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There is a recent posts about project topic that has already generated 3 answers:

Advantages and specific applications of massively parallel programming thesis idea

I thought this was against our policy on project topics. Not to mention that it is not even clear if the question is a theory question, but that is regardless.

More importantly, we seem to have the tag. Why does this even exist? Of the 5 questions tagged with it, 3 are closed. 1 is the above one, and the other one is:

Ideas for a project in Mathematica related to (Theoretical) Computer Science

Which should be closed since it both violated the policy AND is not research level. However, it generated 3 answers already.

Why do we even have the tag? It seems like any question that would use it would violate our policy on project topics. Am I missing something?

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    $\begingroup$ hitting the policy page it says "A special exception can be made for specific programming-style projects on a specific topic, or requests for ideas for implementation" and the cited post seems to adhere to that. $\endgroup$ – vzn Feb 2 '12 at 0:37
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    $\begingroup$ I think the tag should be deleted. I have already voted to close the two questions that you mentioned. $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Feb 2 '12 at 11:00
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think there a need to remove the tag, the policy forbids general questions about what should be a project topic, not other questions about project topics, e.g. asking for info about it. On the other hand, so far it is not a very useful tag (other than making it easier to notice which questions are against the policy). $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Feb 2 '12 at 22:51
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I thought about the same “policy,” but I did not vote to close partly because I thought that the question was specific enough (and I admit that it is partly because I am against the “policy”). I am not saying that what I did is the right thing, but I wanted to explain why I did not vote to close it.

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I don't think it would be a good idea to both have a policy against asking for project topics and also have a project-topic tag. That would make things quite confusing. If we want to revisit the policy, then we should do that.

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  • $\begingroup$ The “policy” (I would not call that unclear statement a policy, hence scare quotes) allows certain questions about project topics, so I find nothing wrong with existence of the tag per se. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 2 '12 at 16:19
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We've had another bunch of project topic-tagged questions. The statistics are now: 10 questions, 6 closed or on hold, one more heavily down-voted. I'm not sure the tag encourages off-topic questions per se but it does give askers a small amount of confidence that their question is on-topic – after all, there's a tag for it and they wouldn't have a tag for off-topic questions, right?

I'm in favour of deleting the tag, since it has almost no legitimate use.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think the tag encourages them (even slightly). 1. Most of the time I am the person who adds the tag, not the authors. 2. Even if it wasn't me the sample size is too small to draw a conclusion that the tag encourages such questions. The tag has legitimate uses, and it does seem to be causing a problem so I don't think we need to ban it. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Aug 29 '14 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ feeling intense cognitive dissonance at the violent agreement with k on this. see also how can we collaboratively investigate open problems. see also polymath projects which (TCS angle) incl eg famous/ pivotal Deolalikar proof analysis $\endgroup$ – vzn Aug 30 '14 at 15:57

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