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Is it best to use five tags to get the maximum response? If not, how many?

marked as duplicate by gnat, Robert Longson, Optimus Prime, Glorfindel, Cai Sep 18 '17 at 6:58

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  • 1 or 5 doesn't matter. you should not add unnecessary tags. you should not avoid necessary tags – Optimus Prime Sep 18 '17 at 6:55
  • Adding unnecessary tags might make you get less response than you otherwise would have. When I browse questions, I look at all the tags to see if I know about them and only look at questions tagged only with things I know about. For example, on Stack Overflow, if you have a C question that applies to any OS but happen to be working on Linux, you might add the [linux] tag because you think it will get you more attention, but I won't look at it because I don't know anything about Linux, but if it's a plain C question where the OS isn't relevant I would have been able to answer it anyway. – Donald Duck Sep 18 '17 at 11:28
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Tags are meant to categorize your question based on what it is about or related to. Members of any SE site tend to follow specific tags based on what they have expertise in or what they want to answer.

Adding the maximum number of tags especially if it has none or superficial relation with your question will only make it counter-productive in the sense you may just reach the wrong audience. This happens frequently in StackOverflow site and only leads to ire.

Of course, if all the tags you wish to add are well related to the question you can add them. But you should choose your tags (1,2, or 5) based on what your question is about.

5

Why 5? Why not 4 or 3?

It's worth remembering the point of tags is better searchability, and a response is an immediate thing. The use of appropriate tags - especially on SO, where tag filtering is valuable is more important than trying to get a spread of tags, and certainly not to try to get a magical number of tags for best effect. According to a SO developer in the comments, it doesn't affect how it's ranked in the searches either.

More than that - it's worth having a good, to the point title (though, in some cases, one might choose to be clever instead), so someone glancing at a page goes "Oooh, I know this", and having a clear, well written question with any and all appropriate information.

So.. for maximum response, you really need to look at the big picture. I typically actually go for one tag, but I make sure it's a good one. Excessive tags, especially for the sake of tagginess is annoying.

  • But do you know if more tags makes any algorithm penalize the strength of each individual tag when searching. I know Youtube does this. – user58712 Sep 18 '17 at 1:14
  • Nothing's documented on this as far as I know. – Journeyman Geek Sep 18 '17 at 1:15
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    @user58712 No, question searches aren't affected by the number of tags. – Adam Lear Sep 18 '17 at 2:11
  • ^ He's a dev, so that's roughly as canonical as it gets :) – Journeyman Geek Sep 18 '17 at 2:25
  • @user58712 I think that sometimes people think that tags are like hashtags on twitter or instagram... they're not. We don't use them that way. More tags are not better. People who regularly use all five tags are usually doing something wrong. I tend to aim for two, not one... but definitely not five. I also tend to use the more fringe sites with softer tagging rules so... possibly an explanation for that. – Catija Sep 18 '17 at 2:36
  • @Catija But if I want to get as many responses as possible, then why wouldn't/shouldn't I? – user58712 Sep 18 '17 at 4:50

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