Thanks to all moderators/high-rep persons involved in reviewing the question edits under the original etymology tag. Hopefully, this tag and glyph-origin, and their descriptions, are now compatible with the fields of linguistics and paleography.

I'd like to suggest that we have a list of guidelines on the proper use of glyph-origin and etymology for existing and new members, as there is still potential confusion between the two. Indeed, many questions here on Chinese SE require both tags to get a fully comprehensive answer, but many questions are solely on character or character-component history, and have little to do with etymology. This is especially true of characters which are classified as rebus (假借).

From the above, since the tags overlap in a few areas, my proposal is to describe what the tags shouldn't be used for:

glyph-origin should not be used for the following, unless the question also asks about the graphical evolution:

  • The origin of words from phonetic loans
  • Foreign loanwords
  • Words composed of two or more characters, unless the question is asking about the glyph origin of at least one of the characters as it serves as a significant semantic indicator of the word as a whole.

etymology should not be used for the following, unless the question also asks about the spoken word:

  • Ideographs (指示)/Compound Ideographs (會意)/Pictographs (象形)
  • Character components (e.g. this and this)

Of course, all this is based on how well the question was researched before asked.

Any suggestions/improvements/totally new guides?

  • Looking good. Very nice. – Mou某 Jan 14 '18 at 15:36

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