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The tag is the most broadly use on IPS and, in my opinion, this tag doesn't bring any information at all.

From the tag description:

Questions about having conversations with other people, and how to achieve certain things when having them. This can be covering (or avoiding) certain topics, starting them, keeping them going or bringing them to a close.

Almost every interpersonal interaction could be described as being part of a "conversation". So, what do you say, should we burninate that tag?

If yes, we will need to do some retagging since some questions only use this tag, but the workload necessary isn't that important.

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  • The workload necessary isn't that important IMO, there are a lot of questions tagged as conversational. Do you have any numbers that would approve this point of view? – avazula Mar 5 '19 at 12:22
  • (FWIW, it's like 583 questions :p ) – avazula Mar 5 '19 at 12:23
  • @avazula I was only talking about retagging that only have the "conversations" tag ^^ (no more than 30 retag necessary) – Ael Mar 5 '19 at 12:25
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I'll agree that the tag is probably overused.

I say we should keep the tag. It's not true that every interpersonal interaction involves a conversation, though many do. Even if conversation is very common that doesn't mean that it is worthless to note-- someone looking for posts about conversation, specifically, shouldn't be forced to read every question to see if it's relevant. The tag's current, broad use might not be that much better, but it still offers something.

It might be good to try and make the tag (or its usage) more precise, for example only referring to situations in which a conversation, or the skills needed to manage one, is central to the asker's goal (as opposed to an ancillary step in achieving the goal). I don't really know how we can best go about this.

Trouble talking to people is an extremely common interpersonal skill to lack, or to need help with, and I think that it would make the site worse to have such a widespread topic of interest get no specific attention here.

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  • Do you have an example of such a question? – Ael Mar 5 '19 at 14:48
  • @Ælis Of which type of question? – Upper_Case Mar 5 '19 at 15:05
  • Sorry for being too vague, I meant: do you have an example of question(s) who, in your opinion, makes legitimate use of the "conversation" tag? – Ael Mar 5 '19 at 16:53
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    @Ælis No worries. I'm not in a good position to go digging right now, but any that include "tactfully" in the title or ask how to broach difficult topics would probably fit. This recent question (interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/21173/…) seems like that was the intended focus. But regardless, whether or not people use the tag well isn't the issue I see. Eliminating the tag destroys all possible information it could ever convey, and I do not believe that that information is inherently expressed in any and all IPS questions. – Upper_Case Mar 5 '19 at 17:00
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TL;DR: Leave the tag, things are fine as is.

The tag is the most broadly use on IPS

As of now the tag makes up 536 of our total 2,968 questions, or roughly 18.1%. Looking at a well established site like ELU, their top tag makes up 15.5% of their total questions. WorldBuilding's top tag makes up 22.9% of their total questions!

So I'd say having a broadly used tag or a "niche" for our site definitely isn't a bad thing. In fact, I'd say 15-20% is probably right in the sweet spot of where we should be for a most used tag.

this tag doesn't bring any information at all.

Quite the opposite! This tag tells us that either the problem is occurring from a conversation, or the OP's ideal solution is some form of conversation.

Almost every interpersonal interaction could be described as being part of a "conversation".

The Wikipedia page defines "interpersonal communication" as anything that facilitates the exchange of information between two people. So I would disagree with this.

I would also define "conversation" as being a longer back and forth between at least two people. There are many questions here with answers like "Be stern and say no, don't allow for a back and forth." These in my opinion, are not conversations.


In summary, I don't think it's a bad thing at all that we have a big tag on the site. The tag does in fact bring important information about either what's happening or what the OP wants. And while conversations may be common in interpersonal interactions, they are by no means necessary--this isn't an all-encompassing tag.

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  • Since Upper_Case bring a very interesting point (IMO) what do you think of how the tag is currently used? Do you think its use respect your definition (and thus the case where it should be used)? – Ael Mar 5 '19 at 16:51
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    @Ælis I haven't really taken a look at how it's being used. It seems like your arguments for the burnination are "it's used very often and doesn't add information." My answer is focusing mostly on "It's not a bad thing that it's used this often and it does add useful information." – scohe001 Mar 5 '19 at 16:59
  • I would argue that it doesn't add valuable information when it's used wrongly (maybe I should have asked if the tag is correctly used before asking for its burnination ^^) – Ael Mar 5 '19 at 17:02
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Probably not the absolute reason. But I think we should keep it. Having a broadly used tag, isn't a bad thing in it self. I face it everytime when I enter a new stack or one I am not that used to and struggling to find an existing tag for what describes my problem. In rare cases this prevented me from even posting my question. So yeah, deleting that tag likely would reduce our moderation effort. Also it would likely decrease the overall amount of bad content generated on this platform slightly. But as well, it would also make it more difficult for new users to get into the community and might also prevent a good first post of a new user who can't find a better fitting tag.

And given that, for one I think its not a bad thing to have a few universal tags on a site. And also the moderation effort for finding better fitting tags for otherwise well designed questions is slim and worth the effort.

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  • In this case, why not allowing people to not put tags at all? If we have a system saying "every question should have tag", why allowing people to bypass it by using a very broad tag that works (almost) every question? What is the point in that? – Ael Mar 5 '19 at 14:02
  • @Ælis Ehm.... I dont see what of your comment isnt already covered by my answer. Except for the „no tags at all“. But you should consider a seperate meta post for that. – dhein Mar 5 '19 at 14:07
  • I probably wasn't clear then (sorry). The thing is that I'm troubled by your suggesting to bypass the system and I'm not sure this would be considered good practice on the SE network. – Ael Mar 5 '19 at 14:11
  • @Ælis: I don't think this is "by passing" the system. My point here is. While almost(!) all IPS problems involve some kind of conversation in their solution, that doesn't mean thats how the tag should be used. The tag should in my opinion be used for IPS problems that have their source in some way in a conversation. And there the tag gives value. My point simply was, the additional effort for community moderation by the wrong use of the tag, is compared to the drawbacks removing that tag would give us, neglactable. – dhein Mar 6 '19 at 7:07

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