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It seems that this issue has come up a few times, and has been dealt with on an ad-hoc basis.

It is currently cocktail week, and several users posted questions that (I believe) were in good faith tagged as cocktails, even though they are arguably borderline. These included whisky and water, angostura bitters, and vodka.

On the one hand, I understand that these questions may not strictly be in the "cocktails" category per se, but are not altogether unrelated to the subject of cocktails, and being that they are asked in good faith, I do not want to disqualify them from the contest on that technicality.

So, how should we deal with these sorts of questions during a contest week?

  • Can you link to the actual questions you're referencing? And do you mean should we just retag questions that are borderline on topic for the tag but were asked to get an entry in for the contest? – yossarian Jun 15 '12 at 14:33
  • Here are some that were explicitly discussed in chat; I'd saw a number of others are questionable. cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/24436/…, cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/24435/…, cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/24403/whiskey-and-water – Ray Jun 15 '12 at 14:37
  • I don't mean to pose a particular solution--that's why I'm asking the question. Someone had gone in and removed the cocktails tag from several questions. At first, I just replaced it, but than, after discussing in chat, I decided to move the discussion here – Ray Jun 15 '12 at 14:38
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    One of the things to be considered with this question is that "SA" definition/description of the tag. While the dictionary definition of 'cocktails' maybe more specific the SA tag description reads: Techniques, equipment and ingredients used in preparing and serving mixed alcoholic drinks, as well as non-alcoholic substitutes ("mocktails").. While there is certainly still room for 'border cases' I think your examples for cocktails fit well into this description. – Cos Callis Jun 18 '12 at 18:16
  • @CosCallis, would you make that an answer? – Ray Jun 20 '12 at 17:14
  • @Ray, I actually don't think I have answered the question of "how to deal with borderline cases" but merely tried to make a point about 'where the border is'. For my part, I agree with KatieKs answer. – Cos Callis Jun 20 '12 at 17:34
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I've seen in the past, that if a question was tagged less than precisely, contest-type tags were allowed to stand but only for the duration of the contest. (As in the case of brownies during "pastry" question week early on in this contest.)

For what it's worth, I'd imagine that anyone following the "cocktails" tag would probably be interested in questions about bitters, vodka and whiskey unless the question were explicit about non-cocktail use (such as using vodka to make a tender pie crust).

Additionally, I completely support the use of down- and close- votes for questions which a poor-quality or off-topic - even if a contest is involved. (The first League of Legends contest on Arqade comes to mind.)

  • I do apologize that some of my questions are kind of "entry-level". I find it's simply not safe to assume with cooking (Very small amounts of ingredients are optional? Not corn starch or baking soda.) And I often just need to know what substitutions / exclusions are feasible so I can make due with what items I have in the house. – KatieK Jun 15 '12 at 20:54
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Don't let the contest interfere with the way the site normally operates. If there's a question tagged incorrectly, a) make sure there's a tag wiki that reflects proper usage of the tag, and then b) retag it immediately. There is no sense delaying your retagging efforts.

It's always nice to have comments explaining why a particular tag was not appropriate, especially with a new user or during a contest. I assume that many of the "incorrectly" tagged questions asked for contest purposes were asked mostly in good faith, so don't just silently re-tag and move on. This also gives the OP an opportunity to defend his or her reasoning behind using a tag. In rare cases, there may need to be meta questions to deal with specific instances where two people get into an argument about whether a tag is correctly used on a question.

The biggest problem, in my opinion, arises when there is no tag wiki and people start debating over a particular tag. Ever since the pastry debates, I've avoided using tags that do not already have an agreed-upon tag wiki - for this very reason.

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