Consider the tag.

Two of its most obvious functions are off-topic at Writers.SE:

  • Questions about correct grammar are migrated to English.SE.
  • Requests for grammar-proofing as a critique are off-topic.

And indeed, the tag is chock-full of closed and migrated questions.

But there are grammar-related questions that work well with us - this and this are both appropriate.

What can we do with this tag to discourage the obvious, off-topic type questions, and clearly define what constitutes good, on-topic questions? Do we need to resort to definition by exclusion?

4 Answers 4


Remove .

Re-tag the question on -ing verbs as

The question on grammar skill and publishing could possibly be appropriately re-tagged

  • I like especially the second suggestion. [publishing] makes much more sense than [grammar]. If we use [word-choice] or [grammar-choice] doesn't matter to me. Both suit the desired purpose. Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 13:25
  • 1
    @John - word-choice already exists, which is a plus in its favor.
    – justkt
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 13:26
  • That certainly sounds reasonable, and simple.
    – Standback
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 13:30

We already have for critiques. The question about whether writers must be good at grammar to get published is an outlier -- all other questions currently tagged are either closed/migrated or questions. I don't think there will ever be enough questions like that one outlier to merit a tag, so it should be safe to blacklist and think of a better way to tag that one question.

  • True, but it was a critique on the topic of grammar-usage. Distinguished from a request for proofreading :) [critique] [grammar] would seem a highly appropriate combo. I feel like we need to capture "on-topic" grammar with a short phrase. [on-topic-grammar], anybody? Or [expert-use-of-grammar]? :P
    – Standback
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 20:27
  • @standback Critiquing grammar is no different than proofreading -- any good proofreader should be catching grammatical mistakes as part of the process, just as he should be finding spelling errors and such. A critique is a critique is a critique -- they should not become the dominant question type on the site, and at a reasonable volume they don't need multiple tags to indicate the type of critique.
    – HedgeMage
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 20:57
  • 1
    I disagree. I'm not in the least fond of critique questions, but the whole point of tags is that it lets you mix and match. So you can search for critique of story structure, or for critique of writing style, or critique of technical writing document layout... or critique, not of the off-topic "is this grammar correct?", but of "does my grammar choice work well in this context?", like the verb construction question.
    – Standback
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 3:50
  • @HedgeMage - did you see the discussion on critiques and grammar/proof-reading questions that we already had?
    – justkt
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 14:29
  • @justkt I'm sorry -- I hadn't seen that that was resolved. In that case there is absolutely no defense for the grammar tag.
    – HedgeMage
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 3:05
  • @HedgeMage - can someone from SE staff get grammar blacklisted. It obviously isn't as of today.
    – justkt
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 14:07

Am I the only one answering these questions?

The first post you linked is about abilities a writer should have. In this particular case it is asked about the ability "being good at grammar". Maybe we could create a meaningful tag with that, like (but I don't like that; just kick it in for further brainstorming).

The second link does not ask about the correct grammar, it asks about the correct usage of correct grammar (ouch, have I really written that? Are any editors around? No? sigh). So let me suggest another tag I don't like: .

  • 1
    How about: [grammar-choice]. That might be unusual enough to give casual proofread-seekers pause and check the tag description; it reflects nicely off [word-choice]; we close anything that doesn't involve choosing between valid, correct grammar options. Heck, questions about using the passive voice could have this tag.
    – Standback
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 3:56
  • I doubt that anyone will check the tag description, @Standback, but I like [grammar-choice] nonetheless. Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 8:08

Suggestion: remove [grammar]; introduce [grammar-choice].

would cover questions like Does this verb construction make my writing weaker? and similar ones; it might even be a good fit for questions about passive voice (and similar ones).

My hope is that [grammar-choice] is also clearly distinct enough from plain [grammar] that many people would notice mismatches when they occured - whether newcomers, or regulars reading the question.

  • Offered as an answer for voting purposes.
    – Standback
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 18:42
  • Where is the difference, if I upvote your comment or your answer? The only other person reading it is HedgeMage, and he does not need to vote ;-) Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 19:09
    – Standback
    Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 19:42
  • Exactly, @Standback, what am I talking about? :) Commented Jul 7, 2011 at 19:53
  • @John - on the contrary, there are more people reading & voting than you think. And personally I think grammar-choice is unlikely to be used by someone who hasn't read this discussion, so I'm not in favor of it. [word-choice] makes more sense.
    – justkt
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 11:55
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    @justkt: I know how many people vote and read, there are statistics for these things. And I know how to tease some of them to vote and comment even more. :) Btw, where is your suggestion as answer to vote on? Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 12:18

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