I noticed a tag on the mathematics SE site that is "soft-question". It is used to identify questions that are more based in opinion than a "how can i solve x" but still on topic (a recent example: Why study only rook polynomials?).

I realize that this would require a change to FAQ as it can never be an "actual problems that you face." but it is worthwhile IMO as it is still about the right topics, and enables people to ask more learning type questions.

As an example, the question "What is the function of the pagefile" would probably be a worthwhile question that would be referred to, is about computer software, and would not become "obsolete."

There are some questions out there (like this one about kernel memory, but I don't see how its on topic.

I do not want to close the question, but I think the FAQ should reflect that these types of questions can have value. If in fact these questions are already on topic, then I think that the FAQ should be clarified to express that.

EDIT: This is not about making a new tag on SU for "soft-questions" The focus is that "soft questions" should be allowed explicitly in the FAQ.

  • Excellent idea. +1
    – user1061912
    May 10, 2020 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


This is a holdover meta tag from mathoverflow.net which only supports research level math questions, and it generally isn't welcome here or anywhere else on the network.



  1. If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag. Every tag you use should be able to work, more or less, as the only tag on a question. Meta-tags, like [beginner], [subjective], and [best-practices], are useless by themselves — they tell you nothing at all about the content of the question.

  2. If the tag commonly means different things to different people, it’s probably a meta-tag. In a cruel, ironic twist, the meaning of the tag [subjective] itself … is actually subjective. Ditto for [best-practices] and [beginner]. Best practices to whom? Beginner by what criteria? These tags are impossible to define by anything remotely resembling an objective metric. In comparison, the the meaning of tags like [java], [c#], and [javascript] are crystal clear to all but the nuttiest of nutbags.


  • What about "So we don’t have to stamp out every iota of meta-tags, we just have to DISCOURAGE it, and make sure it doesn’t come to DOMINATE the top (n) tags list — as it did on Stack Overflow." As an aside, it is generally not for research level questions (mot math research anyway its for "For questions that don't admit a definitive answer. Please do not ask too many of these."
    – soandos
    Aug 1, 2011 at 6:10
  • for your example question superuser.com/questions/294771/… I see zero value (and in fact negative value) in tagging with an additional meta-tag. Aug 1, 2011 at 6:18
  • It is less about the tag than about the type of question. The way I see the FAQ, that question should be closed. I believe it has value anyway in the context of SU. I would agree that a tag for this would be a bad idea, editing post to reflect that.
    – soandos
    Aug 1, 2011 at 6:21
  • 1
    @soandos Why should it be closed in the first place? "Please explain to me ..." questions are generally fine here, in this case it's also very relevant to computer hardware and software.
    – slhck
    Aug 1, 2011 at 7:12
  • But, as I stated in my question it is not an "actual problems that you face"
    – soandos
    Aug 1, 2011 at 7:14
  • @soand the author says "While looking at my Task Manager on Windows.." so it is not idle daydreaming of the form "if a tiger fought a bear, who would win", it's based on actual usage of a computer and the person has a reason they need to know. Aug 1, 2011 at 7:18
  • Agreed. But its not a problem they face, its something they want to know. I dont see them as the same thing.
    – soandos
    Aug 1, 2011 at 7:21
  • 2
    @soand it is a problem they face, in the sense that they are trying to use task manager and they can't (at least not fully) because it is telling them something they can't understand. You're reading this far too narrowly. The "problem you face" is intended to prevent the pointless "what if a tiger fought a bear?" questions, not these. A much better example is this question: meta.superuser.com/questions/2607/… Aug 1, 2011 at 7:25
  • So its really a generic "if you come across it?"
    – soandos
    Aug 1, 2011 at 7:27
  • @soand please click the link I added above. That's a DAYDREAMING question. The author has presented NO valid reason why they would need to know the answer to that question. Aug 1, 2011 at 7:28
  • So the emphasis is on the practical rather than the problem?
    – soandos
    Aug 1, 2011 at 7:30

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