A tag was created on November 20, in this question; I didn't notice when I answered, or I probably would have deleted it.

Do we really need a derivatives tag? I realize we have tags for integrals and limits, but the fact that it went so long without this tag suggests it may be somewhat redundant...

Update. Okay, seems like the (limited) consensus is that, yes, we should have it.

Perhaps only in conjunction with the [calculus] tag (or the [multivariable-calculus] tag if it is a partial derivatives question, etc.), and only when the question is about computation of derivatives rather than simply questions about derivatives. I guess it would be too much to change the name to something like [derivatives-computation]...

It's unfortunate the tag excerpts seem to be read about as much as the FAQ by users; we keep getting questions tagged [algebra], even though the excerpt explicitly screams not to use it at all...

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    $\begingroup$ I agree completely. Sometimes the over-specification is horrid and I find myself search for a question which has a completely different set of tags than the one I would think it should have... and they all fit! $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 27 '11 at 7:59
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    $\begingroup$ I am in general in favour of Martin's answer, provided Gerry's rider (see comment below user7530's answer) is attached. But of the current questions tagged derivative, several already violate the "narrow" rule of using those tags specifically for computation of derivatives. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Nov 28 '11 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ I'm still wondering... that tag should cover partial derivatives, no? Gradients, Jacobians, and Hessians? Gâteaux and Fréchet derivatives? $\endgroup$ – J. M. isn't a mathematician Nov 28 '11 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M. If it were up to me, I would banish it entirely (as evidenced by my initiating this in the first place)... $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Nov 28 '11 at 17:39

Arturo (in his post) and Bill (in his comment to my post) suggested that a more suitable tag name would be a name indicating that the tag is intended just for computations, e.g. something like [derivatives-computation].

Please, upvote this post if you agree with this idea (and downvote if not) - so that we can find a consensus about this suggestion.

NOTE: If we want to change the tag name, I guess it would be better to do it soon - it might be more complicated if there are many questions using the tag. As I understood from Willie's comment bellow, it is possible to rename a tag instead of retagging individual posts, so it seems that it's not important whether there are many questions tagged like this.

  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps someone which has more experience with tag management could explain, whether it is possible to rename a tag or we would have to create a new tag and retag the questions. (If renaming is possible, please, edit my note accordingly.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 29 '11 at 7:34
  • $\begingroup$ You can start a new tag and add synonyms to previous ones. I'm not sure which name would take precedence though. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 29 '11 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. Mods can rename tags (we just can't strike a tag from the system). I'm not editing your Note because I am not sure what you were trying to convey. Sorry. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Nov 29 '11 at 9:08

I prefer tags that indicate the context of the question. Knowing that the question in one way or another involves a derivative is useless to me, compared to knowing that it is a question about elementary calculus, vector calculus, PDEs, real analysis, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ What if the derivative tag is only used for questions asking how to compute one? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 27 '11 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: if that is how it will be used, a little clean-up of the questions currently tagged (derivatives) may be in order. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Nov 28 '11 at 10:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Gerry Such a tag used for a subset of "calculus" questions seems OK to me, but maybe with a more specific name than "derivatives"? $\endgroup$ – user7530 Nov 28 '11 at 10:33

I find the tag useful, and I think I am not the only one, see here. If we tag questions on calculating limits by , the questions on calculating integrals by , why not doing the same for calculating derivatives?

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    $\begingroup$ In that case someone should propose a Wiki indicating that, as Gerry suggests, the tag is only used for questions about computing derivatives. If people start posting questions about the "concept" of derivatives under that tag, this tag will soon just become more or less identical to (calculus) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Nov 28 '11 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ I've tried to create tag excerpt and tag wiki: math.stackexchange.com/tags/derivatives/info I have no doubts there is plenty of room for improvements. The tag excerpt is similar to the one for limit. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 28 '11 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps I might add that both limit and integral both have tag excerpts suggesting that they should only be used for questions on calculating integrals. This have not prevented the users from adding different questions under that tag. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 28 '11 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ thanks. Looks good to me. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Nov 28 '11 at 11:30
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    $\begingroup$ @WillieWong If a tag is specific to calculation methods then perhaps it would be better to have the tag name explicitly reflect its denotation, e.g. limit-calculation. That would go a long way to towards preventing misuse (many folks will not bother to read the wiki - but they will read the full tag name). $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Nov 28 '11 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: I am not sure why you addressed this to me. Wouldn't it be better to either (a) address it to Gerry or Martin or (b) post an alternative proposal so it could be voted on? Anyway, it is a bit moot now since Martin did it for you. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Nov 29 '11 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: and you know... you should really add proposals like that to our tag merging and synonyms thread. Helps to consolidate stuff and all that. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Nov 29 '11 at 9:07
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    $\begingroup$ @WillieWong I addressed it to you so that all participants here will be notified (Martin is already auto-notified, being the author). $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Nov 29 '11 at 14:28

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