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I keep flip-flopping on this issue. Is it better to use as many tags on a question as possible, or is a minimalist approach more ideal? For a while now I've been using only ; when I was new to SFF.se I used as many tags as possible. Surely there are reasons for using five tags; perhaps using only is detrimental in some way.

To better bolster the purpose of the site, is it more beneficial to use as many tags as possible, or to try and keep it simple and succinct with one or two tags? Why?

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First off, tags are used for:

  1. Classifying questions

  2. Easing searching for posts

  3. Filtering (inclusive or ignoring)

  4. Providing context to a post (is your Hobbit question for books only or movies only?)

  5. Expressing your inner OCD (OK, perhaps only for me).

Using multiple tags (instead of one main one) either doesn't affect, or enhances, all 5 of these purposes.


Using multiple tags has only one objective negative: if there are too many tags available, people may get confused which ones to use and as such, mis-tag their question (e.g. add and not add ).

It has some subjective negatives (e.g. some people dislike seeing multiple tags without having any logical reason for objecting to them, out of pure aesthetic sense).


On balance, I would:

  1. Recommend to add multiple tags as your own practice. It's definitely NOT a requirement, but IMHO enhances the post.

  2. Strongly insist leaving alone multiple tags on posts made by other people who prefer multiple tags.

  • Just as a general FYI, I have never removed tags from anyone's posts , ever. I totally agree with you on that. I'm thinking back and I can't recall a time I added any tags to a post either, although it's possible I may have a few times. And I'm sure it would have been with what I thought was good intentions. Anyway, just wanted to ensure that I am not advocating messing with anyone else's choice of tags. – Slytherincess Aug 4 '14 at 23:34
  • @Slytherincess - that should probably be clarified in your question. The way it read to me (and can easily be read by someone with easy trigger finger) is "should other people use extra tags/should we remove extra tags" as opposed to "should I personally on my questions..." – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 5 '14 at 1:27
  • I'd add that the tags must strictly be relevant to the question. Not as big of a problem here but on other stack exchanges it can be. IE If I do a search for JavaScript related questions in Programmers, I shouldn't be finding css related questions simply because they are both often used together. – Discant Aug 30 '14 at 4:19

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