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According to our FAQ:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

Since all of our questions should be practical, does it make sense to have a tag?

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    I feel that the “practical” the FAQ is talking about and the “practical” the tag is about mean different things, but I cannot nail down the difference. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jul 26 '11 at 14:49
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    @Tsuyoshi I think the FAQ is saying "no blatantly incorrect, hypothetical or made-up examples (for example) please, it's not a real question", and the tag is about hands-on, every-day Japanese, not about purely theoretical, linguistic questions. It's possible to ask hands-on linguistics questions though. – ento Jul 26 '11 at 16:50
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From looking at the motley crew of posts currently tagged with (including a question of mine edited by someone else), there isn't a strong unifying meaning in how it's used, so it could be deleted.

But I also think a tag to outline Japanese expressions useful for "survival" or "everyday-life" situations, as opposed to more scholarly or general questions, could have its use. Dunno if there is a better match than 'practical' for that.

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    I'd be against a survival or everyday-life tag as it could create a rift between the japanese language learners and the linguists. – Mark Hosang Jun 28 '11 at 7:00
  • To be clear, I wasn't suggesting the creation of either. But I don't see the problem with highlighting the particular learner- or linguist- aspect of a question (when relevant): this is very exactly what tags are for. I wouldn't see it as a rift so much as a way for people to quickly identify questions matching their interest... – Dave Jun 28 '11 at 8:56
  • Well, sometimes, you want an answer, not an explanation. Some linguists' answers are quite hard to handle when the question actually is something like "which of is foo or bar is correct?" to which a simple reply and and two well crafted examples can help tell the difference from now on… – Axioplase Jun 29 '11 at 5:50
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I am actually in favor of keeping the tag to tag questions that deal with practical usage of idiomatic expressions and greetings rather that the finer, theoretical and linguistic aspect of the language. Since many of the questions are dealing with explaining how grammar rules work, difference between word choices, translation of phrases etc, it's good to have a way to distinguish questions that are really asking how to use specific expressions in practical day-by-day usage, such as:

Is it proper to thank waitstaff, cashiers, etc. for their service?

What to say after someone sneezes

Greeting for meeting a friend by chance

How do you ask for "the bill" at a restaurant?

... etc.

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The tag is a bit fuzzy. I'm not sure who invented it but I tried to use it since I saw it struggling. I used it to tag "Japanese in action" questions. When an aspect of Japanese speech or writing is put to a specific practical use. Think of it as "applied" Japanese whereas most of the grammar/vocabulary discussion could be thought of as "pure" Japanese.

I don't have my heart set on saving it but it could be worth putting a bit of thought in to see if it or something like it could be hammered into something useful before tossing it away outright.

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How about replacing it with phrase-requests where applicable?

I added a phrase-requests tag to a question before looking around very much, and then found that most of the phrase-request questions were tagged with practical.

phrase-requests is pulled from English Language & Usage, where they've been using the tag since this April. Though not as popular as its sister tag, single-word-requests (debate over its usage here), I think it's safe to say it's workable as a tag.

  • I wish I could edit several questions in a single transaction, so I can roll it back with a click. – ento Jul 26 '11 at 11:52

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