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As it stands right now, I think the [mechanics] tag is useless in the best cases, and a little harmful in the worst cases.

The problem is that it way too broad to be considered a topic. The number of possible topics inside it (quantum, classical, statistical, ...) is very large, and they are very different from each other. So when someone uses the [mechanics] tags, one of two things happen:

  1. They also use a sub-mechanics tag (like [quantum-mechanics] or [classical-mechanics]), in which case the actual [mechanics] tag is completely useless.
  2. They are led to believe that just the [mechanics] tag is enough, in which case it is actually harmful, because it almost the same as leaving it tagless. Just saying a question is about mechanics doesn't give the reader any clue at all of what he should expect to find in it.

A quick search shows that this tag is being used both alone and with subtopics. So I say: Consistency. We should decide whether to get rid of it, or to encourage people to only use it with subtopics.

My proposal
Should we sart removing the [mechanics] tag, and replacing it (where necessary) with its subtopics? Or should we just add subtopics where missing?

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I would agree with your proposal to remove [mechanics] and replace it with subtopic tags. When tagging I like to work off the list I came up with in the early days of the site - of course that's not an official policy or anything but it might be useful.

Of course, it's possible that there might be some questions (either that have been asked or that could be asked) for which none of the mechanics subtopic tags would be appropriate. In a case like that, it'd be fine to leave [mechanics] on that question. But I'm sure those should be a very small minority.

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