In another discussion, a Stack Exchange employee indicated that we might get so-called tag warnings, if we want them.

These warnings are meant to provide users with just-in-time information to help them avoid common mistakes in the tag they’re using (e.g. SQL questions should mention the engine they use).

Here’s what they look like:

enter image description here

(More information on this here, from which the above text and image were taken.)


For which tags, if any, do we want such tag alerts? I suggest following this procedure:

If you want a tag to have such a warning, post an answer to this question containing the tag, the corresponding warning and a rationale. Upvote suggestions you agree with, downvote suggestions you disagree with. Post one answer per warning.

General ideas and inspiration

  • 2
    This is now implemented for the [graduate-admissions] tag (the only answer with a lot of votes at time of writing). We'll see how things go; hopefully it'll make a dent. If you have further requests, post them as separate questions, maybe with a link back here for context.
    – Pops
    Feb 11, 2016 at 3:05
  • I just tested this feature for the first time, and I found the message actually appears in the sidebar where it is very difficult to spot. Apr 12, 2021 at 10:27

3 Answers 3


Before asking your question on graduate admissions, please consider the following:

  • We cannot predict the success of your application and answer questions like: “Can I get into [program] with [prerequisites]?”. This question may help you though.

  • We do not know details of procedures – such as deadlines, required formats and handling times – any better than you. Probably only the admissions office or similar can answer you such questions.

  • Please state country and field as answers may strongly depend on this.

This tag has a very high number of closed questions, absolutely and relatively, (146 closed questions with 1222 questions in total) and that despite the tag not being prone to spurious use and that I would guess that a high number of questions fall victim to the roomba deletion bot.

The linked question was explicitly created as a master duplicate for a certain type of question. As of now, it is the duplicate of 49 questions.

Questions for details on procedures are one of the main reasons for the following close reason (at least in my understanding):

The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors such as a certain person’s preferences, a given institution’s regulations, the exact contents of your work or your personal values. Thus only someone familiar can answer this question and it cannot be generalised to apply to others.

  • Note that I am truly no expert on this tag; in fact it’s the only tag I ignore. I thus welcome any suggestions and edits (note that this answer is a community wiki).
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Aug 16, 2015 at 11:39


Equip tags that are frequently used for off-topic questions about the contents of an academic discipline with warnings that inform askers about the nature of this site and where such off-topic questions should be asked instead.


If you have a {{field}} question, please do not ask it here – ask it on {{field.se}} and please check {{their guidelines}} before asking.

If your questions is about academic standards, conventions and life specific to the academic field of {{field}}, however, you are at the right place.

For example:

If you have a physics question, please do not ask it here – ask it on Physics SE instead and please check their guidelines before asking.

If your questions is about academic standards, conventions and life specific to the academic field of physics, however, you are at the right place.

We get a lot of blatantly off-topic questions that are about the teachings or contents of an academic field instead of academia. Many of these questions are tagged with the respective field’s tag. A tag warning could prevent some of those questions from being asked in the first place and direct the asker to the right place (and make them read the guidelines before asking).


The above scheme can be straightforwardly applied to the following tags:

Note that I explicitly do not link to Math Overflow and Theoretical Computer Science, as they are limited to research-level questions and very unlikely to help somebody. Also, I refrained from referencing more specific sites such as Math Educators or Computational Science as well as other sites such as Stack Overflow that are the right place for some questions misposted under one of the about tags as they are mentioned on the on-topic helps of the sites directly corresponding to the tags, which give a much better guidance than what we can fit into a tag warning.

The following tags require slight changes:

  • This tag is for questions about the academic standards, conventions and life specific to the social sciences.

    Note that questions on the contents or teachings of a social science are off-topic here (unless academia is targeted as a research subject). They may be on-topic on Economics SE, Politics SE, History SE, History of Science and Mathematics SE, Law SE or Linguistics SE. Please check their guidelines before asking.

  • If you have a science question, please do not ask it here – ask it on the respective field’s site and please check their guidelines before asking.

