Why does Stack Overflow have a tag? Its description is as meta as they come.

The polls tag is for questions that are asking for a list to be ranked. Stack Overflow is NOT the place for asking poll questions.

Can we just burninate this tag or, if this meta tag is officially sanctioned for keeping track of posts that need to be closed or deleted, can we at least rename it to something like or ?

Note that this tag is also being used to ask questions about polling for input, creating a web-based poll, and other reasons:


It's been over six months since I originally posted this and there are still 428 questions with the tag (346 of which have not been closed). Are these worth cleaning up?


3 Answers 3


I recently raised a similar question on and @casperOne promptly burninated it after re-tagging all those tagged with tag. In follow up to this, another thread is already started on burninating all other similar, not-of-much-use tags in SO. You can raise your concern as an answer to that question and the mods will do the rest of the job.

  • 1
    Ah, it looks like polls has already been added to that question. Thanks for the update! Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 1:11

No, don't burninate this yet. Otherwise there's no way to get a list of questions that need closing, deleting, and burninating. Every question should be determined individually if it needs retagging(!), closing, deleting and/or burninating. Feel free to contribute.

Some of them (database poll, ajax poll, etc) needs to be retagged to or something else. Some of them ("Which is the best?", "What do you use?", etc) which are not closed yet needs to be closed as Not constructive. The already-closed ones needs to be deleted, so vote for deletion if you can!

  • 8
    In other words, don't auto-burninate. Do treat it as a list of questions that needs worked, most of which need closed, a few of which need retagged. After they've all been worked, then burninate the tag. Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 21:57
  • @JoelCoehoorn So it would be more appropriate to ask for this tag to be blacklisted? Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 22:00
  • @JoelCoehoorn: Yes, I must have added a "yet" to the answer, I edited it. I'm only not sure about a permanent blacklist. It may still be useful for future dirty questions. Some users retag this kind of questions with [polls] so that the community can better be notified about this.
    – user138231
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 22:00
  • I think the poll tag itself probably ought to be kept for the Unix system call… Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 9:22

The tag system is designed to mark certain questions by interest or topic so that users can quickly identify which questions apply to their skill and interest level. Additionally, the tag system is used to help narrow search results so that users can locate questions that meet certain criteria, based on interest or topic.

Meta-tags are the exact opposite in that they tell users nothing about the actual content of the question. Using meta-tags limits the number of actual descriptive tags that can be applied to a question.

In addition, tagging these questions and relying on those tags leaves the door open for regular users to retag those questions and remove the polls tag on questions they want to save.

Instead of using meta-tags, it makes more sense to flag them for moderator attention and then have them closed, or flag them and delete them.

Flags, in addition to not limiting the number of actual non-meta tags, do remain in the system until either manually dismissed by a diamond moderator or when the question is deleted or closed. This seems like a much more robust and reliable way to manage these questions and keep track of those that need attention, as even 10k+ users cannot dismiss the flag.

Finally, what this does do is puts the questions in the flagging queue, which can be accessed by diamond moderators as well as 10k users. Both groups can use the moderation tools to go through these questions, when they have time, and vote to close, vote to delete, or flag for moderator attention and make the case for not deleting or closing them.

Removing the questions from this queue, without actually closing or deleting, is reserved solely for diamond moderators, so we can trust 10k users to help with this process without worrying about any questions falling through the cracks.

In summary, flags give us the advantage of effective tag usage as well as the advantages of knowing that the collection of flagged questions is safe.

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