7
$\begingroup$

(Mod's Note: Since recently a tag-merge proposal came up for and , I think we can revive this thread a bit and see if we can get some consensus.)

Currently, we have 172 questions tagged , 171 questions tagged , and 63 questions tagged .

These 3 tags include questions about "laymans definition of x," "where did name 'foo' come from," "what is the name for something like [description]," and many other forms of question.

Can we agree on a consistent way to tag these kinds of questions?
Remember that we have the ability to create tag synonyms (a rule that forces all questions tagged X to be tagged Y instead).

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I ask because of a question asked today that was originally tagged name, which I don't think is useful. But the question does show that someone trying to ask a "what is X called?" question may not necessarily think of any of these existing tags. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 16 '10 at 21:56
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I can't think of a solution everybody'll be happy with, but I would say that "notation" and "terminology" ought to be separate tags, and I would disagree on a proposal to merge them. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Sep 17 '10 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M.: The difference being that terminology deals with words, and notation with symbols? I don't think that's consistently applied right now. In any case, I see the real purpose of these particular tags as giving a way for people to filter out uninteresting questions, and as far as that application is concerned, I don't see a reason to distinguish between these. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 17 '10 at 1:29
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Not to mention "conventions". $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 17 '10 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: Not a tag that currently exists, but yeah, if it did, I'd think of it the same way. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 17 '10 at 17:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Kaestur: My point is that someone might try to create it if the meta-category is not defined generally enough. Another thing to consider is whether or not one desires a clear distinction between syntactic vs. semantic categories here. E.g. asking about standard notation for some object, vs, asking what the notation means, e.g. the meaning of 'x' in a polynomial ring. The former is a syntactic question while the latter is a semantic one. They are fundamentally different questions. Some people may want to filter out syntactic stuff but not semantic. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 17 '10 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ +1, JM. They are two different things, and we should resist merging tags for no reason. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Sep 18 '10 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: Well, that's one of the purposes of asking this question - to see if anyone would actually treat those cases differently. I think KennyTM's example of sequences-and-series is a useful one to consider. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 18 '10 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaestur: Which cases do you refer to, semantic vs. syntactic? $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 18 '10 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: I was referring to your comment about semantic vs syntactic, but really, if anyone cares about distinguishing between any of the many questions that currently bear these tags, that will be useful. (For example, maybe some people are interested in reading questions about 'layman's definition of x' for insights into teaching.) $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 19 '10 at 8:15
6
$\begingroup$

I don't think and should be merged.

is often used for asking things like «How common is the use of the term “primitive” to mean “antiderivative”?» — which are just... asking for standard conventions, or about their history.

And is used (sometimes, at least) to ask about why some definitions are equivalent (or not) and so on — so it's real mathematical questions.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ P.S. Personally, I've added (some time ago) notation & terminology -- but not definition -- to ignored tags. So, at least for me, the distinction is important. $\endgroup$ – Grigory M Jun 27 '11 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for writing my answer for me :-) +1 completely! $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 27 '11 at 14:58
5
$\begingroup$

No, notation and terminology are two totally different things. "Definitions" and terminology are more similar and could survive being merged, but please don't merge the very on-point notation tag.

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ ...much as I agree with your sentiment, I still think it's unfair to riff on the mods for not being mathematicians; I'm not a (professional) mathematician either, but I at least appreciate why those tags should be kept apart. My point is, your discrimination seems to be uncalled-for here. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Sep 18 '10 at 13:33
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It would be best if the moderators were selected so to represent the diversity of the community here - some mathematicians in academia, not in academia, in other fields (e.g. computer science, physics, etc), some bright students, etc. Of course that will never occur, so that the best we can hope for is that the moderators will strive to fairly represent the diversity of the community. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 18 '10 at 17:15
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Dear 97832123, In many papers one has a "Notation and conventions" or "Notation and terminology" section which explains the notation and terminology to be used. So notation, terminology, and conventions are closely related, if not identical. I don't particularly care whether the tags are merged or not, I just want to say that it's not preposterous to suggest that they be merged, just as it's not preposterous to suggest that they remain distinct. I don't see that there's a need to be antagonistic to the moderators; simply upvote or downvote the suggestions you agree or disagree with. $\endgroup$ – Matt E Sep 18 '10 at 18:13
  • 14
    $\begingroup$ Moderators should recuse themselves from patrolling comments about the moderation of the site. Nor should moderators attempt to take "revenge" for criticism by suspending the users who post criticism. In this case, a user with a clear understanding of the MO/mathematics/academic culture that is much more relevant to the future of math.SE, than (some) moderators' prior experience with Stackoverflow. Meta: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/832/… $\endgroup$ – T.. Sep 21 '10 at 3:58
2
$\begingroup$

I suggest we merge them, e.g. into [terminology-and-notation] or other tags that describe all 3 concepts, like [sequence-and-series].

Upvote if you agree, downvote if you disagree.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ [sequences-and-series] is not a model that should be emulated. [Sequences] are one thing, and [summation] of [infinite-series], or in other words the analysis of [infinite-sums], is another. $\endgroup$ – T.. Sep 20 '10 at 7:43
-1
$\begingroup$

Proposal 2: (Middling distinction) Merge [terminology].A with [definition], and rename it as something like [meaning-usage-etymology]

(See Proposal 1 for background)

$\endgroup$
-1
$\begingroup$

Proposal 3: (More distinction) Separate [terminology].A and [terminology].B into tags like [usage-and-etymology] and [names]/[name-for]/[nomenclature], leaving [definition] as is.

(See Proposal 1 for background)

$\endgroup$
-2
$\begingroup$

Proposal 1: (Less distinction) Merge [terminology] with [definition]

Here is my interpretation of the three tags:

[notation] contains questions about how symbols, functions or operators are written, and their conventions.

[definition] holds questions about the meanings of mathematical terms.

[terminology] has questions about A) usage, history, and the "why" of terms; and B) questions seeking names for mathematical phenomena.

I believe that the current status quo is confusing because the A) part of [terminology] comes close to [definition], and it does not seem easy for a user to differentiate when asking questions about meanings and usage. Additionally, [terminology] seems too vague a term for how the community is using it. To me, [definition] would naturally be a subset of [terminology].

The English.SE site has finer distinctions than we do, using multiple tags such as [meaning], [names], [etymology] and [word-usage]. But then again, words are their bread and butter, while the proportion of questions about words on Math.SE is smaller.

It comes down to what distinctions the community wants. Here are some ideas I have:

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ (Re: I wish I could poll community) Why, you can: just post an answer with one suggestion, so anyone can vote for it $\endgroup$ – Grigory M Jun 27 '11 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Grigory: Hm... so make three separate answers? $\endgroup$ – Michael Chen Jun 27 '11 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ ...Actually, after reading your post, I think, maybe we need not tag merging, but tag splitting? (Really, when half of users think that A should be merged with B, and half -- that A should be merged with C, it usually means that A should be split intro something else.) $\endgroup$ – Grigory M Jun 27 '11 at 21:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .