Do we prefer tags like this:

  • volcanology
  • speleology
  • glaciology

or like this:

  • volcanoes
  • caves
  • glaciers


  • $\begingroup$ Well glaciers are synonymous with glaciology but a small part o fthe field so it is a bad example. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2014 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ Are those going to be synonymous? I imagine pretty much all question tagged with "volcanoes" could equally well be tagged "volcanology". But some some questions about speleology might be more focussed on how to do the science (e.g. caving), rather than on the caves themselves. I would suggest using both sets of tags, and if it later becomes obvious that there is no meaningful distinction for the questions on this site, then make them synonyms and/or merge them. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Apr 20, 2014 at 5:49

2 Answers 2


I'm tempted to say the latter. This is (hopefully) a multidisciplinary site, and if I'm asking a question I may not know exactly what field it falls under... but I do know what physical feature I'm talking about.

Some physical features are relevant to multiple disciplines (e.g. glaciers might be relevant to geologists, climate scientists, oceanographers...) but I see that as a positive, encouraging serendipitous discoveries of cross-discipline questions that one might not otherwise spot.

I don't feel this very strongly, though, and I'm tempted to say "Wait a bit, see what naturally developers, then take a view and clean up" ;-)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ With that in mind, both sets of tags may eventually become relevant. The latter set for questions such as the example you gave, and the former set for questions specifically about the disciplines. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2014 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ I like this answer -- disciplines are one level more abstract than physical places or features. "Is this question about glaciers?" usually makes more sense than "Is this question about glaciology?" $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2014 at 17:03

I'm going to propose tags should follow the former spec:

  • volcanology (synonym vulcanology)
  • speleology
  • glaciology

I love that this site aspires to be an expert site. Don't be afraid of using grown-up expert tags, rather than kiddy-talk.

If you want a community of experts, then use that language, particularly in tags. By all means write accessibly. Technical language has the advantage of precision and a body of shared understanding about its meaning. Lay language (such as "caves") is messy, smeary, bleared and usually ambiguous.

  • $\begingroup$ I see what you're saying, but I disagree that jargon is intrinsically good. Big words can be invented unnecessarily and defined vaguely. $\endgroup$ Apr 16, 2014 at 18:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Biology.se, chemistry.se and physics.se chose indeed to use the disciplines as tags and not the object of the discipline, and i do think we should as well. $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Apr 25, 2014 at 14:54

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