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If one tags a question with should one also tag it with ? I think it is redundant, although it is actually a reference-request question.

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    $\begingroup$ In short, one should use as many tags as correctly identify the problem. If there are too many available, choose the best 5. For a generic book-recommendation question, I might expect reference-request. But if you find yourself in a position where you have more than 5 good tags, then dropping off the less-specific duplicate tag is a great start. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Apr 14 '15 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ Great, thank you. I didn't know we should try to find five relevant tags whenever possible. $\endgroup$ – Jorge Fernández Hidalgo Apr 14 '15 at 1:53
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    $\begingroup$ The original goal of each SE site is to be a great resource for great answers to real problems (more or less). A big part of this is to be searchable Q&A. So we want descriptive titles, clear questions with context, and accurate tags. Each of these makes the question stand the test of time better and be more searchable for others who are encountering the same problem later on. Further, as the site grows, it becomes far more reasonable for people to browse questions in tags that interest them. MSE is starting to feel these growing pains, and tags are more necessary than ever. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Apr 14 '15 at 1:58
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Note that the tag-excerpt currently says (emphasis mine):

This tag is for questions about recommendation of books for some particular area, topic, problem. Use this tag together with (reference-request) tag

So users who add both tags use the tag in accordance with the recommendation in the tag-excerpt. (One of the main purposes of the tag-info is to give some guidance for using the tag, especially in the cases when the usage is not entirely clear from the name of the tag.)

This version of tag-exceprt was suggested here, mainly for the historical reasons. ( is a relatively new tag. There were already many questions about book recommendations tagged . It would be difficult to retag them all. And, moreover, many users might not have noticed creation of the new tag and might be used to search for book recommendations under .)


Of course, it is possible that the outcome of the discussion at this question will be that it is better to keep the two tags separately. If that happens, we will simply change the tag-excerpt and hope that enough users note this discussion or read the tag-info. Users aware of that change will help with correct use of the tag. (The word correct here stands for "being more-or-less community consensus". Maybe more precise would be "consensus of the users which participate or vote in meta questions about tagging, which is usually not too many.)

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