Some time ago, it was discussed and voted here if "homework" should be a tag. Well, I have been thinking about this matter today, and I have had an idea.

Why shouldn't be two kinds of tags? Topic tags, such algebra, calculus, number theory, etc., and intention tags, which would describe why the OP makes such question.

OPs can ask for three main reasons:

  • They must know the answer. These are high school homework, a little part of a thesis or something that they must understand to pass an exam.
  • They want to know the answer. These are altruistic search of knowledge, unsolved problems the came to mind while having a shower, or the puzzle that that neighbour suggested yesterday, when he rang the door to ask for some salt.
  • They already know the answer, and they intend to write their own answer immediately, tomorrow or in two years.

On a first approach, there could be three intention tags: work, curiosity and challenge.

EDIT: This begun as a comment to Rafflesia's answer, but it grew too much.

I totally agree with the first three reasons you gave. And for this very reason I think that there should be two separate, different kinds of tags. Topic tags would be the tags that we have now, and intention tags are another kind of tags, completely different. The behaviour, their look, their colour...
Let me talk in programming language: we have the class Question and one of its entries is tags; my proposal is renaming the entry tags and call it topic, and then adding a new one called intention.

Tags are like adjectives. But most tags in this web are about topics. Then, you can be an expert in on a certain topic, but not in the intention of the OP. You can categorize answers by topics, but also by the intention of the OP. Just like you can categorize fruits by their color, by ther size, shape, place of origin, etc.

So... there could be even more kinds of tags. Academic level, for example. If we had academic level tags we would not need tags like elementary number theory, precalculus, etc.

The use of these new kinds of tags would be make search and classification easier.

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    $\begingroup$ Related: The “meta-tags”. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 26 '14 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ I downvoted as I am strongly against this. But it is still a good post. (If I find time and nobody beats me to it I will elaborate why later.) $\endgroup$ – quid Nov 26 '14 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ "Precalculus" does not mean "elementary level of calculus", it's a collection of some topics in algebra and analytic geometry. Anyway, the tag system is already confusing new users enough, without it being two- or three-dimensional. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Nov 26 '14 at 22:32

This is a bad idea for largely same reasons that "homework" tag was a bad idea. I'll give a few.

  • One cannot be an expert in "want to know the answer". Tags are used to gauge the expertise of answerers, who gain extra privileges based on tags. (SE might introduce more of these).

  • The same question may be asked with different motivations. Out of 130000 people who viewed How many sides does a circle have? so far, some probably had a similar geometry assignment and others were simply curious. Why should the intent of 1 person who happened to ask the question matter so much for classification of the question?

  • There are plenty of homework questions in which the asker genuinely wants to understand what is going on, and not just to get the answer.

  • The on-topicness of challenges is unclear. Those posting a question are asked to share their research. I take this to mean sharing an answer/solution if they already have one: this is why there is a checkbox for posting own answer together with the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I totally agree with the first three reasons you gave. And for this very reason I think that there should be two separate, different kinds of tags. $\endgroup$ – ajotatxe Nov 26 '14 at 22:09

I do not understand what I should do with the information "work" vs "curiosity."

  1. This is for work, so I should be really thorough and detailed in my answer as it is important to OP. But, no, actually likely the "work" here means "homework" and I only should give a quick pointer. Not sure what to do now.

  2. This is curiosity so I should be really thorough as detailed in my answer since first the person actually wants to know and second might not have much time to fill in the details. But, no, actually this is just for fun and they do not really care to read all the details, so I just give a quick pointer. Not sure what to do now.

You see it does not change a thing to me. The information is pure noise.

Conversely, if there is some context relevant to the question it should of course be mentioned, but in free form in the post. A tag is too crude to give meaningful context.


It's true that what you've mentioned could be useful information, but I don't think tags are the best way to convey it.

The purpose of tags is to provide search functionality, and meta tags don't contribute to that. It could be argued that tags also provide filtering functionality (the old "I don't like PSQs so I will just ignore the homework tag" argument), but most questions that users wish to ignore are by new users, who will not be familiar with the details of the tagging system, anyway.

If one wishes to for answers to contain a certain level of detail, it would be most fitting to simply include this request in the body of the question.


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