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We currently have several tags relevant for questions about technical writing:

Plus there are many other tags that apply to lots of types of writing, including technical writing, like , , , , and .

Among that first group, we started with just and then at some point we added because that sub-category of tech writing has some different concerns and we want those questions to be easy to find.

API documentation isn't the only type of technical writing. Software documentation isn't the only kind of technical writing, for that matter. We're about to get some questions from the Technical Communication site, which is closing, so I looked at their tags. They include:

  • software-documentation
  • user-guide
  • terminology
  • documentation-generator (this is a type of software tool)
  • automation (technical doc often uses automated build processes)
  • data-visualization
  • document-maintenance
  • information-architecture
  • design

Should we enrich our current tag set? If so, how? I'm not proposing that we add all these or that we use the existing names, but the context might help us think about how to better serve our tech-writing questions.

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I'm a TechComm SE refugee, so I don't know how much my opinion counts on what Writing SE should do, but yes I think that would be helpful.

The first thing I did after joining Writing SE was favorite the tags , , and . The main page list was still overwhelming, so I blocked every tag I saw about fiction writing and other things outside the realm of TechComm - now my main page feed actually shows me what I know and care about.

So I guess my point is that there are so many tags about other types of writing that adding some TechComm-specific ones would be nice. In addition to the existing tags , , , etc, how about release-notes, user-guide, online-help, or embedded-assistance? I see there's a tag for - how about some specific TechComm tools like DITA or at least structured-authoring and single-sourcing?

It may make sense to think about the types of tags that exist in Writing SE, and what some of their analogs might be in TechComm. A lot of the existing Writing SE tags can be clustered into ideas like genre, publication form, tools, and audience. The latter three are also concerns of TechComm folks. Perhaps an analog for genre is subject matter? (e.g. software, hardware, medical...)

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    You're a participant trying to make Writing stronger; your opinion matters. Thanks for these great suggestions. (Some of our current tags just kind of grew that way, and some I would change or remove were we starting from scratch.) – Monica Cellio Feb 14 '18 at 18:05
  • By embedded assistance, do you mean context-sensitive help? Or is there a nuanced difference between the two? (We'd probably make synonyms if not.) – Monica Cellio Feb 14 '18 at 21:26
  • My group uses them slightly differently - CSH as your traditional (?) icon in the corner or (i) next to a field. We use embedded user assistance to describe a wider variety of approaches that would include CSH, but also items more directly tied into the UI. However, I don't know that this is really a standard difference that others in the industry would use, or just our way of making a distinction for ease of internal discussion. Others may want to weigh in on this :) – topicref Feb 14 '18 at 21:44
  • Ok, got it. So (to pick an annoying example) Clippy is embedded assistance? – Monica Cellio Feb 14 '18 at 21:46
  • Haha - yes, I suppose that's how we would classify it. But again, I'm not sure how legit this is as a real distinction/the proper terminology. – topicref Feb 14 '18 at 21:55
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    I agree with Monica's initial comment, your opinion matters. Writing SE isn't meant, and never was meant, to be only about fiction writing, even though that has become one major part of the site. My general opinion about tags is that if it genuinely helps to categorize questions, and is likely to be useful for more than a few questions, then it makes sense to add it as a tag and see if it takes off. Heck, I added a tag on Stack Overflow at one point which is now used by 280 questions... – a CVn Feb 15 '18 at 8:45
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    Since you don't yet have the reputation to create new tags (that requires 150 rep on beta sites), particularly for new questions you can leave a note at the end of the question along the lines of, say, Proposed new tag: [tag:release-notes]. [tag:xx] will format the name xx as a tag blob, but not actually add it to the system. People with more reputation coming across that may then add it as a proper tag (or decide that it doesn't make sense for the site). Or, post a separate question on [meta] and make your case, including links to some example questions and a proposed tag wiki excerpt. – a CVn Feb 15 '18 at 8:46
  • @MichaelKjörling That sounds like a good approach! – topicref Feb 15 '18 at 13:39
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    Based on this discussion I've created a couple of these, as I saw questions where they applied. None of them have tag wikis yet. (When we get there, I'd propose online-documentation as opposed to online-help, because not all such doc is "help". The idea would be for questions that are specifically about that presentation form.) – Monica Cellio Feb 15 '18 at 16:14
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I think that 'research' is a bit of a vague name for a tag. It can mean both research about writing and writing for research (i.e. a paper or something like that). It appears both interpretations are used. I think it would be a good idea to split this tag into and or something similar.

It might be a good idea to have 'subtags' for the (broad) scientific disciplines: such as , , .

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    I agree that we need to do something about "research". To add to the scientific confusion, we have "scientific-publishing", which I think is more about scientific writing, so we should do something about that. Subtags for classes of sciences should be created the first time the distinction is relevant to a question. – Monica Cellio Feb 26 '18 at 14:11
  • @MonicaCellio 'scientific-publishing' sounds a bit off-topic to me. Although, I'm not sure what aspects of writing this site is aiming to cover. If it includes publication issues for writers of, say, novels, I guess that should be on-topic as well. At the very least that would be a much better fit for Academia.SE. – Discrete lizard Feb 26 '18 at 14:15
  • @Discretelizard 'scientific-publishing' could potentially cover things like writing for journal submissions (e.g. corresponding with editors and reviewers), but tbh, a lot of that field would probably be (and really, already is) better served over on Academia. – Myles Mar 14 '18 at 17:46
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    @Myles In addition, the most common answer on Academia to questions about 'corresponding with editors and reviewers' is ask your editor, [indication of how the editor might response but also making clear that it would have been better for all parties involved if you have just asked the editor in the first place] – Discrete lizard Mar 15 '18 at 8:15
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    Note that I do think 'scientific writing' is something that has a firm place here in spite of Academia, for two reasons: 1) scientific writing need not necessarily be done in the context of academia, take e.g. private research but also the sizable group of science SE's; and 2) this site has expertise regarding (possibly technical) writing. While scientific writing is very specialised, it is still writing and the expertise of any kind of writer is likely relevant. – Discrete lizard Mar 15 '18 at 8:21

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