This topic of question will likely become one of the most popular, so we should have one tag to refer to it. I would support [Technique], since it is singular and I think Cooking is already implied.
After looking at the various questions now tagged
cooking-techniques), I've come to the conclusion that we shouldn't have these tags at all.
There are currently 173 questions on the site; of those, 43 are tagged
technique and 17 are tagged
cooking-techniques, with only 3 intersecting questions. There's also the very similar-sounding
preparation tag, with 16 questions (another 3 intersecting with
That means that 70 out of 173 questions use these highly-generic tags. That's almost half! There's virtually no selectivity here; they all mean essentially the same thing and are basically useless in a search. It's really a lot like the
design tags on Stack Overflow; sure, a question might be about one or the other, but it really makes little difference. The distinction may be important to the author, but it won't be important to anybody answering the question.
On a site about cooking, you have to assume that the majority of questions will either be about a specific technique, a specific food/ingredient, or a specific piece of kitchen equipment. The specific tag should be used to delineate here, not the generic tag which applies to approximately 1/3 of all the questions.
The litmus test for a tag should be: If somebody can answer one question on
[tag], is it likely that they'd be able to answer other questions on
[tag]? If the tag is
asian-cuisine, then the answer is a resounding yes! But who can seriously claim to be an expert on
technique in general?
Some specific examples:
...is tagged both
cooking-techniquetag is actually incorrect, as the question has nothing to do with actually cooking the onions.
techniquetag is valid, but doesn't tell you anything that's not obvious from the title.
The tag that it should have is precisely the tag it doesn't have:
cuttingor whatever folks agree is most appropriate). Somebody who knows a lot about
choppingcan probably answer many questions on that subject, not just about
This one is actually pretty well-tagged. It has
ice-cream(the food) and
defrosting(the technique). Together these completely define the scope of the question.
Let's use the litmus test. If I can answer one question about
ice-cream, I can probably answer several. Likewise, if I'm used to dealing with frozen food, I can probably answer several questions about
techniquetag, however, adds no value here. It's already implied by
defrosting(which is a technique).
Two tags are totally generic and fail the litmus test (
The other tag is actually misleading (you wouldn't expect
substitutionsto apply to equipment as opposed to ingredients).
The most important tag - the actual technique - is missing! The tag
caramelizingshould be on this question. I would also probably tag this
creme-bruleeor at least
pastries, as this is the kind of question that any pastry chef (or pastry "expert") should be able to answer.
I hope people get the idea here. The
technique tag probably seemed like a good idea when the site had fewer than 10 questions, but it's already weakening and will become completely meaningless once the site has thousands of questions. Likewise with
I humbly request that people stop using these generic tags. If your question is about a technique, then it should be tagged with the specific technique being asked about.
I also think that technique "umbrellas" are OK - such as
rotisserie, etc. These are actually separate positions in a brigade kitchen, so it is quite likely for somebody to be an expert on one of them. Any more generic than that, though, and the tag is no longer useful.