We have a tag wiki, it's actually really good. Here's the one we have in JavaScript.

The wiki is beautiful for newbs, it really is. It covers off:

  • The basics
  • What JS is
  • How to ask a JS question
  • How to learn more JS
  • Awesome previous questions
  • Useful links, tools, specs...

What more could they ask for, really? It's nearly the combination of things we endless tell newbs in the chat room or in the questions they ask -- like, endlessly, asking what jsFiddle is, how do you use it, what's JSON, why doesn't JSONwork... again, and again, and again.

Wait a minute--we have an awesome resource on it. Maybe we need to just edit it. Or tell more of them it's there.

Okay, so I told a bunch of newbs about it. Turns out the new newbs don't know about it because... they're new, and nobody told them about it, and they didn't see it. So why bother improving it, if the only people who really find it are the people who aren't new to the site?

Right now, to get there I have to do this:

  • Look at the page, nothing there, maybe I'll click on JavaScript.
  • List of questions, eh? I know, I'll look at more questions
  • Well, that didn't work. What's this tiny nonchalant "about" link next to the tag?
  • Oh wow, a page full of information.

We're effectively demoting importance of the wiki to the people it will be the most useful to.

So, what can we do on SO such that newbs will find the wiki? Because I'm really tired of explaining what jsFiddle is.


5 Answers 5


Here's a suggestion...

When you search for something, and the search sees you have included one or more tags in your search terms, then the search results can include the tag excerpt at the top along with some helpful links for the searcher:

enter image description here

I guess you'd want to show the most popular tag's excerpt, and maybe include an expando link such as, "Other tags you searched for". Clicking on this would expand the entire list of tags matched from the search.


Via the tag editor when entering their question?

enter image description here

At the top of the question list?

enter image description here

When they hover over any ? (except, ironically, this one)

enter image description here

  • The latter doesn't really do anything; people aren't looking at the tag-specific question list when they post a new question. The tag editor should've solved this though Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 19:05
  • 1
    @Michael - it isn't entirely clear to me what role (questions, answers, etc) the new users are in this scenario. Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 19:07
  • 2
    It sounds like his problem is new users keep asking questions that are explained in the [javascript] tag wiki itself (because they're so frequently asked), so he wants people to see the tag wiki before posting. They're pummeled with the excerpt everywhere they turn, but they don't see the entire wiki since it's too long Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 19:11

When I started on my first SE site, I would have appreciated an intrusive dialog that greets me the first time I ask a question for each tag. After 5 of these warnings, you might direct a user to the page to disable that warning, but a friendly text that basically gets several points across.

I've spent enough time on one site to learn how things work - and know to look at tags, do some research before asking a vague question. Even from that background - a pop up on a new site where I've never before asked a questions would be a welcome check and reminder to me.

Here are things that might help improve new questions:

  1. We want you to get the fastest answer and notices you are asking a question that has a substantial tag wiki. This means the community has some strong opinions on what a good question would include. It will help you write a good question and it may even have answers to the most common questions.
  2. We have saved your draft and you can get back here without losing your work.
  3. Would you like to read over this guide to the subject before asking your first question to the community?

Optionally, you might provide some overall statistics to place the about to be asked question in context for your newest members. Something like "Your question is going to be one of X-hundred asked today and quite possibly seen by y-thousand people by the end of the week. We want your question to be all dressed up and ready to go out when you hit submit."

I wouldn't pop this up if the tag wikis were shorter than 100 words (or whatever seems to make sense) - but letting new users know they are about to jump into the deep end of the pool might be a welcoming feature.

The existing pop-up tag wikis are too condensed for many new users to internalize what the numbers mean or to know in plain english in what context their soon to be asked question will find itself.

  • Any thought's on "Won't ಠ_ಠ♦"'s answer?
    – Incognito
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 20:11
  • I think it might be worth a shot on one site that really wants to agitate for better tag knowledge, but I think it doesn't quite hit the nail squarely on the head. Hoping a new user searches and then engages into an exploration is less targeted than educating when the new user is first asked to make a tag selection during the question asking process. Taking a carefully aimed sniper shot carefully might be better than scatter shot hoping to hit someone who remembers a tag wiki later when they ask the questions that could benefit from a stellar tag stirrup.
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 22:31
  • "When I started on my first SE site, I would have appreciated an intrusive dialog" I think you might find that this is a minority opinion to put it mildly... and we also have an asking EULA for new users that is mandatory already, good luck getting anyone to read it. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/84668/… Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 6:34

Implemented per Will's suggestion

enter image description here

Note we highlight the "hit" on the tag wiki, but this is only done for the top (n) tags where (n) is I think 40 in general, and maybe 80 on SO.

  • Would a new close reason of "Is Covered by tag wiki" also be of use? Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 9:29

I agree with your request of making the tag wiki more accessible. In fact, the tag wiki may be the closest thing Stack Overflow has to an FAQ like those in popular newsgroups. (Stack Overflow's own FAQ is more policy on the site itself than a list of questions users are likely to ask.)

Maybe a "wiki" section or, as Marc Gravell suggested, an extra link in the "tags" section could help.

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