The has been created today by one user, posting various questions from the given book, or adding references and retagging existing a few questions when they appear in the given book.

Is such a tag acceptable?

(1) The huge majority of tags are thematic, denoting some more or less restricted, more or less well-defined, subdomain of math.

(2) Some tags such as or can be considered as thematic but not about a subdomain of math, as they still give information about the scope of the question. The previous cases are generic, but there are also specific such tags such as , , , etc.

(3) A few tags are not thematic, and are rather a qualifier on the question. The most used are probably and , less used and possibly more questionable , , etc.

I don't know if tags beyond (1) are properly referenced, and if uncontrolled creation of such tags is welcome.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The tag which lead to this question seems to me closer to "tag for a specific collection of problems" than "tag for a specific book". (Either way, it strongly resembles meta-tags such as big-list or soft-question: What makes a tag “meta” and are such tags inappropriate?, The “meta-tags”.) Probably MO veterans know about this, but the tag (20-questions) seems to me a bit similar - it seems to be a tag used to mark questions coming from a specific source.) $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2018 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ Update: these tags have been removed (2018 Oct 29) by their author, see below. $\endgroup$
    – YCor
    Oct 30, 2018 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


The tag has so far been added to these three questions: 1 2 3.

The logic is stated in the comments on the first of these questions (combined and slightly edited):

The idea of introducing this tag was suggested by user95282 in this comment In fact, some problems from Lviv Scottish Book were posed by other users from other accounts (I know at least two such cases). He suggested to create a new tag "scottish-book", which indeed has more sense than "lviv-scottish-book", which of course can be recovered from the account of the Lviv Scottish Book. In fact during the history there existed at least three Scottish Books: the original Lwow "Scottish Book" (1935-1941) with 193 problems, The Wroclaw "New Scottish Book" (1946-1987) with 968 problems, and the "Lviv Scottish Book" (2014--??) which has at the moment 23 problems, written to MO + 2 solved (without inscribing to MO). So the tag "scottish-book" would be just an indication that the problem can have some relation to one of these 3 Scottish books.

I am not sure this is a good idea, for a couple reasons.

First of all, while there is some internal logic to adding the tag more generally than the single user's questions, it seems to be a solution looking for a problem: there are rather few questions of this category that could be usefully tagged this way (other than going through the userpage of Lviv Scottish Book), and in any case one can find all of them by performing a search for "Scottish book", so the tag does not seem to have much functional purpose.

Secondly, there has already been a recent editing spree on these questions to add links to an online version of the "Lviv Scottish Book", taking up some amount of space on the front page whenever this is done. Adding the tag just seems like another occurrence of the same.

Third, this is a meta tag, which does not actually give content about the mathematics of the post (but rather the metamathematics of where the question originated). It is my recollection that there is agreement these should be avoided, but I couldn't find a discussion of this in a quick search.

  • $\begingroup$ The comments quoted above are archived here in a chat conversation, thanks to Martin Sleziak. $\endgroup$
    – mme
    Oct 28, 2018 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ I see that my today's activity with creating a new tag "scottish-book" obtained such a meta-resonance. Truly speaking I do not know what to do now. If you (I mean experiaenced users of MO) think that it was a bad idea, I will just delete these 3 instances of the use of "scottish-book" and after 24 hours this tag will disappear. Right? What is your opinion (I mean meta-MO users participating in this discussion)? Thank you in advance for your comments. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2018 at 20:19
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @LvivScottishBook To be clear, there are no hard feelings whatsoever. I think of this meta thread as just a place for users to come to a consensus. (If you wish, you may write your own answer saying why you think it is a good idea; if you do so, please interpret votes as simply "I do or do not agree with this", as opposed to any attached feelings.) I think simply deleting these three occurences is the right thing to do if that turns out to be the consensus, but perhaps other users think the tag is a good idea. $\endgroup$
    – mme
    Oct 28, 2018 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ This is only marginally related, but I will mention that the problem that "some problems from Lviv Scottish Book were posed by other users from other accounts (I know at least two such cases)" was the reason behind this question on meta: Is it possible to change the author of a problem on mathoverflow? $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2018 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeMiller Thank you for your comment. I have followed your suggestion and put the question for voting to see the opinion of the community. I have rather non-optimistic expectations but let us see. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2018 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak You have a good memory :) Indeed, I asked this question on Meta, but have not obtained a satisfactory answer then. $\endgroup$ Oct 28, 2018 at 21:07

Following the advise of Mike Miller, I pose here the question concerning the legacy of the tag "scottish-book" (https://mathoverflow.net/tags/scottish-book/info), which was created today for tagging questions that have some relation to one of Scottish books.

Please feel free to upvote or downvote this answer. Of course I will respect your opinion!

If there will be more downvotes than upvotes I will delete 3 occurence of this tags in the questions

Is the series $\sum_n|\sin n|^n/n$ convergent?

Is "weakly good" series in a finite-dimensional Banach space "good"?

A kaleidoscopic coloring of the plane

and the tag "scottish-book" will disappear in 24 hours (if I understand correctly the rules of deleting tags).

Thank you for participation in this discussion.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ I think that a discussion concerning the goal/scope of non-thematic tags is a necessary preliminary, rather than an early poll. And I'm more sensitive to 1 well-argued opinion than 5 anonymous votes. $\endgroup$
    – YCor
    Oct 28, 2018 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ If the main purpose of this tag is to create an easily accessible collection of posts from Scottish book(s), then there are probably many other ways how to achieve that and they might be more suitable than creating a new tag. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2018 at 4:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The main problem I see with this tag is that whether or not the tag is added is not decided based on the mathematical content of the post, but on other factors. Such tags are called in Stack Exchange terminology meta tags. (In the categorization suggested in the question it is the third type.) Although there are a few meta tags here on MO (such as big-list, soft-question, reference-request), it's probably better not to create too many of them. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2018 at 4:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If I might add a bit of general advice about creating tags, my personal opinion is that when there is doubt whether or not the new tag should be created, it is better to ask on meta. (After all, you said yourself in one of the comments: " I am also a bit hesitating on this.") Just to show that questions of this type are quite common, I have collected several examples of such posts. (It's a part of a longer conversation in chat about this tag.) $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2018 at 8:07
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Reading all the discussion above and taking into account the arguments against introducing non-thematic tags I came to the decision of removing the tag "scottish-book" from the 3 posts. Thank you to all participating in the discussion and writing your opinion. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2018 at 9:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @LvivScottishBook Thank you for responding in such a constructive manner. $\endgroup$
    – mme
    Oct 29, 2018 at 15:39

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