We've decided to prohibit wood-identification questions, but we're using the to help people identify an appropriate type of wood given some desired application or properties.

I think it makes sense to make broader use of instead for this purpose, and after further discussion I'm leaning toward adding , as well. What we do with is up in the air, but here are a few options:

  1. Make a synonym of
  2. Create and make a synonym of
  3. Rename to and ban the use of

My thought with is that it can be used in the same way we currently use wood-identification, but the name will not imply that "What kind of wood is in this picture?" questions are allowed. Meanwhile, will be a slightly more specific tag.

What does everyone else think about the two new proposed tags, and what should we do with ?

  • Would we leave tool-identification alone? Would it be potentially confusing?
    – Matt
    May 21, 2015 at 20:31
  • Yes, I think we can leave tool-identification alone.
    – rob Mod
    May 21, 2015 at 21:17
  • @rob And besides, it's kinda fun!
    – Ast Pace
    May 22, 2015 at 19:55

3 Answers 3



Both tags should remain and should be used appropriately.

Wood selection is a different function from wood identification.

Wood selection should be the tag when the question of what wood should be used.

Wood identification is when the question deals with telling what kind of wood a sample might be which is a topic that is explicitly discouraged by this site.

Somehow, the description of wood identification includes wood selection - to me an obvious mistake. It seems to me that it would best be corrected by moderators.


Raise the bar instead of banning.

The problems with wood identification questions are:

  • it's hard to definitively identify a wood species based on the information that's usually provided (such as a photo)
  • it's hard to search for similar questions
  • such questions tend to help only one person

These are the same kinds of problems that are exhibited by low-quality debugging questions on StackOverflow. Rather than banning debugging questions, though, StackOverflow wisely set requirements for debugging questions that solve most of the problems.

We should do the same for . Allow wood identification questions, but set criteria for what makes an acceptable one. Questions that don't meet the standard will still be closed just as quickly, but good questions would be encouraged.

  • We already covered this in another meta FYI: meta.woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/53/…. What is an example of a good wood-identification question?
    – Matt
    May 22, 2015 at 18:23
  • @Caleb do I understand correctly that you think wood identification questions ("What type of wood is this?") can be made useful, and if so, what criteria do you think would be sufficient? Of the questions currently tagged wood-identification, only woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/115/… strikes me as an allowable question that is appropriately-tagged wood-identification because it's asking how to identify the wood. (The others should be tagged wood-species or something similar.)
    – rob Mod
    May 22, 2015 at 19:25


This was bothering me for a while but wasn't sure what to do about it. I have only been using the tag out of habit. I am 100% for switching these tags to remove that ambiguity.

We are truly treating it as a anyways.


I see the question has changed a bit. needs to exist. It is how the current questions are being treated. I agree with AST Pace in that the tag wiki is misleading for its purpose.

I'm not very hot about and that is mostly because I'm not sure what the wiki would read like. How would you write the excerpt for that?

Either way need to cease existing. A ban might be appropriate but its not like we have had to close a lot of questions regarding this yet.

  • Just going to double check the current questions and be sure its a fit.
    – Matt
    May 21, 2015 at 20:13
  • This question might be odd woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/125/what-is-white-wood as the OP is not looking for help picking wood but identifiying what it is. It would fit as long as identification is a synonym
    – Matt
    May 21, 2015 at 20:22
  • that's a good point...maybe we could retag that one wood-species. Darn you; I'm not sure what to do with wood-identification now...synonym of wood-species, synonym of wood-selection, or just delete it altogether and hope nobody tries to use it again?
    – rob Mod
    May 21, 2015 at 21:13
  • @rob No we are on the right track. That one question was tagged improperly since it didnt really fit before. I think we can ignore that one for now. It should be a focus of its own discussion. So how much buy in do we need before we do something? also... wood-properties maybe but I think that is too vague?
    – Matt
    May 22, 2015 at 0:18
  • Here's another thought...how about making wood-identification a synonym of wood-species, and adding wood-selection to the appropriate questions?
    – rob Mod
    May 22, 2015 at 1:20
  • I think if we don't get any objections within the next day or two we should go ahead and make the change.
    – rob Mod
    May 22, 2015 at 1:23

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