We have a lot of one word tags that make nearly no sense. Among them are what, do, did, like, they, winterfest, motto & it. They are pure gems of uselessness and I urge you to prove me wrong and provide any value these tags might add.
My suspicion is that some of those tags came into being by someone simply typing something regarding his question in the tags field. Winterfest motto, did they like it? This translates with the standard mechanism into shitty tags. It dumps all symbols but letters and dashes and creates tags from the rest. Typing in, What's this field actually for? results in this:
I call this drive-by tags. Everyone above 300 reputation can create those. We are approving edits for another 1.700 reputation points, or 850 up votes. There is no further requirement for the creation of the tag. I think this is a problem and part of the reason we have 943 tags. There are many reasons why a low reputation hurdle to create tags and I don't want to increase the needed reputation.
Make at least suggesting a tag wiki excerpt mandatory for new tags.
- The person posting will notice in case of inadvertent creation.
- The person posting the question has to use at least a minuscule amount of thought to provide a meaningful description, discouraging ill-thought-out tags.
- Tag wiki excerpts go in the review queue, stopping useless tags in their tracks.
- SE is in its core a Q&A site, this potentially complicates posting questions. This would be doubly important network-wide. However, when implemented just for ELU, the site maturity and scope will make that highly unlikely. Either way, it just adds a little hurdle.
Another idea would be simply new tags in a (new) review queue. New tags would pop up to be reviewed by moderators or users with sufficient reputation. How would one review a featureless tag like it?
That's not too easy. However, the inadvertent drive-by tags could just be re-tagged in their tracks.
Alternatively, alternatively new tags could be put through a voting process similar to close votes.