The new user page led me to contemplate our tag pages. In looking them over, I found a number of tags that could use some explanation of when to use which one.

Rather than starting the individual tag wikis for each tag, I figured I'd take the questions to meta and consolidate them. (I'd be happy to write wikis when I know what the community consensus is.)

  1. What is the difference between and ? Based on usage so far, there is definitely overlap. However, I feel that there might be a useful distinction to be made between general setup (mise-en-place?) before you start applying heat and what happens after you start applying heat -- questions about braising versus boiling, for example.
  2. appears to be used for two different types of questions. One is about "I've got this weird ingredient. What's it good for?" The second type of question has to do with leftovers: "I bought this for a particular recipe. How can I store it/use it in different recipes before it goes bad?" There is also an overlap with the tag, as in the chickpea flour use question. Could we eliminate altogether?
  3. has significant overlap with in questions such as How to cook grass-fed beef and How to cook rice noodles for Vietnamese dishes. Would it be possible to separate out the tags?
  4. What is the difference between and and ? Could we set up and as special cases of ? Or could we simply create and ?
  5. Similarly, might it make sense to create and (and any others) instead of separate tags for , , and ?
  6. The tag bothers me, since I'm not sure that everyone would have the same definition of "basics." However, I'm not sure if there would be a better alternative.
  7. and should probably be subsest of (as in ).
  8. We could choose to do the same thing with the individual fruit and vegetable tags. That way, we'd have , , and . This would mean that anyone searching for vegetable would find all of the questions that only have listed.
  9. Could be a synonym of ? (Any other cuisines that could be merged? Italian and Mediterranean?)
  10. Could there be a meta-category that includes all special cases of cooking for restricted diets? This would incorporate , , , and so on. Or should this be something that's simply mentioned in the tag wiki? (If you're interested in substitutions or cooking for other diet types, check out these tags.)

Sorry for the long post, but with 11 pages of tags, there's a lot of questions that I wanted to ask. I've numbered the questions, and will make them into links to each of the topics as they get answered.


1 Answer 1


Addressing these one by one:

1. vs.

Both are vague, ambiguous, and generally useless. It even says so in the tag wiki for the former. Because these are so widespread, I plan to purge these by merging them into a temporary tag, then deal with the rest by hand-sorting. is in the same category, although we've already done a lot of work in eliminating that one.


This is a meta-tag that we grudgingly accepted as a middle ground for recipe requests. It is actually intended to cover both of the scenarios you mention. See the culinary uses guidelines. Any questions asking about culinary uses that are currently tagged can be retagged as , but note that this only applies to a handful of those.


...is another irritating meta-tag that I always remove. Please do the same, it has no value.

4. vs. and

This is a tough one, because seasoning also covers things not generally considered herbs or spices, such as salt and pepper. I would leave it alone, but where appropriate, add one of the other two tags with it. I don't think we need to rename the herbs and spices tags - people understand those tags well enough as-is and adding a prefix to them would just make them less discoverable (and more confusing).

5. , et al.

I don't agree with this one for the same reason as #4; the current tags are unambiguous and well-understood, and there is no reason to create a convention-based "hierarchy".


This tag is another compromise, to deal with the influx of questions. We could rename it to and create a synonym, although I'm not sure if that would accomplish anything tangible. This one's "meh" to me.

7. , ,

Again, I see no problem with these tags. We don't need a hierarchy. People who are interested in food preservation in a general sense can simply subscribe to all three. Freezing could also be considered a subset of storage (, , etc.) so the suggested convention would only create unnecessary ambiguity.

8. Fruit and vegetable tags.

Again, no hierarchies. This would do more harm than good, for example we're going to have people arguing about whether almonds should be considered a nut or a fruit for the purpose of tagging.

9. , , etc.

Not seeing the point of a synonym here. There are going to be cooks interested in all Asian cuisine, but there are also going to be cooks interested in specific cuisines (Thai, Chinese, etc.)

10. , , , etc.

Not sure what purpose a group tag would serve - are there people who are specifically interested in any and all dietary restrictions? And would we have any hope of getting people to use the group tag reliably? My guess is no on both counts, but it's open to discussion.

  • About number 10, I was simply suggesting a line in the tag wiki saying "similar tags might include . . ."
    – Martha F.
    Mar 3, 2011 at 23:15
  • @Martha: I think we'd have a hard time making sure that such a tag would actually get included consistently. This might be the type of thing that's better accomplished with a tag set on the root stackexchange.com site, as it's definitely of primary interest to "power users" here as opposed to typical visitors. (I might also say the same about the fruit/vegetable tags and other higher-level groupings.)
    – Aaronut
    Mar 4, 2011 at 22:07

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