15

Tags like and are being used almost every time even if the question isn't version-specific, and even if the tag description explicitly says:

You should only use this tag if your question is hardware or version-specific.

Why is it a problem? Because the StackOverflow platform requires you to enter at least a tag when creating a question. Many times people just insert their Ubuntu version as the only tag.

This makes filtering questions very hard: I read uninteresting question (e.g. questions that should be tagged ) and miss the interesting ones (e.g. ).

So, what should we do to discourage the improper use of such tags?

  • 3
    I noticed that when creating a new question, using version tags is suggested. This should be changed! i.imgur.com/ZQkTiMs.png – Richard Oct 10 '13 at 17:44
12

Besides what Oli said, the solution is to edit posts that use version tags incorrectly, adding other tags, and removing the version tags unless the question appears version-specific.

  • Many people will probably imitate the use of tags they see on the site. If we're good enough at editing questions to fix wrong use of version tags, we'll probably have fewer new posts that use them wrongly.
  • It's often hard for people new to Ubuntu to know if a problem is likely to be version specific. Sometimes when a question has a version that that ought to be removed, it doesn't reflect poor use of the site on their part, but just inexperience with Ubuntu. They probably figure other people can remove the tag if it is wrong. They are right about that.
  • One problem I encountered on this route: edited questions all are pushed forward and so it is nothing which can/should be done in big batches. – guntbert Aug 30 '13 at 16:42
  • @guntbert It should ideally be done when the new posts are reviewed. As for big batches, it's true that sustained mass editing could prevent other posts from being seen. But there's nothing wrong with editing a lot of posts if they're really being improved. Every time a post that does not appear on the front page is edited (well, almost every time), it pushes something off the front page. Whether the edits are done in quick succession or spread over an extended period, the same number of posts are pushed off (and can come back). The harm from medium-high volume editing is often overstated. – Eliah Kagan Aug 30 '13 at 16:47
  • @EliahKagan you are relying in the ability of the reviewer to know which are the proper tags for each post. I'm writing a meta question with resources for the reviewers so nobody can say it's not there. – Braiam Sep 8 '13 at 15:36
11

Public spankings!

Ahem, maybe not.

I don't think there's a lot we can do. They can be valuable tags to keep around but there's currently no feature which allows us to make sure somebody posts another tag. The best we can do is improve the short wiki text so that the description they see in the tag suggestion box tells them they shouldn't be using it on its own.

It might be worth submitting a feature request on MSO (they tend to get more notice there) asking that we be allowed such "special" tags. Tags that don't count toward the tag total so that the user must use another one. I don't know how best to phrase that or I'd submit the request myself.

But in the short-to-medium term we just need to correct people...


Somewhat later I started a little petition to get version tagging brought up to a usable state. Like it or not, version tags serve a purpose to more than just this site, it's just a shame there aren't controls to stop them being abused.

  • We all know that what your real intentions were revealed at the start of this post ;). – Braiam Aug 30 '13 at 18:33

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