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Here are some tags that that been used at least 20,000 times (placing them in the top hundred most frequent tags). I also counted their subscribers (people who have favourited it), and calculated the ratio subscribers / uses.

| tag           | uses   | subscribers | subscriber ratio |
| visual-studio | 22,179 | 2500        | 11%              | 
| silverlight   | 21,915 | 2900        | 13%              |
| string        | 26,562 | 363         | 1.3%             |
| image         | 22,350 | 306         | 1.3%             |

Observe the number of subscribers varies greatly from 1% up to 10%. Why's that? The tags and describe popular products that people are interested in. On the other hand the tags and describe general things common to many products. Few people subscribe to them because no-one is qualified to answer questions about strings across every language.

Thus I think the list at http://stackoverflow.com/tags should be ordered by subscriber count rather than uses.

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I daresay there are many users (including me) who have no idea what 'following a tag' even means. – AakashM Aug 8 '12 at 8:39
AakashM, it means you have marked it as a 'favourite tag' on the homepage. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/104935/… – Colonel Panic Aug 8 '12 at 8:42
Oh, that's the same thing? Weird. I have favorite tags but I had no idea that meant I was a 'follower'. – AakashM Aug 8 '12 at 8:50
Please stop applying Social Network logic to everything. SO is not twitter, how cares who's following who? – Damien Pirsy Aug 8 '12 at 11:33
@Damien Pirsy: Believe it or not, it says "# followers" in a tag's hover card. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 8 '12 at 15:38

1 Answer 1

up vote 23 down vote accepted

Tags don't exist only so that people can follow them. They also provide additional information about a question.

It might not make much sense to follow the tag (though I do for some reason), but someone might be interested in questions tagged, for example, both and .

Tags are also very useful as search terms.

(On the other hand, the title should also provide that information -- but not all titles are as informative as they should be.)

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@Servy: Updated. – Keith Thompson Aug 8 '12 at 17:36

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