On Super User, we have quite a few tags that shouldn't exist. Unfortunately, some of those have a lot of questions, and despite our clear directives in the tag wiki excerpt, the tags continue to be applied to new questions.

There's already a feature request to let site moderators use tag blacklisting, which was declined. There's also one to let mods blow away a tag themselves, but that sounds dangerous.

I propose a very mild and hopefully fairly easy to implement alternative. Moderators should be able to mark a tag as obsolete, which would visually restyle the tag in the ask-question page and the tag's info page, but not block it entirely (it would be bad if an accident froze the site's biggest tag). This strategy minimizes the impact of mod mistakes (even if very rare) and keeps them easily reversible.

Then, a column would be added to SEDE to indicate a tag's depreciation, in the Tags table. I include this point because Burgi had the really clever idea of using SEDE to find First Posts review items with bad tags, and my LIKE-based logic isn't very good at identifying the problematic tags from their excerpts. Such a column could help with other bad-tag-related science that people might come up with. It and the visual restyling would also be a good way for users interested in tag cleanups to know that a tag is officially slated for removal (without needing to search through meta).

  • A custom CSS class to make them red would be extremely useful – Burgi Aug 23 '16 at 23:38
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    SE staff can mark a tag as obsolete, sort of, by displaying a pop-up when someone uses the tag. But why not blacklist the tag (which SE staff can also do)? Then the tag remains on existing questions, but it can't be added, so the community can whittle it away over time. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Aug 23 '16 at 23:50
  • You're on the right track here. – fixer1234 Aug 23 '16 at 23:57
  • @Gilles Yes indeed, blacklisting is the perfect feature to use here. I would be very happy if per-site moderators were able to leverage it. If SE isn't up for that (I'm really not sure if they had any reaction at all to the second thing I linked), letting mods "annotate" tags as obsolete is the milder approach. Either way, it would be good to have in SEDE. – Ben N Aug 24 '16 at 0:12
  • @Gilles on SO that might take a generation ... and I'm involved in a few burninations... – rene Aug 24 '16 at 7:49
  • @Gilles It turns out someone did already request that mods be able to manage their own sites' blacklist; the request was declined. Hopefully this milder version will gain some traction. – Ben N Aug 25 '16 at 0:28
  • This could be quite useful on SO. We have a lot of ambiguous tags. Burninating them all is simply not feasible. But we could at least prevent them from being added to new questions, or edited in by editors. – S.L. Barth - Reinstate Monica Aug 25 '16 at 13:35

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