As I was cleaning up tags and defining a few synonyms, I was again frustrated by the lack of consensus about two sets of tag names on answers to a prior meta question of mine. However, as I started actually looking through the questions, many seem to warrant both.

Most of the technical tag names I volunteered are systems (e.g. "endocrinology"). These are often more broad than organs (e.g. "thyroid"). Also, the technical terms sometimes don't encompass the questions people have about organs (is "blood" as in "donating blood" really about "hematology"?) This is confusing to think about meshing everything, but it also makes me happy because I wonder if both sets seen in the answers on that meta question might be appropriate.

This would mean that some questions (that do fit easily in both a system and an organ tag) would get two tags standardly, plus whatever else is relevant. So a question about drug treatment of Graves' Disease (a thyroid condition) might have:

This would require some upkeep. Not everybody knows what endocrinology is. (I have already defined "hormones" as a synonym; there may be others.) However, if our regular users are willing to edit tags on questions from new users as they come up, I think a clear, consistent tagging method would help the site be more useful.*

What do y'all think? Are we willing to do this? If not, is there another way to keep things organized?

*Because I always need a footnote for a post to feel complete. Other possible benefits include: keeping experienced users engaged with tag edits and minimizing duplicates by making existing Q&As on a topic easy to find.

1 Answer 1


I like it. Using both the systems and organs is close to the method we apply at work for some technical wiki documentation (on a completely unrelated subject). Each document has two categories (comparable to our tags):

  • One defines the nature of the document (specification, study, best-practice, policy, etc.)
  • One defines the involved matter (programming language, databases, security, communication system, etc.)

This is absolutely satisfactory, we have been using this system for 7 or 8 years.

As any analogy, this one has boudaries that we could quickly reached. What is relevant here:

  • the document nature stands for our system: this is a kind of "domain".
  • the matter stands for our organ: this is the precise "object" of this wide "domain" that is interesting us in this document.
  • It is true this requires quite a lot of administration work, as users are not necessarily prone to follow this method when writing (actually: usually they are not). This is the drawback. But they love it when they have to search something as this is easy and intuitive.

And this is where this analogy doesn't apply:

This system is not limited to strictly medical questions for sure:

But I don't know if this applies to all our Q/A. For example, how to tag these:

Applying this system would be a step in the right direction. And this could also help us to think about a wider system that would apply to the questions above (provided it doesn't apply already: it is not because I don't see how it would apply that it doesn't).

*This is a footnote.

  • 1
    (If only I one one +1 for the post and one +1 for the asterisk!) I should have specified that I didn't mean for it to include all questions, only those to which the tags are applicable. The analogy is helpful, thanks. SE has argued against true "meta" tags describing the type of question, but organ system is meta in a different domain and I think makes sense.
    – Susan
    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:56
  • @Susan ;) - That's right for the meta tags, I should have explained I am not intending to go that far. I edited my answer accordingly. Thanks!
    – Shlublu
    Apr 24, 2015 at 13:01
  • @Susan Your system is wider than initially intended, though. I've made some edits to illustrate that.
    – Shlublu
    Apr 24, 2015 at 13:22
  • Good point. If you're asking for opinions: I think that no-idea #1 is urology; #3,4 may be dermatology, skin. Those two get awfully close to synonyms, but one could imagine, e.g., a question about a wound that would be about skin but not really dermatology.
    – Susan
    Apr 24, 2015 at 13:29
  • @Susan This makes complete sense, thanks! I'm going to edit that again... Well I'll have to find new counter examples as my question is going to be short of these :)
    – Shlublu
    Apr 24, 2015 at 13:35

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