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It seems to happen pretty often that the answers to a question will use concepts that weren't explicitly mentioned in the question itself. For instance, I noticed this in a recent question about free word order languages: the question didn't mention pragmatic concepts like topic, focus, definiteness, etc., but those concepts are all important in the answers.

I'm wondering what the norm is for tagging in cases like that. For instance, should that free word order question be tagged for "pragmatics"?

(Just to be clear, I'm not complaining about the way it's currently tagged. This is a sincere question -- I was about to add the "pragmatics" tag myself, but I realized I didn't know what the community norms for that were.)

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The main methodology behind finding answers on the site isn't to search directly for the answer, but to search for the question that elicits that answer. Tags are only placed on questions for this reason - a tag is meant to identify what the question is about. The main reason a question may get an answer that introduces a new technology or concept is because the question author may not have known of its existence, its name, or that it was effective for the desired purposes. As such, users who would have the same question or are in the same boat would not look for that term, because they don't know what the solution is. That's why they're searching in the first place.

If the question truly is about the technology or concept that is mentioned in the answers, and the author just didn't know the term (and this not-knowing part is not a core part of the original question, to boot), then it would make sense not just to update the tags, but the question as a whole. This makes the question then helpful to those who do know the matter, as it is a part of the question.

"Is it part of the question or the solution?" This is what you should ask yourself if an answer introduces an element that you think could add a new tag. If the question is actually about that element, just not explicitly stated, then you could add it. But if the question is merely solved by that new element, that doesn't make it a question about said element.

The findability of the answer is dependent on the question it is linked. If an answer of pragmatics is something that should be found because it is a solution related to pragmatics, then the question should reflect this. If the answer merely uses pragmatics to address a question that is not itself about pragmatics, then it and the question it is attached to should not be categorically linked to all the questions that are indeed about pragmatics.

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In my opinion, this is OK and a good call, as long as the answer is relevant to the question and the tag is relevant to the given answer. The purpose of tags is to classify the SE's content by topics. If the answer to a question necessitate the discussion of a different topic, that means the question itself can be classified under the other topic, even though the questioner did not realize this in the beginning

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You did well to ask, first of all, but I don't quite agree with the other answers.

Questions must be tagged according to the question, not its answers. If answers are really relevant to the question, they will mention topics already covered by the tags. If you feel the need to add a certain tag because the answers mentioned it, then it's probably because the question didn't add it in the first place. (In this last case, it's obviously OK to add the tag.)

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I don't see anything wrong with retagging a question based on its answers. After all, answers should function as a knowledge base. As such, they should be useful not only for the OP, but for everyone that comes afterward, with the same problem or looking for the same things.

Also, consider the impact of retagging on organic search (in search engines like Google, Yahoo etc). Assuming that the search for a given keyword is more likely to lead to a question tagged with that keyword (which is a reasonable assumption), retagging makes a lot of sense. Even if the question doesn't mention those concepts, the answers do. And this may be exactly what the user is looking for.

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