From recent tag-cleaning efforts we experienced a lot of tags being removed, replaced, or disabled. The reasoning behind this - as I understand it - was that any tag should be both, specific enough, and general enough to be useful for tag-subscriptions. This will make answering questions on any favourited tag easier. It was a good thing to get rid of many rather useless tags.
However to my opinion two additional purposes of a tag are being somwhat neglected by this approach:
- Tags may help finding specific questions on any specific issue.
- Tags are added to the Google search index.
Of course both of these points are also acchieved with searching for keywords in the title or body of a question or answer. So having any sepcific tag may not really be of much additional value. You will find your questions or answers by searching for "filesystem hierarchy" (which are approximately 11% of questions tagged filesystem).
We always will have tags which do not meet the still to be defined criteria on how we overcome the conflict of tags meeting both, being general and specific. It has become hard if impossible to create new "valid" tags that make everybody happy.
Whenever a tag is too specific a question or answer may not be found on performing a search or on subscriptions. We then should add a more general tag in addition. Every question tagged filesystem-hierarchy should then also have the filesystem tag which inevitably leads to some redundancy. I believe this is not a bad thing. I am happy that we still have the tag pulseaudio in addition to sound to help me sort out all questions I could probably not answer. We can not draw a sharp line between too-specific or too-general tag as this would end in an always unfruitful debate. Let's stay fuzzy there.
Whenever a tag is too general it may be added to so many questions that the tag will not be helpful for both subscribing, and finding questions (think of such tags as ubuntu, help, error). Let's remove those tags.
My personal opinion on this is that we need good general tags which should always be added to questions on that topic but we may also benefit from more specific tags to further narrow down searches or subscriptions.
Having superfluous tags may not do so much harm at the end.