The tag is supposed to be for questions about the graphs of functions. But it is very commonly misapplied to questions that are about the graphs of graph theory. These questions are supposed to have the tag instead. Many don't.

Many questions have both tags. There are between 50 and 100 questions tagged with both graph and graph-theory, and I would be surprised if both tags were appropriate for even one of these.

The tag is usually wrong. I suggested in the "tagging" chat that we:

  1. Eliminate
  2. Replace it with something less ambiguous: perhaps , or perhaps just eliminate it
    • (My current favorite suggestion is that we replace it with .)
  3. Blacklist it to prevent further confusion

I suggested this in the "tagging" chat. Martin Sleziak, the person who seems to have given the most thought to tagging issues, replied:

It is good that you have mentioned this problem. I've retagged a few questions (but there is a lot of them remaining.) I've also added a comment template here. If you think that the tag should be blacklisted, you should probably start a meta thread. Blacklisting a tag is a big decision, so the community should know about it and it would be good if some consensus could be achieved.

I thought about it some more, and here we are. There are a few hundred questions tagged with , so it would not be an insurmountable task to eliminate them manually. Around one-sixth of these also have , and we might decide, as a first step, to mechanically remove from each of those; this would be correct in the great majority of cases.

Thoughts?

share
2  
+1 I am not sure we need a replacement. In the most common formalization of functions in set theory, the graph of a function is exactly the function. One can certainly debate this, but the concept doesn't strike me as sufficiently unique. Questions on whether some graph of a function is measurable or how one should scale the graph of $x^3$ when plotting are sufficiently different, that nobody will be going to favorite the tag (I guess). –  Michael Greinecker Mar 10 '13 at 8:34
1  
Tag-wiki for functions currently says: Elementary questions about functions, notation, properties, and operations such as function composition. If this is the kind for questions we want to have in this tag, it is more-or-less subset of elementary-set-theory and discrete-mathematics. Questions concerning graph of functions more usually appear in (pre)calculus. So I think it's better to have a separate graph tag than simply transferring all questions to functions. The content of this tag wiki was discussed here –  Martin Sleziak Mar 10 '13 at 9:33
    
Perhaps I should mentioned that we have discussed whether functions tag is really needed. But now that tag has about 2k questions (and 36 followers), so I don't think it's probable that it is going to be removed. –  Martin Sleziak Mar 10 '13 at 9:35
    
@MartinSleziak: my concern would be that someone asking a question about drawing a graph would never type "set" or "discrete" into the tag box. –  Ben Millwood Mar 10 '13 at 15:04
    
@BenMillwood The suggested replacement by (function-graph) tag would solve this. (Even in the case if we decide that the tags (function-graph) and (functions) should be syonyms.) –  Martin Sleziak Mar 10 '13 at 16:16
3  
I think graphing would be a better replacement for graph than function-graph would be. People trying to draw the graph of function might be well-served by the tag graphing. They would be as likely to tag their question with graphing as they would have with graph. People with graph theory questions would be unlikely to use graphing for graph theory. –  MJD Mar 10 '13 at 16:18
2  
The name (graphing) would not cover questions such as: Is graph of a continuous function always a $G_\delta$ subset of $\mathbb R^2$?, How can I say from the graph whether $f$ is injective?, Does connected graph implies continuity? etc. Do we want to exclude this type of questions from the replacement for (graph)? (The tag-excerpt we have in the moment suggests that (graph) is for any question concerning graphs of functions.) –  Martin Sleziak Mar 10 '13 at 16:27
2  
I just want to note the obvious and say that if we are to remove it, we should make our edits in a somewhat controlled way--we don't want to flood the front page... :) –  anorton Mar 10 '13 at 18:41
    
