Based on my answer here, I would like to propose the implementation of a tag black list.

The black list should contain a list of tags that should NOT be used on the site and disallow people with tagging rights to use these tags, for example the case of using the belongs-on tags.

I would also suggest increasing the tagging rep limit however this was previously covered here.

Additional Options

As mentioned by Chris the list should only be accessible by moderators and possibly 10K moderators to ensure that the list is kept tidy. However for 10k moderators a voting process will be put in place to add a tag to the blacklist.

The list should also be updated when moderators merge tags. The removed tag should automatically be added to the black list.

Blacklisted tags can appear as strikethroughs on the tag field when editing or adding a new question, and be validated accordingly.

Additional Nice to Have

When tags are edited they should not bump questions, as this ends up creating a lot of noise on the homepage.

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    You link very often to the same stuff, don't you? – Ladybug Killer Aug 31 '09 at 9:40
  • Removed some links and cleaned up the question. – BinaryMisfit Aug 31 '09 at 10:19
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    Are there new badges out there for offering bounties or why do we have this flood? – Ladybug Killer Sep 11 '09 at 7:06
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    @John - It is one of the few unanswered questions I have and I noticed the one's about belong on tags. So I though it was the right time to do it. Also I have never offered bounties before :) – BinaryMisfit Sep 11 '09 at 7:16
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    Hang on, if a simple tag edit didn't bump to the front page, how will the non-mod users help spot tagging abuse? Like posts where the OP is changing a tag every day to put their Q up front? – random Oct 11 '09 at 9:23
  • Agreed that this is something to consider. However with the Tag Blacklist the abuse would be less. There is also a list of new tags for 10k plus mods that assists with tracking this down either way. – BinaryMisfit Oct 11 '09 at 10:01
  • @random, excuse my ignorance here, but if changing tags does not bump to the front page, then where else would the question be put up front? – Arjan Oct 11 '09 at 11:09
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    Any timeframe on this update? I'm getting sooo sick of removing "belongs-on" tags. waits for the 6-8 weeks comment – Mark Henderson Jan 10 '10 at 22:31
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    Retagging should still bump questions to the front. This is needed so that users can spot abuse.. For example, let's say that one day I'm drunk and I decide to retag all "c++" questions on stackoverflow to "c#". How many will I be able to retag before anyone notices, if they're not bumped to the front? – Thomas Bonini Jan 24 '10 at 14:51

10 Answers 10


Anything that helps avoid problems with windows-forms vs winforms, and the regular plzsendtehcodez etc... ;-p

Of course, for the first example, tag aliasing would be preferable. But the second is just noise and could be blocked.

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    Perhaps some sort of "auto correct" rather than a blacklist. I hate it when a computer tells me to do "x" instead of "y" - just do it for me! – user27414 Aug 31 '09 at 13:21
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    @Jon B: I agree. I think we need both, though. I don't always want to suggest an alternate tag, like in the cases of "belongs-on-" and "plzsendtehcodez". Most of the time an auto-correct would be better, though. – Bill the Lizard Sep 1 '09 at 0:01
  • The 'plzsendtehcodez' tag (my little baby) would be easily wiped out (and all its variants) if a regular expression looking for 'plz' at the start of a sentence was implemented. plz isn't an shouldn't be a valid tag (the only oither place I've seen it used is on perl scripts for windows). – George Stocker Oct 11 '09 at 14:20
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    @Bill @Marc: As a side effect of the automatic locking of migrated posts, we currently have a few "belongs-on..." tags hanging around on SO questions that I can neither alter nor flag right now. Just thought I'd bring that to your attention. You know, in case you don't have anything to do... – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jan 30 '10 at 0:24
  • @george, well, its plausible in the next.. while someone will create an API called "plz".. – bobobobo Apr 29 '10 at 22:46
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    Suggest a plztoremovethistag alias for plztosendtehcodez? :D – badp Jul 27 '10 at 16:28

We do have a blacklist, to be clear -- it's something the dev team has to enter because it's so dangerous to get wrong.

We work with the existing site moderators to determine what's bad enough to be blacklisted. It has to be quite bad.

