I'm sure there are many other examples I could use. The point is, how do we decide when to use multiple tags when the subject matter of one of the tags is entirely contained in the subject matter of another?

  • 1
    My opinion, on a case-by-case basis.
    – user3961
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 17:27
  • 2
    @fredsbend That's... entirely unhelpful. Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 17:30
  • 2
    Here's a helpful link: meta.stackexchange.com/a/18879/300411. Key quote: At a minimum, try to include at least one very broad tag and one other tag to narrow the topic down within that broader category Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


The purpose of a tag is to provide a useful set of questions to make it easier for (potential) question askers to find the info they need and/or make it easier for experts of a specific subject to find things to answer.

The general standard should be something along the line of "does the subtag refer to a specific subject that may generate questions of a different nature than the general tag." If so, the tag should exist if there are a significant number of such questions. Otherwise, they should be synonyms.

If both tags are useful (and there are many cases of this type), then the more specific one should always be used when it applies. The more general one can be used, but has a low priority Thus, if there are 5+ other tags that could apply to a given question, the more general one should fall out first.

On the specific examples:

  • I doubt the number of non-Bible-text-to-English-translation questions are very common. As such, should be merged with . If a distinction was really needed, it should be a complete split ala vs .

  • is a specific teaching that generates its own class of questions. It is OK if such questions are also tagged - people interested in eschatology in general will sometimes be interested in these questions, while other people may well be interested in only premillennialism questions.

  • The last example is the most difficult. I tend to think of the as being distinct because of the moral teachings it offers, but would not be opposed to merging it with . I would use for asking about the moral teaching/doctrinal issues type questions, and for questions asking "what does Jesus mean by X". If the question impacts both, use both tags, but don't automatically use both. I would only use if the question both quotes the text and asks an exegesis type question. (Although not mentioned in the OP, could technically apply. I don't recommend using that tag when any more specific one applies unless the question is also asking about the nature/character/etc. of Jesus himself.)

  • I think I like your thinking here. What about eschatology and premillennialism? Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 22:02
  • 1
    I've just checked on the translation tag btw, and I see 2 questions on the Book of Mormon, 2 on Augustine, 2 on John of Damascus, and 2 on creeds. Just fyi. Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 22:09
  • @Mr.Bultitude I have expanded my thoughts - let me know what you think. (I'm open to adjusting them.)
    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 1:36
  • "Thus, if there are 5+ other tags that could apply to a given question, the more general one should fall out first." By this do you mean the most general of the 6 should be removed? Or, that out of the two least valuable, the more general one should be dropped in favor of the more specific? Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:57
  • @Nathaniel I mean a redundant tag that is also broad. For example, if there are six tags that apply to some question and "gospel-of-matthew" and "sermon-on-the-mount" are two of them, then matthew would drop out, all else being equal.(Naturally, each question should be handled on a case-by-case basis.)
    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 18:24

I'd suggest a system of prioritization that attempts to ensure that both broad tags and specific tags are applied to every question, as per this answer on meta, and then adds appropriate mid-level tags. In the following order,

  • Apply the very-broad tag most closely related to the question
  • Apply a very-narrow tag, or at least a narrow tag, closely related to the question
  • Apply a mixture of broad and narrow tags related to aspects of the question not covered in the first two tags

Example 1

When did the early church begin reciting the Lord's Prayer in corporate worship?

  • Available very-broad tags related to this question are and . Either would work, but I think is closer.
  • The best very-narrow tag that already exists is , and it's very closely related, so that's a good option.
  • For my third tag, I'll take something less broad than my first one, but in the same category as the one I rejected earlier: like .
  • Next, I'll add one for another topic that this question touches: .
  • Finally, I could add a mid-level tag, such as or . Either would be fine.

Example 2

How do Protestants respond to the JW interpretation of John 14:28?

Example 3

What's the biblical basis for Dominionism?

  • Interesting process, but not one I'd agree with. For your second example, you have what I'd consider essential tags: exegesis, jehovahs-witnesses, protestantism, gospel-of-john. That leaves one space to optionally be filled, and as apologetics doesn't normally imply intra-Christianity debates, I wouldn't pick it.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:19
  • @curiousdannii Regarding apologetics, that's a good point that I hadn't considered. The tag excerpt should be updated to make that clear, because our definition of Christianity is broader than that of most Christians. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:38
  • 1
    @curiousdannii The question is, how do you determine what the "essential tags" are? This post is just me trying to write out the details of what my mind is doing (or should be doing) when it's figuring out which are "essential" and which aren't. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:40
  • 2
    Instinct :P Yeah your process is probably helpful. But I think that your strict order gets things wrong. I would always pair an exegesis tag with a book tag - they're work as a pair at the broad level. I'd consider it a problem if the book tag got left out because you run out of vacant spots by the time you consider it...
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:43
  • @curiousdannii Hopefully my edit makes it clear. I don't particularly like the words-of-jesus tag except perhaps in the case where the same words are quoted in multiple gospels, and the questioner doesn't specify which gospel he's referring to. Adding matthew, mark, and luke to such an exegesis question would be overkill to me. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:46
  • And, incidentally, the order I'm proposing is only "strict" for the first two tags... so if there's a special case where two tags should always go together, the second one can always be #3. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:50

You must log in to answer this question.

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