When asking a new question on any site, you see a placeholder in the tags section. This contains three tags, like this example from the English Language and Usage site:

Or in words:

at least one tag such as (adjectives prepositions british-english) max 5 tags

How are the tags that appear in the placeholder determined?

Note: they do appear different at different times.

  • 1
    What exactly is "creating a section"? Did you mean creating a question? May 22, 2016 at 6:55
  • Those are called "example tags", will try digging some more about it May 22, 2016 at 11:21
  • Pretty sure they're just three random tags. Either that, or the three most recently-used on that site.
    – ArtOfCode
    May 22, 2016 at 12:54
  • @RobertLongson Yes. Sorry. May 22, 2016 at 13:30
  • @ArtOfCode I looked at ELU three times, 10 minutes apart, and they were still the same. May 22, 2016 at 13:31
  • @Peanut true, it's cached server side for several hours, probably 10-15 hours. May 22, 2016 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


After some research, I believe I figured this out.

On each site, there is a job/task running every 12 hours or so (might be bit different, e.g. 10 hours) which will do the following:

  • Pick three tags in random from the top 30 tags or so (again, might be bit different, e.g. top 25 tags or 35 tags), top meaning having most questions.
  • Cache those tags server side, and use them as the "example tags" when asking new question.
  • There is probably a check in place to prevent same tag from being used twice in a row.

The top tags are easily accessible in the tags page (e.g. on English Language and Usage).

To verify this, I have used the Internet Archive, taking https://superuser.com/questions/ask as example and finding a date with two snapshots:

  1. March 11, 2016 06:22
  2. March 11, 2016 22:59

As you can see, different set of three tags each time.

  • Can you provide another sample? May 22, 2016 at 13:48
  • Well, the English site isn't "big" enough to be archived more than once a day, and Stack Overflow requires to be logged in. Will try looking in other sites. May 22, 2016 at 13:50
  • 1
    @Peanut didn't find, but pretty sure I'm correct. Until SE dev comes with a different answer, I'll leave this around May 22, 2016 at 13:59

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