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In this site, we are supposed to answer anything with the sources from scriptures (shastras). Now there is no common consensus about what is considered "scriptures" and what is not. The description suggests:

"For questions about the holy texts of Hinduism."

What is holy? Can one say that works by Vivekananda OR Osho OR Dharma-Sindhu OR ISKCON are unholy? For now, it appears that all the sources belong to one or the other "scriptures". As of now, it is the 2nd largest tag after and will soon overtake it.

Since most of the Qn-s are seeking an answer from by default, We don't require such tag. Having that tag is as good as having a tag .

Similarly , which is a subset of above tag, also should be purged. We already have .


Usually we should tag something based on Qn and not answer. From tagging help centre:

"A tag is a word or phrase that describes the topic of the question."

Of course, if the expected answer is from a narrow subset then, better to use the appropriate tag from where the answer is expected. is a very broad tag and there are no competitors to it.

Vote &/or answer as per your agreement.

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  • Well, Scriptures are not the only sources. It is a misconception. We can cite websites, other sources. Users should know that scriptures are not the only sources. They are just preferred. Due to bad reviews, some answers which cite proper sources were deleted by OP. There should a consensus that if the question is asking scriptural reference, there should be no tag called scripture. It seems redundant. Instead of asking for deletion first for al ltags, first it is decide which specific tag should be deleted. – Sarvabhouma Mar 15 '18 at 7:32
  • I think the question should be discussion rather than support. – Sarvabhouma Mar 15 '18 at 8:35
  • @iammilind i think there is a already a discussion on how "scripture" tag is misused from beginning in this question and answers – The Destroyer Mar 15 '18 at 11:19
  • Both tags are valid because scripture is parent of dharma-shastra tag but Scripture should be renamed to shastras as it's more appropriate in context of hinduism. – Yogi Mar 15 '18 at 11:31
  • Anyways i have deleted my answer .. because i now don't think this proposal (delete scripture tag and the other tag ) needs serious discussion.. and obviously it won't be ever implemented so i don't want to be part of it by writing an answer. @iammilind – Rickross Mar 16 '18 at 11:52
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I hate to say it but vote after reading the complete answer.

This tagging thing is tricky. Deletion of all the tags is not required. This is why....

There are some tags on the site for different types of scriptures like , , and for all scriptures a broader .

Usage of and

There is no proper guidance available for this tag (many tags) except saying that it is only for smriti or Dharma shastra.

Tag excerpt for smriti

For the questions about Smriti (Sanskrit:स्मृति) (literally "which is remembered") scriptures. These texts are usually attributed to an author and produced out of human intellect.

and

Tag excerpt for Dharam shastra

Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit: धर्मशास्त्र) is a genre of Sanskrit texts, and refers to the treatises (shastras) of Hinduism on dharma.

Now, smritis are the texts which are remembered. Texts like Dharma shastras viz Manu smriti, Atri Smriti etc., come under this category. So, it can be said that smritis are same as Dharma shastras.

There is another notion that Puranas, some sutra texts like Brahma sutras etc., are also smritis because they are remembered and written. Even if they are smritis, usage of for and is unnecessary and redundant for puranas and brahma sutras because they already an established and specific tags. They are more popular than the smriti tag. So, smriti for puranas is also redundant

Now, there comes a broader tag

There is already a discussion which got a good response in the past. Are we correctly tagging "scripture" tag?

Scripture tag is used for almost each and every question which do not discuss about scriptures in the question at all. It is being tagged if there is a single word "scripture" wherever in the body or the title of the question. This is mainly used for the scriptural reference of something. But there is for identifying a verse or an image which you know but not the exact location. I agree that almost each and every question is asking for scriptural reference. For that, Adding a line "Scriptural reference needed" in the body with bold or italics is enough. If there is more specific tag like or , tag is redundant. This should be only used when the question is about a scripture or a text in the body like if the question is about a Purana, a commentary by someone based on some work etc., . So, that we can be more specific with the tags for which they were intended.

The 5 tag limit which many are concerned:

There is no need of adding 5 tags for each and every questions. 3 or 4 are enough. There have been many instances in network wide where the questions with a single tag have received great answers and got more than thousand views in a short time. It depends on the content of the question. If the question is poor and clear and still five tags are present, it won't help. Repeating the same tag is unnecessary.

Tagging based on answers:

This is the definition of tag.

Tag is a keyword or label that categorizes your question with other similar questions. Using the right tags makes it easier for others to find and answer your question.

Tags should be added based on what question describes. They should not be added if the answer is from a certain text. e.g if a question is about an incident of Ravana from Bhagavata Purana, the question should be tagged with and also . It is not good to tag the question with because he is the main antagonist of Ramayana. If a user comes to that question to find about Ramayana and finds some other thing, he will be disappointed and this is not a right way to tag. Hence, we should be precise with tagging.

