We have started discussing over here, and the discussion has grown to the point that I think it warrants a separate question.

has many subsidiary tags: , , , , . I have also seen used in conjunction with when looking for "how to" guides (example: Where can I find resources about writing “Choose your own adventure”-style books?)

There are also sub-sub tags, such as (which is a particular ).

I have neither found, nor been able to come up with, a question that would come under , but not under any of its subsidiaries.

Now, the fact that a tag has many subsidiaries doesn't mean we don't need that tag. And the fact that a tag is in effect a sub-tag to a broader tag isn't in itself bad either. (For example, it makes a lot of sense that more than one writer would have specific questions about Scrivener).

So far, the facts. Now, what I think.

  1. I would keep . Two reasons: first, someone might be looking for a software or hardware solution to a problem. Second, web tools: while they are software, people do not automatically think of them as such.
  2. Monica mentioned the possibility of adding . Turns out we already have , but I think "hardware" would be a very useful synonym.
  3. Do we need and ? Seems to me they could be merged.

2 Answers 2


I don't understand at all.

For questions about different media that can be used when writing, such as writing with pen and paper or on a computer.

For questions about different media that can be used when writing, such as writing with pen and paper or on a computer. You should mention what you are trying to achieve with changing the medium or what you are looking for in a medium that you are currently missing.

Looking at the 8 questions:

  1. Anime vs. novel
  2. LaTeX medium
  3. Web vs book audience
  4. Formating URL's on paper
  5. Tablets
  6. iPads
  7. Paper vs. computer
  8. Paper vs. computer (one day earlier than #7)

Even with clear guidelines, it's rarely used and usually for the wrong thing. And that's because it's a word with multiple meanings.

If we keep electronics separate, I recommend changing it to with guidance that it is only for use of computers or electronic writing devices.

should be a synonym of .

My preference is making (I'm not wedded to the name, would also be fine) the main tag and letting it be the catch-all for any electronic or manual tool used to actually write. Pens, typewriters, iPads, desktop computers, etc. is still separate.

  • I think writing-instruments (meaning pen and paper) are different from hardware (meaning computers), but I agree with the rest of this. I did not know we even had "medium" until this question; I don't see the benefit of keeping that. Feb 18, 2019 at 20:55
  • If we mean computer hardware, we probably should make that explicit. So computer-hardware or maybe even computers would probably be better than hardware. @MonicaCellio
    – user
    Feb 18, 2019 at 21:00
  • @aCVn yes, that makes sense. Feb 18, 2019 at 21:02
  • @MonicaCellio where do we put typewriters? Some are manual and some are electric and some are almost over the line into actual word processors, which in and of themselves aren't quite computers.
    – Cyn
    Feb 18, 2019 at 23:35
  • @Cyn so maybe the tag should be hardware, with computers as a synonym and (if we have questions that need it) typewriters as a synonym. How many questions about typewriters do we have? Feb 18, 2019 at 23:40
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio 13 questions tagged [typing] (which includes non-typewriter keyboards). 7 additional questions that have the word "typewriter" but not the tag. I have not checked them all for relevance. I don't think [typewriter] needs to be a synonym...but should all [typing] be under [hardware]? I'd say yes...
    – Cyn
    Feb 18, 2019 at 23:43
  • What if our two tags were [writing-hardware] and [writing-software]? Would that be clear about the divisions and also that each is meant to be comprehensive?
    – Cyn
    Feb 18, 2019 at 23:44
  • I'm always suspicious of tags that include the name of the site. (And yes, that applies to writing-instruments too, though I don't have a good alternative assuming a tag for pens and pencils is valuable.) I think keyboards are hardware, and if needed we can create a synonym to help people find their way to that tag. Software seems clear enough to me without needing to add a prefix to it. Feb 18, 2019 at 23:50
  • Okay. I figured it would make it clear "there are two divisions for tools, pick one" as opposed to "there are all sorts of tools, try to find one that matches your query in this multiple page list of tags."
    – Cyn
    Feb 18, 2019 at 23:52
  • @MonicaCellio re: writing-instruments, why not "handwriting"? Feb 19, 2019 at 0:01
  • Yeah, it sounds like [handwriting] would work. Feb 19, 2019 at 0:03
  • 1
    @Cyn part of the problem is that SE doesn't have tag hierarchies. We here in this discussion are talking about various subtypes of tools, but what most people will actually see is a flat list of tags like [software] and [handwriting] mixed in with [api-documentation] and [poetry] and [young-adult] and [character-development] and [dita] and tons more. Hierarchy is not evident in a tag set and many of our tags aren't hierarchical anyway. I used to try to neatly organize tags, but it's a losing battle; now I think in terms of categorization and labelling, not larger structure. Feb 19, 2019 at 0:06
  • Questions about typing can definitely go under hardware, together with tablets, ipads, etc. And I agree about medium being confusing and therefore not useful. (When writing about it, I only looked at the tag wiki, not the actual questions.) Feb 19, 2019 at 0:34
  • 1
    @Galastel et al, so we're pretty much in agreement? What's next?
    – Cyn
    Feb 19, 2019 at 0:39
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio do we keep tools as an overarching tag or?
    – Cyn
    Feb 19, 2019 at 0:40

Let's come to a decision about

Tools include any physical devices or artifacts used in the writing process, as well as software tools (which should additionally include the Software tag). For questions regarding process, methodology, or organization, use the Technique tag.

is now one of our tags of the week. I would like clearer guidance on how to retag it or even to use it at all. According to the above, it should be used every time someone uses or various other tags that fit under it.

In this discussion, we never fixed the odd tag and we never came to a decision about . In a related discussion, we thought wasn't real useful but never finished doing anything about it.

Can we:

  1. Get rid of and retag the 8 questions on that tag appropriately.
  2. Either junk and retag all 182(!) questions (many of which are already tagged with the correct type of tool) OR keep and retag all types of tools to also have the overarching tag OR come up with another clear solution and change the wiki to match.


Working with the retags this week I've had a hard time wrapping my head around when to use . Every time is used? that makes no sense. I've come up with this usage. Let me know if it sounds right.

When the question is tagged , also use if the question is about searching for software to perform specific tasks that are hard to do manually. Or for a use that might transcend software (like converting hand drawings). Do not add the tag for questions about software, such as how to do XYZ in Scrivener or comparing one scripting program with another. When the question is about non-software, add when the question is looking for a tool or type of tool to solve a problem. Do not add the tag for questions that review instruments or ask specific questions about using one.

  • Woo hoo! Hit 200 questions!
    – Cyn
    May 16, 2019 at 22:16

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