There's been a few changes in tags recently, and one that has popped up a few times is .

There are two (or three) things to raise on this tag:

  1. What counts as a penalty shot?

  2. What should be tagged with it?

  3. (How) Should the tag wiki and excerpt be changed to account for this?

With 1 and 2: I see the obvious football penalty kick, hockey penalty shot and penalty stroke, the less famous water polo penalty shot, and perhaps controversially the basketball free throw. Are there others? Do we need to include all of these? However, especially with football, there is a clear difference (but superficial similarity) between a penalty kick in a match and kicks from the penalty mark as a tiebreaker. The same goes with penalty strokes versus a shootout; there are others where the differences are outside the scope of the tag. Where do we set the limit?

With 3: Is a listing of inclusion and exclusion needed? To what extent is a history for each one needed? I can do a good draft based on other tags I've modified, but what additional usage guidance does the community want to have?

  • I will add the tag is relatively recent - it is still shown among new tags where it says that is was created Mar 11 at 23:12. I added it to few questions, I followed the current version of tag-info which explicitly mentions football and hockey. It seems that several retags were done by alamoot who is very likely the tag creator. So pinging them to make them aware of this posts on meta might be a reasonable idea. – Martin Apr 22 '17 at 9:46
  • Ideally, we can get the tag sorted out before we begin using it too much and then needing to possibly remove it where addition was overly judicious. – Nij Apr 22 '17 at 9:49
  • I have pinged the likely tag-creator to let them know about this discussion on meta. – Martin Apr 23 '17 at 21:34
  • I created the tag and added it to number of questions. I originally thought we could use it for soccer, indoor soccer, hockey and any other sports that have a specific rule for "penalty-shot". That is a one on one chance for an offensive player for a goalie in most cases. Regarding penalties for tie breaker I believe a tag called "shootouts" would be more suitable. Also regarding to basketball the rule calls it "free throw" so using penalty-shot tag for free-throws will not help users. – alamoot Apr 23 '17 at 21:46
  • See Martin's answer and the comment (and chat from today) about connecting free-throw to penalty-shot. I think better than shootout would be to have a tag for tiebreaker and synonymise to that, but that's a separate thing to talk about. @alamoot – Nij Apr 23 '17 at 22:23

Let me address at least the part of your question where you are asking about including free throws into the same tag.

Although there is some similarity between free throws and penalty shots/penalty kicks, I think it would be better to have a separate tag for free throws in basketball and handball. (And perhaps there are other sports which use this terminology.)

In my opinion, if the name of the tag is the same as the terminology actually used in the given sport, there is smaller probability of confusion.

Even if the community consensus will be that free throws belong under tag, I would be strongly in favor of creating the tag and adding synonym . A user who asks a question about free throws is much less likely to search on meta how questions on this topic should be tagged than simply start writing "free throw" in the tags field. The latter would show him the tag, which would then be replaced by a synonym.

  • 1
    I am in favour of creating the synonym tag proactively, to provide accessibility for the community especially new users or those with preferred sport involvement and therefore a known terminology, and providing a single point for tag management purposes. This also facilitates later separation if necessary. – Nij Apr 23 '17 at 10:02

1: to make everything else consistent, I propose a definition for penalty shot that should fit intuition well. A penalty shot is a direct scoring opportunity in a team sport involving one offensive player and at most one defensive player until such time as regular play resumes, taken as the result of an official awarding it in place of continued play, to penalise a offence by the defensive team, as part of regular play; a tiebreaking competition is excluded except insofar as it specifically requires the same action as this in-regular-play award.

This is long, but should serve to include everything we reasonably consider to be a penalty shot, while excluding things that might slip through a looser definition. Meeting this definition, so far I know of

  • Gaelic football/association football/futsal: penalty kick
  • ice hockey: penalty shot
  • field hockey/indoor hockey: penalty stroke
  • water polo: penalty throw
  • basketball: free throw
  • handball: free throw
  • bandy: penalty shot
  • ...

2: Therefore, any question asking about the above or any awarded action that meets the previous definition, except as excluded by it, should be tagged with .

  1. The tag excerpt should explain this usage: "Questions about penalty shots, including in sports where a similar action is used, even if known by another name".

The tag wiki should explain in better detail, the definition and the intuition behind it, along with briefly describing the forms of penalty shot known to us or tagged so far.


My view here is that we should only have tags if they're actually going to be useful. While I fully agree that a number of sports have the concept of an undefended (or close to undefended) attempt at goal, I'm struggling to think of questions where having a "generic" tag would actually make things easier to find. Somewhat ironically, the one question I can find that does compare penalty shots across sports isn't tagged with .

Realistically, we have questions only on three types on penalty shot: soccer, ice hockey and basketball. If we think they're interesting enough to have their own tags, lets just create ones for the individual sports (maybe "penalty kick", "penalty shot" and "free throw").

  • It only takes one new question to make that system break for each of the tags. There has been discussion in chat about the exclusion of smaller sports that your approach would lead to, which limits future growth to only those sports we already cater well to. – Nij Apr 23 '17 at 21:14

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