TL,DR: What process should tag cleanups follow to ensure that bad tags get cleaned up and good tags are kept? What should we do if we spot a good tag on a kill list?

The process that I'm used to when discuss tagging is a meta post where someone proposes to merge two tags, or disambiguate a tag, or remove a tag, or other similar actions. Members of the community chime in, make proposals, and after a while, a decision is reached (hopefully by consensus), and the community acts on it.

This seems to happen on Stack Overflow as well as other sites; here are a few recent examples:

But Stack Overflow also has the https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/128315/the-great-stack-overflow-tag-question-cleanup-of-2012. This tag cleanup has helped cleaned up some bad tags. Unfortunately, some good tags have also disappeared in the process.

Who decides what tag gets included in the cleanup? On what basis?

How can we report a tag that should stay? (I and others have tried posting an answer to the meta question, but it hasn't had any effect.)

What can we do to restore good tags that have been edited away?

If your answer is about what should happen in a tag cleanup, please do indicate how your proposed policy applies to the ongoing tag lineup cleanup.

Here are some examples of tags that are still present, but should not be in the list, based on a separate discussion. (Some of the discussions are new, because I didn't find any prior discussion, yet the tag is not one that should obviously be deleted.)

  • As far as I can tell, the synonym suggestion system doesn't work. Maybe if it was easier to crowd source tags, we wouldn't need heroics efforts to clean up tags. Jul 2, 2012 at 0:21

1 Answer 1


The community gets to decide.

The basis for selecting tags for the cleanup is the same as any other request for cleanup of an individual tag. The difference being, all of these tags are in the same post, which does post a bit of a logistical challenge.

If you feel strongly about any one tag in the cleanup, post an individual question here on Meta so that it can be discussed using the usual format. Include a detailed justification for your argument: should it stay or should it go, and why.

  • 5
    I agree that the community should get to decide. But in the 2012 tag cleanup, there is no community decision, and focused separate discussions (I included a few examples in my question) are completely ignored. This isn't a mere “logistical challenge”: there is no review of what goes into the kill list. Jun 26, 2012 at 21:50

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