On Drupal Answers, I sometimes ask for black-listing tags that are very bad, or too broad to be useful. Considering there is also the possibility of burninating a tag (removing it from the history of the posts), I am not sure I know when I should ask for black-listing a tag.

For example, on Drupal Answers, I removed the "developing" tag, which was added to 15 questions asked since September. I have already taken care of the tag in the past, and now it got used again.

I imagine that the first time the request should be to burninate the tag, and only when the tag keeps being used, ask for black-listing it. If this is the case, when should a tag be asked to be blacklisted? How much questions should use the tag, after it is removed from the questions using it, for the tag to be considered for black-listing?

It is also true there are tags that need to be black-listed without being used from much questions, or even being first burninated, but I think those are really a minority. I am thinking of , which would not make sense in a site like Drupal Answers, but it is still used on Stack Overflow, where knowing the question is about Drupal is necessary. (The tag is in fact black-listed on Drupal Answers.

As side note, which information should be given when asking for black-listing a tag? Should I say, for example, "This tag was used in the past in X questions; I have removed it, and now it was again used for Y questions in Z weeks."? Do community coordinators/developers see any information about the removed tags used from questions?

  • The main problem with blacklist requests is that they're only actionable by SE employees. Even if a bad tag keeps reappearing, nothing will get done unless SE employees agree, and they tend to say nothing instead of disagreeing. It's an entirely opaque process. If you asked for a blacklist and no action was taken, don't assume it's because you did something wrong. – Charles Oct 28 '12 at 2:34
  • Also burninating a tag (removing it from the history of the questions using it) requires SE employees to do it. The difference between burninating, and black-listing is that the latter requires the tag not to be used from any question, and this could be done by first burninating the tag. Once that is done, black-listing is the less destructive part, as it is just entering a regular expression in the settings used by the site. – kiamlaluno Oct 28 '12 at 15:33

The process we follow on Programmers:

  1. Cleaning up a tag

    We post a Meta question on whether the tag is useful or not. If consensus is reached that the tag is useless, we either clean it up manually or, if it's on a lot of questions, we ask someone from SE to burninate it.

  2. Blacklisting a tag

    If a tag that was previously cleaned up appears again, even once, we post another Meta question on blacklisting it, referencing the earlier Meta question on cleaning it up and the question(s) it appeared on. Then we ping a community team member in TL to take care of it.

So, apparently we do the same as with you guys, more or less.

  • The question was more about how much questions should be using the tag, before it can be black-listed. It is to avoid for asking to black-list a tag, and getting a "there isn't anything that needs be done" as answer. – kiamlaluno Oct 28 '12 at 0:14
  • @kiamlaluno I believe I answered that question: "If a tag that was previously cleaned up appears again, even once, we post another Meta question on blacklisting it...". So far, our tag blacklisting requests haven't been denied. – yannis Oct 28 '12 at 0:16
  • Does that mean that if the tag is used again from a single question after it has been cleaned up, that is enough for asking to have it black-listed? – kiamlaluno Oct 28 '12 at 0:28
  • @kiamlaluno It was enough for Programmers so far. – yannis Oct 28 '12 at 0:30
  • In one of my request, I got the following, as answer: "Looks like neither tag is used right now and I'm not seeing strong support for blacklisting here. If the tags keep coming back and can't be controlled with simple retagging, we can revisit this." – kiamlaluno Oct 28 '12 at 0:31
  • @kiamlaluno You'll certainly have a stronger case if the tag keeps appearing a lot after you cleaned it up once. If it's just a handful of questions, just remove it, and perhaps post a comment to the questions it appeared saying it's a deprecated tag. While our requests for blacklisting went through, most of the tags were obviously problematic, or where cleaned up as a result of large scale efforts (and after spending a month cleaning up a tag, there was no reason for us to even wait for it to re-appear). – yannis Oct 28 '12 at 0:35
  • @kiamlaluno In any case, you can always post a Meta question asking for the tag to be blacklisted, even if it only re-appeared once. In your Meta question you don't point to any previous Meta discussion about cleaning up the tag, which I'm guessing is what "I'm not seeing strong support for blacklisting here" means (more or less). Did the community have a chance to weigh in on whether the tags are actually problematic? – yannis Oct 28 '12 at 0:37

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