In my question Hobby path realization in convex hull approach I originally introduced the tag. After a revision it has been removed, but I recently discovered another question, Add "tangential nodes" to a hobby curve, that re-introduced it.

Should I re-tag my question?

  • While I don't really have an opinion on the matter due to lack of involvement with hobby, the fact that there are only 3 questions with 'hobby' in their title doesn't really speak in favor of the tag. (If I'm not mistaken, one of the questions isn't even about the package you're aiming at.)
    – doncherry
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 22:49
  • In my view, any package name (or tikzlibrary) can be chosen as a tag. But I could be wrong ... Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 1:16
  • 3
    As long as it's about a hobby package, I believe that such tag is legitimate, even if only 2 questions are tagged by this tag. On the other hand, hobby is not a "full package", it's a TikZ library, and I don't think it makes sense to introduce tags for all TikZ libraries.
    – yo'
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 9:32
  • The question here is, what would make people look specifically for questions with this tag? My gut feeling is that most people asking a question where that library would be useful won't be aware of it. Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 10:24

2 Answers 2


I think that Stephen's comment hits the nail on the head: would the hobby tag help someone? There are several categories to consider:

  1. Someone asking a question for which the hobby package could provide an answer. But, as has been pointed out, this person might well not know that it could and, more importantly, might not really care if it could or not. It is a big thing to choose between pgf and pstricks so those are important tags, but whether an answer uses the hobby package or not is unlikely to be a deal-breaker.

  2. Someone asking a question specifically about the hobby package. At the moment, this is most likely to be a cheap way of asking me about it! Since I don't take much notice of tags, a hobby tag wouldn't help here.

  3. Someone who likes answering questions with the hobby package. Tags are never about answers, always questions. But even so, the number of people who are in this category is quite small and I suspect we all actively monitor the tikz-pgf tag instead.

  4. Someone who's just discovered the hobby package and wonders what they could do with it. One could make this into a case for the tag, but there are other ways to find this information: searching for usetikzlibrary{hobby} for a start, or links to the original question.

So much as my vanity says "Yes, let's have a hobby tag!", my practicality thinks that it wouldn't actually bring any benefit.

On the other hand, Charles' suggestion of a more generic tag would make some sense, but then I would go for one with no fancy words (such as "spline") like "curve-fitting".

  • 1
    Four options in my answer, four categories in yours - what a lot of possibilities to consider! I prefer your curve-fitting to my splines. I think curve-fitting is a concept with enough in it for us to support it by a tag. Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 5:46
  • Since the [curve-fitting] tag still seems a decent enough idea two months later, I've created it: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/curve-fitting - it already has good questions, and the tag wiki can showcase some excellent technology. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 13:02

Some options:

  1. I suggest we don't have tags for packages that rarely raise questions here, but doing so is systematic, so it's an option.
  2. The package is about realising what Raph Levien calls Hobby splines, which are the innovative splines that John Hobby devised and used in Metapost (see Curve through a sequence of points with Metapost and TikZ), so we could have the concept tag hobby-splines. While this tag would be a good fit for the questions that would be given the package tag above, I don't think this tag would actually cover more questions, so it is of marginal value.
  3. A more general version still, just splines, would indeed cover more questions, such as What "smooth" plot interpolation algorithm does pgfplots use? This is my preferred option, but it raises the question of how to phrase the splines tag wiki so that it covers only the sufficiently geometric questions, and not just any of the 200+ questions to do with plotting curves. Something along the lines of "involving the choice of curve-fitting algorithm" would do the trick. The tag wiki can describe the most important splines in Tex-centric typesetting.
  4. Of course, the risk of the more general concept tag is that our restrictions on its use will mean that questions about our hobby package might not be able to carry the splines tag. So a 4th option is to have both a splines concept tag and a hobby package tag, which seems obviously worse than 1.


An afterthought: do we really want to have unvarnished "tribute" package tags like hobby at all: if I wrote a package called Knuth that, say, mapped some idiomatic Knuth Tex onto Latex, and it actually got used and had questions asked about it, would we want the knuth tag to be about my package? So I guess pgf-hobby might be better than hobby.

  • One point: creating a tag for a bunch of already existing questions has one drawback: someone has to go and re-tag them.
    – yo'
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 21:44
  • @tohecz: We don't need to go on a big retagging spree (and I don't think there are a huge number of questions at stake here - most pgf-plots questions don't seem appropriate), just the highest voted questions and tag the others as they come to our attention. There need not be a big job assigned to anyone. Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 8:36

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