I don't think the tag conveys any useful information. Sometimes, it excuses the asker from adding a more descriptive tag, like in this question which is really a linear algebra question but is only tagged . Should we get rid of the tag? Can we get rid of it without bumping all its tagged questions to the front page?

(Note that we do have a tag for actual proof-theoretic questions.)

P.S. I was sure I had seen a previous post on meta asking the same question a long time ago, but I can't find it any more. My apologies if this is a duplicate.

Update: It seems that I have inadvertently repeated in the comments this excellent argument on the problems of meta tags, as quoted on the StackOverflow blog.

The reason these tags are a problem is that meta-tags do not describe the content of the question. They describe some other aspect of the question, like the author's skill level, or the author's motivation for asking it, or generally what "kind" of question it is (poll, how-to, etc.).

Meta-tags are actually a subset of a larger problem that I usually call dependent tags. These are tags that don't say anything by themselves - you can't tell what the question is about unless they're paired with some other tag (or several of them). These tags are a problem because people don't realize this and will often use that as the question's only tag.

The only potential justifications of proposed so far, by Arturo and svenkatr, would make it quite clearly a meta-tag, and such tags are explicitly discouraged (see aforementioned SO blog post).

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    $\begingroup$ meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/132/… $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 23 '11 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Moron: So that's why I couldn't find it -- that question mentions the [proofs] tag, while I was searching for [proof]. Anyway, going by the votes on that question, I would guess that this sentiment has much support. $\endgroup$ – user856 Mar 23 '11 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ I think it might have some merit if the question is specifically about the workings of a proof, as opposed to asking for a proof of something... $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Mar 23 '11 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Arturo: Qiaochu has proposed what I think is a fine criterion for deciding whether a tag has merit, to wit: Could someone conceivably want to put this tag in their favourite tags or ignored tags? It seems unlikely to me that anyone would be particularly interested in questions about specific details of proofs, regardless of their subject matter; on the other hand, if one is interested in the subject matter, it does not seem useful to distinguish between questions regarding proof details from all other questions on that topic. $\endgroup$ – user856 Mar 24 '11 at 3:26

I noticed that there is a tag called proof-strategy which might be more appropriate. Does anyone else feel it might be a good idea to replace the proof tag with this one? I think proof-strategy is more informative especially for questions where the OP has a rough idea for a proof, but either wants more details or wants to make arguments more rigorous.

  • $\begingroup$ Please see my update. $\endgroup$ – user856 Mar 24 '11 at 3:39

The tag has been removed and blacklisted, so this question can be closed.


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