is a catch-all tag. Our scope is defined in our FAQ as

The Workplace - Stack Exchange is for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting.

However, "professionalism" is defined as

pro·fes·sion·al·ism /prəˈfeSHənlˌizəm/
Noun: The competence or skill expected of a professional

Thus, it should basically be appicable to all on-topic questions.

Please remove the tag and discontinue its use.

  • 2
    Note the Tag Wiki excerpt which clarifies it's meaning in our context
    – Rarity
    Apr 30, 2012 at 13:49

3 Answers 3


I agree with this.

Since I don't think hypothetical discussion about whether it's an appropriate tag is likely to convince anyone, let's take a "random" sample of the 10 most recent open questions (excluding those with the professionalism tag):

Of the 10 arbitrary questions I picked, it applied to all 10 of them (okay, maybe one of those is a stretch, but still). This tells me that it's very likely an overly broad tag.

Do we really want a tag that applies to 90%+ of all our questions? No. No, we do not.

Even if someone can make a good argument for some group of questions requiring some tag resembling this one, it seems like an infinitely better idea to replace / rename this tag with / to something more specific and less open to being applied to the overwhelming majority of the questions on the site.


Professionalism is more about personal expectations and how to act professionally rather than being a professional. It is more narrowly scoped than etiquette and in many cases the "nice" way to handle the situation is not the professional way to handle the situation, at least in the US. Not all questions are about this as such not all questions could or should be tagged that way.


I think you're mistaken as to the meaning of the word professionalism. What you cite is one possible meaning, but it isn't the one that's used here. The dominant meaning is closer to ethics: it's a matter of choices rather than capabilities. The difference between professionalism and ethics is that professionalism may mean to do the right thing by the employer, even if it is not the right thing by your personal moral compass (for example, it is generally unprofessional to disclose a defect in a product that you manufacture, or to complain about work conditions).

However, I agree that the tag is a red flag. Questions that have this tag are likely to be questions of ethics, which might be discussed constructively on Philosophy Stack Exchange, but definitely not here. Such questions are argumentative by definition, they can only be handled in a questions and answers format if the questions are asking for logical argumentation based on references, and not for generalizations based on personal preferences.

  • 1
    I disagree, in the examples you cite, i would say it would be unprofessional not to inform about defects in products or about bad work conditions (because long term costs will be higher than short term gains). But I agree that there might be problems with ethical behaviour and professional behaviour (e. g. in decisions about firing people).
    – Owe Jessen
    May 3, 2012 at 7:52

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