This proposition occurred to me when I have seen a case of mistyped tag on a question on SU.

The tag used was "identiy-theft", which is obviously mistyped. It got changed to identity-theft, but the identiy-theft tag still exists, even though there are no questions associated with it.

The problem is that tags are entered with a list of propositions, when someone asks a question. New users are not able to create tags anyway, so they will use these ones for sure. The problem then, is that if such mistyped tags are provided in the proposition list, then it's easy for someone to choose it quickly, just because it resembles the tag they actually want. I was at first thinking about some moderation requests, like many on this site, to "remove" a tag, but it's not really a solution.

So, my proposition would be to remove automatically tags when no question uses them. This way, let's see the following of actions :

  • Someone creates a mistyped tag in his question
  • It will most likely be corrected by another user (or the author himself)
  • The mistyped tag won't be used by any question anymore
  • The tag is deleted, so it won't be proposed for next questions

This doesn't prevent someone to come and create the mistyped tag again, of course. But at least it would be a community-driven way of getting rid of such "unwanted" tags, and it would reduce the risk of seeing it used again, just because it was proposed.

Edit : Ok, according to answers, they are already being cleaned up, but I guess that for performance issues, only periodically.

Thanks for answers !

  • Amen. This is especially pertinent after the Great Tagging Reorg being carried out.
    – Eric
    Commented Aug 10, 2009 at 16:04
  • 1
    It is possible to upvote someone's avatar?
    – devinb
    Commented Aug 10, 2009 at 16:55
  • @devinb : I doubt the goal of the SO sites is to end in a "rate my picture" party :] Why such question, by the way ?
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Aug 10, 2009 at 19:07
  • Would you consider closed questions in need of retagging out the obsolete?
    – random
    Commented Aug 11, 2009 at 3:39
  • @random : I don't think so, some questions are closed because inappropriate, or not matching, true. But at same time, they are still in history, to show to people who would have the idea that "yes, someone did it before you, and it got closed, so just don't do it again". Of course, that means some remaining tags, but I think that as long as a question exists, no way it should remove the tags. (eventually, if really silly tag, it will be edited out from the question before even it being closed.)
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Aug 11, 2009 at 6:04

2 Answers 2


Tags are removed when they aren't in use. However, if you go to the tags page and type "iden" in the search box, you'll see that it still claims that 2 questions are tagged [identiy-theft], which means it's a cache issue that will go away eventually.


They are periodically cleaned up.

Just try looking for the [rosetta] tag on Stack Overflow, which has been hand rolled into the [rosetta-stone] tag.

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