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Today, I came across two tags: and . They've both been used for a decent number of questions, sometimes on the same one. Looking at the lists, it seems like the usage for both is similar; I don't see many questions using one that couldn't use the other instead.

Can we either

  • Better explain the differences between the tags, or
  • Synonymize them, to make things a bit clearer?
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We don't need to synonymize them, because etiquette and courtesy have totally different meaning.

As per Oxford definition for etiquette,

The customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

and for courtesy,

The showing of politeness in one's attitude and behaviour towards others.

Etiquette is about the rules that make you behave in a certain way, which is considered polite. While Courtesy is about your behavior that shows politeness and may benefit others.

In my opinion, we should consider these tags separate and must have a tag wiki to avoid confusion.

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  • Words have definitions. Tags have instructions for what types of questions they apply to. Etiquette and courtesy both refer to being polite. Yes, you are right, their definitions refer to different things. But in terms of categorizing questions, there isn't much of a difference between questions about rules for being polite and questions about how to show politeness. – user288 Aug 4 '17 at 4:09
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Both tags are being used in similar ways as . and are both used almost exclusively for questions about how to be polite.

If you look at the definitions of courtesy and etiquette, you'll see that this makes sense. Etiquette is a set of (unwritten) rules about how to be polite. Courtesy is a synonym of politeness.

Tags have one purpose: to help people find questions to answer. I find it hard to believe that someone who knows about etiquette (the rules for how to be polite) wouldn't also be interested in questions about how to be polite, which can be answered using etiquette.

Both tags should be synonyms of .


I mean, if you want, you can try changing the tag descriptions. But most people don't really read these. And most people aren't tuned in to the exact dictionary definitions of politeness, etiquette, and courtesy. So again, you can try, but I doubt you'll have much luck.

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    People using a tag wrong means that the tag excerpt needs to be fixed and editors need to remove it when it's used incorrectly. – Catija Aug 4 '17 at 4:19
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    @Catija people read tag excerpts? – user288 Aug 4 '17 at 4:21

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