On Ask Ubuntu we allow version tags ("12.04", "13.10", etc) so that, in questions is is relevant, people can specify which version of Ubuntu they are running. Now before you tell me Ask Ubuntu is going to hell for our lifestyle choice, we are not the only site to allow/encourage version tags. I'm not interested in your personal views over their merits at the moment.
Version-based tagging does cause some well-documented issues though:
- They tend to under-describe the problem if they're the only tag used on a question
- They're over-represented in popular/unpopular tag ratings
- Version sub-tags (eg php-5.5) don't show in searches for related tags (eg "php", "php-5", etc)
A "software-recommendations" meta-tag might fall into some of the same flaws but be kept around as a necessary evil.
But in my mind, we can fix these things by "simply" defining some rules or constraints around certain tags. In a perfect world I would be able to:
- Group tags together so that 10.04, 10.10, 11.04, etc could internally be collectively called "Ubuntu version tags".
- Set a group so that its tags can't be the only tags there. This would stop somebody just using "12.04" as a tag and would make them pick a "real" tag.
- In extreme cases —not Ask Ubuntu— require a tag from a group to be used (like on meta).
- Exclude certain tag groups from popular tag look-ups
- And by extension, exclude groups from the suggested tags placeholder text (ours is full of version tags)
- Define a tag hierarchy so that somebody looking for "php" would also see results tagged with "php-5.4"
- As an extreme bonus: If a given tag is used, ask follow-up questions. Want to use
wirelesstag, we'll need to know what wireless adapter you're using (link to how to look it up). Meta-tags like software-recommendations could also benefit from this immensely.
I realise that's a fair amount of work but it also improves tagging (and searching for tags) hugely.
php-\d(?:.\d)?, for Ubuntu's versions,
\d\d.\d\d, etc. But in most cases we're not talking about a new tag every other day. Ubuntu adds a release every six months. We could handle that manually fairly easily.