Executive Summary

Unpopular tags are a catch-22 for stackoverflowers active in those tags.

The topics have few eyes on them, so there's no real coordination of the tags, their usage, or the community. This results in many overlapping tags and eyes being spread out further rather than consolidated. To grow the community the tags need to be consolidated, but without the tags being consolidated votes are few and far between, and the 2,500 reputation to create tag synonyms is an absurdly high hurdle.

To be blunt, this answer racked up 105 reputation in a few hours, while this answer has earned absolutely nothing over the past 6 months.


What can be done to support users of unpopular tags where Unsung Heroes are more common than 2,000 reputation users?

For now I suggest:

Some Background

I participate rather heavily in the following 4 incredibly unpopular tags. The following are my answers since joining out of the total answers for that tag this year (2013-1-1 to 2013-7-17 when the data-explorer was last updated):

  • 22.8% [google-charts] 102 out of 448
  • 20.6% [google-visualization] 32 out of 155
  • 19.2% [google-charts-api] 35 out of 182
  • 38.1% [google-geochart] 8 out of 21

Over 7 months I have provided over 130 answers and amassed 2,000 reputation through blood, sweat, and tears, though roughly half of my answers have zero upvotes, and over half are not accepted answers (these tags hover around 30-40% unanswered primarily from hit-and-run questions).

  • Meanwhile, some answer about Eclipse posted a few years ago has amassed 2000+ rep and counting. Oh the disparity! Aug 1, 2013 at 8:03
  • @Mat thanks for the edit -- didn't realize the tags weren't properly spaced. Phooey on my proof-reading.
    – jmac
    Aug 1, 2013 at 8:10
  • Is there a need for something to be done?
    – Bart
    Aug 1, 2013 at 8:15
  • 1
    Does something need to be done? No. You can ignore my request and I'll probably just do it myself in 3 months when I get up to 2500. But it would be really nice if a few brave souls actually gave a shot at altruism and help out some deserving tags and contributors even if there isn't a massive reputation boost at the end of the rainbow.
    – jmac
    Aug 1, 2013 at 8:31
  • 2
    My point is that I fail to see a problem here. If those tags need to be synonyms (which I somehow doubt) just post a request on Meta to make them so. Other than that, I don't see a whole lot here that needs to happen.
    – Bart
    Aug 1, 2013 at 8:33
  • 3
    That question you linked to has a [javascript] tag. Do you really think that's one of the less-active tags on the site? I mean, maybe people just don't think that answer is worth an upvote. Clearly you don't, or it would have at least +1.
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 1, 2013 at 8:55
  • 1
    @CodyGray It' my post. I cannot upvote it. The answer cannot be googled, it isn't explained in documentation anywhere, and it is only javascript in the sense that the Google Visualization API works through javascript. Can you tell if my answer is right? Well therein lies the problem. I find it amazing that you have judged my answer to not have value due to lack of upvotes without having even bothered to check it yourself, or having the expertise to judge it.
    – jmac
    Aug 1, 2013 at 9:56
  • Sorry, I didn't realize it was your answer. No, I'm not qualified to judge its value. That's why I said maybe. And I'm not saying that your answer has anything to do with JavaScript, I'm saying that the question has the [javascript] tag, which is a pretty high-visibility tag, even if the other one isn't. That should attract plenty of views. The larger point is I don't see a systemic problem here. This reads more like a "why hasn't my answer been upvoted?" question. Sorry, that happens. Some of my answers that I think are the best have a score of 0 or 1, while others are inexplicably +25.
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 1, 2013 at 10:02
  • 1
    @Bart I did make a request. 2.5 months ago. It was ignored (what a shock). It's even linked to in this post. You could make it happen. Easily. And I'd be happy. And we wouldn't have this discussion. But yet we are, because it didn't.
    – jmac
    Aug 1, 2013 at 10:20
  • @CodyGray That question has 162 views in 6 months. Many of them today I'd guess due to this question (which has 33 views already). The C++ question I mentioned has 100+ views already. In several hours. Because it has upvotes. Because people can judge it easily. SO is supposed to be for tough questions that don't have a resource, not for easy rep. My answer/that question was ignored because it is tough for most people to judge. So it lacks exposure. And support. And we get back to the start of the post.
    – jmac
    Aug 1, 2013 at 10:22
  • 2
    I'm not really sure why you think that an answer about template deduction in C++ is something that "people can judge easily". Yes, the purpose of Stack Overflow is to build a resource of good answers to programming questions of all levels. That doesn't mean that all those answers get lots of upvotes.
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 1, 2013 at 10:30
  • Where in your linked post do you request them to be made synonyms? And in 7 months you're up to 2k rep. That's not bad. I'm sorry, but I really see no problem that needs solving. That other tags/questions gain rep faster isn't much of an issue in my opinion. Some things are popular, some things are not.
    – Bart
    Aug 1, 2013 at 10:40
  • @Bart You're right, I linked it wrong, this is the post asking for the synonym request. I have put a lot of effort in to 132 answers that have only netted me 2k rep. I don't care about the rep in itself, only that the lack of it has prevented me from helping a tag I care about. Why is my request so unreasonable? With all the stuff on meta, is asking to support answering people's questions somehow a bad idea?
    – jmac
    Aug 1, 2013 at 12:36
  • Wtf... I tried to offer a bounty on that post and now it can't be reached? Is that just me? I get an "Oops, something bad happened".
    – Bart
    Aug 1, 2013 at 12:59
  • @Bart Thanks for the bounty, but really, anyone can start it who has 2500 rep. I don't. That's the issue. Nobody cares about those tags but me really...
    – jmac
    Aug 1, 2013 at 13:15


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