here are 358 questions tagged .

Question: What's the tag for?

The questions with this tag seem wildly varied. By the looks of things, it's mainly added to questions haphazardly.

Update: The above question is a duplicate of http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/3222, although I think this tag has been misused since then. Since there's no answers thus far I'll add some follow-up questions.

Question: Do we actually need a tag?

And if we do need this tag:

Question: Can we make a sensible tag wiki for it?

  • $\begingroup$ Related: which questions falls under the tag 'problem-solving'? $\endgroup$
    – 75064
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 1:05
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for that. For some reason I totally missed that question. By the looks of things, it might be time for a tidy-up of this tag. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2013 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ To me it is rather unclear what this tag is for. Tag-wiki and tag-excerpt might help users to use this tag correctly, but they are empty. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2013 at 5:03
  • $\begingroup$ Combatting the tag once more here $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 19:30

3 Answers 3


I propose to delete the tag. There are other tags that can be used in its place, as appropriate: , , , or .

One can imagine that the tag was meant for abstract problem solving techniques in the style of How to Solve It by Pólya. But it's hard to come up with many SE-suitable questions along these lines. They would fall under , I guess.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think problem-solving is a better tag for contest-style math than contest-math, as the latter doesn't obviously include questions not actually from contests. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2013 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ @NoahSnyder On the other hand, problem-solving does not obviously exclude questions that are not in contest-style. So it gets used by people who know that they have a math problem to be solved, and little else. Contest-style math which is not for contest can be tagged recreational-mathematics. $\endgroup$
    – 75064
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 21:14
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ To me recreational-mathematics means stuff like what you'd find in Martin Gardner books, which is about as far from contest-style math as you can get. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2013 at 21:21

Tag wiki says:

Use this tag when you want to determine the thinking that is needed to solve a certain type of problem, as opposed to looking for a specific answer to a question.

Users do: put this tag on anything but that. "I have a problem that needs solving, so it is." There are 1410 questions with this tag, some of which have no other tag.

This tag is less than useless. Sure, the users with 5-digit reputation can talk about what they think the tag could be about. These opinions matter little; the actual usage is determined by those with 1 reputation. And they have determined that this is a tag to be slapped on questions at random.


This was running out of space as a comment.

For me "contest-math" is a problem from a contest. I think problem-solving is different - "I have encountered this situation and I can formulate it as a question" - a lot of the time this will be in the context of a particular field of study.

But wouldn't "problem solving" apply to a modern-day equivalent of the Goldbach Conjecture (or even FLT or Riemann Hypothesis - stuff which hasn't been asked before and might be trivial, but possibly isn't) - "does anyone out there know how to do this?"

There is a difference for me between the questioner (who might not know the whole field), and the question. The "problem-solving" tag might be helpful to the questioner, even if it is not perfect for the question.


You must log in to answer this question.

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