I occasionally go through the newly created tags, retagging questions with tags that don't need to exist. I was told we don't need to create a big list for the moderators because the tags will die on themselves.

However, I can't seem to figure out how long it takes a tag to die. I have searched meta but can't find anything.

How long do tags without questions live?

  • There's a daily job that moves them to /dev/null.
    – Oded
    Feb 13, 2013 at 20:25
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/71123/…
    – Oded
    Feb 13, 2013 at 20:27
  • @Oded: Is there a specific time that it runs? I never figured it out... Is it also 03:00 UTC? I'd love the opportunity to hammer that time into people's heads more often.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 13, 2013 at 20:27
  • @animuson - Not sure. Never looked at the schedule.
    – Oded
    Feb 13, 2013 at 20:28
  • Our only hint is that Trogdor comes in the NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 13, 2013 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


I think you're confusing several things.

If a tag is not used on any question, it will be removed from the tag list by a daily job. You don't need to do anything.

If a tag is used on a single question and is six months old, the tag is hard-deleted from the database. No trace remains of the tag's existence, this is not a recorded edit. There is no way to prevent the deletion and even no way to monitor this short of periodically checking on the tags at risk and recording the affected questions to retag them when the tag is wiped out.

If the tag is used on two or more questions, it won't die short of someone removing it or deleting the questions.

Moderators have no special privilege when it comes to removing tags. They can synonmize and merge tags, but not delete them. So there is never a need to make a list of tags to remove for moderators. You should make a list of tags to remove in two circumstances:

  • To have the tags reviewed by the community, to decide whether they are worth keeping.
  • If it is determined that the tag must be removed and there are a lot of questions in that tag, developers (not moderators) can remove the tag from the database. A necessary preliminary is to have a meta thread showing consensus that the tag is to be removed.
  • Additionally, on Stack Overflow only, if it is determined that a tag must die, you may enlist the community's help in intermediate cases (too many for a single person but too few to get a developer involved). This doesn't apply to other sites because retagging a lot of questions in a short time unduly bumps those questions to the front page. Again, first obtain a meta consensus that the tags are to be removed in the first place.

You must log in to answer this question.

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