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The definition of a meta tag from SO's Tag Privileges is:

Tags that cannot stand alone as the only tag on a question

The tag has no followers, no tag wiki, and multiple questions tagged with a specific language that is being asked about.

It seems that it would be pretty hard to create a question tagged with just . Of course it's possible for somebody to come up with an example question that would be suitable for being solely tagged .

But is catering to that minute amount of questions really worth users improperly tagging their questions? What does the really tell us about a question that couldn't be determined from just reading the question?

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1 Answer 1

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The succinctness of that privilege wiki is misleading.

is not so much a meta tag as it is a badly named tag (that has resulted into its growth as a plain ol' bad tag). Meta tags are those that describe the question, not the problem. Like used to, and still does. They're bad because they don't give you any information about the problem at all, which is why they never work as the only tag.

isn't a meta tag because even though it's an adjective (which is a problem of its own), it actually isn't used to describe the question itself. The vast majority of questions with the tag are about negative numbers as values. Arithmetic with negative values, date stamps with negative values, negative indices in arrays... all of this is actually a part of each problem. In that sense, it's actually been a noun-type tag that ended up adapted as an adjective because of its bad name. A proper name for the tag would have been or .

Not every question currently in the tag would fit with such a rename. This one just doesn't fit at all, while this one doesn't actually have to do with negative values. Meanwhile, this one is about negation, not negative numbers.

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@kiam That wasn't a mistake - negative isn't describing the question (aka the post). –  Grace Note Nov 27 '11 at 16:11
I apologize: I misunderstood what you were saying. I would say that it's a meta tag if it describes the topic of the question (e.g. c says the topic is an aspect of the C language), while a meta tag describes who asked the question (e.g. beginner) or other aspects of the question (e.g. homework). –  kiamlaluno Nov 27 '11 at 16:42
@kiam You might've meant "not a meta tag" in one of those two. –  Grace Note Nov 27 '11 at 16:43
Yep. The first part should be, "it is not a meta tag if it describes the topic of the question." It's funny, to get confused about meta tags on Meta Stack Overflow. (By the way, should not Meta Stack Overflow use just meta tags? :-)) –  kiamlaluno Nov 27 '11 at 16:55

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