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Those do not mean the same of course, but AFAIK they are used interchangeably on this site (see optics and light).

So, do you agree the merge is justified?

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I'd say "no", though it is clear that the tags need a little work (and I'll be too busy to do it for several days).

I would not like to see removed as it is a name with considerable history and a precise meaning to people working in the fields.

On the other hand, we do serve beginners here, and they will mostly likely fell that their questions are about .

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  • $\begingroup$ The problem is that non-straightforward rules will be not respected by new users and thus would have to be imposed manually. Tag wikis are not better here since they are not visible in the tag-box (so in the moment where user decides about using them). $\endgroup$ – user68 Jul 5 '11 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ @mbq: that is not (strictly) true. When you are at the "Ask Question Screen", and after you've selected a tag, the tag appears below the tag entry box. If you now hover over the tag, the tag-wiki is displayed. I know it is slightly counterintuitive, and it would be much better if the ask question page makes an indication of that feature. But it is available. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 6 '11 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ In fact, I just proposed that. (And of course, I meant non-intuitive, not counterintuitive, in the previous comment.) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 6 '11 at 10:36
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I would say that should be a synonym for . I arrived at that position by asking, "what possible question could there be that is about light, but is not an optics question?"

None, that I can think of, with one caveat: the most fundamental description of light comes from QED, which is way beyond my background. A question about the QED description of a photon could be called an optics question only in the most pedantic sense. However, in practice somebody asking a question about photons in QED would be better off with a tag like or . The term "light" generally refers to macroscopic phenomenon, so I don't think the overlap with QED is really an issue.

As further justification I'd argue that by definition, any question about light in situations where QED is not required, even if some degree of quantum mechanics is required (eg. lasers or spectroscopy), falls under the domain of optics. As I said in the tag wiki for , "Optics is the study of light, and its interaction with matter."

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  • $\begingroup$ Hum, you've convinced me from my earlier opinion with the above. (And considering that you work at OMEGA, I'll defer to your expert opinion on this.) $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 6 '11 at 13:30

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