So it seems that poison and venom both have their own tags, though the tag is widely more popular, even regarding situations where where a tag would be more appropriate.

In biological contexts, "poisons" are chemicals produced by a living organism to harm animals that eat or touch them, while "venoms" are harmful chemicals delivered through injections, like bites or stings. In a non-biological context, though, these terms are typically used interchangeably; the definition of the tag (which matches the broad definition on the Wikipedia page for "Poison") includes any chemical substances harmful to living organisms, whether they are produced through biological or non-biological means.

Should we encourage correct use of the terms when appropriate? Or is the inclusion of the tag needlessly pedantic?


2 Answers 2


If we want to be scientifically accurate and still useful, I would suggest to use and make other two synonyms of it.

If we want to be useful and not so stiff about definition (and that's what I think we should be), then let's just make definition match Wikipedia's broad one, and mark venom as synonym. There is no practical need to have them separate now.

Remember tags are mainly for categorization and search, not to define substance of the question.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of a parent tag for both called toxins. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 16:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think we should just make them synonyms. Alternatively, since there's only one venom question, we could just retag it with Poison and let cleanup do the job instead $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ This is technically correct. The best kind of correct. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 23:36

I've been pedantic about the use of certain tags in the past. For instance, I've suggested that the tag should only be used for questions involving the actual Solar System, rather than various other planetary systems (which would hopefully get a tag).[1]

But there's a problem with that. Most people won't know how to properly distinguish between the two tags, and unless people who do know constantly check, there are going to be mix-ups. It's a lot simpler to just bite the bullet, so to speak, and accept that both terms will likely be used interchangeably. There's not much we can do about it.

Therefore, I'd suggest making the tags synonyms.

TL;DR: In many cases, go with what system the person on the street would do. Here, that means using the tags synonymously.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you arguing that we should have two different tags, [venom] and [poisons]? Or are you arguing for one or the other? Or are you arguing that one should be a synonym of the other? Or do you feel that there is merit to having [toxin] with [venom] and [poisons] as synonyms? Or what? $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling It looks like I forgot to include the main point. Thanks. I've edited. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:38

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