Only exception to this rule is where the OP is 100% sure about the presence of answer and there is no other way of answering. Then it is okay to tag question with which is based on answers. But, as Hinduism is a vast religion and there are hundreds of paths and philosophies prescribed for the same destination. There have been many interpretations and understanding of the same thing in many different ways. e.g: There have been ≥ 33 commentaries on the Brahma sutras and each of them differ in some or the other way. When we talk about Bhagavad Gita, there are many understandings and observations and each of it changes from person to person.

As a site, we are neutral to every faith and belief. We don't chose one path as correct and other as wrong. It is users who have opinions which is right and which is not. We should not force that opinion as the only correct. So, tagging that specific answer as the right one and tagging with what is present in the answer might be suitable for programming sites like S[OFU] but not a good idea for a religious site like us.

Scriptures are not the only valid sources

Many sources besides direct scriptures are allowed. Scriptural sources are preferred. Some times, scriptural works are not applicable for answering. We have to search for other sources and those explain or answer the question in detail than the scripture itself. We need more analysis than the direct copy paste from direct scriptures. Philosophical questions do not need direct source either. They can be explained by other non scriptural sources too.

Other sources which cite a valid reference than the direct scriptural quote should also be encouraged. Many users think that scriptures re the only valid sources and demanded for that. A user who posted an answer with valid references but not scripture deleted their answer. Scriptural quotes are a user's choice and they are not mandatory. They enhance the quality of the answer. Any valid reference which explains the answer well are allowed. They need not to be a scripture.

Conclusion: There are four possible ways to remove ambiguity of these tags.

  1. One of the tags Dharma shastras or smritis can be removed or merged. Smriti is more popular word than dharma shastras. So, smriti can be retained.

  2. Dharma shastras are same as Smritis and all the shastras are the subset of scriptures.

  3. Usage of should be limited to questions which discuss about a tag and ask about scriptures itself rather than a general tag and scriptural references.

  4. References questions should be tagged with more specific tags. If the question is asking from Vedas or Puranas, those can be used instead of scripture. All the questions should not be tagged with scripture. Other specific tags should be encouraged.

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  • Scripture tag in question context is also not required because the OP will already have the specific scripture tag from where they are referring the text. Due to which this tag is more popularly used in the answer context. In both cases, it's redundant. Why don't you put a tl;dr with your single opinion on both of these tags. Didn't DV till now. – iammilind Mar 15 '18 at 8:56
  • yes, @iammilind The sscripture tag in question is also not required when there is a specific text like Ramayana, Mahabharata. On Dharma shastras, I have an opinion of merge. For scripture tag, it is not easy to remove because there are other scripture tags to which there is no specific tag for them. For them, a broader tag can be used. That should be the usage of the tag. It should be limited. – Sarvabhouma Mar 15 '18 at 9:00
  • Though your way is fair, Most people are not aware of the usage of that tag which you mentioned. I don't think it can change all users easily. In the contrary "scriptures" may get misused for off-topic conversion. – iammilind Mar 15 '18 at 9:06
  • @iammilind I agree that asking for scripture tag for each and every question and adding it is not correct. It is not needed to add that tag when we already cite authentic sources in the answer. Questions without sources are deleted after some time. This one sentence "according to scripture" is making many off-topic ones to on-topic. That should also be taken care of. – Sarvabhouma Mar 15 '18 at 9:07
  • Smritis and Dharma Sastras are not same. Dharma Sastras are part of Smritis. And Where does SE provide guidelines for tagging questions based only on questions not on answers?? – The Destroyer Mar 15 '18 at 11:11
  • IMO puranas dharma shastras etc are different categories of smriti, and since tags serve purpose of categorization there is no redundancy here. – Yogi Mar 15 '18 at 11:34
  • @The I've given my inputs based on the answers to the post hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/8591/5212. There are several answers saying different things. 1) Puranas, Dharma Shastras, BG etc are Smritis 2) Smritis means only Dharma Shastras. Puranas are different. Smriti for Puranas questions isn't needed and smritis when tagged Dharma Shastras isn't needed. Either way, 1 tag is enough. 2nd becomes redundant because repeating. For guidelines about tagging on questions, I talked to some mods and I read some MSE posts & I explained in a para how it is not apt for us and apt for SOFU.. – Sarvabhouma Mar 15 '18 at 17:05
  • Actually Smriti has broad and narrow meanings. Broadly all the scriptures that are not Shruti are called Smriti, however more specifically ManuSmriti etc. are only called Smritis. – Pandya Apr 3 '18 at 12:24
  • @Pandya All non shruti texts are not smritis. There are itihasas, sutras. These are seen differently. "however more specifically...." yes, that is what I conveyed in the answer too. Smriti is more popular for those texts so, both Dharma shastras and smritis can be merged. Using smriti on puranas question is not needed. Puranas is more popular. – Sarvabhouma Apr 4 '18 at 4:44

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