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Why not just have 1 tag or 3 tags? Or have 10, 20 or 30?

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Why is the drinking age in many states in the US 21 and not 20, 18, 25 or 30? It's just an arbitrary limit you have to draw a line somewhere. – Andreas Bonini Nov 2 '10 at 6:38
@Kop Most arbitrary limits have some reasons behind them. Even if these reasons are not of most importance. 5 probably wasn't chosen by dice roll... or was it ? – DrDro Nov 4 '10 at 10:36
@DrDro: it was probably chosen over 10 because 10 is too many tags, and over 4 or 6 because it's a nicer number – Andreas Bonini Nov 5 '10 at 9:44

4 Answers 4

[some] [users] [already] [abuse] [tags] [pretty] [badly] [and] [allowing] [more] [would] [only] [make] [things] [worse] [.] [besides] [,] [there] [should] [be] [some] [kind] [of] [limit] [right] [?]

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I think it was to prevent under-categorizing and over-categorizing. With less than 5 tags your hurting its visibility for the subject. I can ask a question that encompass [java], [maven] [maven-repositories] [java6] and [best-practice] and have those all be legitimate tags over the subject that I'm talking about. Its helpful for people searching/subscribing to a tag and for other generic searches. Limiting it would hurt searchability of a question

More than 5 and most questions end up being shotgun tagged to abuse its visibility. Many times on SO I see questions tagged with the top 5 most discussed languages when they really only vaguely talk about them (and a [language-agnostic] tag would be better or don't even talk about them at all. Expanding it would only lead to abuse.

So why 5? Because it strikes a nice balance.

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[best-practice] is not an allowed tag blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags – Jeff Atwood Nov 2 '10 at 6:05
@Jeff Opps, I forgot. – TheLQ Nov 2 '10 at 16:16

Screen Space.

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The final frontier. – Toon Krijthe Nov 2 '10 at 7:19

We really should be able to have 6 to 8 tags

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Why? Do you have examples where you really needed 6? – Rup Nov 2 '10 at 18:11
Reference to the 6-8 weeks meme, I believe. – Peter Mortensen Nov 2 '10 at 18:11

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