A user has suggested many edits adding tags to questions like

  • to a question involving an if statement
  • to a question titled "c#: Add element to second nesting in xml"
  • to a question titled "How to get exact cursor position in RichTextbox to display Popup "

these seem worthless to me. However, he claims otherwise (we are having a polite discussion about it, everybody be nice to him even if you agree with me!):

Hmm I see what your after and from your POV I do agree. But there are people like myself searching for these tag belive it or not. I use them to mostly to illustrate common problems programmers run into. Otherwise they wouldn't be tags created by the SO community. I read the article you supplied to me good read.. but I think you focus to much on the value adding from YOUR pov. I always read the question and study the problem, and if theres a problem with a nested or and if-statement why not tag it. I mean when are those questions ever going to be tagged otherwise with those tags??

And indeed, has been deemed not completely invalid by the community for some reason. Still, I'd make the argument that none of these tags add any value to the question or its searchability.

Does a general guideline exist how to deal with this? How do we account for the fact that we may not be able to see the value in a borderline esoteric tag, but others do? How do we still have clear rules for this kind of situation?

Bonus question: what do we call tagging that simply describes what happens to be the question's subject matter, without really adding any relevance? It's not Meta tags, but it's something like them.

  • 4
    Tags are not a user's personal filing cabinet. If a user is merely tagging so that they can find the questions again in a search, that's not sufficient reason to retag.
    – user102937
    Jan 29 '14 at 19:24
  • @Robert well, his argument is that users like him would search for those keywords. I can't see any real-world situation where that is true; when would you ever reasonably search for something like if-statement? But I'm open to the idea that maybe others can... and I'm hard pressed to find a previous Meta thread that defines an authoritative rule.
    – Pekka
    Jan 29 '14 at 19:25
  • 3
    The tags you illustrated are well-used. Granted, they don't seem to be all that useful for categorization, but some of us have ... more "specific" sensibilities than others. Tag philosophy runs the gamut from typing a sentence into the tag dialog to "each and every tag has one, and only one, very specific meaning." Neither extreme is ideal.
    – user102937
    Jan 29 '14 at 19:27
  • What would be the results of allowing any kind of tag, no matter how little use? Jan 29 '14 at 19:27
  • @JanDvorak: That's the status quo now, provided the tag isn't completely wretched (we don't allow meta tags, or tags that fail at any sort of useful categorization).
    – user102937
    Jan 29 '14 at 19:28
  • @RobertHarvey thanks. I'll try to apply that philosophy when reviewing unless this discussion brings up something else. Of course, the "you've added a tag but the question is still a mess" rule still applies. Jan 29 '14 at 19:31
  • 1
    Where's the post resoluting that meta-tags shall be verbotten? Jan 29 '14 at 19:32
  • 3
    @JanDvorak: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags
    – user102937
    Jan 29 '14 at 19:35
  • I don't use tag like this, but we encourage users to search first, so tags for specific aspects of languages seems "searchable" in some context. For example, if I don't know the right terms to use in a search, but I know I am having a problem with an if-statement in c#, it might help filter the list of questions down. The problem because if the tag is used on questions that have an if-statement, rather than questions about an if-statement. Jan 29 '14 at 19:38
  • "when would you ever reasonably search for something like if-statement?" ... you wouldn't.
    – Bart
    Jan 29 '14 at 19:39
  • @bart: Except maybe for language-lawyer questions (one of the very few meta tags that is permitted).
    – user102937
    Jan 29 '14 at 19:44
  • But then you would simply include it in your search terms @RobertHarvey. Still wouldn't need a tag for that, would you?
    – Bart
    Jan 29 '14 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Pëkka, there is only one possible correct answer to this question.
    – Charles
    Feb 4 '14 at 2:09
  • @Charles loool, I agree
    – Pekka
    Feb 7 '14 at 1:23

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