Many elementary questions about functions are given the "" tag. Consider the following examples, all of which are very recent: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. This is not a recent phenomena; I've been noticing it for some time.

The confusion is likely incidental. Askers who don't know what functional analysis is are likely to infer that it's simply the "analysis" of "functions".

I believe that the description of the tag (i.e., the description that appears when you move your cursor onto the tag) should have some sort of warning.

  • $\begingroup$ There exist also tag warnings, but I do not think that this issue is serious enough to create also tag warning. Probably editing the tag-excerpt should be enough. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2016 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ Similar confusions abound. The tags division-algebras and functional-equation spring to mind. Users often try to interpret them with high-school level technology alone, and fail. Educating them is an option (albeit inefficient). Editing the tags is probably the simplest. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2016 at 8:15
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    $\begingroup$ I had forgotten about the possibility of tag warnings. Worth a look, possibly. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2016 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ BTW a way of educating users (as @JyrkiLahtonen put it) is to explain either in edit summary or as a comment why the tag was changed. There already exists a comment template for functional analysis vs. functional equations. Perhaps similar comment template for functional analysis vs. functions should be added. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2016 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ If I had a reputation point for every misplaced functional-analysis tag I've removed.... $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2016 at 12:03
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson You do. And then some. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2016 at 13:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Daniel, if I had an additional reputation point, etc., etc. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2016 at 20:18

1 Answer 1


Based on the number of upvotes on this question it seems that many users agreed with the OP's suggestion. So I have edited the tag-excerpt to add the sentence: "For basic questions about functions use more suitable tags like (functions), (functional-equations) or (elementary-set-theory)." Due to the character limit, I had to omit part of the original tag-excerpt created by Willie Wong.

Of course, further improvements to the tag-info for are more than welcome. (And they may bring you closer to research assistant badge.)

  • $\begingroup$ functional-equations has the same problem as functional-analysis, namely, it's a term that has a conventional meaning in advanced mathematics, a meaning that most casual users of this website will not know about. In particular, it's not a good tag for any old question that has an equation with a function in it. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2016 at 4:53
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson If needed, mention of alternative tags can be added to the functional-equation tag-excerpt. We have a comment template for functional analysis, similar template can be created for functional equations. And we can make suggestions of tag warnings in this thread. $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2016 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson I have added similar sentence to the functional-equations tag-excerpt. If you see possible further improvements, please do edit it. (Of course, this only helps if the users adding tag actually look at the excerpt.) I did nothing about comment templates and tag warnings for (functional-equations). If you think that template or warning (or both) might be useful, either you or me can post in the relevant threads. $\endgroup$ Nov 28, 2016 at 9:06

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