It seems this was asked The Mandarin tag 7 years ago. Quoting from that post:

I'd say to remove the tag from questions about Mandarin only and use it only when the question is about comparisons with other dialects, or similar questions.
Alenanno ♦

It'd be a mistake, and very Beijing-centric, in my opinion, to equate "Chinese" to "Mandarin".

Let's raise this again. First I'd like to make some points:

  1. No instructions. The tag has no instructions for how to use it: Its about page says

Mandarin is a group of Chinese dialects that are considered the official language in many Chinese-speaking communities. The Beijing dialect is considered as standard pronunciation of Mandarin. Thus, when people say the "Chinese language", they implicitly refer to Mandarin.

This goes against the tag excerpt guidelines:

what kinds of questions should have this tag? ... The “email” tag, for example, does not need to explain what email is.

  1. Randomly used. Currently, questions tagged are basically random questions; it's practically as useful as the tag , or perhaps .

We can think of it this way: if someone wanted to learn about Mandarin as a dialect, and they click , is it any help?

  1. No discriminatory power. Tags without discriminatory power work against the site: a question with only the tag has no useful tags.

  2. Islam.SE: Sunni Islam, the "default" Islam (precedent). We encountered a similar problem with Sunni vs. Shia (vs. other denomination) posts at Islam.SE. For better or worse, Sunni posts became the default simply because we have more Sunni users. Sunni Islam does not have a privileged position at Islam.SE, but nevertheless it is simpler to treat Sunni Islam as the default Islam: questions with unspecified denominations would typically get answers from a Sunni Islam perspective, and other denominations would append "this is from a [Shia] perspective" to their answer. Strictly Shia questions are tagged , where all answers are required to be from a Shia perspective.

  3. Chinese.SE: Mandarin, the "default" Chinese. Likewise, at Chinese.SE, for better or worse, Mandarin is treated as the default Chinese. In principle Mandarin has no privileged position, but realistically there's a majority of questions assuming Mandarin. Even the current tag wiki excerpt says when people say the "Chinese language", they implicitly refer to Mandarin.

  4. We can't tag every single question the relevant dialect. Realistically, this is simply not going to happen: no tag already implies .

  5. There's already the [topolect] tag: which is suitable for comparing topolects:

questions regarding regional variants of the Chinese language

  1. There's already the [cantonese] tag: already functions well for finding questions about Cantonese. There's some other such tags , , (and probably others I'm unaware of). See also: How to tag questions on specific regional varieties of Mandarin?

All this makes me feel we should simply delete the tag: I don't see any use. But that'd require some preparation.

See also: Should we set the "dialect" tags as mandatory?:

On the site so far I would assume more than 95% are about Mandarin. My preference is to not use the Mandarin tag because Mandarin is the norm, you are then just adding a piece of info that is extraneous, a meta tag.

I suggest using the other tags to clarify when it is not Mandarin.
going, 2011

(See The Death of Meta Tags (2010) for what a "meta tag" is.)

So let's discuss what to do...

For starters...

  • Does anyone actually use this tag?
  • Could anyone give a description of when a question should or should not receive the tag?
  • Tags require maintenance: Is anyone willing to maintain this tag?

2 Answers 2


I don't have enough cultural context to make any comment on whether or not it's appropriate to say anything like, "Mandarin is the default."

However, I can say that I have never asked a question with the mandarin tag. The three questions that I've answered with that tag would have been just as good without it.

I vote for removal of the mandarin tag.


I suggest re-purposing the tag for questions about Mandarin phonology, for example

How was Switzerland transliterated into Chinese?

which is about 官話 in Yuan, Ming, and Qing.

If this is too confusing of a tag, then maybe we should create a new tag called . Alternatively, we specify in the tag of that the tag is to be used for Mandarin varieties (historical and modern), such as Sichuan or Chongqing.

Questions about Standard Chinese (現代標準漢語) do not belong under this tag, and should be the assumed "default".

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