tag should be nuked. There should never be a tag with exercise in it, because whatever the tag wiki says, it will be randomly used to tag random exercises. There is a large number of transient users who are more concerned with getting their math exercise done than with tagging the question correctly. They'll first try to post without tags, it won't work. Then try "math", also unsuccessfully. Then "exerc.." hey, it works!

Sure enough, by now there are $10$ questions tagged only . Their topics are all over the place.

Oh, and by the way... there are $925$ questions tagged only .


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