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Questions should not be tagged based on the claimant, i.e. the person or organisation making a claim.

It's not possible to have expertise on claims by a certain person. To be an expert on claims by Donald Trump, you'd have to know about Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants and the Iranian government, not to being mention an expert on vaccination.

Likewise, to be an expert on the Daily Mail, you'd not only have to be an expert on immigration into the UK, but also on oncology.

Also, many claims are expressed by a variety of people. For example, Donald Trump and Robert De Niro have expressed similar claims about vaccination. We can't tag a question with everyone who's made a given claim or a similar version of it.

(Note: I'm not suggesting burninating , as he's also the subject of numerous claims)

Previous questions:

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  • Same goes for [mercola] and all the other tags that are just names of people.
    – user11643
    Nov 22, 2016 at 16:22
  • 1
    +1 for the HNQ-bate title. +1 for the idea. Claim source is NOT really a valid thing to tag on (and this comes from CDO individual who loves tags so much he proposed hierarchical tag structure on Meta.SE and got into heavy discussions about not deleting useful tags on other sites :)
    – user5341
    Dec 16, 2016 at 3:27
  • 2
    OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), not CDO, and HNQ-bait (hot network question bait, like click-bait)
    – Golden Cuy
    Dec 17, 2016 at 6:36
  • This question may need featuring at some point...
    – Golden Cuy
    Nov 1, 2018 at 21:35
  • Related: skeptics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4983/38337 Oct 9, 2023 at 19:57

3 Answers 3

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My first reaction to this was: we should use tags to help people to deliberately search for questions that interest them and to have serendipitous discoveries of other related questions. I have used the tag, when I had vague memories that Mercola had made a similar claim. So, I didn't like your idea.

But, as I tried to marshall my argument, and re-read your post, I find you have a lot of good points.

In particular:

  • The is used for claims about Donald Trump and claims by Donald Trump, which seems clumsy.

  • Many people can make the same claim. I'm pretty sure I have occasionally removed tags when people have tried to use them to make a partisan political point about someone being wrong, rather than find the truth about a claim.

I recognise this uncomfortable feeling of wanting to stutter "But... but... but..." in a discussion. It is the dawning realisation that my position is wrong. So I am writing this answer to reassure you that your suggestion was heard, and I am slowly adjusting my view (or coming up with a killer counter-point; whichever comes first.)

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  • 2
    So can we edit all the questions tagged joseph-mercola? From what I see, none are using the tag for claims about the person, but claims he's made. There's no reason for the tag to exist.
    – user11643
    Mar 2, 2017 at 0:45
  • 1
    @fredsbend: Yes, good point.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Mar 2, 2017 at 4:23
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Keep the tag!


Your argument is that:

"It's not possible to have expertise on claims by a certain person. "

However, tags don't need to be designed based on expertise. They can also be designed based on interest. People can "watch" tags, and even subscribe to email notifications when a question is asked with a particular tag.

If enough people are interested in to "watch" the tag or to subscribe to it, then the tag is worth keeping. I don't know if there is an easy way to find out how many subscribers a tag has, but 13 people are "watching" the tag and with 184 questions so far, it is currently the 24th biggest tag on the entire site in terms of the number of questions (and it is still growing because he is running in the 2024 election).

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The line is too narrow to ever be defined, or useful. My reading of the proposal is,

  • A claim made by John Doe should not be tagged with merely because they made the claim.
  • A claim about John Doe should be tagged with to help identify those with an expertise in John Doe identify the question.

Why do you think those that have an expertise in John Doe can not help inform an answer about a claim John Doe made? I would actually go so far as to say an axiom built on the above is incorrect. The act of explaining context objectively is exegesis. Any claim made by John Doe can be informed by an expert in John Doe to at least explain the context of the claim: when he lived, what he accomplished, and his passions etc.

If anything the exceptional claim, for me, is that an expert in John Doe is of no utility to a claim made by John Doe. And if you think it is of utility, where do you go with this guidance? People who want experts in John Doe to know about the claim tag it as such, and others who want to examine the claim in isolation of the expert in John Doe should omit the tag?

For an example of this, let's take the quote by Ronald Reagan "there is no greater and more productive economic system than Soviet Communism." You can prove he said it, if he did. You can also conclude there is no evidence for it -- after searching his archives and library. However, I would put if forward that a better answer would include how absolutely inconceivable it would be for him to have said it, and how inconsistent it would be with his actions (ergo, the tag would be very useful).

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