I've decided to branch off my concerns from Do we need a new “ubuntu-for-phones” tag?.

In my opinion 'mobile' is too ambiguous and broad in its name being an adjective. Yes, we may have a broader tag issue on this site, but has become of greater and specific concern to me now Canonical has launched Ubuntu for phones. We're likely to see a grow on questions related to it in the near future.

Shouldn't we just trash this tag and encourage more specific ones?1

Disclaimer: I'm relatively new on SE, but I think I'm quite sure how tags work and what could be useful to users of this site.

description issue

's short description currently reads

Getting Ubuntu to run on Mobile devices, like Nexus 7 tablets and phones.

  • 'Getting Ubuntu to run'
    • is pretty obvious and something we all want here.
    • boot issues go to tags like and .
    • questions regarding other failures to start Ubuntu are quite often considered bugs and closed for being off-topic anyway.
  • 'like Nexus 7 tablets and phones' well... , ,

reviewing and new-user issue

New users aren't likely to be familiar with the site and the tag descriptions, though it's very likely to tag their questions by their name.

Honestly, this is very confusing for users of this site. Questions like these are likely to be tagged initially and via suggested edits:

  • how to sync contacts on your non-Ubuntu smartphone on a Ubuntu desktop
  • mobile broadband related
  • concerning mobile PCs2, aka notebooks, laptops

Adding up efforts in reviewing (retagging) all these kind of questions are disproportionally high.

subscription issue

It's not possible to subscribe to half a tag, so let's say one would be interested in questions on running Ubuntu on tablets, subscribing on would result in too much noise.

I really prefer specific tags in order to be able to

  • identify distinct interesting tags
  • run quickly through my subscriptions with minimal noise
  • improve searching ability on this site (that being unrelated to tagging, though)

In case one would be interested in a subscription to the whole umbrella of topics and most tagged questions are actually interesting for him, he is probably familiar with popular devices and combinations should work. Two examples that popped up in my head:

my responses to other (popular) views on this

It seems that Jorge Castro (Hi Jorge!) spoke for a lot of people in the previous discussion, so grabbing the most popular other views were all by him.

Jorge in chat:

it's hard enough to get people to follow tags

Is the number of subscriptions a goal on its own here? I think we're improving the usefulness of subscriptions by having specific tags as I've expressed above.

Jorge in his answer in the related question

I've been keeping them in mobile because that's where the existing teams have been subscribed to for the Nexus and they want to keep everything in one place.

I'm quite sure hitting an extra subscribe button for those people is disproportional to the efforts I'm concerned about in the review part.

Jorge in chat:

I'm just saying it makes no sense to split up tags for no reason
all it does is make it harder for people to follow questions
for example, I convinced the kernel team to follow

Are they happy having to scan another inbox? I'm guessing they're looking at issues, feature requests and proposals to blueprints posted as questions rather than filed properly on Launchpad. getting slightly off-topic here

1This is a half-answer, I know. I might post it as an answer later.
2While it doesn't conflict with it literally, the 'like tablets and phones' part of the description strongly suggests PCs do not fit with the tag.

  • 1
    +1 for this question, Waiting for an awesome answer :)
    – Tachyons
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 12:52
  • 1
    This is an awfully long question. Could you make the question nice and short, and include your opinion in an answer?
    – Flimm
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 13:45
  • 2
    @Flimm I should have put my opinion in an answer maybe, yes. However, this is part of the 'research I put into my question' and it takes more time to write from two perspectives. I may be taking some time later to do this, though, depending on the usefulness of this Q&A for future similar discussions.
    – gertvdijk
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 13:56
  • I think the question is relevant as is, despite its length, it clarifies the discussion on the tags issue in as complete a way possible, I had the same opinions on more tags being helpful and thanks to this question and Marco Ceppis answer I now understand the reasoning behind the current tag generalisation. +1
    – Oyibo
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


Leave it be

Tags are not what most people think of with regards to taxonomy on other websites. (Just like how this site isn't a forum). In the end we're splitting hairs with this talk of tags and creating new tags. We don't need anymore tags, people are wasting time trying to categorize each question as an exact reflection of the contents of the question on this site but that really doesn't matter. Tagging only benefits search engine results and helping connect people who are experts to questions they're interested in. Creating tags ahead of an issue because it might become crowded has burned us multiple times in the past.

The tag isn't that ambiguous, everything mobile (in this case just two things: tablets and phones) is covered in the tag. That's pretty clear to me and to others from what I can see. Furthermore, we've made aliases to common mistags so people who use , or whatever it was, will still have the question tagged appropriately via tag synonyms.

Everything you've supplied in your question for alternatives can easily be done with something like or (even this, imo, is overkill). In the end the experts, the people working on the tablet and phone, have said they will take stewardship of the tag. Let them have it! I'm not about to make the site more bureaucratic to satisfy someone's cataloging desires.

This cycle is still young and both aspects of the mobile tag (phone and tablet) are so young that it's not an issue and it may never be an issue. When/if something grows to the point where it starts to become an issue, or the people who have stewardship over the tag raise problems, then we can look at solutions.

Thank you though

Honestly, I'm glad people are taking an interest in helping to clean up and categorize questions to connect them with people who can provide answers. I even enjoy this enthusiasm for the site! I'm so adamantly opposed to something like this (in addition to the reasons above) because there are many other areas of the site that require more attention (read: editing, closing, voting) than this one tag. I understand where you're coming from, as I too once wanted to box every question on the site and place a nice bow on it. Tagging questions is simply not as important as voting, editing, and other community maintenance tasks on the site. That's one of the reasons why creating a new tag is higher than most over privileges on the site.

  • 2
    Well said. I still think (for now) proper tagging is a good thing for my reasons given in the Q. For me, tags on SF and SO are working way better than on AU for some reason. Thanks for spending time on this annoying question and I hope it's useful for future discussions!
    – gertvdijk
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 13:28
  • Wow, I was expecting an answer from you :)
    – Tachyons
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 14:07
  • BTW, Please add an answer to the other question, None of the answer for that question is satisfactory for me :)
    – Tachyons
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 14:12
  • 1
    @gertvdijk I think comparison with SF and SO isn't that relevant for tags: On SO they have 4.2m questions and on SF they have 54k more than AU as per the stats furthermore AU is soley focussed on Ubuntu therefore reducing the variety of questions asked and therefore tags. This situation might change in the future but right now the tag groups suit the sites current needs when searching/categorizing questions.
    – Oyibo
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 17:03

You must log in to answer this question.

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