Tag excerpts are very useful. They provide a brief “elevator pitch” for a tag, explaining the meaning for those unfamiliar with a series. At least as important, excerpts and wikis can also help clarify the usage of tags, particularly those that tend to be used incorrectly, e.g. , , or .

As of this post, though, nearly 400 tags lack both tag wikis and tag excerpts! A query (updated only once a week) to show how many can be found here. I know that somewhere here we have an expert for every tag, whether they have 2 reputation or 200,000: someone who can provide a well-written, original tag excerpt or tag wiki for a tag that was previously forlorn and undescribed.

There are benefits to editing tag wikis:

  • If you have less than 20,000 reputation, as do most people on this site, and you create a tag wiki (which requires approval), you will get a nice shiny +2 reputation. What’s more, tag wikis and tag excerpts count as separate posts.
  • If you have more than 20,000 reputation, you can edit tag wikis freely. You might also progress toward any of several badges.

Questions and answers are the lifeblood of this site, but the little things that hang around the periphery are important too! This month, in the spirit of Answer the Unanswered Questions, let’s try to provide tag excerpts (and when needed, wikis) for as many of those blank tags as we can.

Guidelines for writing tag wiki excerpts are here. And, although it is not mentioned there, a tag wiki and excerpt should be original: no Wikipedia lifting!

  • .....aaaaand now the review queue is filled with crap that people have copied/pasted from wikipedia :-) – Valorum Sep 12 '16 at 7:01
  • @Valorum - Not yet. :) But perhaps that’s something worth adding to the question. – Adamant Sep 12 '16 at 7:16
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    @Valorum You could post an answer here with some guidelines on how to write good tag wikis, perhaps? There are already some existing meta posts which could be quoted in such an answer, like this one. – Rand al'Thor Sep 12 '16 at 12:18
  • @Randal'Thor - There are those with far more experience than I. Personally I think tag wikis are of dubious benefit anyway. – Valorum Sep 12 '16 at 13:46
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    I don't know about the tag wiki, but having the excerpt hopefully helps people (particularly new users) from choosing the wrong tag when making a new question. – Jack B Nimble Sep 12 '16 at 17:47
  • They're not hard to write. The hard part is - given the thousands of imaginary worlds that are covered - finding one where you'd actually know what it is. – Radhil Sep 12 '16 at 19:16
  • Or one that's useful enough to bother with... subtags are way inconsistent. I wouldn't bother writing an [eye-of-the-world] excerpt when it only has 2 questions and none of the other individual novels in that series have tags (except [a-memory-of-light] w/ 26 q's, which mostly seems to exist for finale questions, and doesn't look used well either) – Radhil Sep 12 '16 at 20:19
  • @Radhil - If, in the course of filling in the tag excerpts, you come across the tags that should not be, you can edit them out, possibly after discussing it with moderators or on meta if uncertain or likely to be controversial. – Adamant Sep 12 '16 at 21:25
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    @Valorum not so dubious as you proposed. They are useful to clear out when they should be used. – Victor Salazar Sep 14 '16 at 12:12
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    @Adamant To clarify, should I write a tag wiki for them or edit the questions to remove them? I don't want to waste time writing a tag wiki if they shouldn't exist in the first place and will eventually be deleted. – Thunderforge Sep 15 '16 at 23:43
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    I believe that there needs to be better guidance on how to write these things, ideally with officially approved examples. The #2, #3, and #4 tags currently are “harry-potter,” “star-wars” and “star-trek,” and they all seem to violate the rule “Avoid defining the concept behind a tag.” And I don’t understand “Concentrate on what a tag means to your community.” What is Harry Potter supposed to mean to SF&F SE that is different from what he means to the world at large? – Peregrine Rook Sep 18 '16 at 16:45
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    (1) I’m not sure that I understand what you’re saying. Are you saying that all tag wikis that are in place have been approved, and therefore, by definition, they are “officially approved examples”? That’s not quite right. Any user (above some trivial minimum rep, like a few hundred) can suggest edits to tag wikis. Any two users with rep ≥ 5K can approve such a suggestion. Users with rep ≥ 20K can edit tag wikis without peer review. (2) If you think you understand what SF&F tag wikis should look like, please post a feature request asking that the SF&F-specific tag wiki guidance be corrected. – Peregrine Rook Sep 19 '16 at 2:55
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    @PeregrineRook anyone can suggest tag wiki edits. I think. – Mithical Sep 19 '16 at 9:26
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    @PeregrineRook - Well, to start with, this advice is not really followed. Just look at the tag wiki for email on StackOverflow. It actually defines what email is! So (guidance aside), I don’t think this is much of an issue. But perhaps as important: The actual advice is “Avoid generically defining the concept behind a tag, unless it is highly specialized.” Most of our tags are highly specialized. Aside from a few common franchises, most people are not going to have any idea what something like assity-shards is. – Adamant Sep 19 '16 at 9:50
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    Now that September is over, how about posting a wrap-up answer to this question listing the number of tag wikis/excerpts filled and maybe thanking all those who contributed? (If that information is readily available somewhere - I'm not sure whether it is, short of browsing through a month's worth of suggested edits.) – Rand al'Thor Oct 4 '16 at 0:06

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