What is the purpose of having tags if they are not honored? For example, if a post is tagged with a support request, then why is the post allowed to be treated as a discussion?

In this case, assume the post is an actionable item expected to be carried out by the site (and not veiled as support request; or "covered" as a support request). And assume the expected outcome is either or (or whatever the equivalents are).

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    It can be treated as a discussion if the support tag was used incorrectly. It's one thing to tag, another to frame the question to the spirit of that tag and not as some kind of cover – random May 7 '15 at 19:04
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    @random - please read the question again. I clearly covered the case of "the cover" you describe. – user173448 May 7 '15 at 19:06
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    Some examples of this actually happening would have helped. – Travis J May 7 '15 at 20:39
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    @Tavis - Here's the context: Please delete an answer that is locked. I tried to avoid referencing it because I did not want them to cross pollinate. That is, the request occurred in the other question and that's where it should stay. – user173448 May 7 '15 at 20:46
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    @TravisJ there you go: How to tag questions related to size of The Queue? 15 down votes and opening comment expressing dislike that it wasn't posted as discussion: "downvoting this for now since you need to clarify what the issue is" – gnat May 7 '15 at 20:47
  • @gnat - It would seem that your question has more involved than simply being downvoted for tagging as support than as discussion. Aside from your observation of voting patterns, the support tag was honored, and you got responses from 4 separate moderators. I fail to see how that situation represents tags not being honored, and also do not see any status tags involved. – Travis J May 7 '15 at 20:56
  • @jww - I think that post wouldn't get a status tag after being actioned (and in fact did not considering that George did honor your request). In my opinion you should have raised a custom flag for that answer with your concerns for a moderator to review. Posting it on meta is essentially asking for some sort of community feedback. If no community feedback was desired, then I see no reason not to raise the custom flag. – Travis J May 7 '15 at 20:58
  • @Travis - thanks. In my case, I could not flag it. The flag button was greyed out. I asked what I should do on Meta, and the told me to make the request on Meta. (Sorry to wander OT by getting into the back story details). – user173448 May 7 '15 at 21:00
  • @jww - Yes, that is an interesting side affect of the lock. I think you could have raised the flag on a different post of yours and then referenced the other answer and why you couldn't flag it directly (the lock). While this is a small workaround, it would have at least kept the issue "private" (i.e. not meta). I don't think your comment was OT. But also, in the end, I think your post was honored by a moderator. Two in fact (Brad and George). – Travis J May 7 '15 at 21:02
  • @TravisJ check the dates, and, particularly, next comment saying "4 months ago, when I posted this question..." - at the moment of posting the question, it was a straightforward support request, just-tell-me-what-tags-to-use – gnat May 7 '15 at 21:03
  • ...granted, it really became involved - but that occurred later (much later), after I gained experience on using what was originally recommended (and after many more involved questions were asked, "as similar questions pile on, 5-10 a month") - but then again, at the moment when I posted this (4 months before that "proliferating" comment), nothing indicated that things will turn that way – gnat May 7 '15 at 21:03
  • worth taking a look at question timeline and particularly at comments posted Aug 20 '13 and Nov 21 '13 – gnat May 7 '15 at 21:14
  • (side note) looking back, I particularly enjoy the fastest gun answer: "I don't really see why we need this tag". It looked weird back then, when question was simply asking what tags to use. It looked even more weird 4 months later, when whole lot of evidence piled on indicating that we've got an issue. And it looks totally weird nowadays, after we've got a dedicated feature addressing it. "why we need..." -- yeah, why – gnat May 7 '15 at 21:43
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    @gnat - related, I flagged that question for MSO migration and petitioned to have it re-opened. I thought it was quite insightful, and I think it would be a good idea to have it looked at in detail. (Whether anything comes from it is a different story). – user173448 May 7 '15 at 23:43
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    If you want to avoid discussion on Meta, just contact the team directly. I'll thank you for it, as well. – user1228 May 8 '15 at 13:59

, , , etc. are Meta-specific tags that generally only refer to feature requests. They are attached to a feature request question to indicate the status of that request.

on Meta is defined as

A request for assistance with one of the site's features.

Assistance usually comes in the form of an explanation for how something works or why it works that way. This can lead to a broader discussion, so there is overlap between that and . There's nothing inherently wrong with a Meta support request leading to a discussion about a topic.

The status tags generally don't apply there, unless the support request effectively points out a bug to be fixed or system feature to be added.

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    bug questions also tend to get mod tags reasonably often, in addition to feature requests. It's mostly support/discussion questions that miss out. – Servy May 7 '15 at 19:16
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    And don't forget the discussion tagged questions that are actually hidden feature requests, they get mod tags frequently. – psubsee2003 May 7 '15 at 19:24
  • Thanks Brad. In the concrete case, I was told to make the request on Meta Stack Overflow. So I guess a related question is, how do you tag a request when the folks on SO or MSE tell you to go to MSO and make the request for assistance? That is, how do you create the actionable item? – user173448 May 11 '15 at 0:33

Basically all meta questions are discussions. Support requests are discussing how the site works. Bug questions are discussing a potential case of the site not behaving as intended. Feature requests are discussions about proposals for new features. The tag is just there for all other discussions that have not been covered by another category. It's basically just another way of saying "other".

A tag isn't there to define how users are allowed to interact with a question; it's there to help people find questions they might be interested in, to filter out categories of questions that they likely aren't interested in, as well as giving users at least some indication of what might be contained within a question from the question list or when using search.

That said, they are by no means absolute. There is nothing wrong with a discussion about a problem that involves someone contributing an answer with a proposal for a new feature to resolve that problem (despite the question not being a feature request), for a proposed feature request to end up with a user simply learning how the site already works more effectively (despite not being tagged support), or for a discussion about a problem to wind up with the discovery of a new bug (despite not having the bug tag).

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    "Basically all meta questions are discussions..." - I'm probably splitting hairs.... Is there a way to disgorge the "answer as a discussion" (like you and Brad provided) from the other useless fodder that shows up? I guess what I am asking is "how can I keep the worthless side chatter" to a minimum? – user173448 May 7 '15 at 19:31
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    @jww Don't read comments; exclusively read questions and answers. – Servy May 7 '15 at 19:32
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    @jww another option (and I am trying to mean this in a very constructive way), stop letting meta get to you. I've seen you do the same before. When something happens that you don't like, you ask on meta. Then when something else comes up on that meta question, you ask about it, and a 3rd post follows, and so on. You end up with 5 or 6 meta posts originating from the original issue. Sometimes you need to step away as Brad recommended and stop worrying about it. – psubsee2003 May 8 '15 at 0:40
  • @psubsee2003 - yeah, I've lost my patience in dealing with some of the folks on Meta. Anymore, I try to avoid Meta altogether. I even ask basic "How To" questions on Web Apps Stack Exchange because sites like Stack Overflow are just a web app. – user173448 May 8 '15 at 17:06

If a support question is asking for something that the Stack Exchange team needs to do, and will result in either or then that question had better be a bug report.

If it was not a bug report about fixing something which was clearly broken, then it was more than likely a and was tagged incorrectly.

Responses will be in the form of reaction to the request in the case of an incorrect tag (which is probable and happens often). These are not discussion topics per se, but they are views which are available to be vetted by the community through voting in addition to votes on the post.

I see this situation as desirable, because when a user posts an answer in reference to a request (or even a bug report) it is able to be vetted by the community through voting as opposed to the more one sided and transient version of responses in comments.

As for "honoring" tags, I see moderators and consistent contributors answer support questions all the time. While it may not be obvious on MSE, there are moderators from other exchanges who post answers here (for example Brad Larson) as well.

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