I understand this is a meta question however my current 'newbie' rep does not allow me to ask it in meta.

Of the 8 questions with the neuro-linguistic-prog tag most if not all the answers refer the lack of scientific validity of the subject. Given that this is a scientific site and that the volume of questions of NLP is low, wouldn't it be better to remove the tag all together?

One of the biggest problems of pseudoscience is the air of scientific discourse without adhering to its best practices essentially playing a 'reputation/authority' game, isn't it counterproductive to validate what is greatly regarded as pseudo-science by giving it it's own tag in a science site?

2 Answers 2


Currently, the "neuro-linguistic-prog" tag says:

A controversial approach to psychotherapy that was popular in the 1970s, but has been largely debunked by science since.

In line with Should we close questions about Freud?, I would like to see the following tags either removed, or modified in line with the NLP tag to clearly state that they are there only to discuss a pseudoscientific and/or outdated theory in the history of cognitive science:

  • psychoanalysis
  • jung
  • hypnosis
  • mbti

Having these tags (without the appropriate disclaimer) gives users the false impression that questions about such topics are in-scope on this forum. I realize that there may be other reasons for having these tags, but they are misleading as-is.


Tags exist to allow people to access the content that they are searching.

If someone wants to research the scientific validity of NLP it's quite useful if the person can easily see all questions about it on this website.

  • agreed. Still, both the low amount of questions and the risk of unwillingly validate the topic are reasons enough for me to remove the tag. Question stands.
    – nico
    Aug 4, 2016 at 8:59
  • I am with @Christian. Surely the questioning by people on the scientific validity of NLP is validating the necessity of the tag? Aug 4, 2016 at 19:44
  • This sounds to me like the 'fair' debate between evolution by natural selection and intelligent design (don't want to throw gasoline on a fire here) some debated are validating the other part just by being on the same grounds. Some things should just be ignored.
    – nico
    Aug 4, 2016 at 21:47
  • On the other hand, NLP has made quite an infamous reputation by being able to siphon a lot of money from the corporate world, so one might think that having a tag is worth it.
    – nico
    Aug 4, 2016 at 21:48
  • I just think that science websites should stick to science topics and pseudo-scientific topics should be brushed off (as it seems to be happening already by looking at the answers), just without a searchable tag that confers an air of something official easily misunderstood by the random bystander as a thing. NLP is NOT a thing, just like debating the existence of a higher power seems offtopic to me so does this. Disclaimer: I have no particular ax to grind with NLP just though I'd bring it up.
    – nico
    Aug 4, 2016 at 21:52
  • @nico : Science websites focus on scientific reasoning whatever happens to be the topic. They don't focus on trying to deal with science topics. Science is more a method of thinking about reality than it is a position. We have currently two questions tagged with incentives. That doesn't imply that we should get rid of the term. 9 questions that can be clearly grouped by a single tag generally make the tag worthwhile to group them. There no reason to limit the amount of total tags. Tags are helpful for both computers and humans to understand what a question is about.
    – Christian
    Aug 5, 2016 at 9:13
  • @Christian: Totally agree with your first sentence. I won't discuss what science is in ~500 chars let's just say you are right. Science has no position, people do and people who manage this site can choose to either confer validity to a pseudo-science by giving it it's own tag and thus differentiating it from all other mumbo-jumbo theories or think about it and maybe remove it. The difference will be only in the kind of people you attract and the kind of website you want to be. cont...
    – nico
    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:16
  • We're talking about 8 questions after all, since you migrated 4 year ago from nlp tag to neuro-linguistic-prog. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, and it's not a computer thing as you say, its a human thing we get excited organizing things (maybe its just me?) and sometimes we overdo it you don't need to group into a meta-tag every single question. Besides, computers do just fine without tags, that's what the seach box is for, it works perfectly and scans all content not just tags. Maybe your incentives should be for users to use it?
    – nico
    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:29
  • @nico : Having the tag means that it's more likely that if someone Googles NLP to find information about it, that he will end up getting his information from Cogsci.stackexchange. That's in the interest of this website. Tags aren't about endorsement or about validity of positions. Computers don't do fine without Tags. When a computer like Watson uses this database to answer Jeopardy question it profits from having the tags. The Google algorithm profits from having the tag to send people to the article.
    – Christian
    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:33
  • Is that true? I don't know, really. I thought google has a crawler and possibly a meta-crawler and builds its own association tree. why would a the tag neuro-linguistic-prog added to any question add value to its google rank? how? If that is true then tag away to get users as much as you want. Although my point still stands, what users do you want to attract? The endorsement issue is something you guys should really consider especially as you get bigger and gain more traction. And tags are totally about endorsement.
    – nico
    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:47
  • What would you think if you went to a cooking site and they had a tag about human meat cooking? or excrement stewing? Besides clicking immediately to see wtf is that (and yes getting more clicks) the latent assumption is that it's a thing cooking people discuss and exchange information about. You don't want to be a click-bait site do you?
    – nico
    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:50
  • About Watson and even AlphaGo, they are highly engineered machine 'learning' algos that were built for one purpose, its hardly a fair comparison and besides just because machines improve in processing time if someone tells them where to look for information using tags does not mean the need it... speed is also totally a humen loss function imposed on the parameters of the program... but that's a whoooole other discussion
    – nico
    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:53
  • @nico : It's not a comparison but an example about how StackExchange data can get used. StackExchange data is creative commons licensed to be used downstream.
    – Christian
    Aug 5, 2016 at 11:47
  • Used for what? Premature optimization is the mother of all evils... But we're getting side tracked. The issue is about the tag and honestly I don't have a preference. I don't believe the answers you have provided me moot my question in any way or apeaze my concerns about the direction of the site. Look, you can just say it's our site we want the tag and we know what we're doing. I'll shut up, I simply asked a question, you were the only one to answer, this is either because you're the only one who care or everyone else agrees with the status quo except me.
    – nico
    Aug 5, 2016 at 13:26

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