This question just appeared on the site, and made me realise we don't have a 'troubleshooting' tag. How would people feel if I create one? It would identify questions where the poster has attempted a (reproducible) experiment and it has gone wrong in some way. A few examples of existing questions that could be tagged with it are:

Like , we could come up with guidance on the minimum amount of information that should be included for this.


  • a tag that can be used to quickly filter questions that are likely to be asked by professional biologists, increasing the utility of the SE by this group;
  • a fairly objective right-or-wrong answer (first answer that fixes the OP's problem gets accepted).

I'm anticipating (and hoping to counter) arguments for possible overlap with the following tags:

  • (and ): the new tag would not be specific to a particular area of biology - molecular biology, bioimaging, bioinformatics, ecological statistics, dissection etc would all be on topic.
  • : the new tag would explicitly deal with questions where the poster has already attempted something and run into problems, not just questions where the poster is asking for suggestions on how to attempt something.

PS - I realise most of my examples are electrophoresis-based; I ran out of inspiration while looking for examples. I will try to remember to diversify the list later.


1 Answer 1


This is a meta tag which are strongly discouraged on SE sites. There are various issues with meta tags, and in the long run they're just not worth the trouble. We haven't managed to avoid all meta tags on this site, but we should try to avoid creating any more.

If we want to provide more guidance for troubleshooting questions, we don't need a tag for this, a canonical meta post would be sufficient.

Using tags to make it easier to find interesting questions for experts has been tried on other SE sites in the past, and there is just a huge amount of problems with that. Nobody wants their question to be tagged as boring (or not tagged as interesting), the people best qualified to judge if a question is interesting are the experts that are supposed to answer them, and those tags are meta tags and have all the other issues this causes.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for this; I wasn't aware of this policy. This does seem to meet the first criterion (it wouldn't normally be the only tag on a question). $\endgroup$
    – arboviral
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 15:50

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