In my mind, ideally, there should be a fairly consistent "etiquette", if you will, for choosing tags wherein any two people asking the same question are likely to pick the same tags for that question. With this in mind:

What is the appropriate use of the tag?

This tag's description reads:

Mathematical analysis. Consider a more specific tag instead: (real-analysis), (complex-analysis), (functional-analysis), (fourier-analysis), (measure-theory), (calculus-of-variations), etc. For data analysis, use (data-analysis).

If I were to ask a question about, say, Bolzano-Weierstrass, I'd choose the tag. If I were to ask a question about Cauchy's integral formula, I'd choose the tag. Once I do so, it seems superfluous to add the analysis tag on top of it. Should I? If not, are there any scenarios in which one should choose the analysis tag over one of the more specific tags listed in the description above? If the answer is no, then why do we have the tag at all? In practice, I see this tag used quite inconsistently:

  • Some people add both the tag as well as a more specific tag.
  • Some people add only the more specific tag.
  • Some people add only the more general tag.

One reason this is problematic is because some users browse by tag instead of clicking "newest questions". Moreover, it makes it harder for those who use the "favorite tags" feature to find questions that they'd be interested in answering. I'm personally unwilling to add it to my favorites because then I'm sure I'd get a lot of "spam" highlights from harmonic analysis or functional analysis—topics I know nothing about. But if I don't add it, then I'm passing over questions I'd like to answer.

Addendum: In light of user99914 (a.k.a. John Ma)'s answer, I propose that we edit the tag description to say "Please use a more specific..." instead of "Consider a more specific...".


1 Answer 1


The answer is: it should never be used. The tag description is there to suggest that the tag should not be used since it is not specific enough.

Previous discussions here.

If I understand correctly, we do not get rid of "analysis" tag since some universities/institutes do use "analysis" to represent "real analysis". For example, in my undergraduate school, there is a year-long course "elementary analysis" which taught materials which is essentially a first course in real analysis (sequence, limits, continuity, differentiability, Riemann integrability and so on). But it is more common (at least in US) that this is called "real analysis".

If you see a question tagged with "analysis", try to re-tag it using a more specific tag as suggested.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Ah, thanks. Given this, should we edit the tag to say "Please use a more specific..." instead of "Consider a more specific..."? $\endgroup$
    – Kaj Hansen
    Mar 8, 2018 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ I am not completely sure. Sometimes I think even stronger words are justified, see here for an example. @KajHansen $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Mar 8, 2018 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ I'd support that. $\endgroup$
    – Kaj Hansen
    Mar 8, 2018 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ If it should never be used, shouldn't it be blacklisted instead with a comment hinting to use more specific tags? $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    Mar 12, 2018 at 4:20
  • $\begingroup$ @AndrewT. it is not blacklisted since some schools did use that name (at least I think that is the main reason). But sometimes I do think blacklisting is a good choice. $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Mar 12, 2018 at 10:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AndrewT.: also, before black listing the tag one should also actually retag everyone of the questions with the analysis tag to something more appropriate. No-one really wants that job of retagging 25000 questions. $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2018 at 18:20
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ And in terms of "bad tags" go, it is not awful. While better tags could be used, (analysis) still conveys non-zero information. Most of the blacklisted tags are those with zero information or are actively harmful. (Example, I am pretty sure we blacklisted the tag (math).) $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2018 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong Actually, the tag can be blacklisted even without removing all occurrences. (I only learned about this recently in connection with another discussion on meta.) After a tag is blacklisted, the effect is that it cannot be added to new questions, and if a question containing the tag is edited, it has to be removed before the edit can be submitted. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2018 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ As a side note, blacklisted tags are listed here: Which are blacklisted tags and blacklisted phrases? $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2018 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak: I stand corrected. (This capability probably was made available after I quit as mod, and I spoke with outdated information.) $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2018 at 19:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I note that there is no (algebra) tag, only more specific ones. Perhaps we should also consider similarly eliminating the tag (geometry)? $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    Jun 5, 2018 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ @GEdgar The tag "geometry" seems to be specific enough for me. I think it is about elementary euclidean geometry (lines, circles, etc) and some elementary projective/hyperbolic geometry. $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Jun 6, 2018 at 11:42

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