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A recent question tagged as made me wonder if this tag is outdated nowadays. After the EOQS made its way into this side, it does not really fit anymore.

I skimmed shortly over the questions tagged as soft-question, and almost every is either incorrectly tagged, or correctly tagged, but closed or should have been closed.

It feels like this tag should be blacklisted. Most soft-questions fit better on math.meta anyways, and by now the tag feels more like a relict of an old time, which is outdated by the recent enforcement of quality standards.

The tag description encourages unclear, unfitting questions. As a result they are normally heavily downvoted and closed shortly after.

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    $\begingroup$ If that's what you're actually suggesting, maybe the tag (tag-blacklist) would be suitable here.. (Simply removing the tag is problematic - there are more then 850 questions tagged only soft-question, those question would have to be manually retagged first.) $\endgroup$ May 5 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, didnt know that. I just thought this makes it impossible to use the tag in the future. As I said, it seems that almost every question which uses this tag ist either tagged incorrectly, or just off topic and therefore closed (or should have been closed). $\endgroup$
    – Cornman
    May 5 at 4:49
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    $\begingroup$ Well, making the tag impossible to use in the future - but without removing the existing occurrences - is exactly what blacklisting a tag does. So if this option seems reasonable to you, maybe you could edit your post to indicate that you consider blacklisting the tag (as opposed to removal from all old post) to be a reasonable option, too. (And, of course, add the corresponding tag.) $\endgroup$ May 5 at 4:54
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak I edited my question. I would like to know of an example of a "good" soft-question. Someone knows one? $\endgroup$
    – Cornman
    May 5 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ This might be a recent "good" one: math.stackexchange.com/questions/4442510/… But I am unsure if this is really a soft-question. $\endgroup$
    – Cornman
    May 5 at 5:08
  • $\begingroup$ I have noticed this suggestion posted in 2010: Should we eliminate [soft-question]? Of course, the site has changed quite a bit since then. $\endgroup$ May 5 at 5:09
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    $\begingroup$ I honestly love soft questions. They're virtually never homework and require one to do more than symbol pushing and chaining inequalities and whatnot. Yet I do think they are against the EoQS. I would favour adjusting the EoQS to allow for soft questions but I don't practically know how $\endgroup$ May 5 at 5:37
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson I have not clicked or carefully read every single linked threat, but in the list of links in your second comment, I would not really note any question as "soft-question", but valid mathematical questions that do belong on this side. So maybe we should adjust, or clarify the "definition" or tag description. I do not see how a question for examples, or a justification of a mathematical concept should be a soft-question. Yes, there is no right, or wrong but good or bad examples/explanations, but maybe one should seek to differentiate more. $\endgroup$
    – Cornman
    May 5 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ EoQS does not represent any kind of change in policy. The same quality standards apply to questions asked today as have applied for (at least) five years (and likely longer). If soft-questions were okay in the past, they are still okay now. The point of EoQS is to hold answerers responsible for maintaining quality by discouraging people from answering low-quality questions. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 5 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson Sure, but the thing is that 99% of soft-questions are of poor quality. $\endgroup$
    – Cornman
    May 5 at 19:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Cornman That is an entirely different issue which has nothing to do with EoQS. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 5 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson I dont understand, as this tag clearly encourages asking questions which destiny is to get closed anyways. $\endgroup$
    – Cornman
    May 6 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Cornman You are welcome to that opinion, but it has nothing to do with EoQS, which is about discouraging answerers from answering low quality questions. If you would like to discuss the merits of the soft-question tag, you could seek community input on that, but it is an issue entirely unrelated to the EoQS procedure. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 6 at 13:12

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The usage guidance for says this:

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.

Perhaps that dictum could be revisited, but I don't feel it conflicts with the Enforcement of Quality Standards (EoQS) at Math.SE.

On its face it relates to the objective/subjective nature of Questions. At one end of the spectrum there is indeed an opinion-based quagmire, where all responses are equally valid and no definitive Answer is possible. However there is distinction to be drawn between good subjective/bad subjective (written in 2010). A well-crafted and well-researched "soft question" might produce informative responses, in the case of Math.SE based on the experience of Readers who have dealt with the specific issues raised.

Quality standards are still applicable. A soft question is not exempt from having specificity (as the usage guidance points out). Context is important, as with all Math.SE problem statements.

Applying a valid tag to a Question does not in itself make that Question on-topic. The body of the Question must bear that burden.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not clear how this answers the question. As we know, one reason for the closure of a questions is "opinion-based/subjective and does not lend itself to an objective answer. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 6 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy The title and the lead paragraph of the Question propose that the soft-question tag is "outdated nowadays" because of EoQS. I discuss my reasons for disagreeing with that proposition. The point you mention ("one reason for the closure of a question") is discussed at some length in my post, so perhaps you either disagree with my view or think that discussion is irrelevant? $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    May 6 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ How rare can a soft question get, that pass under quality standards and closure reasons now in place, before you part with the tag, like users parted with homework tag, and countless other tags? The vast majority of soft questions are opinion-based, too broad, and/or not about math. How many askers do you want to set up for immediate closure, because given the tag, they think their questions are welcome? Perhaps we desperately need to change the wiki for the tag, to start. My only point is that the post above, by the OP, is worthy of more than your dismissal. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 10 at 17:10

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