One of the more common complaints on meta is the misuse/overuse/abuse of tags.

Part of the problem is that not everyone agrees on what is good vs. bad tag use. But that's not what I'm interested in at the moment.

The other problem is, even if we do agree on how tags should be used, and that certain tags should be removed/added/cleaned up/etc, the effort is rather large. In order to avoid destroying our front page, we have generally agreed to limit tag edits so that only 5 at a time show up at the top of the "Active" questions list.

This, of course, means tag cleanup never happens, because someone will do 5, or maybe 10, and then get bored and wander off to watch TV or whatever.

One option I have seen on other SE sites is to pick a specific date and time, set up a chat event, and just accept that for a couple of hours, the front page will be useless. The timing is selected so that as many regulars as possible are available, but the general site traffic is such that the front page being "broken" won't impact everything. By focusing all the effort at one time, the damaged is minimized and the retagging gets done.

Is this something that anyone else but me would be interested in doing? Obviously we'd need to figure out how to identify tags that need to go away, and we'd focus on the non-controversial ones first, but I think we talk about "fixing tags" a lot and it never seems to happen. Lets make it happen!

UPDATE: While we're at it, this would also be a good time to determine if there are any tags we need to add to questions to remain consistent. With all the users monitoring the chat feed, IMO if we can get to a good starting point, we can keep up the proper application of tags from there.

(P.S. I absolutely did not wait 4 days to ask this question just to get a hat.)

(P.P.S. Of course I did.)

  • 2
    I support this proposal, but only if we get SFF-branded flamethrowers Dec 23, 2015 at 1:17
  • Let's do this thing.
    – phantom42
    Dec 23, 2015 at 1:40
  • 1
    I can't speak for other mods, but I support this. I'm happy to chip in with making synonyms. Mods lack the time to organize this sort of thing, but I'll help tag cleanup efforts.
    – user1027
    Dec 23, 2015 at 3:00
  • 1
    If where doing it, where will we decide which tags are getting the axe?
    – user31178
    Dec 23, 2015 at 3:50
  • @MikeEdenfield Besides my mediocre SQL skills (for Data Explorer queries), nope. Besides, anytime is the best time for something disruptive! :D
    – user1027
    Dec 23, 2015 at 17:55
  • Making this a CW, so someone else can pick up the reigns and make changes as needed.
    – user1027
    Dec 29, 2015 at 19:30
  • I just retagged this question ... how meta.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jan 6, 2016 at 20:49

4 Answers 4


I think a tag cleanup would be good and necessary, but first the community must come to an agreement as to what an appropriate tag is (and isn't). That fracturing is a big part of why we need a cleanup in the first place.


Yes, but let's wait a while.

Christmas is coming up, and (I hope!) most of us will have better things to do over the next week or two than hanging out on a Q&A site. We should definitely leave it until January, so that all the people who'd like to participate in such a discussion can have their say.

(If we have this event during the Christmas period, presided over by Mike Edenfield and phantom42, the notorious Grumpy Sods of Mos Eisley, we'll be lucky to be left with any tags at all! :-P )

  • It's also worth noting that our two top site contributors, DVK and Richard, are currently unable to chat. Personally I think they deserve to have a say in the management of the site, since between them they've probably put more into the site than all the rest of us put together. Unless we want to wait until mid-February, this would mean having a place other than chat to finalise decisions.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Dec 23, 2015 at 20:56
  • 1
    Like most tag-related activities, I'm fairly sanguine about it. Even if I wasn't on strike, I still wouldn't be take part in something that seems like a pointless activity that'll have little impact on the site's usability.
    – Valorum
    Dec 23, 2015 at 21:09

Yes, but

... per tag.

If a tag is overly broad, used wrong, or just needs some attention, I think it's better to post a question on meta about that tag, get consensus, and put that into action.

  • my intent is to open one meta question where people can "nominate" bad tags and vote them up/down; the highest voted tags go first.
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 4, 2016 at 14:41
  • 1
    @MikeEdenfield - Is there a chance we can have a "floor", where if more than a threshohld of people (3?5?) vote to keep a tag, it's kept even if the amount of people voting to delete it is larger? I think that this would severely limit major disagreements about specific tags that have unclear consensus and deep divisions among users, and let us concentrate on unanimous crap. Jan 4, 2016 at 15:37
  • Those are among the details I want to work out, but my plan is to start with the low-hanging fruit and work down. I was trying to come up with a formula that was simple, but account for things like ratio of + to -, minimum number of +, etc. to decide where "clearly bad" cut off. Those details are going to be part of a forthcoming meta post but I don't want to "bias" the voting by telling people the secret forumla too early :) But I think if 15 people vote + and 3 vote - that's different than 34 people voting + and 3 voting -...
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:58
  • @MikeEdenfield - agreed, but to be honest I mostly foresee vote magnitues on things like that to be closer to "-3/+4" vs "-2/+7". Just guessing. Yeah, if 30 people oppose a tag, the "3" floor us definitely not enough, so a formula that takes a min/max of absolute vs. % floor may be needed Jan 4, 2016 at 19:15

Yes. This has worked well on other sites.

Just a suggestion - have three or four two-hour bursts spread through the day (or weekend) so that people in various time zones can do their bit.


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