We need meta tags to more easily describe our preferences.
Current mechanism (regular expressions) is not sufficient because related tags (semantic issue) don't have to have related names (syntax issue).

Problems that would be solved by meta tags;

(...) If someone has set up their filter for say vs* and retag all vs2010 to visualstudio2010, they may lose their desired highlighting
Nathan Koop on Batch retagging? proposal.

Meta tag is a collection of normal tags and multi tags like c++*. In every context a normal tag can be used meta tag can be used as well. Every time an operation on meta tag is being performed it gets replaced with all normal tags it denotes.

  • What do you suggest? Jul 1, 2009 at 21:47
  • 1
    @Kyle Well...adding meta tags :) Jul 1, 2009 at 21:58
  • So in other words, a tag that stands for another tag? It's been suggested (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/623/…). Jul 1, 2009 at 22:20
  • @Kyle A tag that stands for other tags not a tag. Besides using meta-tags to group synonymous tags are only one of possible use cases for meta tags. The feature I'm proposing is more powerful than the one you pointed. Jul 1, 2009 at 22:30

5 Answers 5


I think what he wants is for a tagged named [@.net], to be associated with [.net], [c#], [f#] etc. That way if someone wants to follow everything having to do with .Net, all they would have to do is follow [@.net]. Whenever there is a new tag associated with that meta-tag, they wouldn't have to add that tag into their interesting tags list.

There could also be a tag-page https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/@.net, that shows a list of all it's associated tags.

So then going to https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/@.net, would essentially be the same as going to https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/.net+or+c%23+or+f%23, but with the added benefit of including new tags as they appear.


How often do tags get renamed? Have you actually ran into this problem more than once?

It's not really clear what exactly a "meta" tag is from your question either. Can you explain?

  • Currently they are not being renamed so often because batch operations on tags are not yet implemented. When they are implemented there will be many more renames. Jul 1, 2009 at 22:14
  • Agreed, it's impractical to prepare for the worst-case scenario of every possible site function. Jul 1, 2009 at 22:14
  • @Ian It's just one of problems meta tags would solve. Jul 1, 2009 at 22:15
  • 1
    Thing is, you'll end up with all the problems that come with maintaining another metadata system. And some bright kid will come along and suggest meta-meta tags, and that'll solve all those problems, but now we'll have these issues with the meta-meta-data. Point is, we'd save a whole lot of time in the long run if we just went straight to meta-meta-meta tags right away...
    – Shog9
    Jul 1, 2009 at 22:21
  • @Shog9 Yes, let's stop using meta.so because it's meta and because some bright kid will come along and suggest meta.meta.so. Point is, we'd save a whole lot of time in the long run if there weren't people who don't get meta problems at all... Jul 1, 2009 at 22:38

I don't think this is a problem, nor is there an obvious fix for this..

Say the Batch Retag option does get implemented, and the vs2010 is changed to visualstudio2010.. When you are browsing StackOverflow and you notice none of the Visual Studio questions are being highlighted, you look at the tags and realise it's not tagged as vs2010 but rather the more verbose name, update your filters and it's fixed for ever more..

I suppose one partial solution would be to update users interests/ignores when a batch-retag happens, but this obviously wouldn't work with wildcards, and is so easily fixed by the user it's hardly worth the effort!


There's a way to write OR queries. Just put "or" between the tags:


Problem solved...

  • Good luck ORing all kinds of databases instead of simply filtering with db-questions meta-tag :) Jul 1, 2009 at 22:24
  • 1
    The "database" tag usually works for me...
    – Shog9
    Jul 1, 2009 at 22:30
  • @Shog9 I guess your code usually works as well... Jul 1, 2009 at 22:32
  • Not as often as the database tag. You should check it out - there are oracle questions, mysql questions, sqlserver questions, sqlserver2005 questions, sqlite questions, general sql questions... even ms-access questions! Talk about a meta-tag...
    – Shog9
    Jul 1, 2009 at 22:47

Batch retagging could browse interesting and ignored tags and change these too. It would have to

  • change the tag if it is found in one of the lists
  • add the tag, if a wildcard is found that includes the old tag, but non to include the new tag
  • not add the tag, if a wildcard is found that includes the old tag, but there is a wildcard in the opposite list that includes the new

You see that there are some problems associated with this, and I would not like the batch mess with my data automatically apart from one case:

  • the old tag should be removed as it will be nonexistent

Other than that I would revisit my lists of tags when I see questions popping up wrongly marked.

Meta tags would actually be too narrow of a solution. It would be great to have a taxonomy or even better a semantic net, some neighbourhood function (which tag is close to which). But I guess that will just be overkill.

You must log in to answer this question.

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