TL;DR of the TL;DR:
Some tags suck. We should probably decide what to do with them as a community. How do we talk about all those tags without it being an unsufferable bother?
Some users (mainly TREU chatters, myself included) think a couple of tags are irrelevant and pointless, and should be edited out/destroyed altogether, because they're used with no consistency and don't bring any good to the site. However, some other users might like those, so... We need to get people's opinions, so that the community decides what is thrashed and what is kept.
But how to do that is unclear. Chat is an unhandy platform, cluttering Meta with burnination would probably be a bother... So before we talk about the what, we ought to talk about the how.
I repeat, this is not a meta about what tags should be kept or not. This is a meta about how we decide what gets kept or not. It's a question about how we'll manage a meta; a meta meta question, if you wish.
I don't think I'll surprise anyone when I say SFF has some "unclear" tags. I'm talking about non-work, non-franchise, non-media, non-author tags. While some are very popular (aliens has 1020 questions, magic 541, etc), there are also some which are only used 5-30 times. So far, everything is factual, it's objective.
Now it gets subjective: some users, myself included, think some of the latter tags:
- don't really serve any meaningful purpose
- don't have a clear, universal meaning
- are irrelevant, just because you stick a "use this tag when talking about ______ in works of SFF" in the wiki doesn't make recipes a good tag for this site;
- don't really feel required (if city has only had 11 questions in 7 years, then it doesn't seem like people need it)
- so if you don't need it and it doesn't bring anything to the site and it even harms it by bringing inconsistent classification, nuke it from orbit.
Why it should be discussed
On the other hand, the mentioned users are a dozen chatters in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, who don't represent the community as a whole. Maybe the community is fine with seeing these tags gone, maybe it's not, but in any case, there's not enough activity in chat to qualify that, nor is chat even the place for that to begin with - that's why we have a Meta, am I right?
So far, I didn't see anyone going to Meta/chat about "hey, why was this tag removed? I liked this tag!", perhaps because nobody cares/noticed. Though, discussing whether some tags ought to be killed would settle some things:
- if there's no discussion and action is taken, stuff will backfire at some point;
- if there's no discussion and no action is taken, there will be happy and unhappy people, and the unhappy will rant about not being able to act as nothing was discussed;
- if there's a discussion and a consensus, there will also be happy and unhappy people, but when the unhappy side rants, the happy ones can stuff the Meta consensus in. (I've been told that sounded confrontational; I kept the "sides" unnamed as this would apply regardless of who's happy or not. I wasn't trying to trigger people who want to leave them around, sorry if it felt like it)
How it should be discussed
The workflow is usually simple: one problem → take it to meta → wait and see. Other problem → take it to meta → wait and see.
But in this case, there are many problems, as those tags are unrelated and you may want to keep one but not the other. Concrete stuff time, here's the list of tags that currently serves as the kill-list; by taking a look at its history, you will see that some already got nuked. (includes but not limited to, exotic-matter, cranial-ridges, radiation...)
So now what? How do we handle that discussion?
- Does the community even care if these low-attention tags get removed? Or is there a majority of users erring on the side of "meh, let them do it if it pleases them"?
If the community disagrees and wants to discuss it:
- do we need/want dozens of meta discussions, each about one specific tag? Do we want Meta looking like this (and writing repetitive answers, etc)?
And yes, they're all tags on this site
do we want one Meta thread with all the burnination requests, one tag per answer, and after X weeks we nuke or not depending on the answer's score? (kind of what was done in Tag Cleanup 2016: Before the burnination)
do we want a chat event to discuss this? (no, it's a terrible idea, logistics would be hell and not everyone can access chat, but I wanted a third bullet)
... Other? I'm out of ideas, but people might think of something else.
Post is long already, time for other people's comments/answers/ideas, etc. And once again, this is not a meta about what tags should be kept or not. This is a meta about how we would decide what gets kept or not.
Clarifications, per comments:
- This is not, and has never been, about mass edits. If a 14-questions tag is to be deleted, that can be done in a week, two weeks, a month... I guess the process would be to push one, two questions at once, once in a while... Nothing "massy".
- Nobody has to give time to such edits. If four or five hillbillies are willing to do it and clean everything else on the thread while they're at it, the others can sit back and relax.
- Bumping old questions (as long as it's not invasive, see above) isn't necessarily a bad thing. You get new eyes on the content, so more votes/comments as needed, possibly even new answers, edits... and the folks watching the front page may learn something new.