There is a question asking about summer programs which is tagged "soft questions" along with other tags. I am not asking about if this question is suitable for math.stackexchange; instead, I am asking about whether the tag "soft question" should be used here.

Description of "soft question":

For questions whose answers can't be objectively evaluated as correct or incorrect, but which are still relevant to this site. Please be specific about what you are after.

The question linked:

Question: Are there any such programs outside the U.S.? Or are there any programs in the U.S. that accept also non-American applicants?

Here the OP was asking about the existence and the answer to such question should be either objectively "yes" or objectively "no" and thus by definition, not a soft question. Am I right in saying that the question is incorrectly tagged as a "soft question"?

  • $\begingroup$ I have added (specific-question) here - see the tag-info. If your question is intended to be more general (and this particular question is linked just as an example) feel free to remove the tag. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2019 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak! Thanks! This tag applies perfectly here. $\endgroup$
    – Zuriel
    Feb 17, 2019 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


The tag is somewhat of an outlier. More details can be found here The "meta-tags". In particular it says there:

[It] should be used if your question is not actually a mathematical question which admits a single correct answer, or if your question is one about mathematics or the practice of mathematics. Examples are "Why does my textbook solve problem X in this particular way, when I can also do it this other way?" or "Why does the definition of object Y requires property Z?"

In particular it tends to be used for questions that are not mathematical questions but still arguably pertinent to the site. The example you link to falls into that category it is a question about summer programs in mathematics.

A question can be "not actually a mathematical question which admits a single correct answer" in two ways. It can be mathematical yet not admit a single correct answer or it can be not mathematical to begin with.

Generally, in a way the tag should not exist at all. It serves, or at least served, more a sociological purpose. Certain questions were controversial, some loved them some hated them. So, they got a tag, so that the former can follow them while the latter can ignore them.

I did not follow the debates back then on this site in detail, but on MO back then in 2010, which did influence the tagging system here, to a considerable extent was an "anti-tag", used to allow some users to hide away content they disapproved often used in combination with semi-forced CW-ing not to give points for that type of content.

For the most part, at least now, this is not a big subject on this site. But it might help to understand why that tag exists.


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