Normally, when we find a bad tag, like this one, we require that the tag be removed from each question individually. We don't even provide any shortcuts; we could have a Tag Edit link in question lists, but we don't do that. Instead, we require users to open each question individually and see if the question needs to be edited, and/or closed, before actually removing the tag.


What gives these questions the right of special attention, when there are so many others that we could be giving our attention?

Why can't I have this:

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rather than this?

enter image description here

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    Or delete all using that tag, and only allowing the good ones to be undeleted – random Feb 9 '14 at 23:45
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    It's kinda because we're cleaning up one bad aspect of the post; if we don't make it crap-free we're kinda wasting our time (another person has to go back and do it). – hichris123 Feb 9 '14 at 23:54
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    @hichris123: who's going to force someone else to do it? Who's going to clean up the problems in the other 6 million questions on the site? – Wooble Feb 9 '14 at 23:56
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    @hichris123: But it's my time to waste, and it only takes me two seconds to push the button (if I push really hard), and if it doesn't bump the questions to the front page, nobody has to ever bother looking at them again. Most questions like this are low-view, low-rep questions that nobody ever looks at anyway. Unless, of course, they're good questions to begin with, that just happened to have a bad tag on them. – user102937 Feb 9 '14 at 23:56
  • You both bring up very good points... honestly I'm not sure. I feel for closing and deleting, if we don't close or delete those we kinda miss out on the whole point, to keep bad stuff from questions. Now editing is a bit different... I'm not going to say it's less important, but it's... different. – hichris123 Feb 9 '14 at 23:58
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    @hichris123: I should have probably put this in my question originally but... Keeping the tag taxonomy clean on Stack Overflow is extremely difficult right now. Either the friction is there for a good reason and we should keep it, or it's not a good reason and we should find ways to reduce some of the friction. – user102937 Feb 10 '14 at 0:00
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    @RobertHarvey Huh, wouldn't have guessed. This may spin off into a feature-request then so we can do something about it... – hichris123 Feb 10 '14 at 0:02
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    Questions that use bad tags are usually not correctly tagged at all. When I go through questions to retag I usually replace other tags too or fix them. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Feb 10 '14 at 0:49
  • It's a loaded question. It assumes that we do and should insist on this. So I cannot answer it as "we shouldn't". – ivan_pozdeev Jul 28 '16 at 14:22

From my point of view, the currently recommended taxonomy is the important thing we should focus on. This is what makes new questions better, easier to find.

SE contains lots of “crap” from today’s point of view. Some questions were popular and are provided with historical lock, some have been always considered crap and by accident never met criteria for being purged from the system automatically. Some are really useful, but would not meet today’s quality standards; those can be good candidates for editing.

What about lazy burnination? You imply that burnination must be finished ASAP after the tag is decided to be burninated. Why? Why don’t we just let those old questions be and improve them only when we meet them later? Only then burninated tags should be removed/replaced and other things improved as usual edit workflow requires. Don’t these questions fall in the “useful but not meeting today’s quality standards” category?

The only problem I see is that these tags would be still offered by auto-complete when editing a (probably new) question. Orientation in the jungle of deprecated tags would become gradually harder and harder. This would need support from the system to be solved – we can issue a for adding “burninated” attribute to a tag. Tag with this attribute would not show in auto-complete and would have some unified identification in tag wiki and its excerpt. This way they would be easy to identify. Choosing different look is IMO too much as it would be confusing.

If lazy burnination is bad and fundamentally hurts the system somehow (I don’t see how, though; explain please!), why don’t we have review queue for questions with tags being burninated? The question would be shown with the tag being automatically removed greyed-out and the options could be No other action needed, Edit and Skip. This would ease the hassle with keeping track of s. Or is there already a better way of keeping track of which tags are being burninated? I will gladly take part in burnination process if somebody tells me what work is to be done. Yeah, discussion on Meta is important part of the process, but I mean the real, editing work.

I’m against batch stripping of burninated tags from questions.

  • Lots of trivial revision history records would be generated. Noise.
  • Questions could lose important information, context. There may be unexpected uses of the tag.

Human exception handlers should be triggered.

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    Never said anything about lazy burnination, or that it be ASAP. I just don't think it has to be like putting bamboo shoots under your fingernails. Do we really need another review queue that never gets looked at? – user102937 Feb 10 '14 at 1:46
  • @RobertHarvey Quoting the question: “What gives these questions the right of special attention, when there are so many others that we could be giving our attention?” This made me think you give high priority to editing burninated tags out of questions. I suggest: Mark the tag as burninated, don’t let it be used for new questions, but give very low priority to its removal from old questions. Thus they won’t be given any special attention and the recommended taxonomy won’t suffer. Legacy stuff would get improved when met and decided to deserve an edit, not as a consequence of tag burnination. – Palec Feb 10 '14 at 2:03
  • @RobertHarvey The idea of review queue was meant just for the case when lazy burnination is unacceptable for some reason. I agree it would be a minor improvement to the system, if any. However, I am not sure why Close Votes queue is so full. Too much close suggestions? Too much votes needed for closure? Too few 3k rep users? Too unattractive work that nobody wants to do? Currently I am at 2.2k rep on SO and I am looking forward to being able to help with this problem. – Palec Feb 10 '14 at 2:20
  • What is the currently-recommended tag taxonomy, anyway? – user102937 Aug 8 '14 at 23:38
  • @RobertHarvey System of all tags that should be used and guidelines to their use (both general and specific). Tags that are being burninated are not part of recommended taxonomy. – Palec Aug 9 '14 at 5:05
  • The problem is that it is not really easy to see which tags should not be used nor guidlines on tag use. I’ll think about how this can be improved. – Palec Aug 9 '14 at 5:13
  • Why a burnination should be completed ASAP? 'Cuz no one's gonna do it any other way. When browsing to a question, I can't see that one of its tags should be edited out. Nor do I have any incentive to do so unless I've assigned myself to the task force to burninate the tag. And if I have, I cannot allow the task to hang on my to-do list forever, I must complete it within a reasonable time and be done with that. – ivan_pozdeev Jul 4 '16 at 10:15
  • The fact that e.g. implementation still has 1000+ questions, the same as 2 years ago when its burninate-request was filed, only confirm my words. – ivan_pozdeev Jul 4 '16 at 10:47
  • Well, maybe we need to improve on how we create and promote the currently recommended taxonomy then, @ivan_pozdeev. Maybe eager burnination is enough fun to pull enough eyes to old questions that would need editing anyway. Maybe it just drags those eyes from more pressing issues that come up more recently. I don't know. – Palec Jul 28 '16 at 9:41

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