I am wondering the general opinion on creating new tags to address classical methods in chemistry. I feel this would be quite a specific tag genre, but I have gone to search specifically for this several times and I can see plenty of posts that may benefit from this. At the moment I haven't found anything adressing this area of chemistry. Possible suggestions might be;

  • classical mechanics (most general)
  • classical methods (little vague)
  • Molecular mechanics (less general)

Or three separate tags which are all far too specific on their own (in my opinion) but together would work great,

  • Lagrangian mechanics (too specific)
  • Hamiltonian mechanics (too specific)
  • Newtonian mechanics (too specific)

What do you think? :)

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    $\begingroup$ I'll let our comp chem dudes decide this; but I'm not sure if those tags will still get as much traction yet. We're not that big a SE site. :) $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ I have no objections. It would be nice if you could append your post with a few example questions which would benefit and maybe a rough count how many questions would profit from that. It would also be great if you could a tag-wiki excerpt like statement of the scope of the tag you would like to create. Just so that everybody knows what exactly we are talking about. Keeping in mind that the site will grow, it is probably a good time to introduce such (a) tag(s). $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 2:57

2 Answers 2


I would choose the second option: tag. My thought with respect to all three OP's suggestions (taking these guidelines into account) are:

  • tag is not just too general, it's general up to the point when it becomes ambiguous and very likely to be applied wrongly.
  • tag seems to be way better and I disagree that it's vague: in computational chemistry community it has a well-defined unambiguous meaning.
  • tag seems indeed a bit too concrete. There are few other classical methods out there, such as, for instance, , so, first we need few more tags in addition to tag. Secondly, I do especially like the last point in the guidelines I referred above which states that,

    Tags are for categorization of broad topic, not minutiae. If your tag is duplicating the work someone could do with a trivial search or tag + search, it is a bad tag.

    For our particular case, classical-methods is this broad topic guidelines are refereed to; if one is specifically interested in molecular mechanics or molecular dynamics, he/she could just trivially search for it.

As an additional point I would like to note here that tag, an inevitable consequence of having tag, is ambiguous: we should at least differentiate between classical MD simulations in which potential energy surface (PES) is obtained from the classical (force field) calculations and ab-initio ones in which PES is obtained from quantum mechanical calculations. So, it is better from the begging to use unambiguous tags, such as, for instance, and . But as I said I would take the middle road suggested by OP and introduce just one tag for now.

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    $\begingroup$ I think classical-methods is way too ambiguous, new users might apply it to questions that concern titration, purification, etc. If it should be used in the context of molecular dynamics/mechanics, than we need to add something to the tag. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ I'd echo @Martin-マーチンhere. The computational chemistry community knows what "classical methods" is, but the general user of the site is definitely going to mess that one up. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン, well, that sounds true. Good that there is no need to hurry, so we can think more... $\endgroup$
    – Wildcat
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Wildcat It has recently popped up the tag classical-mechanics. No wiki yet. (This is just an information, I did not check it thoroughly.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 10:27

There have been now two instances where proposed tags have been introduced:

  1. by Todd Minehardt (revision) on How to properly relate quantum mechanical energy to the classical world
    There is no tag guidance yet. It seems to me that the tag was created in the sense of "Newton's classical mechanics" though. This is reflecting Wildcat's answer that the tag itself is too ambiguous to represent the computational chemistry branch.
  2. Geoff has introduced on Molecular mechanics force fields for metals?
    The tag-wiki excerpt reads:

    For questions pertaining to classical force-field methods in computational chemistry, including molecular dynamics simulations using such force fields.

It seems that the latter is the one that was originally suggested, and it may even be the only one that makes sense. Itself being quite narrow, but at least not being ambiguous. As to what degree (I am no expert here) molecular-dynamics is included in the tag in the sense wildcat mentions it, I am not sure. (Please comment.)

I advise, like stated in my comment, against as also being too ambiguous.

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    $\begingroup$ I created the page because it made the most sense and seemed to be a consensus pick here. I disliked classical mechanics or classical methods since they seemed ambiguous for chem.se. (On physics.se, maybe not.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 21:32
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    $\begingroup$ Molecular dynamics might be a useful tag as well, but generally people who use MD imply a force field. (Yes, quantum dynamics does occur, but we haven't had many question about that here = revisit when the problem comes up.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Geoff I think you are right about that one, I just created the post to not have loose ends here. Since we graduated we don't have to worry about single use tags that fit in the scope as they won't be automatically removed. And it would be a good thing to extend the question base with such topics. Also I am sorry for misspelling your name. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 9, 2016 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @GeoffHutchison - the specific question I applied the 'classical-mechanics' tag to seems to be a one-off, and I'd argue that the 'quantum-chemistry' tag on there probably isn't a great fit, as there's less chemistry and more straight-up physics being probed (IMO). The question is probably better suited for physics.se. I'll use the 'molecular-mechanics' tag from now on. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Geoff It took a year, but the 'problem' came up again here. Care to revisit? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン- I don't think "classical mechanics" is going to be a viable tag. The new post is clearly better suited for MD or "molecular-mechanics' $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @GeoffHutchison I thought we already agreed on that. I brought it to your attention because of the introduction of the molecular dynamics tag. I think you have a better perspective which tag is better suited, and whether we should keep the new tag or not. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン - I think MD could be a good tag and it certainly seems to fit the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ A search for "molecular dynamics" turns up 83 hits $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 16:58

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