There seems to be a common theme among some questions, where an instructor is unsure whether course policy should be strictly applied. I'd like to suggest the creation of a tag. The tag summary would say:

Seeking advice about whether policy should be strictly applied, or whether exceptions should be made for special cases

Examples of questions where such a tag could apply:

There would be significant overlap with , but I think that the questions above all relate to a specific teaching concern, enough to warrant the creation of a tag.


2 Answers 2


I think that a tag covering this general topic of questions is a good idea since finding other questions on this issue is very difficult due to the lack of a common keyword.

However, I would expand the scope slightly to also cover penalties, since a large portion of questions dealing with leniency are naturally about penalties already. Moreover, a leniency towards one student can be often interpreted as a penalty for the other students. So a question tagged leniency may be a duplicate of one that only considers penalties.

Unfortunately, I am not aware of a good umbrella term to cover both cases (but I am looking for one). Either way, whatever the outcome, and should be synonymised to the main tag.

  • Are there examples of questions about penalties where "leniency" fails to describe the topic? Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 9:41
  • 2
    @200_success: Depends on how exactly you define describe the topic: In some sense, any leniency is the absence of a penalty, and any penalty is the absence of leniency. But I do not think that the word leniency would be amongst the first to come to anybody’s mind when somebody would ask a question along the lines of: “A student did X during the exam, what is an appropriate penalty?”
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 9:55

Why not use the tag for this class of question?

On the formulation and application of formal rules and regulations by a university, instructor, or publisher.

We can also make words like "leniency" "penalties" and "punishment" into tag synonyms.

  • At least to me, policy implies that you a predefine a standard on how to deal with a given situation. However, at least some of the questions in question are about exceptional cases that have to be dealt with without such a standard. This does not mean that I am against having all these questions under one umbrella, but policy does not seem to be the perfect name – though it may still be the best that exists.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 22:51
  • Policy could refer to policies about encouraging and supporting diversity, sexual harassment, sexual conduct between a student and a teaching assistant, plagiarism, lab safety, leave of absence, etc., etc. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 1:00
  • @aparente001 Yes, and all of those policies can be applied with some degree of leniency or strictness. Which is why it seems reasonable to me to keep it all under policy. (Other tags on the question, like grading, sexual-misconduct, cheating, can help distinguish between policies in different domains.)
    – ff524
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 1:02

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