Initialisms (DFT, CFD, etc.) are common in Science and Computational Science, so naturally tags that are initialisms may represent two very different subjects. It would be helpful to sort out some guidelines to include in the FAQ, even if there are few concrete examples as of yet.
What is our policy on ambiguous tags?
First an example: DFT. For computational chemists, this traditionally refers to Density Functional Theory. For applied mathematicians, this refers to Discrete Fourier Transform. So the tag dft, should it:
- not be used, and be replaced with an expanded tag.
- be reserved for the more popular subject.
- be modified to suit both subjects.
- invoke some special mechanism (to be developed by the SE team), for example the tagger will be asked to replace it with one of two choices.
- be none of the above choices.
The concern might be for novice question askers. They might want to tag their question with 'DFT', and they will use auto complete or the drop down list of suggested tags to help them find the right tag. If 'DFT' is not an option, what will be the result? Maybe this should resolve itself organically with more examples, but it might be worth having a strategy in advance.
There was a similar question on SO meta about this subject: Ambiguous tag: sts. There the suggestion was to replace 'sts' with 'sts-option1' and 'sts-option2'. The option1 and option2 additions can be long. In the above 'dft' example, this would mean 'dft-density-functional-theory' and 'dft-discrete-fourier-transform'. Of course both examples would fail because they are too long to be acceptable tags.
So what's the best approach? Should we just let things happen and deal with them when they do?