This first came up when SE introduced displaying the most common tag at the start page s for SEO reasons.

Commenting on the following two questions and their new titles

I said:

The ubuntu-desktop is the most used tagged on the site, but is no doubt something very unlikely to be entered by users into a search engine, and therefore adds nothing for SEO. (Note I'm not saying I think we should stop using this tag.)

Jeff Atwood's response included (the Bold is his, not mine):

I would also argue that this encourages proper and correct tagging of questions. If the tag is objectionable in the title, then it's probably a bad tag practice -- as you pointed out!

I wanted to seek the community's views on this.


3 Answers 3


My current view (I often change my mind...) is that we should deprecate the tag.

One thing Jeff said in the Stack Exchange blog comments was

What you should be asking yourself is this: for each tag you use, could a question with only that tag be valid?

I would argue that questions tagged only with ubuntu-desktop are meaningless - we don't actually know what the question is about, therefore according to the logic of one of the SE founders we shouldn't be using it.

If I look down the Ask Ubuntu homepage then of the 48 questions show the tag is used 11 times. I would say at least 40 of those questions could quite happily wear the tag.

But having over 80% of our questions tagged ubuntu-desktop is to my mind unnecessary. Tag the exceptions not the rule.

  • 2
    I agree 100%, if the tag doesn't add anything, or worse if it is a meta-tag -- it should not be used. Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 8:20
  • 1
    if anything you should tag server questions [server] to differentiate them and assume most questions are about desktop. Beyond that, I don't know how different Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu Desktop are in practice.. and what's so very very specific about Ubuntu Server that means you can't ask about it on, say serverfault.com ? Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 8:23
  • Completely removing server questions (and even the tagging of such questions) seems beyond the scope of this particular discussion (though I note that 4% of the questions here are tagged server)
    – 8128
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 11:16
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    In my mind -server questions should be here if they're small "I run a samba machine at home" type things, and serverfault for pros that run machines for others (ie. sysadmins). Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 16:17
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    I agree too, it wasn't obvious to me until it was pointed out in the blog but it makes total sense. Moving from ubuntu-server to just "server" would be a nice too. Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 16:20

Based on the feedback here and in chat, I have deleted the tag.

However this does leave 49 posts tagged which need to be retagged something more meaningful.


Okay I banged through the list giving them as good tags as I could manage.

There was only one thread I couldn't handle. It's a merge of a merge (nasty). I suggest we delete it (if that's possible) or just retag it to software-recommendation.

Or make me a moderator and I'll do that one too ;)

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