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Seeing Records of miners in the California Gold Rush? this morning, and having personally asked several mining industry questions, got me thinking that the tag might sometimes be well complemented by an industry tag such as (not yet a tag).

For example, these six questions could be candidates for tagging with it.

Would having some industry tags on G&FH SE be useful?

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Tags are not just words that appear in the post. We have a search function to find words that appear in posts. Tags should reflect the main subject matter of the question, so that others looking for similar questions on the same subject can find it.

If we were to tag every question with that just mentions the word miner or mining, then that would not be very useful for people looking for questions about mining.

I am not against making tags for certain industries, but if they are made they should have clear descriptions and usage guidances.

Of the 6 questions that mention mining, only 4 are about mining:

I do not think it would be appropriate to tag these questions that mention mining with , because they are not fundamentally about mining:

If this were to go forward, we would have to think carefully about what other industries would be appropriate. I could see and being potentially useful for questions about those occupations, because just searching for the word 'farmer' or 'servant' brings up many results that just mention these occupations in passing. But on the other hand would and simply be too narrow to warrant a tag?

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I think the use of some industry tags can be useful to complement the tag which I find to be too broad.

When I find a record of an ancestor's occupation I am always delighted because it often gives me leads into new record sets to seek. Knowing the ancestor had an is not nearly as useful to me as knowing the industry that occupation was in.

At times I think it might be useful to use tags for the actual occupation, like miner, mining agent, toller, etc but as you can see from this first example such tags quickly get very granular and less useful.

On the other hand an industry tag of mining would help group them together for any mining historian who was browsing our site and has their interest piqued by the first mining question they see.

The use of an industry tag such as mining is not intended as a method for replacing a search using the term "mining" but instead the use of industry tags is put forward for discussion as being a way to achieve more granularity about specific occupations than the tag allows without going to overly granular occupation tags for every occupation. However, searching for questions using an industry "term" is one way of trying to assess whether a new industry (or any other type of) tag might be before coining it.

Some other industry tags that I could envisage using are:

  • printing
  • farming
  • shoemaking

I would not try to be too prescriptive about how "big" an industry has to be before it warrants a tag. Like all tags their existence should be organic, if they are useful they get used and stick (and warrant tag wikis), if not, they fall into disuse and tend to be removed.

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Looking at the six questions you identify, a tag seems pointless -- there's insufficient commonality between the subject matter for an "mining expert" to want to monitor the tag to identify questions they could answer.

Rather than proliferating tag to no good end, I'd rather see the effort go into improving our tag wikis which are quite frankly mostly rubbish.

ETA: Some context https://genealogy.meta.stackexchange.com/a/1716/104 which is my response to Is our tagging structure fit for purpose? Do we agree what its purpose is?

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