Related: What is the purpose of the popular-science tag?, Can we encourage the "research-level" meta tag? What about a "popular" tag?
We currently have a tag called popular-science. It's basically for questions which demand a layman explanation.
and as mentioned here it has problems.
- It's fundamentally a meta tag
- It's ambiguous. I've been seeing many edits in the queue that retag to the popsci tag, and I've seen many other older questions tagged with it — it seems that everyone has a different interpretation of it. This is quite harmful because it degenerates into being applied much more broadly than intended and there's confusion all around. The tag wiki is already pretty unambiguous, however it still seems like the tag is being interpeted differently. A tag called laymans-terms could work but it would probably have similar issues. The basic issue with level filtering is that people look at the tag as "Hey, that's the tag with all the bad questions". (Not "that's the topic I don't like", the focus remains on the tag). And then it gets applied more broadly because everyone has their opinion of what sort of questions they don't like. This is already currently happening, as mentioned before.
- Level filtering has a rather harmful effect in that it opens the tag to abuse. We already have homework which has this problem1, and I'm not keen on having another. Basically, this tag(popular-science) can be used to get a question "ignored" by many users here; it's a softer form of deletion in a sense. Sure, people will still notice it, but there's a reasonable chance that the people who would have otherwise answered it won't. Couple this with the ambiguity issue and it's much worse -- it's hard to even detect such abuse because of the ambiguity.
- Note that having a tag for it is usually taken as a sign that we welcome all such questions. While we don't disallow such posts, we don't want to actively encourage them either.
- Does popular-science really help in the first place? Questions asking for a layman explanation usually mention it in the title. They're easy to ignore, there aren't many of them. There are a lot of home-experiment and everyday-life questions coming in though, and ignoring these may clean up your main page much more significantly than ignoring popsci if you don't enjoy layman questions. There are approx 3 questions per month in the tag (ignore the last data point, recently there has been tons of retagging in that tag, not all of it fitting the description). I don't see a pressing need to filter these out. There just aren't that many. Applying the tag more broadly to catch more popsci questions-- well, then you get a very broad tag, which is probably more ambiguous. And in this case favourite tags would serve you better.
Can we get it burninated?
1. Not entirely, though. Usually, on-topic homework questions don't need the tag in the first place.