I am officially changing the post to a .

I think, and so far there was no objection, that it is a meta-tag, and that it is not helpful. Unlike or it basically only serves as a placeholder. I would say it is on par (maybe a tiny bit better) with , which has been blacklisted for quite some time.

  • What does blacklisting mean?
    First, it means the tag will be mass-removed from all questions. This is preferable to removing it in a mass retagging from about 900(+) question while flooding the homepage. Second, it will be banned from being reapplied.
  • Why blacklist?
    I believe the tag will reappear, and once it is there it will again spread uncontrollably. When the tag cannot be reentered again, we don't have to worry about it. If it would have been applied to only a few questions, I would not bother to involve the developers, but it is on almost 5% of the questions.
  • What needs to happen?
    1. $\color{green}{\textbf{(Done)}}$ We need to clean up the cases where is the sole tag. That means manual retagging, editing, etc. This is necessary either way. After the delete all those questions would be . We should avoid that. I am monitoring if this tag appears, it can due to migration, but it is better to have precautions in place.
      If you want to help out, you can use this SEDE query to find questions, which only have this tag.
    2. $\color{green}{\textbf{(Done)}}$ Wait for this post to gain enough votes to consider it a consensus. (I'd say we should see a double digit with at least a two in front.)
    3. $\color{green}{\textbf{(Done)}}$ Once consensus is reached, we need to contact the developers and let them go about their business. They will help us to silently remove the remaining uses of the tag ("burnination") and also prevent future uses of the tag ("blacklisting").

If you agree with the proposal, please upvote Klaus' answer. (You may upvote the question, but the answer is more important.)

If you disagree, please leave a new answer outlining why. If there is already an answer disagreeing with the proposal, please vote on it instead.

As usual we will disregard any down-votes to exclude double counting.

If you think there is something left unsaid, you can of course always comment or add another answer.

We've all seen it, we've probably all applied it at least once: .

Yes, sometimes desperate times need desperate measures, and I admit I have used this one. And if I recall correctly, I even wrote the description:

This general tag should be used if the question is about a specific (set of) reaction(s). It should be specified with other tags like stoichiometry, inorganic-chemistry, organic-chemistry, acid-base, ... .

For what it's worth, I (now) think it is an empty tag, with no value whatsoever. Maybe one of the most worthless meta-tags there is. On par with . It has incredible 930 (!!!) uses, of which there are 54 questions where it is the only tag.

Recently I have seen it used as a placeholder from new users, because you have to specify a tag. Well, that specific one kind of hurtz™ my eyes and mind. What shall be done?

If you consider leaving a comment, consider leaving an answer instead so that others can vote on it and we reach a conclusion faster.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have a terrible [reaction] to your [reaction]. I agree on its removal, but what should we replace it with? IIRC some (more than 54) questions couldn't meaningfully have any other tags. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ I must say I personally don't like this tag. I never know when to apply it and I don't really understand how it is useful. In my opinion it is too unspecific to have any use. Nearly all of chemistry is concerned with some reaction of some sort. [@M.A.R. I'd like to see what questions those are. Maybe we can come up with some new tags that are more specific.] $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2017 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Ortho I quite recall a few questions that you can't find a reason to close, but that they don't belong here either. Poor quality ones, that is. (For some reason, it didn't ping me) $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ Would it possible to set the system up in such a way that typing reaction lists some alternative tags as suggestions even though the reaction tag itself is banned? $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Mar 1, 2017 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ Is there some way to re-tag questions without the question becoming "active" again. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Mar 1, 2017 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ @MaxW Unfortunately only when the devs "kill" the tag (or we merge the tag) it is silent. Everything else will make it active again. Based on what the OP writes into the question, close tags should already be suggested, at least I think that. That is especially unfortunate since reaction is one of the most used words in our vocab. However, reaction-mechanism, reactivity, reaction-control, etc. should all show up when you start typing it. $\endgroup$ Mar 1, 2017 at 8:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Dedicated Chat Room: Spring Cleaning $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2017 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


You are right: it seems to spread like the plague.

I agree that is pointless and I think that it should be removed and blacklisted till the end of days.* At least ;-)

(*Editorial remark: If you agree with the proposal please upvote this answer.)

Currently, there are 93 questions with and . Here, can be removed immediately without causing harm.

Solving all the other cases, particularly when the crap tag is the only one, means work. I've been on a retagging spree before and I know that this takes a considerable amount of time.

From a brief overview, there seem to be quite some questions that would better be tagged with

to name just a few, but all this has to be decided individually.


Just so that I can play devil's advocate, I feel the reaction tag allows us to easily find questions that need re-tagging and perhaps further editing. This thus gives us access to the presumably "bad" part of the site.

Thus potentially remove questions from the tag, but do not ban the usage of the tag.

This is just to play Devil's advocate (I voted Klaus' answer.) I've been pretty on top of editing posts as they come in and have seen an overall increase in editing.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Great, I have an excuse to downvote you. $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2017 at 19:21
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You hurt my Internet feelings, @orthocresol! $\endgroup$
    – Melanie Shebel Mod
    Mar 31, 2017 at 19:32
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ DEAL WITH IT $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2017 at 19:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Bahahaha! /Rage quit $\endgroup$
    – Melanie Shebel Mod
    Mar 31, 2017 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, so, to attempt a rephrase/summary: is it your point that the tag serves as a proxy for lazy tagging? $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Mar 31, 2017 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, because users, particularly new ones, are still going to slap on any old tag. $\endgroup$
    – Melanie Shebel Mod
    Mar 31, 2017 at 19:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is something of a utility argument there, but it goes against the philosophy of why there are tags, so it's not really enough to save the tag from Trogdor's Flames™. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Apr 1, 2017 at 11:07

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