We currently have a tag, of which the description reads:

"For questions about the nature of color and color theory, but not about the process of applying color to works."

It is currently in use by 35 questions.

And there is a separate tag, currently without description, used by 14 questions, of which only two do not also use .

Is it okay to remove , or should we narrow the scope of and keep ?


This is a good question. I can make some observations and suggestions but I don't have a good definitive answer.

  • Generically, color theory is a subset of color. Questions shouldn't have both tags. Once the two tags are rigorously defined, we ought to properly tag the questions with only the appropriate one.

  • Neither tag deals with applying color (the act of sticking a color on a medium), but questions about color seem to fall into three areas:

    Why - color in the abstract; color theory

    How - how to achieve a color objective

    Material - what is the appropriate type of colorant material for a specific situation

    Answers, even multi-part questions, can cross these boundaries, which complicates tagging.

  • We can make a first pass at reducing the scope of "color" by creating a tag, and peeling off those questions. The nature of the wiki guidance could be something like:

    For questions about the material used to impart color. If the question is about a particular type of colorant for which a tag exists (e.g., [dye] or [paint]) use the dedicated tag instead. To ask for advice in choosing between such materials, use only this tag.

  • One problem is that people asking the questions may not think about "color" in that way (and generally don't read the wikis), so cleanup is likely to be an ongoing requirement if there is more than just one umbrella tag.

  • In theory, there should be benefit to having a separate tag. But the benefit is only as good as the consistency of usage. If usage is close to random, separate tags hurt more than help, or people just use both. Authors should be able to get to tags via terms that are intuitive to them. But one option is to have multiple tags that are synonymized.

  • I think a [colorant] (or alternative) tag won't be intuitive, though. Imparting colors is done using specific mediums, for which we have specific tags already. How-to questions, although prompted by practice, sometimes are more about theoretical (hypothetical) approaches than a specific application - more about the nature of color than it is about the medium. I think the use of the [color] tag is quite consistent already.
    – Joachim Mod
    Aug 3 '20 at 17:26
  • 2
    @Joachim, It might be better to synonymize [color-theory] with [color] rather than remove it.
    – fixer1234
    Aug 4 '20 at 6:19
  • Good idea, done! We can always come back to this discussion when the use of [color] is more diverse.
    – Joachim Mod
    Aug 4 '20 at 9:41

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