Some questions* already use the tag earth.

(*) edit: ignore the previous link, see the first comment by plannapus following naught101 answer below.

I'm wondering if it is meaningful on Earth Science SE to use earth as a tag... I guess the idea in those questions is to refer to the Earth as a whole, but I don't know what would be the best alternative. I have some ideas, such as global geodynamic or something similar but it's probably uncommon for most users.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a fair point, I suggested some retagging for some. I think geodesy would be the proper tag for questions on the shape of the earth no? $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ Are all tags by necessity lower case? "Earth" is the name of this planet. It's capitalized because it's a proper noun. It's not just a matter of "correct" grammar; "earth" means dirt. It's a tiny point. It just looks weird to me. $\endgroup$
    – kwknowles
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ @kwknowles I totally agree with you. I didn't mention this point to avoid confusion in my question but if we keep earth as a tag, it should be Earth anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Gaialogist
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ @plannapus It's ok for geodesy in relation to the Earth's shape. For the other questions, I guess more specific tags will be created with time. $\endgroup$
    – Gaialogist
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ @kwknowles i think tags can only be lowercase (see one discussion on meta.SE: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/216225/… ). See also on stackoverflow the tags corresponding to languages C, C++, R, etc... are all lowercase $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 15:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think both are fine. We can refer to the earth, just as we refer to the sun and the moon. Style guides vary on the matter (e.g. Economist, Guardian, Grammar Girl). It's only in the context of treating the earth alongside, say, Jupiter and Saturn that we need to talk about Earth (without 'the'). $\endgroup$
    – kwinkunks
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ So there is 6 new questions tagged with earth. $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 11:55

4 Answers 4


As @Michael noticed, the tag is still heavily used 7 months after this discussion.
There is, to this date, 22 questions using this uninformative tag. They include:

  1. questions about the earth as a planet. E. g. Why does the earth spin clockwise?
    1bis. questions comparing earth with other planets. E. g. What sort of climate zones would be present if Earth was tilted like Uranus?
  2. questions about the age of earth. E. g. Why is Earth's age given by dating meteorites rather than its own rocks?
  3. questions about geography. E. g. Why are most peninsulas oriented north-south?
  4. questions about earthquakes. E. g. Why are there more intense earthquakes in Iran than in Iraq?
  5. questions about the Earth System. E. g. Is everything affecting everything on Earth?
  6. a bunch of questions with no reasons whatsoever to have such a tag. E. g. Is the Principle of Original Horizontality a good indicator?

So, the plan of action I think would be to get rid of the tag everywhere and retag:
- category 1 with or, as was suggested before ;
- category 2 I don't really know: maybe?;
- category 3 ;
- category 4 ;
- and category 5 .

Yay or Nay?
(I'm asking because otherwise if I edit the tags directly myself there won't be any peer-review)

  • $\begingroup$ I'm a fan of that re-tagging effort. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I'm in favour of this too. For category 2, dating might my a useful tag, there are a lot of potential questions relating to dating methods in Earth Science. For category 3, geography could work, but I'm tempted to say that's just as wide a topic as Earth Science. $\endgroup$
    – decvalts
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ Looking at the geography tag, most of these questions could simply drop the tag. The peninsula one would fit better as geomorphology. $\endgroup$
    – decvalts
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ @decvalts right, good idea (I changed the tag on that question). $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 7:41

I understand the points about using to distinguish between processes on Earth and other planets, but I feel it is too general to be a useful tag. Would people really use to narrow down their searches on a Q&A site about Earth Science? A huge proportion of existing questions could be classified with this tag. A tag should be able to serve a useful purpose in isolation.

(as @Gaialogist suggests) or the existing tags are the most useful when comparing or distinguishing between Earth and other planets.

If I post a question on this site, I assume it is implied automatically that I am asking about the Earth, unless I specify otherwise. If you wanted to categorize a question about the Earth as a whole, or may be more useful and appropriate tags.


Just made a new post about it, without realising a question already exists. I'll move it here.

I don't think we need an tag. After all, this site is about earth science. You don't see people use on Physics.SE or on Chemistry.SE so it's rather superfluous. A tag is useful if it can help people find questions, or it is some obscure term that the wiki is useful for understanding it. Neither are correct in this case.

Most people that use it are new users that either do not completely understand the tagging system or have no idea what else to put in the tags since at least one tag is required. Combine that with some of the very specific examples given in naught101's answer and you're in for a big mess.

I completely agree with casey's comment on naught101 answer. We should add tags for specific planets when needed, but earth is just too obvious. May also be related to this q.


Since planetary physics is generally on-topic, I think the "earth" tag is potentially useful for questions about how processes apply to Earth, as opposed to other planets.

It appears that someone has already made the decision to remove all existing "earth" tags from the site already though, so it's a bit hard to tell if any of them were useful. A potential example might be something like "Why didn't Earth undergo a runaway greenhouse effect, like Venus?"

  • $\begingroup$ As I said, I'm the one who suggested the removal of the tags (since I don't have the reputation to get rid of them directly). They were 4 of them: one was the geodesy question, the three others were about the inner and outer core (earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/402/…, earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/240/…, earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/246/…) therefore not really on planetology. $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ You can check my suggested edits here by the way: earthscience.stackexchange.com/users/87/… $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 6:30
  • $\begingroup$ @plannapus: Yeah, none of those questions really fit with what I meant. Then again, maybe very few will, who knows. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ There is definitely room for such questions, but then again wouldn't tags such as planet or planetology be more explicit? $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ @plannapus: No, what I mean is planetology questions that discuss earth as a particular case, and how it is from other known planets. Like I said, I don't know if such questions can exist. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:22
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ ok, maybe something like planet-earth then would be less ambiguous as a tag then and could be an alternative to just earth. $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:26
  • $\begingroup$ FYI you're example question would be quite a nice question indeed. $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @plannapus The planet-earth tag could be very useful indeed. But it implies the creation of similar tags at least for other telluric planets for the sake of comparison (naught101 example question with venus-planet or venus). Maybe a comparative-planetology tag or something similar might be useful in this context? $\endgroup$
    – Gaialogist
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ This question could potentially be tagged "earth", since it's the only planet where "natural disasters" occur (so far, that we know of). $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 2:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @naught101 but will an "earth" tag be useful on that post? Will it help someone find that post? Presumably most of our questions are about earth of process on earth so while it may make sense to have a "venus" or "mars" tag to explicitly state a planet, I don't see any usefulness in an "earth" tag because that is the default as I see it. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 23:37

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