Stack Exchange just isn't set up for discussions. The format doesn't support them.

I raised this point in an answer here How do we share our worlds with one another

In view of Michael Kjörling's very useful reply,

Note the tag wiki for the [discussion] tag on Meta: "The question you're asking is designed to solicit opinions or best-practices on a particular topic, with the goal of reaching community consensus." That's a very different type of "discussion" compared to the discussions that happen in "conventional" online discussion forums. – Michael Kjörling

I suggest that, if the purpose of the tag is to solicit opinion rather than initiate discussion, we should make that explicit and change the name of the tag accordingly.


Change the 'discussion' tag to 'opinion' and maybe have tags for 'consensus' and 'best practice' if these are considered sufficiently distinct.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think we can. The discussion tag is one of the must-have tags, and there's no renaming mechanism available to mods. The community team might be able to. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Aug 10 '15 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ Okay - I'll raise it with them. Can it be migrated? $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ There's nowhere useful to migrate this to. Let me get hold of a community manager and check. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Aug 10 '15 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ Posting it to our meta as a feature request would get it seen by the relevant authorities. I don't think it's worthwhile though since the majority of people here don't seem to think the change is warranted in the first place. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Aug 10 '15 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtOfCode - I'll be interested to hear what happens. I don't yet know much about the hierarchy of the site. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB - Strictly speaking you cannot conclude that. Just because a few people disagree doesn't mean that a majority disagrees. Let's see if any other opinions turn up. If not I'll consider placing a feature request. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Two replies each disagreeing and with 3 upvotes and your proposal has 2 downvotes. The majority disagree. That may change as more people see it since it's not a large sample set but speaking from experience drastic swings are very rare. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Aug 10 '15 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ I take it you missed my follow-up comment where I suggested posting this to Meta Stack Exchange, since it is network-wide. $\endgroup$ – user Aug 10 '15 at 14:19

This is a meaningless discussion.

Yes, Stack Exchange is not set up for discussions, but it can (and has been) be bent to that use on meta sites. The idea is that each interested person puts forward their point of view as an answer, there's a (limited) amount of discussion in comments or in chat, but ultimately it's the votes from the community that decide which point of view holds sway. If the voting and comments on the answers influence the poster and they can then update their answer (and hence their position) by adding more information, emphasising certain aspects etc. If they ultimately decide that they've changed their mind they can delete their answer.

While discussions are there to solicit opinions, that doesn't mean that the tag needs to be changed. We are discussing things, we are not "opinioning" things.

  • $\begingroup$ (-1) This answer represents your opinion. I disagree. I want to discuss our differences. Where do we go now? Chat? $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 10:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK we can do a small amount of discussion in comment or, as you point out, go to chat, You can also add your view as an answer and then let the votes sort out what the community think of the various points of view (which is how it's really meant to work) as probably no amount of actual discussion is going to change either of our minds. $\endgroup$ – ChrisF Aug 10 '15 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly - no amount of discussion will achieve anything. We have both expressed opinions (or as you put it 'points of view'), we both intend to stick to them therefore we are not having a meaningful discussion, therefore the tag itself is inappropriate. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 11:07
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK However, the whole thing is a discussion. We can edit our answers with more arguments for our point of view, etc. $\endgroup$ – ChrisF Aug 10 '15 at 11:08
  • $\begingroup$ It is not a discussion in your case! You have already indicated that you refuse to change your opinion. We are now having a discussion - in the comments. (Which presumably is not allowed and we will soon be asked to move to chat). Don't you see the paradox? $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 11:14
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    $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK: this post is a discussion. We are discussing with you the merits of renaming the tag. You keep that discussion constructive by not making assumptions about wether or not Chris is willing to listen to your arguments. $\endgroup$ – Martijn Pieters Aug 10 '15 at 11:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MartijnPieters - To be fair, it wasn't an assumption about Chris, he said this, "...probably no amount of actual discussion is going to change either of our minds." -- He assumed that about me. The truth is that I am willing to have my mind changed. I do want to see convincing reasons though. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ @chaslyfromUK I said that based on the tone of your question and your initial comment on my and Tim's answers. $\endgroup$ – ChrisF Aug 10 '15 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ Let's be fair. You began by saying. This is a meaningless discussion. Your tone was dismissive right from the get-go. If you are not taking me seriously then why should I do the favour to you. I'm genuinely trying to get reasoned answers not a brush-off. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 11:59

This would be a feature request for the entire Stack Exchange site so it's unlikely to happen. There's no reason you can't create an "opinion" tag, but that's not really what the Q&A parts of the site are for. Discussion should go into the chat rooms.

Edit to add: I'm not saying that "opinions" would be a bad name for the tag to have. I'm just saying it's no better than "discussion" and no better is not sufficient reason to change something.

  • $\begingroup$ It isn't a feature on all areas, only the Metas. By saying "Discussion should go into the chat rooms" you have made my point for me. It shouldn't be here. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ There are multiple nuances of the word "discussion". Discussion as in general chat should go in chat rooms. Discussion about the site - as in proposing ideas about worldbuilding itself, commenting on those ideas, and posting solutions for people to vote on - that is what goes under the "discussion" tag on meta. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Aug 10 '15 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ (-1) That is your opinion. I disagree. How can I usefully discuss it with you here? $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 11:02
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    $\begingroup$ An exchange of opinions is a discussion. The fact that the exchange is limited (in many ways its more like a formal debate than a free flowing discussion) does not change that. Since you seem to be looking for an argument not a discussion though I can't help you. Take it to chat ;) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Aug 10 '15 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ An argument is simply a heated discussion - I have a strong point of view. I'm happy to be persuaded by logic. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 10 '15 at 12:04

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