When should the tag be used?

In your answers, please provide:

  • A description of when the tag should be used and when it shouldn't be used.
  • Some actual examples of questions where the tag should be used.
  • Some actual examples of questions where the tag should not be used, and if relevant what other tag should be used.

It may be that there shouldn't be a tag called elisp at all, perhaps with several different tags called elisp-SOMETHING. If you think so, please explain what those alternate tags should be and why.

There's a tag wiki description, but we haven't enforced it effectively so far, and there's no consensus as to what it means in practice. So we need to at least clarify it, and we might end up changing its intent. We've had a prior discussion about the its wording, but before we can conclude on that, we need to decide what it should be saying!

The only meta discussion I could find that discusses is Tags on Emacs.SE seem less useful than they could be and it doesn't help much on this count.

  • I think it depends on how specific or technical the question/desired answer is. If the user is looking for just an overview of Magit or Org usage, I would think the 'elisp tag wouldn't really apply. But I agree with you about the boundary between the elisp tag being applicable and non-applicable being vague. – user2267 Jul 30 '16 at 19:41
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    When a more specific tag about Emacs-Lisp is relevant (e.g., keymap, lexical-scope), tag elisp should not be used. Creating more such specific tags (e.g. lisp-macro) is generally a good idea. Tag elisp should apply to questions about the language itself that are not covered by a more specific tag. – Drew Aug 23 '16 at 17:12
  • @Drew: agree, especially on lisp-macro, which would help distinguish between it and, say, a keyboard-macro. – Dan Aug 23 '16 at 17:17

For the tag elisp:

  • Use it: when the question is about Emacs Lisp as a language;
  • Do not use it: when the question simply requires Emacs Lisp to answer it.

As of this posting, the current tag description is:

Do NOT use this just because your question (or potential answers) involves elisp snippets. Use this for questions about Emacs Lisp as a language (conventions, programming, practices, etc) or for practical questions which go very deep into Emacs Lisp.

Actually, I don't think this is all that bad, except that the last part is ambiguous.

I suggest we drop the last clause (for practical questions which go very deep into Emacs Lisp) because it's probably the root cause of poor enforcement. Under the current description, any post that uses "a lot" of elisp could fit under this tag -- and so no one can enforce because we don't know what counts as "a lot" or "very deep."

I'd guess that the majority of questions on this site invoke elisp in some capacity, so it becomes a meaningless tag in that setting. Hence, we should reserve it only for questions about elisp in its capacity as a language.

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    Agreed. The question should be about the language itself, not about using it. It can be about language elements that are specific to Emacs Lisp - differences between Emacs Lisp and other Lisps. The main point is that it is not about how to do things using Emacs Lisp. It can be about how some part of the language works or is supposed to work. – Drew Aug 23 '16 at 17:09

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