So many of our tag wikis are small or non-existent that we really ought to do something about it.


In my data query here, I show that there are 168 tags that have no wiki and 26 that have no wiki excerpt, however, when I did a query for their names I got 131 tags; hence more than 130.

Either way, this is a big issue; how are users supposed to identify whether their question is on or off topic and then, what are we supposed to quote when users decide to post those questions anyway?

I have two ideas that I have posted as Community Wikis below. If you feel you can add anything to them or have a different idea, please edit or answer accordingly.

I'm particularly interested in any precedents you can find as these would show that this sort of thing is possible.

What do you think we should do?

  • 2
    A few points. (1) this is a big issue - No. It's never a big issue. ELU has been working very well for the last 6 years. (2) how are users supposed to identify whether... - No. Users don't use tags to identify whether their question is on or off-topic. (3) What do you think we should do? - Leave the users do whatever they want. Stack Exchange is community (users)-driven. If they feel it is necessary to edit it, they will do it. If they don't, they won't care. That's very obvious and again not many users on ELU care so much about tags. I do agree we need to work on some tags, though.
    – user140086
    Dec 4, 2016 at 20:04
  • 1
    To be clear, we’re to be hedging on the bets not betting on the hedges, right? :)
    – tchrist Mod
    Dec 5, 2016 at 1:57
  • 2
    I up voted the question since I think it's good to bring the topic tag wikis up once in a while. However I don't think that every tag actually needs a wiki. A tag wiki excerpt for every tag would be nice. That's the overlay info one gets when adding tags to questions. You actually have to click on it to get the full wiki. Thus, a full wiki is not be necessary for every topic. The topic has to be complicated, site specific or prone to be confused with another tag to validate a full wiki.
    – Helmar
    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:56

3 Answers 3


When you edit a tag wiki there is an edit rejection option along the lines of "this edit only describes the topic of the tag and not how it should be used". Blank tag wikis are not considered to be a problem if it is obvious what the tag is for. Tag wikis are needed when a tag title is frequently confused or if the tag has site specific connotations which it doesn't normally.

Some of the blank tag wikis you have listed would no doubt benefit from having tag wikis, but others don't need then. But for those who would benefit, it would also be essential to go through them to ensure that all the tagged questions would match the new usage guidance being added to the wiki, so it's a much bigger job than just writing the wikis.

  • 1
    Almost complete agreement. While the full tag wikis are possibly often not necessary, the tag wiki excerpts can easily provide additional clarification that exceeds the tag name alone. I do think that creating an tag wiki excerpt for every tag makes sense.
    – Helmar
    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:58

Review Queue

Why not try to incentivise the site's user base into fixing this by creating a new review queue and by upping the amount of reputation you get for a successful tag wiki edit?

The reason many of these tags are without wikis is due to the fact that they are under-used and some of them might need to be burninated or synonymised.

Since there are multiple options per tag wiki, the obvious answer would seem to be a review queue; each tag could have the options: Edit Excerpt, Edit Wiki, Add Synonym, Recommend Burnination and Skip.

If a tag gets an arbitrary number of Burnination-Votes then a meta post could be made or a mod informed.

This is just a vague concept and I'm not sure how much freedom the site (or its moderators) gets over this sort of thing.

  • Is this “incentivise” would-be wordie supposed to mean something like motivating them or giving them an incentive, or is it about gamificationalising the system to effect the result desired? You mean #3, right? :) So few people take any glory in the tag-wiki badges, alas.
    – tchrist Mod
    Dec 5, 2016 at 1:54
  • 1
    @tchrist one might argue that those badges have an unfortunate scaling. Maybe there should be a silver badge for fifteen or twenty and the fifty edits should give a gold badge.
    – Helmar
    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:50

Organised Meta Effort

As is common on meta, someone points out something that needs changing, people up-vote it and then, about a month later, the change is done.

As a fall-back, this is that post.
The following is a list of all the wiki-less tags, remove each tag once it has a wiki and comment if you get any issue with the wiki-ing.

As a template, I recommend Helmar's excellent tag wiki blueprint.

  • 6
    "As is common on meta, someone points out something that needs changing, people up-vote it and then, about a month later, the change is done." Uh, no. More like, people upvote it and a few individuals do something about it but rarely does it really change, because those who do work at it get tired and very understandably give up at some point. Dec 4, 2016 at 20:39
  • How are these sorted?
    – tchrist Mod
    Dec 5, 2016 at 2:00
  • 2
    @tchrist By the integer they juxtapose, clearly. :)
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:03

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