Update: the example in this question is somewhat outdated, as I've edited the Android tag :)

What is the specific goal for a tag wiki // the relation between a tag-wiki and its excerpt?

I would assume that the tag wiki itself should be complete, and the excerpt is just a summary. I was looking at the Android wiki and this starts with:

Developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance.

Now while this is true, this is hardly a good description of what Android is :). It looks like you should already know what it is before reading this wiki.

The excerpt does start with something more sane:

Android is Google's software stack for mobile devices

I thought I might add something like that to the wiki, but looking at the edit history (nr 11 at time of writing, dated Apr 1 '11 at 22:18, the equivalent description in the wiki itself was deliberately removed by a diamond moderator, so I'm hesitant to re-add it, not willing to go into an edit war :)

Therefore I come to this question: Should the wiki itself

  • Be a complete description including the information from the excerpt, with the excerpt containing a shorter version for the popup
  • Or is it something different, like for instance the wiki supposes a pre-existing knowledge of the excerpt (it being more of an introduction) with more in-depth information?

Also: the excerpt seems more than just that: it's the text you see when adding tags, so it has also some information about what to do and when to add. In the case of the complete excerpt is currently:

Android is Google's software stack for mobile devices. Please use the Android-specific tags such as [android-intent], not [intent]. For non-developer questions, see http://android.stackexchange.com

(The emphasis is mine.)

The part about what tag to use doesn't seem relevant (to me) when you are looking at the tag-wiki, only when you are using the tag (so looking at the excerpt). It currently looks like the "excerpt" is something of a "tag usage description", whereas the wiki is more general description? (Note that I don't mean "should be" in any of this, just trying to get clear what is currently the goal of which part). This could be one of the "different" options:

  • The excerpt containts some information that is double (like an intro), and some information that is not copied in the wiki (like tips on using it)

(And in the end, following from this, should I / we / you / someone add something to the Android wiki that describes what it is or not?)

I've seen some differences in approach among the various tags by the way. Doesn't it kind of seems like a free-for-all currently? "We" (read: I) could just edit the Android tag wiki to make a bit more sense, despite the mentioned change by a diamond moderator?

OK, this seems to be going nowhere, I've edited the wiki to include the excerpt, as I think I've shown enough effort to not just be labelled as an "edit war". (It hasn't been 'peer reviewed' though at the moment.)

  • 3
    This has bothered me too. I think the problem is that the tag info page has changed and it doesn't "Show excerpt" by default. Before the change, the information seemed to be duplicated. But now, the tag wikis, that have the "redundant" info removed, don't make as much sense. Feb 14, 2012 at 13:02
  • 1
    Good point for how it came to be!. btw: The word "excerpt" implies that it has been taken from somewhere, so my theory is that it should be present in the main body for it to be an excerpt :)
    – Nanne
    Feb 14, 2012 at 13:04
  • 1
    This is a very good question, it's something I've also wondered when reviewing suggested edits.
    – Benjol
    Feb 15, 2012 at 12:20
  • Maybe @RobertHarvey could come in (hopefully I did the comment-mention thing correct) and give a hint about re-pasting that part in the wiki itself would be a thing he'd frown upon?
    – Nanne
    Feb 24, 2012 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


The excerpt of a tag wiki should contain a short description of what the purpose of the tag is, or what the topic is.

The tag wiki should expand the excerpt, which is just plain text, and describe more in which cases the tag should be used; it can contains relevant links, a list of similar tags with an explanation of when to use one instead of the other, or a list of questions that are great examples of questions using that tag.

The difference between excerpt and tag wiki is that the excerpt is the part that is seen from the users when they are adding a tag to questions.


For this reason, the excerpt can sometimes contain a text that is important for the user, such as the reference to an existing Stack Exchange site dedicated to that type of questions, a warning that the tag should not be anymore used for new question, or a warning about the questions probably being a subjective/off-topic question.



(The second screenshot has been taken from Seasoned Advice.)

I don't think that what reported in the excerpt must be necessarily be repeated in the tag wiki, especially if all the tag wiki reports is already reported in the excerpt. The excerpt could contain something that is important for the users to see when they are adding tags to questions, which then less important when the tag wiki is being read.
That said, it is important the tag wiki is independent from its excerpt, and it should be stand-alone, especially now that users can hide the excerpt when seeing the tag wiki page (e.g. https://stackoverflow.com/tags/drupal/info).


This means that, instead of reading, "Developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance." which is not a sentence, I would rather prefer reading, "Android is Google's software stack for mobile devices, developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance."

How much of the excerpt should be repeated in the tag wiki depends from many factors, such as how long the tag wiki is already, and how much the excerpt content is important.
I would not say that repeating the excerpt in the tag wiki is something bad, but if there is other more important information that should be visible in the first 5-7 lines of the tag wiki, I would rather see that information, and not seeing again what I have already seen in the excerpt, which is normally seen when adding tags to questions, or when hovering the tag used by a question (as the excerpt is hidden by default, in the tag info page).
It is not possible to objectively decide about this in all the cases. Generally speaking, duplication is not necessarily bad.

  • Not as direct critique on the answer, but the goal of the excerpt itself wasn't really unclear. It's what to do with the rest that's gotten me confused. Best part (and my reason for +1) is this: t is important the tag wiki is independent from its excerpt, and it should be stand-alone . It's kinda what I think, and the part wich isn't clear in the example :)
    – Nanne
    Feb 28, 2012 at 13:45
  • If the part of the excerpt is relevant only when adding a tag, then that part should just be in the excerpt; apart that, I don't think there is a clear guideline on which part of the excerpt should be duplicated in the tag wiki. Clearly, if I add a phrase in the tag wiki that can be understood just reading also the excerpt (such as in the case of "Developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance." which is missing the subject), then I would consider re-phrasing it to include what already said in the excerpt.
    – apaderno
    Feb 28, 2012 at 14:15

My view on this, and the one I'm going to use while editting if there will be no other answers in the end:

  • An excerpt is a short introduction to the subject, and maybe some extra hints as to how to use the tag.
  • The tag wiki should contain the introduction part (but this doesn't have to be literal: the excerpt might be more dense, so in need of a different sentence structure).
  • The excerpts "tag hints" part doesn't need to be copied into the tag wiki: it has nothing to do with the subject, it's just for the popup while selecting tags.
  • The how-to-tag hints should also be in the wiki, but perhaps expanded and clarified over the "bullet points" in the except (IMO). Anywho, the semi-official guidance (from before the wiki page changed behavior) is at Jeff's old blog post, "Redesigned Tags Page". That is where the wiki-page, edit help points. Feb 24, 2012 at 9:22
  • That does say a lot about what goes in the excerpt, but not the other way around I believe?
    – Nanne
    Feb 24, 2012 at 9:27
  • Edited the wiki for android, as no real conclusion has come from this. @brock I see your point about tag hints, so I've left them in.
    – Nanne
    Feb 28, 2012 at 12:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .