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Tag wiki:

For questions that deal with possible errors in a specific statement of a specified book, article, website, etc. These questions should always include a complete reference.

My problem with this tag: what kind of a classification is it creating? Is it worth having such a classification? I don't see how this classification is useful for any site user in anyway. It does seem to be a list of possible errors in different books. But, this is a very broad list of almost all possible errata from all possible books of all possible fields. Certainly not useful.

Also, I find the usage of this tag can be subjective based on the OP. As a chemistry student, how do I know if what the professors (having more experience than me and having got their proofread by reviewers/publishers) wrote is right or wrong? I can either suspect the book and tag my question , or I trust the book (and describe how I thought the opposite text to be true but it isn't so as said by the book).

Moreover, the usage of this tag has itself been subject to erratum. This question, for example, clearly shows an error in one of the books, there is no subjectivity in it at all. But it did not get tagged . I suspect there might be more such questions missing .

Based on all these evidences, my suggestion would be to delete this tag (go through all questions, remove one by one).


1 Answer 1


I want to keep it. Even though is a meta tag, it is the only* one that actually makes sense. Errors happen. Everywhere. All the time. Textbooks - even though edited and checked by many people - are not safe. Websites and other sources are probably even worse. I think it is a good idea to mark questions about these instances with a special tag, to quickly identify and gather evidence for it. In some cases that can actually be helpful by submitting such a question to editors of the respective publication.

As such, the tag should only be applied to questions that actually contain an unambiguous citation and quote. For a meta tag that is a very important criterion, because otherwise it could probably be attached to everything. The usage I have proposed is outlined here: Should we extend the scope of textbook-erratum?

While you are pretty much pointing out all the issues with meta tags in general, in this very, very specific case, I actually argue in favour of it. It is true that it is not particularly useful for the user here in general. On the other hand it is a good sorting tool to check what errors have been reported and consequently maybe even fixed.
I agree that the use is a bit inconsistent (as there is a variety of other issues), and subjective to a degree, but a discussion of the usages should be independent of the general existence.

* is another meta tag which had a purpose - even though we are phasing it out, because times change -; that makes the only remaining one (correct me if I'm wrong).

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    $\begingroup$ "to quickly identify and gather evidence for it." as I said, the list is very broad and the ability to be able to identify any related ontopic erratum for a user from that list is going to be very tough. "In some cases that can actually be helpful by submitting such a question to editors of the respective publication." have we ever done this? "The usage I have proposed is outlined here: " shouldn't the usage guidelines be inside the tag wiki and not in some meta post instead? $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2018 at 8:29
  • $\begingroup$ "I think it is a good idea to mark questions about these instances with a special tag. " we can note that in a big black heading in the question/answer itself. How many new visitors would actually read that erratum tag so carefully to discover that the textbook has an error? Compare it to a big black heading in the answer/question which would be immediately read $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2018 at 8:30
  • $\begingroup$ 1. Even if it's broad, so is organic-chemistry, which I believe is a much less helpful tag. 2. Does it matter if that has been done before, the possibility that it could should be encouragement enough. 3. The usage guidelines are in the tag wiki. 4. Big black stuff is obnoxious, absolutely no. No! (obnoxious like this) 5. Why do you care so much about new users? I would assume that in 99.99% of all questions submitted by new users, the question has to be edited to fit our self-imposed quality standards, why would we care about a misapplied tag all of a sudden? @Gaurang $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2018 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ 1. yes o-chem is broad; but [erratum] being broad prevents from it being used to "to quickly identify and gather evidence for it" as you said 2. [closed] 3. for the usage, I was hoping for a reply to the paragraph "As a chemistry student, how do I know if what the professors..." of my original post, which I haven't got yet 4.&5.: sorry I meant the new, external visitors and not registered new users. My point was that an external new visitor would not pay an attention to the tags as much as he would pay attention a simple black/bold statement in the answer or post (cont) $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2018 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ (cont) stating that the textbook contains an error. The new visitor might not even know whether the tags exist. $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2018 at 9:09

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