Can't say I'm surprised. I half expected graphs of functions to be called plots nowadays, because that's what some CAS call them. Similarly, aren't graphing and plotting synonyms? I may be wrong, as English is not my first language, but I think in my use the two words are interchangable :-/ –  Jyrki Lahtonen Mar 10 '13 at 18:48
1  
@Martin: I would exclude those from the replacement for (graph); they belong in (general-topology), and the first one probably belongs in (real-analysis) as well, at least as the tag is actually used. –  Brian M. Scott Mar 11 '13 at 1:07
2  
@anorton: actually, while the discussion is taking place now we can at the very least retag all the (graph-theory) questions slowly slowly. Then depending on the outcome of the discussion here the remainder may be dealt with by a simple tag-rename by a moderator. –  Willie Wong Mar 11 '13 at 9:22
1  
Question: why do you guys wrap tag names in [brackets], when they're normally displayed between (parentheses)? –  Jack M Mar 12 '13 at 12:10
2  
Why not make it as clear as possible and just go with (graphing-functions)? –  Mike Battaglia Mar 17 '13 at 19:57
1  
This question is now approximately one month old and it received a lot of upvotes. Perhaps it is already time to do the suggested blacklisting. I'm going to flag the question for moderators' attention, so that they can decide what has to be done next. –  Martin Sleziak Apr 9 '13 at 9:57
1  
@Martin: saw your flag. We would need to rename the tag before we black list it (I think). It looks like from the votes below the new name is (graphing-functions); I don't have a problem with that. But before we do the mass rename, we should find the ones that don't fit per your own comment meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/8729/… and manually rename them. The only way to do that is to go through the list slowly over the next few days. –  Willie Wong Apr 9 '13 at 13:44
show 9 more comments

6 Answers

Tag named (graphing) would be a good replacement for .
Please upvote/downvote this answer to show your opinion on this.

share
add comment

Tag named (graphing-functions) would be a good replacement for .
Please upvote/downvote this answer to show your opinion on this.

share
add comment

I think the following proposal addresses all points:

Blacklist the tag [graph]. Put an entry in the tag-wiki indicating to consider either [graph-theory] or [graphing].

Make [plot] and [plotting] into synonyms for [graphing].

If people want it, also add [function-graph] to cover questions like this one Martin Sleziak found which ask about the graph of a function in a non-visual manner. Having scanned through the entire [graph] tag, I only found this one question where I would use this tag, so I don't think it is necessary, but I have no strong objection to it.

I like [graphing] as a tag because I think it is the term an unsophisticated poster would use for this topic, and it is a topic that attracts a lot of basic questions.

share
    
Graphing, as a verb, seems to be North American teacher-ese coming mainly from algebra and calculus textbooks (by which I mean the ones aimed for the average student in high school and college) and calculator manufacturers. It is jargon bloat relative to the pre-existing words "drawing" and "graph". In this respect I would rather it be disfavored. For the computer and statistical plotting questions graphics would be more precise. –  zyx Mar 13 '13 at 4:19
2  
Put an entry in the tag-wiki indicating to consider... If I'm not mistaken, after blacklisting, the tag will be out of the system completely, so there will be no tag-wiki for (graph). –  Martin Sleziak Mar 13 '13 at 10:37
4  
@zyx: Graphing isn’t used as a verb. It’s used as a gerund (verbal noun), as in ‘graphing these functions is hard’, and as an adjective, as in ‘a graphing calculator’ and ‘these graphing problems are hard’. If you meant the transitive verb to graph, it’s standard and has been around since at least 1898. Graphics would be a very poor choice: it is very strongly associated with computer graphics and not at all with graphing functions. At least in the U.S. David’s last paragraph is spot-on. –  Brian M. Scott Mar 13 '13 at 20:37
    
@BrianM.Scott, yes the gerund is what I meant. With the 5 minute edit window, 7 minute mistakes are here for posterity. I have experienced only "draw the graph of $f$" or "the graph of $f$ has (property)" in lectures to mathematically mature audiences and in non-introductory non-North American books. Graphics is proposed only for the computer and statistical plotting questions, that seem to be a significant fraction of the questions with words "plot" and "plotting". Evidently it is not the right word for questions about drawing $y = f(x)$. –  zyx Mar 13 '13 at 20:47
add comment

I have renamed (graph) to (graphing-functions), the highest voted of the suggested targets.

There are still some questions in that are not quite using the tag in this more restricted sense. Please help us retag them!

Also, we still need to come to a conclusion about how to tag question about graphs as the subset of $D\times R$ for $f:D\to R$.

Edit: The exact terms (graph) and (graphs) have now been blacklisted.

share
add comment

Tag named (plotting) would be a good replacement for .
Please upvote/downvote this answer to show your opinion on this.

share
add comment

Tag named (function-graph) would be a good replacement for .
Please upvote/downvote this answer to show your opinion on this.

share
add comment

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .