I was was just going through some suggested edits, and came across a bunch by one user in which the comment was just

added relevant tags

in which just one tag was added, 'xoxo'. Only three or four questions seemed to have this tag, and it was added by the same user in all cases (presumably in this batch of suggested edits).The tag has no text on the tag wiki, and just one user following. I presumed that the edits were vandalism at worst, and a user trying to get some suggested edits through at best.

One example is this question:

where, while the text "xoxo" does appear in the question, it's not at clear why it should be tagged as such. It wasn't until I came to this question:

which mentions:

[edit] As a readable fallback when javascript is switched off, and to avoid parsing external OPML, it might be better to use XOXO an outline microformat instead of OPML.

that I realized that this XOXO was actually a topic that might deserve a tag. (However, not all of the tagged questions were about XOXO, some just included xoxo in them, revealing that, maybe, the asker might have been using it.)

  1. I know that tags are easy to create; we just type them in, and there they are. In the early stages of a tag, though, it's not going to be clear to reviewers that this is a meaningful tag. Should someone trying to introduce a tag make a tag wiki entry first? What should someone do if they're trying to organize a topic. The first few taggings are always going to cause some issues, because they'll look unused, and thus "too minor" as edits. Maybe the edit comment should make the intentions clearer?

  2. As reviewers, how are we supposed to handle this? At first I thought it was vandalism, and rejected as such, and now I realize that some of those rejections were probably mistaken (and some probably should have been rejected, but just as too minor or invalid (e.g., when the code mentions XOXO, but the question isn't really about it)). I rolled back some of the edits that I found by searching for the XOXO tag, but now I wonder whether I should have done that.


After a few days, this has elicited some comments about the actual XOXO specification, which is relevant, but I am really wondering, how should I have handled this case? When there was no tag wiki, and no clear reason that some of these posts should have been tagged with [xoxo], a vandalism flag seemed appropriate. I don't know whether that will lead to some sort of suspension of the user who, in retrospect, seems to have been trying in earnest to create a legitimate tag. Even if some of the tagged questions didn't really need the tag, it would have been more appropriate to flag as "too minor" or "invalid edit" than as "vandalism".

  • 4
    I don't know what surprises me more - the fact that people are still actively maintaining an unofficial specification from 2004 based on the mostly-dead XHTML specification, or the fact that people are actually using it. – animuson Sep 14 '13 at 19:50
  • Well, until earlier today, it doesn't look anyone thought it was important enough to tag any questions with it. I don't mind there being a tag, but I can't see that it's all that important for a question like this one. – Joshua Taylor Sep 14 '13 at 19:55
  • What is the modern replacement for XOXO? Is there an HTML5 equivalent? – user102937 Sep 14 '13 at 20:06
  • @Robert Probably. HTML5 pretty much got rid of the need for XHTML so I guess you could attribute it to that. But then again, XOXO is still marked as a "work in progress" anyways so I'd rather label it as an obsolete attempt at creating a specification. – animuson Sep 14 '13 at 20:30
  • Is XOXO a tag that groups a class of questions, or is it a tag that groups a class of answers? I've seen a few very good tags that nevertheless suffer from a defect: in order to know that the tag is relevant, you have to know the answer, in which case you are unlikely to ask the question. This point may be moot if XOXO is a bad tag to begin with. – Walter Mitty Sep 22 '13 at 7:13

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