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There've been some meta-questions about tags for textbook exercises, see this one in particular. We have the tag for Mike and Ike, and we have a general tag for others. Both seem to be pretty well accepted.

In the last 24 hours I have seen at least two questions lifted closely from Wong's recently published/made free-to-download "Introduction to Classical and Quantum Computing". This makes sense perhaps, because at the end of the book Wong indicates that QCSE might be a good place to ask for more help. Seeing as the book was made available only a month or so ago, perhaps there may be more questions coming.

I, for one, appreciate Wong's shout-out, but does this provide a suggestion that we should have a tag specific to Wong's textbook, much as there is one for Nielsen and Chuang? In my haste I attempted to create a tag, but perhaps that was premature and I should have tried to get a consensus? Thinking about it more, I'm also not keen on the name of the tag that I just created, to be honest.

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One reason against adding another tag for this textbook -- or really any specific quantum computing/quantum information textbook -- is that there are many, many such textbooks. If we add a tag for this specific textbook, then we ought to consider adding a tag for any other specific textbook that has enough related questions (there are a number of question floating around about Wilde or Kaye, Laflamme & Mosca).

This is a "slippery slope" argument and there's no objective reason why we couldn't deliberate adding further textbook tags, but to me the usefulness of any given tag decreases with the proliferation into ever more specific categories. Furthermore, these tags may categorize questions in an ineffective way: Does a tag about KLM vs. Wilde vs. Wong really provide useful information about the content of a question on QI when that content isn't really specific to the textbook?

On the other hand this might be useful for someone looking for answers to exercises in a specific textbook. It might also be useful to indicate some level of background about the notation used in the questions (Watrous' Theory of Quantum Information comes to mind, as it uses very specific notation that tends to be adopted by posters discussing the textbook's contents).

Finally, we should note that Nielsen and Chuang stands out from the rest of the textbooks as its basically universally known in the field and is one of the most cited physics-related textbooks of all time. Its not clear that other textbooks on quantum computing have become canon to the same degree, so N&C deserves special treatment in this respect.

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  • $\begingroup$ to me the usefulness of any given tag decreases with the proliferation into ever more specific categories why do you think so? I personally find tags to be more useful when they are more specific. I cannot think of a good use-case for generic tags such as quantum-state, whereas tags about specific things can make searching for related topics significantly easier. After all, such specific tags are also usually accompanied by more generic ones (or at least, they should be) $\endgroup$
    – glS Mod
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ Sure that's fair. To refine the statement, I mean that there's a certain sweet spot beyond which additional categories are no longer useful. quantum-state is probably too broad, and tags like ghz-state, W-state, and so on are probably useful. But to use a silly extreme example its hard to argue for a tag like states-on-7-qutrits-with-schmidt-rank-4 even if a few questions involved that topic. And in the case of tags for textbooks there's also the issue of whether questions under that tag will even be related in a meaningful way. $\endgroup$
    – forky40
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 22:50
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I think this discussion was bound to arise sooner or later. We accepted nielsen-and-chuang as a useful tag early on, and in my mind that choice has always begged the question: why should only N&C "deserve" its own tag?

I cannot think of a good unbiased reason to accept nielsen-and-chuang and not other "famous" textbooks, with "famousness" defined by the number of questions generated on this site. Sure, N&C might be more famous than most other textbooks, but how are we to decide when another textbook is also going to warrant its own tag?

It is true that accepting this will probably result in the site having a tag for most more or less used textbooks. But then again, it's not like tags have a cost. We don't lose much having possibly overspecific tags that might not turn out to be terribly useful. After all, we already have plenty of widely used tags that, in my opinion, are nearly useless (things like quantum-state and mathematics come to mind). This can have a downside when a useless tag is used very often, because retagging efforts later on can be a real burden, but if a tag is not used much there's no real issue imo.

On the other hand, I can see the potential usefulness of such tags. Questions related to specific examples/exercises/arguments made in a textbook might be easier to retrieve with dedicated tags.

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For questions related to exercises or content in Thomas Wong's book, let's make use of existing tags such as , and especially, for now. If we find ourselves getting many more questions here in which a tag might become appropriate, we can cross that bridge when we get there, but your question states that there's been two questions so far, which is not enough in my opinion. If we get another 10 questions in February, then the tag would seem to be more popular than some of the fairly often used tags that currently exist, and we can quickly create the tag. If we get 5 questions in February and another 10 in March (for example), we can consider it. By right now, we don't know how many questions we will get.

As far as I know, we don't have tags for other textbooks like John Watrous's one, John Preskill's one, the Kaye-Laflamme-Mosca one, or other fairly famous books that are related like "Theory of Open Quantum Systems" by Breuer and Petrucionne. None of the authors of any of those books will be offended that Nielsen and Chuang's book has a tag and their book doesn't.

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