I noticed recently that a question used the tag .

Since this question was about the usage of a specific program, it was moved to Super User to which it is much better suited. There have only been two questions using the tag so far this year and one of those was the above.

My question is simply, why do we need the Microsoft-Word tag?

Surely all of its uses are covered by Super User?


It has been pointed out to me in @Helmar's answer that the Microsoft-Word is simply a meta-tag and as such ought to be deprecated. My suggestion now, would be to begin the process of removing references to the tag and eventually its burnination, like with this question: Call to action: Let's tidy up the currency tag

EDIT 2: The next stage of the process has begun! Please help out in any way possible as many hands make light work. See my answer for more.

  • The Microsoft Word grammar- and spell-checker might indicate specific errors which could form the basis of questions. I'm not sure whether it's a meta-tag like the banned homework, though: it probably is.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 23:32
  • @AndrewLeach OK, why not have an over-arching tag for 'spell-checkers' or 'word-processors'. It seems ridiculously specific to have one for Microsoft Word. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 7:11
  • We progressed further. Not sure what the next steps are though.
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 13:03
  • @Helmar, yes, but what do we do about the stubs? Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 13:19
  • @BladorthinTheGrey Idk, the second one should be deleted after a month. The other one, I have no idea.
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 13:23
  • @Helmar, in that case, I suppose we're done. I'll accept the answer and then the question should fade away. Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 13:28
  • You could look into the process of deleting that other stub. Just because I don't know how that works, it doesn't mean that's impossible.
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 14:46
  • @Helmar I'll ask in chat, at the moment I've got no idea what to do; it basically doesn't exist in EL&U anymore, if you search for it, the link takes you straight to Writing Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 14:51

3 Answers 3


TL;DR: We certainly don't need it. It has no point.

It's a meta tag, one of the bad ones

It is irrelevant to the question if my own Sprachgefühl, Microsoft Word, the editor of my novel, a teacher or the pattern answer of some certificate or English test triggers my concern about a sentence or wording. It can be in the question, but it's not worth a tag.

The result is the same, the people come here and post a question. Neither of the tags, , , , , and adds any valuable information to the question. On the contrary they are likely indicators of bad questions with little research.

If the tag can't work as the only tag on a question, it's probably a meta-tag.

Neither of those tags can stand on their own. They do not indicate anything about the question. Is it about a word being not recognized? Is it about a sentence structure the program didn't recognize? A printing error in the text book? A strangely worded test question? Nothing. Those tags tell us nothing.

They don't us anything about the type of problem, about the parts-of-speech or linguistic field involved and they don't help us to put it in a general area of expertise like the tags for other sciences, languages and time periods do.

Those six tags are the embodiment of the taxonomy mess on ELU. The meta tag rule is from 2010. In August it had it's sixth birthday. Maybe it's time to give ELU a present commemorating that.

The usual solution: blacklist them all

If we truly deleted those six tags and blacklisted them. Everyone trying to ask a question with those tags would get a warning before posting. This could very well be the relief of shitty test questions that is so often discussed in chat and part of so many meta discourses.

The warning would look like this one:

enter image description here

Why we don't do it

At ELU, we are unable or more precisely unwilling to do it. Having a meta discussion about tags makes people apparently ignore it. It took four years to blacklist the tag words. If we look without any further analysis at the posts tagged they have comparably meager up votes and few answers. ELU people just don't care enough to voice a proper consent on anything tag related.

It's not like they have low up vote counts because they are disputed. The few I randomly checked have no single down vote. There are just in total only a few up votes. It's just that nobody cares. Since the community managers for good reasons can't take apathy as support nothing changes as long as we don't have enough voices to show proper support for our tag measures.

Unfortunately until that changes we will mostly be stuck with our own continuous re-tagging efforts. Blacklisting is done one a StackExchange permission level above moderators. We as ELU participants have to show via voting on meta posts that we have a consensus for them to act.

We have only a few people who suggest tag measures and only a few more people to show their support for those measures. Here is the pitiful voting pattern for the blacklisted word tag question. It got five votes in the first two times it came up. That is for a tag that has been "has been heavily discouraged since the early days of the site." As such I would expect the full voting weight of the moderator team and site regulars of the time behind the proposal. Not sure if that really only amounted to five back then.

Maybe there's some light at the end of the tunnel. We have a new moderator who cares about tags and my question regarding the language tag has garnered 13 up votes in a week. That tag is in the same ball park of ridiculousness as the words tag was. Maybe that's a good sign.

If you do want to start getting rid of those tags, this is the way to do it.

