I was going to the list of tags in the main site when I notice the "approach" one. Here is its description:

For questions where the author is looking for a way to achieve their goal. Such as to properly convey certain feelings or to inform someone about a problem.

This tag is used on 55 questions, is never used alone and, honestly, I believe it's useless. This tag is way too generic. Every question on IPS is about "a way [to] achieve their goal". The only exception can be for "etiquette" question but that's why we have the "etiquette" tag for.

So, should we remove this tag?


3 Answers 3


Let's burninate!

I went through the first page of results for questions tagged with "approach", and it seems that there are two main patterns of usage of this tag:

  • questions on how to approach someone about something,
  • questions that use the tag because they're asking for advice on how to approach someone about something, yet the question isn't phrased based on this exact scheme.

As you said in your question, this tag does not seem to add anything more to the question. Regarding this and the analysis results abovementioned, I'd suggest we burninate the tag approach.


Kill it.

The point of Interpersonal Skills is communication, meaning (almost) every question on the site is about communicating something, whether that be that you're not trying to be creepy or that you like your cashier.

As such, every question could have the approach tag. "[P]roperly convey[ing] certain feelings or inform[ing] someone about a problem" is exactly the point of IPS to begin with.

This tag should be burninated because it is far too broad. It could be applied to every question here and adds nothing about the question in particular.


Keep the tag

The tag can be used as middle ground to off-topic What Should I Do questions -- approach is more about What **Can** I Do?. Many times, the OP of a question here on IPS does not know which Interpersonal Skills are at their disposal to achieve their set IPS goal. Instead of stamping them off as What-Should-I-do, we can add the tag.

This has the danger of another blurry line between on- and off-topic questions and should have to be defined more closely than I just did. They also tend to be on the broad side, but not necessarily.

An example of my point would be the question We moved together unexpectedly and early. How do I approach my boyfriend about arising problems? .

Is this a phrasing request? no.
Is this a What-Should-I-Do question? IMO no, not really.
Instead, OP is unsure what options they have and is therefore looking for IPS approaches.

counterargument: the accepted answer there starts with "you should ..." - but we should not measure a question by the answers it gets. It's a poor choice of words.

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