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When I see a recently active question about e.g. number theory being poorly tagged, I tend not only to add the relevant, more specified, tags but also I remove the tag . I thought it would be ok to do this, because many questions do not have the tag and because its description says

Consider using a more specific tag instead, such as: [some tags]

But as I'm not really sure, I'd like to know what other people think of this behaviour.

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    $\begingroup$ Related. $\endgroup$ – Git Gud Jan 30 '15 at 20:57
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    $\begingroup$ @GitGud It seems to me that the earlier question resulted in a consensus that the wiki entry should be changed. It also seems clearly appropriate to add more specific tags to questions. But it seems to me the discussion of deprecation never moved from "can we" to "should we", and with at least one experienced user rating the tag "highly useful" it is not clear there is a consensus even about removing the tags from individual posts. Perhaps an answer to this question would provide better guidance on that specific topic. $\endgroup$ – David K Jan 31 '15 at 14:24
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In my opinion it is not only OK, but desirable. I will not reiterate the things I already said in the linked question. But I will comment on the main argument towards keeping this tag alive: its usefulness.

While I agree what the tag is useful (every time the tag is used, it's something that belongs to a discrete mathematics course), it's usefulness derives from its meta-tag properties.

Tags are supposed to be mathematical in nature. Meta-tags such as (faq) and (homework) are undesirable. The tag (discrete-mathematics) is pretty much useless when it comes to its mathematical description. It's only useful because it's named after some courses. This is social, not mathematical. As a course's name it might even be OK, but we have much more expressive power here on MSE as we can have several names (tags).

What I suggest in this paragraph doesn't fix the problem, but at least it makes for better tagging. I think it shouldn't be allowed to tag questions with (discrete-mathematics) alone, the same way one can't post questions here on Meta MSE without the appropriate tags, the software won't let you. A user trying to post a question with this tag alone should be prompted to pick at least one of this tags: (divisibility), (modular-arithmetic), (elementary-number-theory), (combinatorics), (logic), (predicate-logic), (propositional-calculus), (graph-theory), (recurrence-relations) and I'm sure there are others that could be added to the list.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1, but unfortunately, I don't think the proposal in your last paragraph is feasible. There's simply too many boring details to take into account. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Feb 1 '15 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ I've definitely seen the DM tag on questions where really the only possible explanation is that the asker is taking a course called "Discrete Mathematics". But then hey, I had a course called Fourier Analysis in which we spent a semester covering general infinite series and generalized integrals, and then defined a Fourier series on the last day. $\endgroup$ – Jack M Feb 4 '15 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding "I think it shouldn't be allowed to tag questions with (discrete-mathematics) alone". This is probably going too far. By all means, an experienced user can add more useful tags. My experience is that many newbies often pick an incorrect tag when they are forced to just pick something (on this and other SE sites). At least the DM tag is an indication of the level of the question, like algebra-precalculus. $\endgroup$ – Fizz Feb 11 '15 at 10:59

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