The tag deals with two subjects that have nothing to do with each other: physical paper (the stuff one writes on) and academical papers. I don't think a tag that deals with two unrelated subjects is helpful - I believe it should be split up.

There are two ways to split it:

  1. Add and keep only for sheets of paper.
  2. Move the questions about academic papers to .

Which one is preferable?

(I thought at first that questions about the material one writes on could go under , but we have What paper stock should I use for the soft cover of my book? for example. It wouldn't fit there. Of course, it could go under with no more specific tags...)


Edited the tag info to refer only to physical paper, pointed the rest to . Started doing the retagging. Which is when I realised most of the questions under the tag are about either academic writing or essays. Less than ten questions are about physical paper. Of those, most would fit under , and the rest under . Which leads me to propose a new solution: maybe the logical thing to do is put the handwriting questions under , the questions about paper stock for books under , and keep as a synonym for ? Or maybe get rid of it at all?

  • #2. I see no reason to create a new tag that is a synonym of an existing one. But do we need [paper]? Looking at the questions it does seem there are several legit questions about actual paper. Enough to justify a tag? Or should [paper] be a synonym of [tools]? Or merged? This may be the example of something that fits under [tools] but not a sub-heading. Feb 20, 2019 at 15:46
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    Comment post-edit: I say do not keep [paper] unless it's about physical paper. We already have [essay] and [article] and [academic-writing]. We probably need to clarify those (AW can be a frosh college student's history paper or a high level prof's journal article). My preference is to either keep [paper] for paper or merge it with [tools] and edit that guidance to include paper. This will help people find it on searches, yes? Feb 20, 2019 at 22:16
  • @Cyn Didn't even know we had article. It has 3 questions under it, no tag wiki, no usage guide. Could be merged into academic-writing, I think. Feb 20, 2019 at 22:21
  • We have some odd overlaps and yeah, let's do some merging. We have [scientific-publishing] and [essay] (which says "the definition is vague, overlapping with those of an article...) and [publication] (which is a synonym of [publishing] but ugh maybe it should just go away) and [academic-writing] and [technical-writing] and [business-writing]. All types of nonfiction. And yes, [non-fiction] too. I'm not in any way suggesting we shouldn't have different subsets of nonfiction, I just wonder if they can or should be rearranged. Feb 20, 2019 at 22:27
  • @Cyn I looked again at article, one of the questions was about a magazine article, so journalism. Making [article] a confusing and not useful tag. I can see why we'd need both essay and academic-writing: essays are more of a school assignment, they focus on different things than a scientific article. At least, as far as I understand. scientific-publishing - I guess I can see the logic in keeping it separate from publishing and from academic-writing. We have both non-fiction and creative-non-fiction, which is a bit confusing. Feb 20, 2019 at 22:38
  • @Cyn (cont) but I would keep non-fiction, if only as a catch-all for stuff we have no tag for. Remember my memorial plaque question? What other tag would you have put on that? Feb 20, 2019 at 22:40
  • Magazine articles are not journalism! Sure they can be. But most are specialized topic nonfiction. The tag [academic-writing] has been used for student papers a lot. Some academics publish articles on science and some publish in other fields (history or pedagogy or literary analysis). Ditto for books by academics. Feb 20, 2019 at 22:42
  • I agree we should keep [non-fiction]. Feb 20, 2019 at 22:42
  • [creative-non-fiction] has one question. I say merge it with [non-fiction] and be done with it. What say you @MonicaCellio ? Feb 20, 2019 at 22:44

2 Answers 2


Good catch. Tag "homonyms" like that are confusing.

Between those options, I definitely prefer moving those questions to . The distinction between papers and other forms of academic writing is too fine-grained to matter with our current body of questions, and I don't anticipate that changing.

I don't know if we need as distinct from (for that one question) and , but I don't see harm in keeping it for now. We can always revisit it later, once the cluster of tags around tools settles down. Let's retag the ones about academic papers appropriately and leave the rest alone.

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    Apparently (Cyn's catch) we also have article. It has 3 questions under it. Two also have academic-writing on them, so they mean an academic article. The third is about a school magazine article, so I've added journalism. article is therefore unclear. Can it just go? Feb 20, 2019 at 22:28
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    @Galastel sounds like article should just go, yes. Feb 20, 2019 at 23:45

I agree with Monica that there's likely too little difference between and to really matter for us. It might be a useful distinction on, say, Academia, but probably not on Writing.

My vote is for just .

We might want to rework the tag wiki excerpt slightly too, to remove the academic paper example. Better to point people to [academic-writing], then.

As for What paper stock should I use for the soft cover of my book?, we do have which seems like it would fit nicely.

  • True for your last line. But not all the paper questions are about covers. Some are about paper used in a book and others about paper used for handwriting. As someone who designed a promotional bookmark for a comic series, I can tell you that questions about paper really do come up. Feb 20, 2019 at 15:49
  • @Cyn "But not all the paper questions are about covers." True; but that note was about that one question specifically, as one that was in one sense about paper but not about an academic-paper.
    – user
    Feb 21, 2019 at 8:20

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