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I was surprised that this question What is an acceptable flea treatment for kittens? was not displayed in blue despite the 'cats' tag being in my favorites list. So I quickly added a 'cats' tag to the question. However I'm not certain this should be an automatic reaction.

Should cats/dogs/rabbits/horses tags always be added to questions tagged with kittens/puppies/kits/foals (extending my vocabulary here...)?

11

I think you are trying to convey too much information in tags. There's no useful reason to separate the subject of kittens from cats.

Tags are supposed to organize content to help categorize broad areas of interest. But trying to further label the animal by its stage of development? That's is being overly pedantic and too specific for tags.

The question is about [cats]; tag it "cats." That's the people you are trying to reach. If it were about weaning, you would add the [weaning] tag. If you want to map kittens to the subject of "cats", that's fine. But don't use tags to create this pseudo-hierarchy of categorization from cat > tomcat/queen > kitten > clowder. That isn't helping anyone find this content (as evident above).

Adding layer upon layer of tags mapping cats/dogs/cows/deer/fox/chicken/pigs/hogs/mice to kittens/puppies/calves/fawn/cub/kit/hatchling/chick/piglet/shoat/farrow/pinkies/fuzzies/hoppers/weanling/adults/ — you're not helping organize your content. You're only losing stuff over pedantry.

You're trying to convey too much information in tags. Lose them all and start tagging your questions by what they are actually about. The details should be described in the body of the question.

  • I agree, that clarifies the difference between tagging and searching for a keyword (that should be in the title of the question then?). But, "real people" could actually tag questions with a 'puppy' or 'kitten' tag. So they should be synonyms? – Cedric H. May 12 '14 at 15:27
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    If those tags keep popping up, that is the perfect use case to map one to the other through tag synonyms. – Robert Cartaino May 12 '14 at 15:28
  • That argument makes sense to me as well. – John Cavan May 12 '14 at 15:43
  • There's no useful reason to separate the subject of kittens from cats. This is totally incorrect. The needs of the young is completely different from adults. It will assist with search results from Google if people can reliably google 'kitten' and get a question about kittens and then view the kitten tag on the site. As it is they have to wade through cat questions. I urge you to revisit this answer. – Nobody May 9 '17 at 10:19
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As the kitten/puppy tags exist and would be recreated if we did not leave them in place AND seems like consensus is moving towards Robert Cartaino's answer. Officially proposing that we make all the kitten/puppy/young'critter' tags point towards the adult tag; now and if new ones are created in the future.

3

Kittens should always have a cats tag (same for all animals). Cats and Kittens are not synonyms, while every cat is not a kitten, every kitten is a cat. This is similar to the related question on breeeds. Every breed question would be subset of the parent group. Every young animal question would be a subset of the parent group.

  • I'm not sold on a no breed tag option yet, but we still haven't built a body of information to be sure on it. I think the reasonable test is whether or not the question is really limited in scope to juvenile (or breed) or not. – John Cavan May 12 '14 at 14:37
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    @JohnCavan what about a juvenile tag, that kittens and related would redirect to? – James Jenkins May 12 '14 at 14:39
  • Average user is probably looking for kittens though. – John Cavan May 12 '14 at 14:41
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    James, I would agree with you if tag synonyms were actually implemented as true "synonyms", but they're not. There is a distinct master/synonym relationship which makes this the perfect use case for "all kittens are cats." – Robert Cartaino May 12 '14 at 15:49
2

It depends on what tags are being used for (which is something I'm still a bit unsure of after 6 months on StackExchange).

One thing I use tags for is to draw my attention to the cat questions when I'm short on time. For this type of use, we should add the cats tag to kitten questions (and similar with other species).

Another thing that they can be used for is locating particular questions at a later date. If 6 months from now someone asks a question about flea treatments on kittens, we don't need that question tagged cats to find it, but it won't hurt either. Additionally, if someone is looking for information on alternative flea treatments on cats, the additional tag will help them find it.

My feeling is that based on these usages, the adult species tag should be added to questions about young members of the species.

  • The implication, however, is that the question and answer applies to the adult and I don't know if this is always true (okay, to be fair, I know it's not always true). Mind you, I'm playing devil's advocate here. A quick check on kitten and puppies tags shows the adult variant in the mix as well. – John Cavan May 12 '14 at 14:43
  • @JohnCavan the only question in kittens that is completely irrelevant to cats is Kitten Food in an Emergency. The others can apply to adults (in particular, the flea question has a good answer based on geriatric cats, not kittens). I looked through puppies, but it's harder for me to tell what's relevant to adults. – Zaralynda May 12 '14 at 14:58
  • Kind of argues for a case-by-case right now. :) – John Cavan May 12 '14 at 15:00

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