I noticed that overnight a new user with no edits retagged two of my questions about fish to remove the tag, labelling the edits as "simplifying tags".

I don't think I invented the tag, but maybe I did as an obvious partner to the tag invented by somebody else to replace a "plants" tag I used previously.

What could be the benefits of removing the tags grouping questions relating to living creatures on our infant site? Don't we want to group together questions on related topics? Isn't that what tags are for? Were the questions harder to find?

Is the tag a bad tag? And if so what about the tag?

Should people not contributing to questions or answers even be restructuring our tag system without discussing it in the first place?

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I approved his edit, because I personally thought "fauna" is too specialized term. But you may roll it back, since I could be wrong. –  YOU Jun 17 '11 at 1:04
    
I felt the same way about being too technical when "plants" was replaced by "flora" but I also saw how they made sense since separating animals from birds from fish in the future with more splintered tags and possibly flowers and trees might not be great either. Anyway interested to see what people think rather than just rushing in and reverting. –  hippietrail Jun 17 '11 at 1:24
    
@YOU: At least judging from the tag wiki, the tag does not seem too specialized. “Questions regarding Japanese terms for living creatures including animals, birds, fish, and insects.” –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 17 '11 at 1:28
    
@YOU: If you meant “too technical term,” it might be, but I agree with hippietrail at this moment. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 17 '11 at 1:29
    
Yes I wrote the tag wiki. I thought it was an instance of when a neat category concept doesn't have a nontechnical name but can be described very simply in its tag wiki. –  hippietrail Jun 17 '11 at 1:29
    
@Tsuyoshi, After reading tag wiki, I inclined to agree that too. Let's roll it back. May be It was just my lack of knowledges on that term. –  YOU Jun 17 '11 at 1:33
    
@YOU: Sorry, but I changed my opinion. Please read my reply below. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 17 '11 at 1:41
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Am I the only one who thinks "flora" and "fauna" are not only good tags, but also better than "plants" and "animals"? (Or is that just my fondness for words that have that faint old-book smell?) –  Derek Schaab Jun 17 '11 at 18:45
    
I do not know which of [fauna]-[flora] and [animals]-[plants] is better (I have no opinion now), but for time being, I rolled back the removal of [fauna] tag from the two questions. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 19 '11 at 15:44

2 Answers 2

I'm the one who invented the tag (someone else invented the fauna afterwards, probably as a counterpart) so I take full responsibility for that. I completely agree that these terms are highly technical, and as I've said in my profile page, I sometimes tend to overuse technical terms in less technical forums. Anyway, at that was just what jumped to my mind first when I tagged that question, and I don't think there was a tag.

I'm all for simplifying tag names: "plants" and "animals" are great too. We could also use tag synonyms if we see both terms cropping up. In any case, I don't think the deletion of the tags (or whatever they're going to be called) from your question was justified. They are no less justified, than the popular tag, and they are quite helpful in my opinion.

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I agree that those edits were weird. “Simplify” does not really make sense.

However, I am not sure if and are the right words to use here. According to Wikipedia,

Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.

so these terms seem to mean animal and plant part of ecosystems rather than animals and plants themselves (I did not know these words). Probably and are better tags even if the word “animal” has a narrower meaning which excludes birds, fish, insects and so on.

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It was Boaz Yaniv who implemented the flora tag on my question about wasabi: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/500/… where he also discusses his reasoning, so it would be nice to await his views on this meta topic. –  hippietrail Jun 17 '11 at 1:46
    
@hippietrail: I agree. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 17 '11 at 1:48
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I think your definition you posted for fauna and flora may be a little too specialized. I am inclined to agree that fauna in means all animals in general and flora to mean all plants in general. It may be a misuse of the term, but i think the general consensus may be more in line with my thinking than the actually definition used by scientists. –  Mark Hosang Jun 17 '11 at 2:04
    
@Mark: Maybe. As I wrote, I did not know these words, and I checked only Wikipedia, so my knowledge about these words is almost zero. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 17 '11 at 2:19
    
+1 on animals/plants being more fitting (if less sciencey-sounding) terms and +++1 on there being no need to oversimplify tags. One should keep in mind that there is absolutely nothing wrong with an arbitrary number of tags, as long as they are relevant and do not scatter needlessly (or overlap with existing tags). There is no benefit in manually removing a tag for being too specific as long as the broader category's tag is also provided: sorting out frequent tags at the end is what computing work is for. –  Dave Jun 17 '11 at 3:34
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@Tsuyoshi, @Mark: I'm all for renaming these tags for clearness, but I don't think that in practice "flora" and "fauna" are used in such a specialized sense as Wikipedia (and indeed many dictionaries) describe. –  Boaz Yaniv Jun 17 '11 at 13:18

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