This user seems to be really keen on editing the excerpts for tags. Don't get me wrong - I really have nothing against people trying to help but as a reviewer I am not sure if they are all that helpful in the end and sometimes I am not sure what actions to take so I'd like to learn and improve my judgement skills a bit.

I know I can skip if unsure, but since I am already able to review the suggested excerpts I'd like to contribute and do well so I want to learn what a good excerpt is.

What I am specifically referring to is number 3 and 4.

The excerpts are quite helpful because they generally describe what the tag means but are also too minor as none of the suggestions mention when and/or where to use the tags.

note: you can view some of the excerpts clicking the tag wiki link in the users profile

When I reject a suggested except text as not helpful the reason does specifically say

This edit does not follow any of our tag wiki guidelines and is unlikely to help instruct future visitors in the appropriate use of the tag

which makes me think that it's a big part of the suggested edit to actually instruct where it's appropriate to use the tag and not only suggest the meaning of the word on the tag.

What are correct actions to take against those excerpts?

  • S/he's been doing tag wiki edits for the past 7 hours?? Sheesh. Some people find the strangest ways to kill their time.
    – JonW
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 11:57
  • 2
    If it has no tag except before and it has a correct (if limited) except now that seems like a good thing Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 11:57
  • 1
    possible duplicate of How to flag a user editing tag wiki Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 11:59
  • 2
    They are excerpts; the 'when and where' part usually is listed in the tag wiki itself. The user is otherwise doing helpful work, in my opinion. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 12:01
  • 1
    Most tags don't need any specific guidance as to when to use the tag, especially in the excerpt. If the only meaningful guidance is “use the tag foo for questions about foo”, it's implicit. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 12:05
  • I haven't looked through that user's edits. The most common problem with tag wikis is text that's copy-pasted from Wikipedia, the company/project home page or other source and that doesn't fit in the context of a Q&A site focused on one topic: ad copy, historical notes from the first paragraph in WP, etc. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 12:06
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    @MartijnPieters i disagree that this is a duplicate. its related but the other questions asks how to mark it for moderators attention while i am asking for tips how to deal with excerpts
    – user221081
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 12:07
  • 2
    @mehow: perhaps, but we are discussing the same user here. The same answer applies: there is no reason to reject the edits, they are useful. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 12:08
  • I'd say 50/50. what about this part: unlikely to help instruct future visitors in the appropriate use of the tag?
    – user221081
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


I think we have differing definitions of helpful... you explicitly call out the following from the blog post as something this user is not doing.

3. Concentrate on what a tag means to your community...
4. Provide basic guidance on when to use the tag...

If I pick out a couple (completely at random):

Part of memory which is not used by the application but has a valid reference to it. A valid pointer to that memory will be there but the memory itself wont be used anymore.


FDA guideline which defines the criteria under which electronic records and electronic signatures are considered to be trustworthy, reliable and equivalent to paper records.

I do think they're concentrating on the community; they're definitely talking about these things as a programmer might (no idea if it's correct or not); this isn't the same terminology you'd hear from a chef.

They do provide basic guidance. They explain exactly what the concept is, thereby disambiguating it. They could be written to say something like:

Use this tag when you have a question about abandoned memory, which is memory which is not used by the application but has a valid reference to it. A valid pointer to that memory will be there but the memory itself wont be used anymore.

This seems a little ridiculous...

As long as the tag is related solely to a single concept then the excerpt should describe that concept, succinctly. By doing this anyone hovering on the tag should be able to decide whether they've chosen the correct tag pretty easily1. If the tag might apply to multiple concepts then the excerpt needs to be taken further; it might say what tag you should use instead or say that it's for both concepts but which tags you should add to disambiguate between them.

To pick an earlier example; I don't like this tag but the excerpt accurately describes what the tag is being used for.

Mode which allows Android-powered devices that cannot act as a USB host to still interact with USB hardware. In this mode, the attached Android USB accessory acts as the host, provides power to the USB bus, and enumerates connected devices.

That's fantastic.


Unless we can come up with proof of a lot of vandalism can we please let this low rep user, who's creating well researched and useful content for no reason other than magical unicorn points, be.

1. If only more people hovered :-(.

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