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When I typed the question title above, SO helpfully scanned for questions that similar words in them. This helps me double-check if my question has been asked already.

There's been a lot of discussion in our TeX StackExchange lately about tagging practices, cleaning up tags, and tag wikis, and it makes me think if there's an interface improvement possible along the same lines.

Currently when we are filling in tags, we get suggested completions, letting us know which tags exist that resemble what we've typed so far. But we don't get any context about these tags. So questions about the source code of TeX itself, typesetting source code with syntax highlighting, and a feature request for a particular source code editor all end up tagged {source}.

What if the drop-down that appears when we are filling in tags also were to contain the first paragraph from the tag wiki? Then if we ensure that the tag wiki's first paragraph contains some information about what the tag should and should not be used for, we can coach better tagging on the part of askers and editors.

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Interesting idea, but I tend to be against it for two reasons:

  • It adds a lot of noise
  • Most people who tag badly now, will continue to tag badly no matter how much information they're shown

I would suggest a per-site "How to tag" FAQ instead which would highlight the most common tagging mistakes. Members who tag badly could be sent to check out that page.

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But those of us who do the retagging would find it useful since it acts as a quick reminder of which tag to pick: "Should it be "diagrams", "figures", "tikz-pgf", "pgf-2.10", "pgf-core", ..., I vaguely remember some discussion about which to use, but I can't be bothered to look it up right now, so I'll not bother ..." See what I mean? – Loop Space Feb 28 '11 at 14:36
@andrew you can hover over the preview of the tag that appears above the input box after you chose it, that'll bring up the popup. It's not quite the thing you're asking for, but it may help. – balpha Feb 28 '11 at 14:55
@balpha that's a good point. So a simple workaround would be to add the text "hover over the tag after you choose it to determine if the tag is appropriate". Almost good enough for me. – Matthew Leingang Feb 28 '11 at 18:08

Well, we now show a live tag preview in the question ask page preview, and it can be moused-over like so for the tag excerpt:

enter image description here

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