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The comments posted are pretty useful, I think. I refactored my question to better reflect the problem I see with the current tag. I like the feature request linked, it could be elaborated as an answer and further discussed in the comments there.


Background

My general observation is that tags fulfill a double role:

  1. They are categories aiding users - and questioners in particular - to organize the questions.
  2. They are filters (tag-navigation, RSS feeds, email notification) aiding users to get only the questions in their fields of expertise or interest.

The problem

I noticed that there are a lot of postings tagged which actually address logic in different senses or actually don't address it really. I don't want to create a "tag zoo", but is too ambiguous and sometimes misleading as currently used.

1. Mapping different research interests in logic

The current questions on SE.Philo can be mainly divided in questions about formal logic and philosophy of logic. (A third distinction might be philosophical logic, but I don't think I've seen questions addressing modal logics.).

2. Logic ≠ reasoning/argumentation

A lot of -questions are really about reasoning and argumentation, which is an interest only remotely connected to an interest in logic in the contemporary sense. I am thinking particularly of the many posts about fallacies. I urge to file them under a different tag like , or even .

Objections

@CodyGray Maybe I'm just not pedantic enough (hah!), but I'm not sure I see the problem with the way the logic tag is used now, generically applied to questions concerning logical reasoning, philosophy of logic, formal logic, etc.

The problem arises because the category as in use on Philo.SE is not really related to the current use of the term "logic" in research. So prospective professional philosophers working on or interested in "logic", who might be intrigued to furnish high quality answers, cannot really filter the questions with , as they get ca 80% questions unrelated to their interests or expertise. The signal-to-noise ratio is too low and this lead to frustration.

My plea is that if we want increase the chance that academic users (such as myself) might contribute on Philo.SE, we should take tags as filters seriously and adapt them to current terminological usage.

On the other side, there is the fact that most Philo.SE users are interested laymen:

@CodyGray you have to consider that the tag system is used by everyone who asks a question. Those people are not going to be experts on our tag system, and since they're asking a question about it, they're the least likely to be experts on the subject matter of their question. They might not realize what the difference is between logic and reasoning, or when to use the formal-logic tag, versus the philosophy-of-logic tag

Desideratum

Now, as I understand it, the desideratum is to find a solution which avoids creating

  1. "much higher friction experience for users asking questions"
  2. too much overhead for moderators.

A possible solution

I propose to

  1. introduce the tags
  2. use at least these tags to mark future questions (please note that those tags are not mutually exclusive)
  3. retag past questions with the new tags as appropriate.

(There might be a few candidates for which is suitable, as they are not focused enough, but they are exceptions.)


See also this related question.

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    Not intending to disagree with your proposal here, but you have to consider that the tag system is used by everyone who asks a question. Those people are not going to be experts on our tag system, and since they're asking a question about it, they're the least likely to be experts on the subject matter of their question. They might not realize what the difference is between logic and reasoning, or when to use the formal-logic tag, versus the philosophy-of-logic tag. – Cody Gray Mar 12 '12 at 8:45
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    Sure, other users could always come along and retag the questions for them, but then we're not really getting the most out of the tagging system that we could (and that creates a lot of extra work for other people). I'd prefer the lowest friction approach possible here. Maybe I'm just not pedantic enough (hah!), but I'm not sure I see the problem with the way the logic tag is used now, generically applied to questions concerning logical reasoning, philosophy of logic, formal logic, etc. – Cody Gray Mar 12 '12 at 8:47
  • @Cody I refactored you observations in my posting. – DBK Mar 13 '12 at 8:06
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#2 was discussed not too long ago, but both boil down to the same thing: how are we going to handle the "base" tag.

See, people will keep tagging their posts "logic" regardless of how we setup the system. So, even if we distinguish between different uses of the word logic (with "formal-logic" and "philosophy-of-logic"), it's the community and mods who are going to have to spend the overhead correctly classifying these questions as people with 150+ rep will inevitably use. If we assign the base logic tag as a synonym to either of the subcategories, inevitably some posts will be tagged incorrectly.

Thus, it may be easier just to keep a base "logic" tag in place which covers logic in all its distinctions; perhaps afterwards apply additional (more specific) tags. This latter step still requires overhead, but potentially less.

  • Seems like I missed that post - my bad. My basic argument in favor of introducing these tags (overhead notwithstanding) is that tags are used not just as categories, but as filters in relation to interest and expertise (RSS feeds, email notifications). If we want to attract scholars, there has to be a way to filter content in a suitable way. If a logician subscribes to the logic tag, she'll get 80% unrelated content and this will definitely lead to frustration, lowering the chances of collaboration. – DBK Mar 12 '12 at 1:49
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    Yeah I mean I'm all for it, it's not much work either way. Let's see what others have to say. – stoicfury Mar 12 '12 at 2:30
  • @DBK: Would it make more sense under your system to blacklist logic to force people to chose one of the more specific tags? Do you see or can you think of a question about logic that would be a good fit for the site and not be about one of the specific tags? – Jon Ericson Mar 12 '12 at 7:55
  • @Jon: Such blacklists have been discussed before for similar tags on MSO; I've done it myself for the vb tag. The issue presented is the same: it creates a much higher friction experience for users asking questions. What should they see when they try to add a logic tag? An error? That's pretty unfriendly. And how should they know, as the people least likely to be experts on the subject matter, which of the more specific tags (philosophy-of-logic, formal-logic, etc.) to use? Also, if people can't use the tag they want, they'll just create a new one that's even more useless. – Cody Gray Mar 12 '12 at 8:51
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    In general, I think the tagging system is in need of a pretty substantial overhaul. We might be interested in following the progress of this recent feature request posted to the SE meta site. – Cody Gray Mar 12 '12 at 8:52
  • @Cody: I like that feature request. It would help solve a number of problems on a variety of sites. Wikipedia does something similar for ambiguous words like Gaius. – Jon Ericson Mar 12 '12 at 9:01
  • @Cody I concur that the blacklist-option is not user-friendly enough. I also like the feature request you linked. That might be a start to build a satisfactory solution. – DBK Mar 12 '12 at 18:41
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I wholeheartedly agree that introducing distinctive tags would be helpful. If anything, maybe the [logic] tag should be retired for the aforementioned reason of inevitable mis-tagging, and the damage this does to filters and feeds.

I'd also love to see more specific tags related to formal logic (e.g. [excluded-middle], [FOL], etc.)--as SE is mathematics and computer science -heavy, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect special interest in the field.

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