As I write, there are 8 questions tagged "word".

I think this is a totally useless tag, which should be unlinked from those questions. I believe the tag itself will soon disappear, unless and until a user with enough rep creates it again.

Q1. Should I go ahead with unlinking?

Q2. If Yes, how long should I wait after posing the question, to give enough users a chance to vote on the issue? A couple of days? A couple of weeks?

Q3. Is the title here "preferred format" for such questions? Does it matter?

Q4. Should ELU have more (or less) questions like this, proposing tag deletions?

1 Answer 1


Given that 5 of those 8 questions are already closed, and the other 3 have other tags as well as "word", I don't see any harm in pressing forward immediately, without an extended discussion.

As for Q4, I don't have any problem discussing tag deletions. Then again, if we're talking about a tag with fewer than 10 questions, and most of them are closed, I wouldn't have a problem with someone doing some "housekeeping" without a discussion first.

Perhaps it would be better to have one "Delete This Tag?" thread, so that each "lame tag" doesn't get its own thread. Or maybe this thread could be retitled to "Delete 'word' tag? What about others?" and its scope could be expanded accordingly.

By the way, this problem may be more widespread than I initially thought – there are three pages of tags with no questions! And several more tags with just a couple. That said, I don't think sparse use should be the only criteria. For example, I'd probably vote to get rid of the "where" tag, but I might vote to keep "paraprosdokian".

Some other housecleaning candidates:

Verbs (767)
Verbing (6)
Verb phrases (2)
Verb (0)

I'd probably be in favor of nixing the last three in that list.

Maybe there needs to be a committee? (I didn't mean to open a can of worms, I just got curious after FF raised the question.)

  • I quite like the idea of a single "Delete This Tag?" thread. Presumably with one "answer" for each proposed deletion. Personally I think it's no bad thing that we have tags for Verbs, Adjectives, Nouns, Prepositions, etc. I just think word is far too vague at one end of the scale, and things like singular-they are too specific at the other end. But I don't see a problem with having 3 pages of "unused" tags, since they're nearly all synonyms of popular/meaningful tags. Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 12:53
  • I'm against synonyms of popular/meaningful tags. If there's a tag called Phrases with 1100+ questions, and another called Word Phrases with just 3, that's just begging to delete the Word Phrases tag. I don't mind more specialized tags (like Catch Phrases), but "straggler synonyms" are a distraction that only bloat the tag database. That's how I see it; I realize my opinion may not be universal.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 15:35
  • Well, somebody thought "Word Phrases" was a useful tag - but obviously at least you (and I) don't think so. Anyone with enough rep can edit it out of those 3 Q's, then it should soon disappear. I don't see any point in making that particular one a synonym - we should just remove all references to it. But I'm happy with "verbing", because (like "catch phrases") for certain Q's it's far more precise than the generic "verbs/phrases". So they're tags in their own right, not just synonyms. Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 16:27
  • For the record, I thought Verbing was on the fence. Then again, if Verbing is a tag, why wouldn't Nouning be a tag, too? All told, it's a fine line, and there's probably an art to it. Too many tags, and it becomes hard for O.P.s to find the right one; questions of the same ilk get separated into two or more piles (that's when I'm in favor of consolidation). Too few tags, though, and the tags become catch-alls that don't differentiate questions at a fine enough granularity to be useful.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 7, 2012 at 9:54

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