    If your questions is about academic standards, conventions and life specific to the sciences, however, you are at the right place.

  • If you have a programming question, please do not ask it here – ask it on Stack Overflow or one of the other programming-specific Stack Exchange sites. Please see this Meta post to find the appropriate site.

    If your question is on the interplay between programming and academic research, teaching or learning, however, you are at the right place.

  • This tag is for questions on the licensing, ownership, sharing, distribution, and formatting of source code in an academic context.

    Programming questions are off-topic here. They may be on-topic on Stack Overflow or one of the other programming-specific Stack Exchange sites. Please see this Meta post to find the appropriate site.

  • My apologies to whoever has to implement this, should it be accepted by the community.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Oct 30, 2015 at 22:28
  • 1
    As much as I hate to say this, I'm not sure directing Medicine tags to the Health site will be useful for users.
    – Fomite
    Nov 6, 2015 at 18:28
  • 1
    @Fomite: Well, if a medicine questions is on-topic anywhere on Stack Exchange, it’s on Health. In particular questions, students of medicine may encounter during their studies seem to be on-topic there – or on Biology, which is explicitly mentioned on Health’s on-topic help page, which I suggest to link in such tag warnings. The latter should also prevent users from asking off-topic questions on the respective other page. Remember that this text is only shown to users who try to ask a question tagged medicine on Academia.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Nov 6, 2015 at 20:18
  • @Fomite: Also, I am open for suggestions of specific additions or changes to these warnings for certain tags.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Nov 6, 2015 at 20:19
  • I think the problem is that's not how the culture of the Health board is shaping up. It's very much got the feel at the moment of "Lay people ask a limited number of experts" things board. Which is fine - but I'd also note that asking medical questions on here doesn't seem to be nearly as prevalent a problem as some other subjects.
    – Fomite
    Nov 6, 2015 at 20:30
  • 1
    @Fomite: What exactly is your issue then? If we are preventing a user from asking a blatantly off-topic question on this site and instead have them ask an on-topic question on another site, this is better than nothing, even if the latter question may not get optimal attention. You are right, however, that we do not get that many blatantly off-topic medicine questions.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Nov 6, 2015 at 20:59
  • It's not an "issue". There were no down votes. This was more "Unlike most of this suggestion, which will likely be quite helpful to posters, Health isn't a splendid fit either" comment.
    – Fomite
    Nov 6, 2015 at 21:42
  • There were no down votes. – Well, there were no upvotes either, though you consider most of this suggestion “quite helpful”. I fully respect your assessment, as you are likely more experienced with Health’s culture, but I fail to understand it or possible conclusions. Do you suggest that we also mention Biology on the respective warning or would you not make a tag warning for medicine altogether?
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Nov 7, 2015 at 8:39
  • I think the suggestion is just not bothering for medicine, at least until that actually becomes a problem in need of a solution, or medicine finds its feet in a way where that redirect actually constitutes useful advice.
    – Fomite
    Nov 7, 2015 at 8:41

For "copyright" and "plagiarism," could we please have a message like:

Questions which are primarily about copyright law may be more suited to https://law.stackexchange.com/. Questions about academic integrity customs and plagiarism ethics in academic settings are appropriate for this site.

  • 1
    This would be good to have for "legal-issues" too. For "copyright" and "legal-issues" it might be worth adding a sentence like "Please state country or jurisdiction as answers may strongly depend on this."
    – Anyon
    Apr 12, 2021 at 13:09
  • 1
    At the moment there is only one tag warning active, for the graduate-admissions tag. Tag warnings do not seem very visible in the new question dialog, so we may need to review whether it's worth asking to implement other tag warnings or not. Apr 12, 2021 at 14:23
  • @MassimoOrtolano I agree; fixing visibility would be more important. I presume that is not one of your powers. Apr 12, 2021 at 22:05
  • @AnonymousPhysicist Definitely not. In the main meta, here, there is already a request to make warnings more prominent. Let's upvote that request in the hope that it gets noted from SE. Apr 13, 2021 at 7:57

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