I recently asked a question on Stack Overflow which was primarily about UICollectionViewController, a frequently used class in UIKit on iOS 7.

I wanted to tag the post with the tag , but could not do this because it exceeded the limit of 25 characters.

Please will you raise the limit on tag length? We frequently deal with long/descriptive class names in iOS and this hard and seemingly arbitrary limit reduces the usefulness of the tagging system.

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    I assume this is to guarantee that 5 tags fit within the interface, but I see your point Nov 28, 2013 at 9:14
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    We don't need tag for every class. IMO just tagging "UIKit" and "iOS7" is just enough. Nov 28, 2013 at 9:16
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    Ignoring the specific example, there are some sites where the tag length limit is a significant problem, e.g. Gaming. But any request to increase it has been denied so far by SE as it would be a rather significant change to the underlying system. Nov 28, 2013 at 9:20
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    char(25)? Nov 28, 2013 at 9:33
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    @MadScientist It's not our fault SO uses magic constants everywhere :-) Nov 28, 2013 at 10:09
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    Because of the tag length limit, it's currently impossible to create tags about certain topics, such as "natural-language-programming". I can't think of any shorter names for this tag, except for cryptic abbreviations such as "nat-lang-prog", which would be incomprehensible to most people. Mar 27, 2014 at 17:25
  • Same thing with NSDistributedNotificationCenter...need more more more than 25 characters. May 12, 2015 at 12:35
  • Stack Devs all look at each other shaking their heads regarding who's going to change the varchar length...
    – James
    Jun 24, 2015 at 23:13
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    @RichardTingle: if it's really about the UI, would it be possible to keep the current limit for non-synonym tags, but increase the limit to say 255 characters for tag synonyms? I believe tag synonyms show up almost nowhere in the user interface other than when you are editing a question and have explicitly chosen to add that tag synonym.
    – b_jonas
    Jul 15, 2015 at 19:14
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    See also the earlier question meta.stackexchange.com/q/197889/222298
    – b_jonas
    Jul 15, 2015 at 19:16

4 Answers 4


I'm partially replicating and expanding on my 2015-06-24 bounty remarks here because you can't find bounty remarks anywhere once the bounty expires and I don't want my very good justification for why this change needs to be made to vanish. So:

Some anime have really long names. And most of the tags on Anime.SE are names of anime, so we would like to be able to have long tags that match the long names with as much fidelity as possible.

We have had far too many meta discussions (one, two, three, four, five, six, to name just a few) driven by the fact that we're limited to 25-character tags. Usually, we end up having to compromise by picking something that isn't really the anime's name, but rather just something sort of vaguely similar with some of the same words.

But this causes problems because it makes it harder for new, low-rep (<150) users to find any tag that is valid for their question (we do not use genre tags like "scifi" or "action" or whatnot). We suspect this just makes them leave the site without asking their question (best case, they find the "retag" workaround; but if they don't, well, crud). This is obviously bad.

So I've been implementing this really ugly workaround where we make parts of names into tag synonyms. But this requires moderator intervention, and is, again, ugly as sin.

All in all, the current state of affairs kind of sucks and everything would just be better if we upped the tag length limit to 100 characters1 or something else respectably long (or maybe made it per-site-configurable if having a higher tag length limit would cause issues [e.g. with performance or with crud] on high-traffic sites like SO).

If this is impossible, a brief explanation of why (e.g. "we cannot make tags longer because that would foobar half our tables and require us to spend 6-8 years unquxing this part of our codebase") would sure be nice.

By analogy: wouldn't Stack Overflow be kind of a pain in the butt if the tag length limit was 5 characters, meaning that we couldn't have good tags for Python, Haskell, Scheme, INTERCAL, Fortran, Erlang, Pascal, Groovy, or ActionScript? Yeah, it kind of would, and that's a lot like the situation we face on sites like Anime.SE now - anime titles are the "programming language tags" of our site, and it just so happens that anime shows (and video games, and movies, and...) tend to have longer titles than programming languages.

1 The suggestion of specifically 100 characters is semi-arbitrary, but I would like to note that we do average somewhere around 1 show per quarter whose full and proper name exceeds 50 characters, so something above 50 would be best for us (perhaps 75, if we want a nice round number). Yes, it's ridiculous that titles are so long, and yes, I think the anime industry needs to tone this nonsense down, but for now, it is what it is.

  • 12
    We have the same exact issue on Movies & TV. Too many film titles are longer than 25 characters and figuring out how to shorten them is getting really old.... but I think 100 is a bit long. Even just 40 or 50 would be fine.
    – Catija
    Jun 24, 2015 at 21:25
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    Gaming also hits this sometimes, though not as frequently.
    – Troyen
    Jun 24, 2015 at 22:20
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    Board Games has problems with tag length as well. Jun 10, 2016 at 15:03
  • Even chemistry would love to introduce organophosphorus-compounds which is too long … ;D
    – Jan
    Jan 11, 2017 at 19:28

A more workable limit would be a limit on consecutive non-hyphenated alphanumerics. That way something like would for good reason be forbidden, but would be allowed.

Advantages to this approach include:

  1. They become much, much, much easier to read.
  2. It’s finally clear where word-breaks should be inserted, if ever needed.
  3. You no longer have things like AsShotPhotoOriginal becoming the provocative instead of the mundane . 😈

If the main concern of allowing tag length of over 25 characters is "how will 5 tags fit nicely":

  • Increase limit to 50 characters
  • If one exceeds 25 characters, limit tag count to 4
  • If two exceeds 25 characters, limit tag count to 3

That is, you can only have 2 super-long tags.

  • Please see my comment about tag synonyms on the question.
    – b_jonas
    Jul 15, 2015 at 19:19

All these should be true:

  • Increase tag length to 50
  • Keep maximum tag count to 5
  • Keep maximum character count of all tags at 125

That means if one has 3 super-long tags, say 50 characters each, allow only 3 of them.


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