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Considering the rising interest toward the ongoing presidential elections in the USA, I'd like to clarify using , , and probably and tags. The last two, in my opinion, are not that much abused, however.

Many questions are being unadvisedly tagged with several/all of those, and this makes searching by tag pretty difficult.

We also know that "Tags should help to describe what the question is about, not just what it contains."

Also, this resembles typical problems of tagging questions at StackOverflow: Should jQuery questions always be tagged with “javascript”? (personally, I'm not very convinced by Shog9's answer, but this is the way how the things are).

Is there a plain English description of which tag should be used?
I have my own (naive) understanding of these, but I'm afraid my English wouldn't let me make a good writeup on this topic.


I don't know if this is a separate question or not, but and seem to be so much narrow.

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Q: Is there a plain English description of which tag should be used?

For the and tags:

  • If the question is about people casting ballots, the tag is appropriate.

  • If the question is about the aggregation of ballots, one of the election-related tags is appropriate.

Because a clear demarcation exists between an individual casting a ballot and the aggregation of all ballots, it should be quite rare for the tag to appear with any of the election-related tags.

The relationship of people to tags in the voting process is depicted in the following Cmap 1.


Concept Map of tags related to voting


Notes: Tag names have a gray background. Items with a yellow background are necessary to connect the tags. The unconnected items at the bottom are election-related tags. The tag includes all the various systems, such as those shown in the table at: Is [meek-single-transferable-vote] so distinct as to need a tag separate from [single-transferable-vote]?.

In particular, if the tag is used in relation to an elective office, seat or position, it most likely should be changed to .

During the past several months, I have been working through a list to review tags from those tags that identify legislatures, since it could identify an elective office or is about voting, within a legislature, that should be tagged , or is otherwise defined by rules based on the type of vote: impeachment, nomination, no confidence, etc.


1 A Cmap (or Concept Map) may be created with software from the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC). The software is free and available for most systems. See, CmapTools. Disclaimer: I have no connection with IHMC and am only a user of the software.

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I would consider the tag to be used incorrectly often. E.g.

To me, a voting system is something like first-past-the-post or proportional representation. These questions seem to be using it as a placeholder for political theory or analysis. Hey, there's voting -- it must be a system!

Note that the Obama question is especially egregious, as it is entirely a point of political trivia related to how one politician voted. It doesn't touch on voting theory at all.

Here's my proposal for the tag wiki excerpt (what shows when you hover over the tag):

For questions about rule systems for gathering and counting votes. Not for questions about country-specific rules but for the theory and practice of voting systems. Examples include proportional-representation and first-past-the-post.

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  • Thanks for looking deeper than I have asked. In fact, adding statements like "Not for questions about […]" to tag descriptions is maybe the best formulation of what I'm looking for. Not only for voting-systems, but for all tags I mentioned. May 15, 2016 at 17:17
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    regarding using "not for X", If using that tag for X is a very common occurrence, than go ahead and add that to the tag description, but I'd be weary of enumerating badness. Sometimes there's no end to the ways a tag can be abused. May 15, 2016 at 19:48
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    I vote to go ahead and remove the voting-systems tag from every one of those examples.
    – lazarusL
    May 19, 2016 at 16:58

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