On a question I just asked (and ended up self answering), the tag was removed. I'm really unclear why.

Shapely is specifically a Python library. So all questions/answers related to it are specific to Python.

I assume that general questions about Python that are unrelated to GIS are off topic. Such questions would find a much better fit on StackOverflow. So I can't imagine that the fact my question included Shapely somehow excluded Python as an appropriate tag.

Could someone enlighten me?

3 Answers 3


I think the tag and other language related tags are not superfluous and should be used whenever the question is related to that language for two reasons:

  1. Syntax highlighting uses tags on the question to infer the language you are using (so no need to use manual override hint);

  2. Question filtering - I use the tag to make sure I see as many python questions as possible, and conversely I set , etc. tags to ignored so I see as few of those questions as possible.

  • I have never found a need to use a manual override hint for syntax highlighting because the default seems to work well, and can be set on the tag page. Are you advocating that every ArcPy question should be double-tagged with Python too?
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 5:32
  • 2
    I have. However my 2nd point is most important to me. Having the language tag makes discovery of questions that I can answer easier and lets me filter out those I have no interest or expertise in.
    – user2856
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 5:37
  • 2
    Absolutely. Although very widely used tag, ArcPy is still a python library. I don't see the need to apply special handling to one of many 3rd party python libraries. Though I do admit I have arcpy and gdal tags favourited. I would not like to have to favourite every single Geospatial python library as I definitely would miss some, especially those I don't use often or haven't heard of yet (especially those I haven't heard of). I answered a question today about a python library I didn't know about.
    – user2856
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 5:48
  • I use six specific Python related tags in my filter to find the subset of Python questions that are of interest to me. I guess I see proliferation of the python tag as a risk to other Python library tags falling into disuse, and then necessitating many more questions to be opened before finding that they are related to a Python library that I am not interested in. It probably comes down to "splitters vs lumpers". I try to hit the middle ground but right-sized tags are not always easy to find.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 5:53
  • 2
    I don't think library level tags will fall into disuse. I think that's a smaller risk than having new interesting question slip past my filters. Regardless, splitting will make filtering out more difficult though. I.e if someone (like me) doesn't want to see any C# or js Q's etc.
    – user2856
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 6:02
  • I've tried to offer a compromise position in a third answer as meta.gis.stackexchange.com/a/4374/115 which I have made community wiki to encourage joint editing between you, I and any other interested parties.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 6:41
  • 3
    @PolyGeo, even though this is the most upvoted answer in this post, it seems you are editing out the [python] tag (e.g. 1 and 2). I'd understand if the 5 tag slots were occupied and there were more meaningful tags to add, but it was not the case. Shouldn't we be following what we decide as community in the meta site? Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 20:21
  • @AndreSilva this answer also supports adding the Python tag to every ArcPy and PyQGIS question whereas the compromise answer of only using it with other spatial libraries has been endorsed by the same asker.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 21:17
  • 1
    This answer supports applying the [python] tag whenever questions are related to the language; while the other answers don't. In my opinion, the overall community voting should be taken into account, because not all voters here endorsed the other answer. (@PolyGeo). Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 21:31
  • @AndreSilva applying a Python tag to every ArcPy and PyQGIS question posted here is not a retagging campaign that I will get behind.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 21:38
  • 3
    @PolyGeo, sure; that is not needed (nor wanted :). The point is not removing the [python] tag from python related questions (because so far, it is what we have decided here in this meta post). Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 21:45
  • The question asked was about not removing the Python tag from Shapely questions. Two answers here agree that should not happen and appear to have strong endorsement. As a result I have changed the way I review tags to accommodate that.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 21:48
  • As the poster of this answer, applying the [python] tag to every new python related question is my preference, but I don't disagree with the compromise answer and can work with it. It does look like the community has spoken in favour of this answer though.
    – user2856
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:38
  • 1
    No idea @polygeo, but will raise them if I come across any. But regardless, please don't start editing out the python (or other languages) tag from python (etc) questions again (noting your compromise which I can cope with).
    – user2856
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 0:42
  • 2
    I want to see python tags when the question is related to python. No ifs, buts or maybes. I don't care what python library is used or whether there is a code attempt or if it is a documentation type question or something else.
    – user2856
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 1:04

As a compromise between the two positions offered so far:

perhaps we can recognize that there are:

  • just a few Python libraries that have specialists wanting those questions to be always tagged reliably with a library tag i.e. ,
  • some Python generalists wanting to see all Python questions (no matter the library) in their filters

and make our Python tagging guideline that:

  • for ArcPy only the tag is applied
  • for PyQGIS only the tag is applied
  • for all other Python libraries both the and the library tag are applied

This would seem to enable those wanting to see all Python questions just needing to use three tags in their filter, and those only wanting to see specific Python libraries use just those specific library tags in their filters.

This would endorse the use of both and tags on Convert Polygon to MultiPolygon with Shapely which was the question which lead to this Q&A.


If a question is already tagged with shapely, ArcPy , PyQGIS, or any other spatial Python library then I think it is safe to assume that the programming language being used is Python and the tag provides no additional information.

As long as its tag wiki has a language hint the syntax highlighting for any spatial Python library should already be set to Python and, if not, there is a simple process available to correct that at Any coding tags missing code language setting for syntax highlighting?

If we tagged every question involving a spatial Python library with the tag then we:

  • would already have about 10,000 questions tagged with something that is not specific to GIS
  • may find that people stop tagging with , , , etc necessitating specialists in those tags having to open more questions before finding the ones which they are hoping to answer.

Extending your logic to some other examples, should we also tag:

  • all PostGIS questions with PostgreSQL (which is used in many non-GIS applications)?
  • all OpenLayers questions with JavaScript (which is used in many non-GIS applications)?
  • all ArcGIS for JavaScript questions with JavaScript (which is used in many non-GIS applications)?

A "rule of thumb" that I use when reviewing tags on GIS SE is that if a tag is not GIS-specific then it should be used sparingly.

I think GIS-specific tags dominating our tags reinforces why our site exists and why experts in GIS and those wanting to learn about GIS would visit and join our community rather than try to build GIS sub-communities within other SE sites.

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