  • OK then, in my opinion it would be best to, as the meta says, attempt to burninate it. For now, it doesn't seem necessary to blacklist it, but if we create a new tag 'word-processors' then we could shuffle all of the microsoft-word ones into 'word-processors'. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:23
  • Unfortunately I don't have the reputation required to create a new tag, could you? Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:24
  • 1
    @BladorthinTheGrey I am very much against using one meta tag to catch other meta tags. In my opinion those six tags should all be burninated and when they pop up again - and they will - be blacklisted.
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:25
  • I don't mean a meta tag, I mean a tag on the main site. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:26
  • My main objection to the 'microsoft-word' tag is that it is always either a SuperUser-appropriate question, or would be better in a tag that includes it and any other brand of word-processing software. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:27
  • @BladorthinTheGrey a meta tag is not a tag on the meta site. It's a tag referring to meta information of the post. For example the fact that the question came up doing homework or because Word made squiggly line beneath a word. It doesn't add any value to the post.
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:29
  • Oh, sorry! In that case, perhaps we ought to go down the official route. Should I create an answer, detailing the questions that need to be changed to remove the 'microsoft-word' tag? Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:31
  • @BladorthinTheGrey well you can rephrase your question to make it an discussion with the goal to get rid of the tag or outright burninate it (meta.stackexchange.com/a/239191/338924). As soon as you do have enough community support by up votes on your post you can start something like the currency call to action or editing the posts yourself. But, only start editing on your own after you reach 2k reputation.
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:45
  • I have edited the question and suggested we do the same as your 'call to action'. As I don't have enough rep. yet, if I were to post and answer detailing the remaining tagged posts, would you help remove them on my behalf? Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 14:10
  • 1
    @BladorthinTheGrey baby steps :) Let's get some community approval first, before we get ahead of ourselves.
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 14:17
  • Fair enough :) Let's play the waiting game... Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 14:18
  • 1
    Do note that only the SE Team (real staffers, not moderators) have the power to blacklist tags. We need a consensus here that it's A Good Thing To Do, and then we [moderators, probably, using mod channels] can request it.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 17:36
  • @Andrew Leach, it doesn't necessarily have to be blacklisted, (as the official guidelines say) but, at least when I have a few more up-votes on the question we can start the burnination process Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 19:00
  • @BladorthinTheGrey is that enough votes now?
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 19:53
  • @Mitch Yes I suppose so; shall I make a new answer listing the questions that need to be changed*? *Re-tagging, migrating or even out-right deletions. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 20:13

Since this question has been up-voted enough, vindicating the proposed deletion of , the process of burnination begins!

The following questions have been tagged with and so need to be re-tagged, migrated or deleted (only if it is really necessary)

List-Update by Helmar, we are down to two stubs:

  1. https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/350167/
  2. Software to change American punctuation to British


Do be aware that many of these questions are very old, of poor quality and some have been closed, put on-hold or migrated. If this becomes a problem, comment or add an answer and as a community we can decide the best course of attack.
Try not to change too many questions at any one time as that leads to a pollution of the active feed.

When you have completed a question pleas write a short response (e.g. "re-tagged") and then put the question in a 'spoiler tag' so that it is easier to see which questions still need editing.

As I don't yet have full editing-rights, I shan't do this myself and I am very grateful to those who help with this endeavour; a cleaner EL&U is a better EL&U!

  • We are down to 18 questions now. 50% done :)
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 14:42
  • @Helmar, good to see people are marking the ones they've finished =P Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 16:02
  • The system is working ;)
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 16:11
  • Nice picture, but is that Comic Sans MS? Is that some sort of joke regarding MS Word?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 5:16
  • @Fiksdal meta.stackexchange.com/questions/120640/… english.stackexchange.com/questions/44273/… It's all rather a tradition. Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 5:54
  • @BladorthinTheGrey Yeah, I know what burnination is. I'm asking about the use of Comic Sans MS. (Since it's officially the most despised font in history.) Whether it was some joke or something.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 5:56
  • The image comes from the original burnination guide post on Meta.SE. It could be a Comic Sans joke, but it's not from me specifically. Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 5:57
  • 3
    Rather than simply remove the [microsoft-word] tag when editing, do please take the opportunity to review all the tags on the question. It will probably be possible to add tags like [punctuation] [comma] for example, if that's what Word objected to. (No apology for putting this in bold!)
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 16:51
  • @AndrewLeach I agree, we should always try to make the edits count by making the tagging afterwards sensible. I also removed other meta tags as well when I was at it and removed the dreaded code blocks as well. Anyways we are down to two. Which are migration stubs. 1/2
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 21:14
  • How do we proceed, I get that the one stub is from this week and still here, but why is the 2013 stub still there? I assume due to migration after answering it. 2/2
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 21:15
  • @BladorthinTheGrey Oh, alright. I didn't see the image in the threads you linked to, though.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 7:09

I might be too late, but I think the tag has merit. Microsoft Word's spelling and "grammar" checker is a prominent, distinct, and idiosyncratic view on the English language. If we can have tags for , , , and even then we can have a tag for questions about complying with the peculiarities of the Microsoft Word dialect of English.

This would of course require that the tag be limited to the spelling/grammar checker, and other questions be detagged.

  • 2
    I wholeheartedly disagree. The existence of one bad tag can never be used as justification for others. gre and ielts are like many other tags I mention in my answer among the most useless of meta tags. Furthermore Microsoft's ever changing approaches to create a working English checker are not a variation of English. They revamp the system every other year.
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 9:17
  • 2
    Also, [pirate-english] is a dialect like [american-english]. That's a legitimate tag. The others could certainly be disputed.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 10:24

You must log in to answer this question.

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