Would it be technically feasible to not bump old posts onto the front page when the only edit to a question was to its tags? I ask because as of right now, only 3 posts on the entire front page are there because of new "content" (question, answer, etc.). The rest are old questions, most of which have good accepted answers, which are only there because users are going through older, poorly tagged questions and updating them. While I agree this is helpful and will improve future searches, it has also bumped off a great many questions that were still in need of an answer and were only a half-hour old, which is fairly new for this site. And while it's particularly bad right now, this isn't the first time I've seen similar issues.

If it is technically feasible, would people be supportive of such a change? Obviously it could have a downside of not pushing up questions that are new to a category, and thus might be new to someone who only watches certain tags, but I think on the whole the pros far outweigh the cons.

If it's not technically feasible, would it be suitable to establish some sort of guideline for retagging to limit it to a handful at a time? I hate to constrain those willing to do such work, but I'm afraid the current method will do more harm than good.


On TeX-SE after a few mass retagging incidents we had established something of a policy to do this in periods of low activity (weekends), and only 4-5 at a time, possibly a few times per day. If done by a single person in a quick succession (open all questions in new tabs, open the editing page, change to taste and when ready, confirm all of them as quickly as possible). In this way, retagged questions are nicely packed together, and with a single name attached to them for the last change, it's easy to spot them on the main page.

As to why this is so: to avoid gaming the system and retagging "behind the scenes" by rogue users. The retagging reputation is low enough that some irate users can go on a quest to retag a significant amount of questions and quite some time may pass before this is discovered, making recovery from the mess almost impossible, and certainly time-consuming. So it has been the official stance of all SE sites to have edits and changes visible to all except in some select circumstances. There has been more thorough explanation of the rationale on meta-SO, and I will add a link later if I manage to find it.

Moderators have special powers to mass retag questions without bumping them, but I think that comes with certain caveats (ask your favourite site moderator for additional insights).

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    major retags should always be talked about on meta and handled by community moderators when possible. – Jeff Atwood Apr 13 '11 at 10:01
  • @Jeff, well, I retagged ~200 [words] questions yesterday, and another 200 [usage] questions. This was discussed in chat, though not on meta, and had the general approval of the crowd including mods. I'd like to be able to do this w/o causing pain for the rest of the site's users, though, and I'm not sure how much mod tools would help, since you can't just bulk-rename the tag to something else. You pretty much have to analyze every question individually. Suggestions about how to do this? – JSBձոգչ Apr 13 '11 at 11:52
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    @jsbangs yes, if each question requires extensive human analysis then this isn't possible. But see meta.serverfault.com/questions/1316/… for one time I intervened to fix a major tagging problem. – Jeff Atwood Apr 13 '11 at 11:56

You can always choose to sort the front page by "newest" rather than "active", which is the way that I usually view questions.

If your concern is for casual visitors seeing mostly old posts, then I wouldn't worry about it too much, since the retagged posts will drop back into obscurity in just a few hours.

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    While I'm glad your preferred view isn't affected by your retagging activities, unless I misunderstand its functionality, the 'newest' view is only based on the age of the question. Therefore I would miss out on older questions which have been newly answered, which seems like a poor substitute if what I'm interested in is new content. Additionally, while the old questions do indeed fall back into obscurity in a few hours, they also push new and/or truly active posts there ahead of them for those relying on the front page, like casual users and myself. – Dusty Apr 12 '11 at 18:27

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