If an user unknowingly or not use or add the wrongs tags, isn't the community task to correct them (I mean the tags, through if the user ask for guidance it's cool for me too, everyone loves to teach, no :D)?

Found a post in Meta.SE that seems to agree with this position:

Extraneous tags should be removed, improper tags should be removed, and "meta" tags should be removed. (emphasis mine)

Is this guidance wrong? Or should be interpreted differently (seems pretty straightforward and explicit)? I'm hurting the site when I re-tag a (unanswered) question?

2 Answers 2


The tag editing you do that gets rid of out-and-out bad, ambiguous or irrelevant* tags is generally pretty good. My snotty email and this post aren't about those circumstances at all.

* I suspect our definition of [ir]relevance is about to differ.

My biggest issue with your approach to "extraneous" tags is that it leaves a question with an extremely narrow profile.

For an example let's consider a fairly generic command-line question about scripting Apt. It might start with command-line bash apt package-management but after you've visited only has apt. You remove relevant tags that are extraneous because you consider them inferable from context.

I am somebody who often decides which questions to answer by their tags. If something has had tags that I find interesting stripped off it, there's an increased chance I'm just not going to see that.

And I'm not talking about theoretical issues here. In the past couple of weeks, due in large part to your editing, I missed questions that I would normally spot and attempt to answer. At the risk of sounding like a total blowhard, when you get between me and my questions, it's the site that suffers.

To reiterate the intro, this is far from representative of all your edits (most of which are great) but the reason you and I keep clashing over this is that you're actively and deliberately hurting the broader, popular tags. I'm trying to explain here that by doing that you're hurting the questions and the site.

And I'm fairly sure I could find an accepted answer on MSE that states the world is flat.

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    Aren't tags are sort of to categorise and make it easier to find posts - a question just tagged with apt isn't going to be found that easily, as it could almost be anything, whereas if has updates (not relevant to that question though), software-sources etc, it narrows down what it can be about. Merging tags and saying that a question can only have one or a few tags could mean that it just might end up with one called 'Ubuntu'... N.B. Braiam, are you trying to get the world record edit summary? :)
    – Wilf
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 14:32
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    @Wilf I wouldn't care if that was the case, but in some of them not even the correct tags are added, by anyone. It pains me that a question that I could have answered in a triz-tras, I was never able to find it, because it was using the wrong tags all along. Really Wilf, you find a question that in days haven't got any answer and you see that you can fix it, will you not do it? We have problems just trying to keep up with the amount of questions, badly asked and tagged question and I feel that I'm the only one.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 15:21
  • @Braiam I have tried to laser-focus my answer on the particular area of retagging that I take issue with. I also added an example. It should answer your questions including the deleted ones.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 7:44

If a question is mis-tagged, yes, please, fix it. That covers both sides, a tag that shouldn't be there and the tag that should be. There are many questions out there that would benefit of it. It also helps the experts following the respective tags to find questions to answer.

I've found myself with bizarre questions where no tag was really applicable to the question, I had to remove them all (in some cases even the whole five of them) and add the ones that really matters.

This keep the site organized and allows the system to learn from new questions.

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    I think the controversy expressed on this issue is over what should be considered the threshold for a tag warranting removal for inappropriateness (or warranting addition for appropriateness). Different members of our community have different ideas about how important, related, narrow, broad, reflecting specific areas of expert interest, unambiguous, concrete, and so forth a tag must be. I don't think anyone would disagree with your claim that anyone who sees a mis-tagged question should retag it. Certainly I agree with that. But it doesn't tell the whole story. What constitutes mis-tagging? Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 23:43
  • @EliahKagan for instance, "How to install X that I downloaded with firefox" (tags: firefox), it's firefox what the question is about?
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 23:56
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    On rare occasion, yes (if it's something that's supposed to interoperate with Firefox, a Firefox add-on, etc.). But I take your point: for such a question the firefox tag would almost always warrant removal. Is that the extent of what you're saying: people should feel free to remove tags that the entire community wholeheartedly agrees should be removed? Or are you saying people disagree with you about that particular example? It may be that I'm overestimating the amount of controversy at hand, but I'm wondering if this example only covers part of the sort of retagging under discussion. Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 0:00
  • @EliahKagan " people disagree with you about that particular example" and many more. I've seen questions with 5 tags (the maximum), yet have low views, no answers, no comments, I came by, remove all tags and add The One™ (most of those cases, the only tag that matters), and in less than, dunno 2 hours it get an answer. And it's not just me talking about theoretical questions, but very real ones.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 0:23

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