I have been working on reducing our number of Unanswered questions but am nearing a point I consider "good enough". The next thing on my work list is to start analyzing our tags, tag wikis, tag synonyms and tag usage.

Before I start jumping into the mess of it, I want the community's opinion on:

  • Examples of "good" tags that are used properly
  • Examples of "bad" tags that are used improperly
  • Any opinions or blurbs on what you think a tag is for or how it should be used
  • Any tag synonyms you think are needed
  • Any other tag issue you think is relevant

This is deliberately open ended in scope and all I really want is lots of opinions flying around so I can get a good perspective on how people use tags, want to use tags, like or dislike about tags, tagging pet peeves, and so on.

Fire away! The only inappropriate answer is the one you keep to yourself (as long as it is relates to tagging somehow.)

  • 1
    Did you see meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/4442/…
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 20:34
  • Yep. I even responded with an answer. And now I get to go through and find out if any of those suggested changes were ever implemented and what, if any, were the results of the change. :)
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 20:42
  • Also, to be clear, I don't just care about synonyms. I care about anything related to tags.
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 20:46
  • MrHen: I care
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 20:57
  • vocabulary is used inappropriately a lot.
    – ermanen
    Commented Apr 26, 2014 at 18:06
  • 1
    Is there any evidence that anyone ever uses the tag system to search for and successfully find an answer to a question? I have found it totally useless and ignore it completely. Something could be done along those lines, but we'd hafta start over and not just let it grow like Topsy, with everything overlapping everything else. If you're not gonna do it right, there's little point in wasting more effort on it. Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 14:36
  • @JohnLawler: Anecdotally, I use tags to find duplicates and to find questions I remember exist but don't remember the specific details. But any details you can provide on why you personally find it useless or what service you wish the tags provided would help me out. Even if what you want would require us starting over, I want to hear your thoughts on how tags should work. IMO, all opinions are valuable at this point.
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 15:03
  • @JohnLawler - Among other things, I find tags useful as a rough metric for what attracts more or less interest among various tag themes and topics. And like MrHen, I use tags occasionaly for dupe-searching.
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented May 3, 2014 at 21:59
  • @MrHen - You may well have seen them, but here are a couple more "tag" meta-posts: one on Christianity.SE (the wisdom of Shog9), and a Meta.meta one from JonEricson. According to the latter, it appears that tag deletion is nigh unto impossible, though under certain conditions they can eventually ... disappear. Hope that helps!
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented May 3, 2014 at 22:10

3 Answers 3


I hate . People just put it against any old question.

Its blurb:

This tag is about how the grammar works: different grammatical usages, how they can be used, or what they mean.

The first 2 newest grammar questions are about punctuation. The next is about word usage. There are some that seem to fit the the blurb, but it's very general and I don't know how it is meant to be applied.

We have , which covers many of the actual grammar questions. The more specific questions (e.g. preopositions, parts of speech, grammatical number) have their own tags.

Grammar seems like a pointless tag to me.

  • Excellent; this is exactly the kind of opinion I'm looking for. Thanks!
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 18:53

On the whole I don't think there is very much wrong with the tags that we have. However, some of our most widely used tags have a lot of overlap:

Seeks advice on a word for a particular situation.

, and have very similar blurbs, all seeking similar advice but not restricting to a single word.

could be taken as covering all of them.

Could we prune one or two of these? Are they really synonyms amongst them?

  • Idiom requests is not about a single word, whereas word choice, as I understand it, is used when the asker has a dilemma between two or more words because they appear to be very similar. And a phrase is not necessarily the same as an idiom although the two can overlap. Rather than chucking these out I would look at the more obscure, silly and overly jargon tags that populate EL&U.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 19:47
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA: Do you have any specific examples of the obscure, silly and overly jargon tags? That sounds like exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for opinions on. :)
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 22:03
  • @Chenmunka: Good topic, thanks. I've generated a query to look at how often tags are paired with other tags and the results for single-word-requests are quite interesting.
    – MrHen
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 22:04
  • @MrHen New tags, a few are silly (tongue-twister for one) the rest I leave for you to decide english.stackexchange.com/tags?tab=new
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 22:09

I don't care about them, not here, anyway.# Which gives me an idea: All those of you grammarians, etymologists, linguists et al., who'd like to elevate ELU to matters beyond mere English and its usage, why not try this as a gatekeeper? "If you don't know what tags to use, you shouldn't be here." It might frighten some people away.

(On the other hand, at GIS i care a lot about tags and am often seen editing, adding or removing them. But then i'm there for business and only here for fun.)


# I did once add the note for infinitive-vs-gerund when i happened to glance at the tags and saw something i didn't understand. I've long since forgotten, though.

  • Do you not care because of how the tags currently are or simply because ELU is your "fun" site?
    – MrHen
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 13:01
  • @MrHen: The latter. And, not being a grammarian, i don't think i'd understand many of them. Then again, if i ever do ask a question, i think i'd at least try to use the correct tags, so "i know where you're coming from".
    – Martin F
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 14:52
  • Ah, thanks. So I hear that and think, "How can I make the tags more useful for people who browse ELU for fun?" and "How can we make the tags more accessible?" But I guess those are for me to ponder. :)
    – MrHen
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 14:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .