I am convinced that full name tags like or should be discuraged because they really don't help categorize the site. Questions should be about claims and not people.

Furthermore many of these are really unlikely to be reused meaningfully: how many questions can be there about Ron Hubbard which are not about Scientology?

Should we just make all these synonyms? Should we simply delete them?

Thoughts appreciated.


4 Answers 4


I don't see a problem with names as tags. There are certainly people who's biography may be shrouded in misinformation. Some of these could be simply rolled into the subject that they are associated with (L. Ron Hubbard with Scientology, for instance), but there are others that either are more broadly important, or don't fit into one category or another (for example, Barack Obama, or Albert Einstein).

  • 1
    This might be an argument against tag synonyms, but is it an argument against for or against tag names as such? Surely, we can't say that every Einstein question could instead be given a Physics tag, but is there a hypothetical Einstein question that can not have its tag replaced with something that will be more descriptive? Perhaps it's Relativity, perhaps it's Nobel-prize but Einstein? I don't see what value that adds. Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 14:29
  • 1
    Actually, it is an argument for both. I think that in the case of Einstein, depending on the question, it would be appropriate to do both [Einstein] (I don't know the code for tags) and [Physics], for the question, assuming that it was about Albert Einstein's role in physics. In the case of [L-Ron-Hubbard], it could likely just be a synonym of [Scientology], unless it is about his life as Sci-Fi author. Actually, in saying that, maybe it is a case against synonyms, as no one is truly so one-dimensional.
    – Ustice
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 15:07
  • Actually, that made me think of a question...
    – Dogmafrog
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 15:38
  • skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/956/…. :)
    – Dogmafrog
    Commented Mar 17, 2011 at 15:47
  • holy jeez, that einstein question has mad legs. 6k views and going. Props to Ustice and David for sparking the question in my head!
    – Dogmafrog
    Commented Mar 18, 2011 at 15:56
  • I don't think an "andrew wakefield" tag would be about misinformation about him as much as misinformation by him. Would the latter be appropriate?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented May 22, 2011 at 8:06

Some tags do categorize the site. If the person is prominent enough, there will be multiple question about him or her. Dogmafrog's latest question is a good example of such a question.

I'm sure there's an unbelievingly long list of myths around most American presidents, too.


I guess my only question is, do they increase traffic to the site? I agree with everything you're saying, but if they somehow attract participation then maybe they have value, if even as synonyms. That might sound shallow, but I'd love to see more cool questioins from a broader audience, and if I have to lure people in with the sweet nectar of l-ron, that's not so bad...

UPDATE: at the time of this writing, the question I posted about Einstein with the Einstein tag has 7k views and hopefully still going. Power of positive thought? I'm skeptical. But something worked. If the traffic is considered a positive, credit is surely due to this meta question and the others who answered here. (if it's a negative, which I hope it isn't, then I take the heat).

  • The most often used of the tags is added to the title of a question to help SEO, this does not happen if it is already present in the title like in your question. I don't think the name tag had much to do with the popularity of the question.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Commented Mar 18, 2011 at 17:25
  • Huh, I googles it, was the first result, but education was the tag, you're right.
    – Dogmafrog
    Commented Mar 18, 2011 at 17:40

If the question is about the person, a tag for the person is appropriate. The mentioned Einstein question is specifically about Einstein's academic history. If the question is merely about a subject that the person is known for discussing, i.e. Relativity, it should be tagged with the subject rather than the person. The tricky area is if the question is about a person's stance, i.e. it's "Did Person X take position A?" rather than "Is position A correct?". In the former case, tag it with Person X and Position A, in the latter, tag it with Position A only.

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