I just made a meta feature-request, and in the process ran into a rather terrible user experience. The gist of it is that after submitting, I was given the following message:

Oops! Your question couldn't be submitted because:

* 'meta-meta, league-of-justice, faq, trivial, feature-request ' contains a tag reserved for moderator use

Well, I have 5 tags there. Which bloody one? I had to muddle through removing each one trying to figure out which it was that caused this to happen.

Can't you just tell me which one is restricted to moderator use? Or better yet just restrict it to moderator use, and not let it populate in the tag auto-complete?

3 Answers 3


Excluding reserved tags from the autocomplete seems like a no-brainer.

And if someone types them in anyway, I feel the system should just strip them out while publishing the question, rather than failing with an error message.

  • I completely agree with the "silently fail and continue" Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 1:30
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    Although the silent failing will almost assuredly create 10 bug posts about tags not submitting properly. Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 2:04
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    I wonder if it's feasible for SO to use one of those funky sliding banners to announce, as the posted question is being displayed, that faq tag was stripped - for moderator use only!
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 2:23
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    Ah, "funky sliding banner", thanks. I've been trying to figure out what to call those.
    – hyperslug
    Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 3:07
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    I agree with Ian. Silent fail is horrible usability. They should red-box (of death) announce that "X tag is reserved for moderator use", and remove it from your tag list, BUT... it should not post anything.
    – devinb
    Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 12:52
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    See, i think failing to post my question is horrible usability. I don't have any problem with a better error message, i just don't want to see it when i've filled in everything and asked the site nicely to post my question. There's always a little bit of fear in any case, when submitting a form, that something bad will happen and everything written will be lost on its way to the server... Kicking it back without storing it because i didn't realize that some arbitrary tag was reserved for the mucky-mucks is just... rude!
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 14:21

The tag you were having issue with was probably the FAQ tag, which I believe is moderator only now. But I do agree with being able to explicitly say "Hey, don't add that tag" instead of "Hey, one of your tags isn't allowed"


Instead of exclusing tags from auto-complete; when you add a tag to the dialog, or when it pops up in the auto-complete, the font should be red (or grayed out, or whatever), so the person can see the tag is present but unusable.

Seems like you would be less likely to have users trying to enter a tag that they know is there, but don't understand is reserved.

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