And yes we are still planning to implement tag synonym remapping.

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    What process would you like us to use to propose blacklisting a tag or set of tags? I thought this system would be much "softer" to use than dev team only. Also, we need more details about what the system is capable of -- does it allow for blacklisting tag combinations such as [windows] + [forms]? – Jon Seigel May 10 '10 at 13:05

Access to the black list should be restricted to moderators or should require the votes of users of sufficiently high rep (to be determined) and candidates for inclusion should be voted upon, or at least regularly reviewed.

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  • I agree. Perhaps 10k users can add suggestions to be voted on, 5 or 7k users can vote, and moderators can actually move a tag to the black list? – Thomas Owens Aug 31 '09 at 23:22
  • The 5k+ users should be involved in this. We do a lot of retagging, so we also see what needs to be changed or blacklisted. – alex Oct 7 '09 at 7:11
  • Anyone with the capability to retag should be able to recommend a tag for a blacklist – Brian Dec 10 '09 at 0:33

This should include common words as well that make bad tags such as "and", "but", "or", "the", etc. See my suggestion here.

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I agree this would be nice feature and I look forward to it.

Over the last day, I went through Super User and removed all the "belongs-on-stackoverflow", "belongs-on-serverfault", "belongs-on-meta", "belongs-on-superuser", etc. They are obviously found on migrated questions most of the time.

A black list would prevent this from ever having to be done again. :)

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The tag blacklist needs to have another column to hold the tag that the bad one should be replaced with.

Then, when someone submits a question with a bad tag, it can be replaced with a message, "The tag [badtag] is invalid and was replaced with [goodtag]."

It could also show up in the tag hints as the user types, because by the time they've typed "vs" "visual-studio" won't show up.

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Seeing as it's already [status-planned] with no idea on [status-completed], we wait.

But on Super User, Troggy has been cleaning up so many of these improperly tagged questions. And it's not like the issue/behaviour is going away.

It would be nice to put the fear of being jerks into those who tag as such:

If you're going to retag this question as any of the following:

  • belongs-on-* (serverfault, superuser, meta or stackoverflow)
  • off-topic
  • not-*-related (programming, sysadmin, computer)

Then you're being a jerk.

And have it appear on the retag screen for those between 500 and 2000 rep. (Because hopefully they'll learn enough by the end of that to know to stop retagging as such.)

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  • Can mods see the last created tags? – perbert Aug 31 '09 at 12:41
  • @voyager - All mods can see the recently created tags, including the 10k one's if I am not mistaken. – BinaryMisfit Aug 31 '09 at 14:12
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    @Diago: that should go a long way of keeping noise to a minimum... Maybe lower the "see recently tag" entry rep, so people with retag privileges can help on keeping "bad" tags out. – perbert Aug 31 '09 at 14:52
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    @voyager - The problem is everyone's idea of a bad tag is completely different. You say patato, I say potato. – BinaryMisfit Sep 11 '09 at 5:55
  • Users can remove or change unwanted tags, but Moderators should be the ones to blacklist tags. – user102937 Sep 16 '09 at 3:40

If it is ever going to come, please add [in] to it as well, next to what @tvanfosson already suggested before.

The only appropriate use is [in-clause]. I get tired of retagging/fixing them. No, it is no candidate for tag synonyms. The in can have an entirely different meaning.

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Following this idea, we could think about some particular tag blocks, when not matching to the site. Ok, I can't think of many ones, but one which occured to me as obvious is [video-games] (or even [games]), on SuperUser.com

Since this one has precisely stated in the FAQ that question should be not video-games related, for sure no one should use such tags.

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  • The idea above is that these tags will form part of the Tag Blacklist anyway. – BinaryMisfit Sep 11 '09 at 5:54

Regarding the "additional nice to have": I used to like that idea too, but a good argument has been made against it.

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  • How is that in anyway related to what we are talking about? – Earlz Apr 29 '10 at 22:53
  • The OP suggested that tags should not bump questions; the link provides a reason that they should. – Pops Apr 30 '10 at 0:52

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