As I understand it, tags should be directly related to the content of the question. So, for example, a question that is "Why did X have a problem with Y?" could reasonably be tagged with X and Y (and probably with a date range tag to identify the period). If the question body also includes mention that "A and B did not have a problem with Y", then it shouldn't include tags about A and B because the question isn't actually about these parties.

In this question, about deaths caused during the Inquisition, the OP added a tag for the Protestant Church. I removed it because, in my view, the question wasn't about the Protestant Church (and the main period of interest is before the church existed) and therefore the tag doesn't apply. The OP seems to believe that because he wants both Catholic and Protestant sources, the tag should apply and he's readded it. Several deletes and re-adds have followed.

So am I right in my interpretation of how tags should apply? If I am, what should I do when inappropriate tags get readded?

3 Answers 3


I'm not down with this Edit War. You might find these posts on Edit Wars relevant:

If its a serious problem, we can decide what the best form would be and indefinitely lock the post. I'd prefer to avoid that though. The question has been temporarily locked due to "content dispute", inquiries directed here.


I agree that tags should relate directly to the content of the question. The main function of tags - as I understand it - is to be able to quickly find content on a particular topic.

A problem can arise when the meaning of the tag can be interpreted in different ways.

Here, the tag in question is protestant-church.

You argue that since the main thrust of the question isn't about the Protestant Church per-se, then the tag is inappropriate.

He argues (in the comments, now moved to chat) that since he is explicitly asking about information contained in records created by Protestant Churches in the aftermath of the Inquisition the tag is entirely appropriate.

IMHO, both of you are correct. It is just a problem of perspective.

The OP obviously felt strongly enough about it to roll-back your initial tag-edit. That being the case (and since the tag wiki provides no clear guidance to the contrary) I think I would probably defer to the OP's rollback. It is, after all, their question.

Besides, in the end answers may well reference sources created by Protestant Churches which could help anyone searching on that tag.

  • 1
    If we start tagging questions by (potential) sources then the tags are going to be very confusing. For example, if I have a question on the economy of the Roman Empire but state that I'm willing to accept modern sources from US universities, does it really make sense to tag the question with "21st Century" and "North American" tags?
    – Steve Bird
    Aug 9, 2017 at 22:05
  • @SteveBird In general I would agree, but in this particular instance many of the sources created by the early Protestant churches are the primary historical sources for the narrative about the Inquisition (in the wider sense of the word). That makes a difference. Aug 9, 2017 at 22:12
  • I don't see that being a primary source makes any difference. If there's a question on the French Revolution, should it be tagged with "British Empire", "United States", "Austrian Empire", "Prussia", etc. simply because the primary sources used in an answer may originate from those territories?
    – Steve Bird
    Aug 10, 2017 at 5:07
  • 1
    @SteveBird That's not really a good example, since sources created by the British Empire would probably be primary sources for the study of the British Empire at the time of the French Revolution, but only secondary sources for the French Revolution itself. A better example might be a question about the Aztecs. It would be perfectly reasonable to also tag that with "spanish-empire" as it was the Spanish who created many of the primary sources used to study the Aztec civilisation. Aug 10, 2017 at 12:24

First and foremost, let me thank @T.E.D for stepping in and saving us from an unprodcutive, unenjoyable edit war. I realizing moderation is supposed to be a thankless job, but I think in this case we can make an exception. Also, thank you to @SteveBird for moving the fracas to meta. Wish I had done that.

Second, let me recommend that we update the tag wiki to resolve the question. Although I would suggest that the tag wiki indicate that the tag should only be used for questions about the Protestant church beginning at the Protestant reformation. OP would probably argue that the tag should be applied to questions about the Protestant Church and the events that enabled the church. I believe that an answer is more important than the answer; that a bad concurrence is better than a virtuous argument. (Perhaps we could create two tags - one that refers to the Protestant church after the reformation and a second tag the refers to the origin of the Protestant church?

IF OP were asking about the Protestant church, I would agree that the tag would be appropriate. However, his insistence that he is looking for Protest sources prior to the Protestant reformation undermines his assertion. The tag war is a symptom.

OP is extending from Foxes assertion that all of these sects were martyrs to the Protestant faith to reach the conclusion that the Protestant Church existed before the reformation.

So let's do the comparative advantage analysis :

  • If we use the tag, then users searching for Protestant Church will find this question and learn things which are false; this diminishes the value of H:SE. OP's experience will not be diminished; I will assert that there is nobody who would answer the question with the tag who would not answer the question without the tag.

  • If we don't use the tag, OP's experience will not be changed. (He may experience an affront to his ego, but I think that is quite unavoidable at this point). Nobody's search will be diminished, since nobody is going to search for Protestant Church.

(OP would counter argue that these early dissenters were formative for the Protestant Church. I can't remember the name of that fallacy, but essentially it is a recursion problem without a stopping condition. Everything is affected by things that come before, but by that logic the big bang is formative for teh Protestant church. Common sense should apply, and we should not (in the general case) apply a tag to events the preceeded the existence of that tag.)

At least as far as I can see the greater benefit is to remove the tag.

  • 1
    Where does the OP insist that he's looking for Protestant sources prior to the Protestant reformation? In the original version of the question, he stated simply "I would like to find reliable sources from both Catholic and Protestant sides regarding their claims about the number of people killed during this period." (my emphasis). Aug 9, 2017 at 22:06
  • I think this may be the most important comment in the discussion. I need to go back and examine the question in the light of this comment. THanks.
    – MCW Mod
    Aug 10, 2017 at 8:22
  • 1
    The most recent rewrite of the question is much clearer. I withdraw my objection on the basis of tag.
    – MCW Mod
    Aug 10, 2017 at 17:25

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