and seem like the same domain approached from opposite sides. If somebody asks "is doing X considered polite in (context)?" he'll probably tag it "politeness", but if he asks "would it be rude to X in (context)?" he'll probably tag it "rudeness". A future visitor using tags has a 50-50 chance of seeing the question.

Do we need both?

The wiki for :

A behaviour that is respectful and considerate of other people. To be used when consideration, tact, deference, or courtesy is on the line.

This tag can be used for questions about a behaviour that is respectful and considerate of other people. Since it is a culturally defined phenomenon, therefore what is considered polite in one culture can sometimes be quite rude or simply eccentric in another cultural context. So, a cultural tag such as united-states or united-kingdom should be used with this.

The wiki for :

For questions where rudeness is pertinent to any party of an encounter. The questioners own rudeness or the questioner being subject to someone else's rudeness or the questioner observing someone being rude to a third party.

There are some people in life that can come across as rude, or can overtly try to be rude to the people around them. Often in these situations it can be difficult to interact with them, reason with them, or just in general be with them. In addition some people can come across as rude without even meaning to when trying to achieve a certain goal or reply to a certain comment in a certain way. Questions here are about how to deal with rude people, but also situations where people come across as rude, and even situations where you may appear to be rude, even when that was not the intention.

This tag should be used with tags such as friends and united-kingdom.

Neither wiki references the other. If we keep both tags, we should probably cross-reference them.

  • Would making them synonyms be appropriate in this case? If I'm not mistaken they're both heavily used and the actual words are, more or less, antonyms.
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


We need both tags. Consider this case:

  • Someone asks "My friend was very rude to me, how do I initiate a conversation with him about this". Here, the rudeness tag is applicable, while the politeness is not.

A rude behavior has been done, and OP is asking specifically about the rudeness/how to handle this rudeness. The tag politeness states that it is for "A behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people" and it simply does not fit.

The same issue occasionally occurs with politeness but it is not so easily spotted since being polite is often associated with not being rude. There are some cases where you could take extra actions to be polite, and if you did not do them it would only fall to normal (rather than rudeness) and a question about this should definitely be tagged with politeness, but not rudeness.

Admittedly the line is sometimes very thin where (like your example) changing from one to the other does not seem to make much difference. However, I would argue that there is a subtle difference between not being polite, and being impolite (i.e. rude) and for each question, OP should tag it appropriately as it actually could make a slight difference to some answers, where they may focus on avoiding rude behaviors vs engaging in polite ones.

Essentially, OP has to decide which best applies to their question, are they asking about being polite, or avoiding being rude.

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