I just noticed that tactics is now a synonym of warfare instead of being a separate tag.

As someone who spent 3 years involved in planning the tactics of warfare, 3+ years involved in determining the actual tactics of police operations, and more than 10 years involve in developing tactics for business operations - I cannot see the reasoning in including tactics and warfare as absolute synonyms.

Before even moving into the ability to ask about tactics in areas outside of warfare I must point out that warfare strategy does not equal tactics. I have a full argument in a separate post but the main gist is:

There is a difference between operational planning, tactical planning, mission or course of action (COA) planning, and actual orders.

This means that for questions involving warfare the more appropriate response would not be making this a synonym but adding the actual levels of planning (as tags) that organizations use. Or leave strategy & tactics separated (strategy is open-ended most of the time but that is a different conversation).

To add my argument, beyond warfare strategy, the tactics I had as a military police officer vs. as military member (Marine) in warfare is just a gross miss-interpretation of tactics in a general sense - and yes, I still have orders from both instances and the variance is immense.

I can expand on length & with multiple examples if needed but a clear example could be "no warning shots" vs. "disabling shots are the first priority" and "close with and destroy with fire & close combat" vs. "disable & apprehend all suspects involved with incident".

I would link to the discussion on this within meta but I cannot find a single one.

I may come off a bit defensive about this but that comes from years and years of experience and the fact that my police actions using police tactics do not equate to my actions as a military member in combat

  • $\begingroup$ Could someone comment and why and when this synonym was created? Sometimes we do need to combine tags that would be completely separate on a more specialized site. For example, if tactics was rarely used and almost always tagged along with warfare. I hear your point JGreenwell and agree they're different things, but it would help to have the history of the merger and previous use of the tags (which you might not know). Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Cyn
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ A related synonym was proposed in 2015 and rejected then (and I see I've commented on this issue before). $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ From this page it looks like the synonym was created in December, except the creator isn't a moderator so maybe that means it was done by community vote and that's the last voter? I'm not sure. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Cyn I'm looking at SEDE today and tomorrow: I'll post if I get good results and if someone finds the results first - feel free to edit them in or answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio it was done on Jul 10th (the "renamed" field) I think - as I edited & had my edit approved around Mar 24 $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @MonicaCellio for the links. I'm undecided about the need for various versions of these tags. I hear StephenG on the distinctions but I find the separations confusing. I do a lot of editing/retagging and try hard to understand different tags. It's one thing if I have to double check a wiki before applying, but if I can't really figure out on to apply them while I'm reading the explanations, that's a problem. I mean I know the vocabulary differences, I mean about applying to real life posts. $\endgroup$
    – Cyn
    Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Cyn I do agree that tactics should not be a synonym of warfare, because there are other contexts for tactics besides military. I'm inclined to undo the synonym now and then if we decide to restructure tags some other way that's a separate discussion. I'll put that in an answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 17:33

2 Answers 2


: I deleted the synonym but didn't do anything about the 23 questions that were auto-retagged after the synonym was created.

Both tactics and strategy apply to contexts beyond war -- police, corporate maneuvers, governments trying to bring about a particular end, resisters trying to bring about a particular end... this synonym should not exist.

From what I've been able to discover, the tag was suggested and approved in December 2018. All of the questions that originally had the tag should get it back again when I delete the synonym. However, the 23 questions where the tag was remapped to because of the synonym will not revert. No retaggings happen when a synonym is broken (source: message from a CM in a mod-private channel). So if we want to fix those 23 cases, someone's going to have to search for questions asked or retagged since then and look to see if any should be retagged back to . (Questions asked since then can be found using search. I don't know how to search for retaggings in that timeframe on-site, though you could do it with SEDE.) Or we could decide to just leave them alone and fix them as we come across them and notice.

I'll hold off on deleting this synonym to give people a chance to object, but if I don't see complaints and the voting is supportive, I'll delete it in a couple days. There's a larger question of how/whether this cluster of tags should be restructured; I'm focusing on the smaller issue of this one IMO incorrect synonym.


I wonder if we need to have three distinct tags :

  • Warfare Meaning the politics of warfare, objectives and even the process of starting and ending a war (e.g. negotiations, diplomacy as it leads to and end war).

  • Strategy The art or skill of deploying resources to achieve a large scale goal, even an over victory. Specifically excludes political considerations.

  • Tactics The art of deploying military and police resources on a small scale. Specifically excludes military strategy and politics.

These can/should be combined with these tags :

  • Military referring to situations where a trained military is the main forces, or one of the keys ones.

  • Policing referring to situations where a trained police force is the main force of one of the key ones.

  • Politics referring to issues related to political aspects of a scenario.

There's no reason why both military and policing tags could not be used together (e.g police must defend against/attack military units or the politics of a specific policing tactic).

I am not entirely convinced by your argument that police tactics should bee seen as different from military tactics. Modern military tactics do not exclude non-lethal policing style techniques. Many countries now deploy military units in peace-keeping roles and not simply as a military force. On the other hand police forces rarely need to employ large scale strategic thinking (outside of the logistics of scares resources).

To add my argument, beyond warfare strategy, the tactics I had as a military police officer vs. as military member (Marine) in warfare is just a gross miss-interpretation of tactics in a general sense - and yes, I still have orders from both instances and the variance is immense.

While this is not an unreasonable statement, we're talking about a tag and proper combinations of tags are what is needed, not dedicated specific tags, which lead to "tag bloat".

  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I definitely think the tags should be cleaned up (and actually agree with most of your proposed setup to avoid such bloat - 3 tags just connect as needed to main tag). But think that should take a discussion on meta & as the only one here actually rejected the synonym of warefare, tactics, and strategy - it should be undone so that this can take place. Though if votes show that this is the top answer & supported - I fully endorse skipping a step and just fixing it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ There are other existing tags which can also be paired with Warfare, Strategy, and Tactics, including but not limited to Economics, Spaceships, Magic, Technology, Cities and Time-Travel, without them being anything to do with Military, Policing or Political issues. I do agree that we need all three separate tags though. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 15:05

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