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If you take the results from this random search for example, before i edited two of them, 78% of the questions on the first page (50/page) had only the tag. One might argue that this specific tag is of excepionally low quality but what is so hard about finding at least two or three tags? Especially since in this tag you can just apply and to the vast majority of questions anyway, sadly not even that happens.

(Edit: This search really makes it look worse than it is, i suppose that when other keywords are not found in the question the engine considers questions with more tags to be less relevant since with just the WPF tag there is a 100% tag match)

I have been wondering about this for a while now: Does the text in the tag-field influence this behavior?

Screenshot

Do people just stop reading after the first three words? Could the text somehow encourage this behavior (especially if the question was submitted without any tags and the asker just tries to "fix" the error, which apparently is done by entering one tag)?

That aside it also seems to me that people who read and answer the questions do not pay much attention to the tags either, possibly some kind of gradient (e.g. if there is a single tag it will have a somewhat red background, two tags will have less of the red and at three it is gone) or other hinting system could be employed to point people towards providing more tags (if someone answered the question one of those popups could appear which points out the lack of tags, would only target people with retagging rights).

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Tagging is very much a "lay of the land" thing, like learning how to bake a proper apple pie. Hint: Baking powder and baking soda are not at all the same thing. Like many things on SO, the way we tag today is different than the way we used to tag. People get a sense of how to tag properly after being on the site awhile. In the meantime, we have to suffer silently with their novice tagging. –  Robert Harvey Jun 9 '11 at 2:24
    
@RobertHarvey: I won't deny that, but in those cases the responsibility should be reliably delegated to the ones who have the experience. There was a recent suggestion for a tag-me tag, which i though would be a decent idea as well. –  H.B. Jun 9 '11 at 2:27
    
The logical veteran to retag poorly tagged questions is the answerer which only requires 500 rep. The problem with this is that doing so could be self-serving towards tag-based badges. That's why I don't often retag questions I answer. –  Rick Sladkey Jun 9 '11 at 2:45
    
@RickSladkey: I do not worry about that when i retag questions i answered, i often try to retag them before i even decide to give them a shot or not. (That aside i know that all badges will be mine anyway *evil genius laugh*) –  H.B. Jun 9 '11 at 3:13
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I find myself removing or replacing tags more often then adding them! –  user7116 Jun 9 '11 at 4:53

1 Answer 1

If people knew the proper tags to use for their problem, chances are good their use of google would have solved the problem without waiting for an answer here.

The best we can do is triage questions that we know a little about, though not always enough to answer, so that they end up in the interesting tags of those who do know about them.

It's really no different than editing a question for grammar, better title, etc.

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