There was a recent discussion in chat about me adding the to the following post: How do you remove bed bugs from lumber?

Originally I added it because the post was discussing potentially using poison gas to fumigate his stock.

It's ok if it's poisonous to humans...

In chat Rob pointed out to me that I might be imposing a view on the question and that safety was not the intended focus anyway.

@Matt I think it does subtly change the question it suggests that he is concerned about safety when he is not (he just wants to kill the bugs and their eggs), and by adding the tag you were asserting your own safety-consciousness upon him and anyone else who answers his question. For example, following the same logic you could add the safety tag to any question that talks about something with sharp edges because you could cut yourself.

Those points I later agreed with and removed the tag. By my earlier logic I should go an put the on every question since anything could be a safety issue. That of course is just silly.

My current stand point is that having that tag on that question was in error which I corrected.

Rob suggested that I bring it to Meta to let the community have an opinion.

2 Answers 2


I agree that does not belong on that question. The author did not ask for safety tips, and actually said that safety wasn't a primary concern:

Keeping all humans/people out for a day doesn't matter for that

Looking through the safety questions, they almost all primarily ask how to do something safely, except for one of yours. I think this question should probably not have , unless you put something in the question body specifically asking about the safety risks of removing paint in a planer.

That said, I think does apply to your question How to sharpen a circular saw or mitre saw blade because you specifically request safety concerns.

In summary, I think tags should reflect the body of the question, and in many cases only the primary focus of the question.

  • 1
    On other Stack Exchange sites, people often use the tags to augment the body content. For example, a question on superuser.com might ask how to change the resolution of a display, and the tags may include windows-vista but the body doesn't necessarily have to mention windows-vista in order for people to know the person is asking for instructions applicable to Windows Vista.
    – rob Mod
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 21:33
  • @rob Agreed. Tags can be present to add context. Bed bugs are nothing but harmful to humans which could be a safety concern. Even if its not the focus of the question it gives it context.
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 22:00
  • @rob I didn't realize that. In that case I can understand why someone would just add the tag in order to say they wanted that perspective.
    – lars
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 22:13
  • The subtle detail in the case of the safety tag that Matt added to the bedbugs question is that the original author was not concerned about safety. In Matt's question about planing painted wood, he apparently did have a concern about safety (or at least wondered if there was cause for concern), so as the original author he included the tag. But now that you bring it up, it isn't blatantly obvious why there is a safety concern. In the windows-vista example I gave, the intent behind the tag is blatantly obvious. Maybe the safety concern in Matt's question should be made explicit.
    – rob Mod
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 22:32
  • @Matt when you added the safety tag to the bedbugs question I thought it was because of the future danger potentially posed by the pesticide, not any danger posed by the bedbugs themselves. The safety tag probably is one tag which often requires clarification in the body.
    – rob Mod
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 22:36
  • @rob You are correct with my original intention with pesticide. I was trying to come up with another more logical reason why it might be included. Forgive me if I was skewing the conversation. My planer question included safety as I was wondering if i would potentially be using the power tool a little outside of its intended purpose .
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 22:42

When the topic is woodworking, safety is simply implied. The safety tag is, in a practical sense, redundant. However it makes a great deal of sense to retain the tag for when a question is specifically asking about the "safe" way to solve a problem.

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