This question may not be very helpful, so please feel free to downvote to oblivion and close instantly.

Basically, I will say that personally, I find that I'm more apt to try to answer a question with fewer tags, as long as they are specific. When constructing a question, I usually minimize the number of tags relating to the question.

Considering how many tags there are, I'm sure you could find five tags relating to your question even if they are not necessarily helpful. I have noticed that a lot of fairly generic questions like "I need a script to search for available domains" may have the and all simultaneously, even though the real answer may have nothing to do with any of those technologies.

So what is really being asked with a tag? Is that the language you want to write the solution in? Surely a solution would be acceptable for a question.

My question is: does the community prefer specific tags that point to the problem and the desired language solution, or is it preferred to associated a circus of tags with a question so that it brings in more people? I would much prefer that tags be kept to a minimum and try to point to the problem (e.g. a problem indicates a problem with a MySQL query, even if it's called from a php wrapper -- would be unnecessary in that case) rather than an amalgam of tags that are shallowly related to the problem but may bring in more views. Which does Stackoverflow like, and why?

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The first example you provided would likely be closed as not a real question. –  animuson Apr 26 '12 at 3:35
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"This question may not be very helpful, so please feel free to downvote to oblivion and close instantly." I wish all questions started with that disclaimer. –  Cody Gray Apr 26 '12 at 3:47
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I love question tagged both as [javascript] and [jquery]. But nothing tops a questions tagged as [support] [bug] [feature-request] [discussion]. –  Dennis Apr 26 '12 at 3:48
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1 Answer

Basically, I will say that personally, I find that I'm more apt to try to answer a question with fewer tags, as long as they are specific.

Why? Why does it bother you for there to be—in general—more tags associated with a question as opposed to fewer tags?

Obviously it's better that the tags used on a question are specific, useful, and adequately describe what is being asked. But given those criteria are satisfied, I simply can't understand the motivation to keep down the total number of tags in use. We won't run out of space in the database.

I have noticed that a lot of fairly generic questions like "I need a script to search for available domains" may have the and all simultaneously, even though the real answer may have nothing to do with any of those technologies.

Putting aside some obvious problems with that question (as animuson points out), I will agree that those tags aren't necessarily useful. But the problem there is that they describe the expected answers, rather than describing the question itself.

So what is really being asked with a tag? Is that the language you want to write the solution in? Surely a solution would be acceptable for a question.

Tags are for the question, not for the possible answers. We've had the same issues arise with respect to the .NET Framework (), and the various related languages: , , etc. We could come up with a lot of complicated rules about how to tag such questions (i.e., whether they relate to methods common to the BCL, or whether they're language-specific, or what have you), but it's all rather pointless.

My question is: does the community prefer specific tags that point to the problem and the desired language solution, or is it preferred to associated a circus of tags with a question so that it brings in more people?

No, we don't like a "circus of tags", either. But I feel like that's an intentionally slanted phrasing…
Why can't we have both? Use as many specific tags as you can.

Remember that tags have two primary goals:

  1. To categorize questions.
  2. To help get experts' (e.g., those who follow a particular tag) eyes on those questions.

If the tags are serving those those primary functions, then I'd say that they are being used correctly.

If you strongly disagree with the presence of a particular tag, feel free to retag the question. But don't remove tags without a good reason.

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tl;dr: don't use tags as filler unless all of them are applicable to some degree –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 26 '12 at 4:06
    
You responded with a lot of questions (which is good, not a criticism). I will address one right now, namely: "Why does it bother you ... more tags ..." The answer is from me personally: I'm a dumb person/dumb Internet user. I hate to read more than I have to. Seeing more tags is off-putting to me. I believe there is a cadre of individuals who would rather glance at a single tag and understand (like me) than to see a mess of tags to be read individually. Brevity is the soul of wit! (DB space is not a concern for me, btw). However, I can see benefits of more tags re: searching. –  Explosion Pills Apr 26 '12 at 4:15
    
Hmm, sorry. If you hate to read, I'm probably the worst possible person to have answered your question. Anyway, consider that the most popular/important tag is listed first, so if you really don't want to read any of the others, you don't have to. –  Cody Gray Apr 26 '12 at 4:19
    
@TheEstablishment there are many different types of people in this world -- at any rate, I appreciate you telling me about the first tag. I didn't even know that! –  Explosion Pills Apr 26 '12 at 4:22
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