In a postscript to a question on the main site, user Nescio asked why chess.SE doesn't have a "soft question" tag. One answer, of course, is just that no one with the rep to do so had yet seen fit to attach such a tag to any post, but the real question is whether we need/want such a tag. Ordinarily I just add a requested tag to a new user's post, but for this particular tag I thought it might be worth asking here on meta whether it's needed at chess.SE.

I know what purpose "soft question" serves at, say, math.SE or MathOverflow, where it is used to distinguish their atypical questions that don't have a cut-and-dried answer. Given our site's particular scope, where it not at all unusual (and is perhaps the norm) for there not to be a single, definitive answer available to a question, I don't know whether we need to have a sharp dividing line like this for questions.


2 Answers 2


I don't think it's necessary.

As you stated, Chess.SE does not have a large number of binary yes/no or single-answer questions. There is very little in the game of chess as a whole that is "hard" in the first place. (Define "control of the center", for instance.) Given that most answers will be either anecdotal or statistical, I think it's safe to say that 80-90% of questions are "soft" in the first place. And what's the point of a tag that encompasses 90% of the site?

(Hence why SO, SU, and SF don't have a "problem" tag, for instance.)


I think that a "soft question" tag is not needed, and is potentially harmful.

It is a "meta tag", meaning that it doesn't describe the content of the question, but rather the question itself. For example, tagging a question about rooks with the tag is useful, but tagging it is just silly, anyone reading it knows that it's a question. That's a very contrived example, but it illustrates the point well.

This very issue has been discussed on meta.so before and it led to a blog post that focuses on the issue of "meta tags": http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags/.

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