Are there some more or less canonical guidelines for how to keep the tag set of a Stack Exchange site?

I'm looking for a resource to be used by moderators, high rep regular users, people about to create a new tag for a site, and for people arguing about or discussing new tags and proposals to merge, split and delete tags.

Personally I think I have a pretty good handle on this over on travel.SE but every now and again like today there's a bit of tag controversy and some other users think I'm being too militant about thinking some new tags are bad. So I'm looking to see what the wider concepts across Stack Exchange are.

Here's some examples:

  1. toilet-usage

    • Bad because toilets are not a travel topic even though we have a growing number of questions on toilets.
    • Bad because it specifically says "usage" and some of our toilet questions are about dealing with blockages or full waste bins etc, Not about using the toilet.
    • Bad because "toilet" has two meanings which differ by regional usage. For some it's the room that contains the device/appliance. For others it's the device/appliance itself. And for yet others it means both.
    • Bad because it creates an artificial separation (related questions, watching the tags, etc) between questions about toilets vs bidets, washbasins, showers, hand cleaning and sanitation.
    • Bad because we already have a tag hygiene which covers toilets in usage and otherwise as well as washing hands, showering, etc. It's not ambiguous. It's not too broad or too narrow. While "toilets" are not a travel topic for most people, "hygiene" generally is.
  2. event-based-effects

    • Bad because it's far too vague. Both "event" and "effect" have a very wide scope of meaning.

I urge my fellow travel.SE contributors to put in their two cents because obviously we have differing views. I also want to hear from Stack Exchange representatives to tell us how the tag system was intended to be used, and from people who try to maintain order in the tag sets of some of the much bigger SE sites.

(I've gone with the "support" tag here becuase I'm seeking official guidance on tag set upkeep. But if this is wrong please change to the "discussion" tag.)

  • 1
    The examples and your problems with them seems to be pretty much localized to the Travel SE. As is your request for their input. So why not ask it on their Meta first? I'm pretty sure at least some of the community moderators will keep an eye on that site as well, if you're looking for "official" input.
    – Bart
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 12:47
  • We have a small community that lacks a shared idea of how tagging works best. I would like to do them "The Stack Exchange way" that Jeff and Joel had in mind when devising the system. If you are saying there is no best way to maintain tag sets on the network and every site come up with their own idiosyncratic way of maintaining their I would be quite surprised. The idea of the examples was to give a general idea from actual examples. I could invent some corollary examples for another site but I would've thought it unnecessary. (Our last meta question has had no official input.) Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 13:04
  • 1
    You're free to leave it here and wait for input, but trying to answer it myself while reading, I found myself thinking "well, I'd have to understand the target site a bit better to accept or deny some of the arguments". But perhaps that's just me. So by all means wait for some input here. ;)
    – Bart
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 13:06
  • @Bart: I might have a look at some sites you are active on and see if I can come up with some analagous but hypothetical examples. Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 13:07
  • Don't focus on me. Give it some time here. I'm pretty much single-site.
    – Bart
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 13:08


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