How about introducing to Stack Overflow in order to make it easier to identify them?

The general idea is to have either moderators designate individual canonicals and/or auto tag those questions which have been given most often as a possible duplicate. This would allow us to limit searching for duplicates inside this tag - which presumably has the best quality answers - instead of having to wade through the full list of duplicates of varying quality. It might also encourage more users to contribute to a canonical instead of spreading answers between the dups.

Regarding being a meta tag: while that's true, I dont think it suffers from the same problem as , or mainly because it should be limited to either automatic application or by moderator decision. , while a meta tag is a functional tag.

Regarding should be : I think this does not represent how Stack Overflow currently works. Tags are for questions and I've seen questions hijacked by one good answer turn into a collection of other high quality answers, so I'd say it's the collection of question and answers that counts. Also, the question itself could be edited to be phrased in a more canonical sense. Example https://stackoverflow.com/posts/3577641/revisions

  • 8
    Unfortunately it would be a meta tag
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jan 13, 2012 at 12:43
  • 4
    Also wouldn't a canonical answer be a better idea?
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jan 13, 2012 at 12:44
  • And assuming some way of designating canonical answers gets build, wouldn't that be a far more appropriate way of choosing one of the dupes as the canonical question?
    – yannis
    Jan 13, 2012 at 12:50
  • Not sure 'canonical' is at all the right word; don't you just mean faq ?
    – AakashM
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:38
  • @AakashM the questions in the faq tab are likely good candidates for being canonicals for a tag but as long as you cannot search over just those question, i'd say no, its not the same.
    – Gordon
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:42
  • 3
    I see the use in this, but I really don't feel that great about introducing a meta tag intentionally. It describes what the question is, not what the question is about. php-reference sounds a little better to me, because it builds on the existing php tag (thus a search of the tag brings up only php questions).. but it's still (basically) a meta tag. I see the use for it, but I'd really like to hear what Jeff has to say.
    – user50049
    Jan 13, 2012 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


Isn't this sort of thing exactly what the tag wiki is for? Any particularly good questions related to a tag can easily get linked to from there. This also has the advantage of not being limited only to moderators.

I would much rather see the tag wikis get move love and attention than to have tags (which are already a limited resource, with only 5 per question) be used to do the same thing as a wiki can do, but better.

IMHO, a tag should be used to provide quickly find information about the same topic. Meta tags don't meet that goal.

  • 3
    tag wikis dont cut imo. they are mostly overlooked and as long as they dont have subpages, they are simply too space inefficient. for instance, stackoverflow.com/questions/3737139/… is longer than the entire php tag wiki.
    – Gordon
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:07
  • I agree that tag wikis are far too often overlooked, and I think they they need to be made much more prominent and could use a few more features (like sub-pages or better internal organization / navigation). But in the question you linked to, that one question isn't in any way a comprehensive chunk of info about PHP. It's only one part of such a corpus, (and is an ideal candidate to have linked to from the PHP wiki), but it isn't the canonical question about PHP, only one of many such canonical questions about different aspects of PHP. Perhaps a "canonical" section in the wiki?
    – cdeszaq
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:18
  • 1
    Also, I cannot closevote against a tag wiki.
    – Gordon
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:18
  • I'm not sure what you mean by not being able to close-vote, but on SO, you can't vote on tag wiki edits until you have 5k rep, and can't free-edit tag wikis until 20k. Anyone can suggest tag wiki edits, but it's only a select few fairly trusted users that actually have the power to make changes permanent.
    – cdeszaq
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:22
  • Yes, but you cannot close a duplicate question with a link to the tag wiki. Also having a canonical tag (which could easily not count against the 5 tag user supplied max) is much more prominent than a link in the tag wiki.
    – Gordon
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:28
  • But you can close a dupe with a link to a question linked to from the tag wiki. I agree that a tag like you are proposing has it's advantages over a section of canonical links in a tag wiki, like being able to leverage the votes and other meta-data on the questions that links in a tag wiki can't do, but I still don't think it's enough of an advantage to justify reducing the importance of the tag wiki. I would much rather see effort put towards improving problems in existing tools than to add additional parallel tools to solve those problems.
    – cdeszaq
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:43
  • 1
    fair enough. I just think that the efforts required to make the tag wikis more valuable are much bigger than placing that single piece of information where most of the action is. The tag wikis are poorly integrated imo.
    – Gordon
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:47
  • I agree 100% that the tag wikis need to be moved higher in the "citizenship" chart. Not necessarily 1st-class, but definitely higher than they are now.
    – cdeszaq
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:49

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