For the past several weeks (months?) there has been a lot of retagging here on Meta.SE, and sometimes other sites do tag cleanups too. Tag cleanups are useful, but they tend to bump ancient questions like this one from 2009. The problem is that, on the front page, all we see is "modified N hours ago by (name)"; nothing tells me the question is not otherwise active. Nobody there is actually looking for an answer to that question any more. But I clicked through, read the entire question, and only then noticed that it's nine years old.

While showing some indication of age on the front page would be hard, identifying tag-only edits seems plausible. The system already distinguishes between "true" edits (that count toward editing badges) and tag-only edits. For tag-only edits, would it be possible for the front page to show "retagged N hours ago by (name)" instead of the more-general "modified"?

In addition to making it easier to focus on answering questions, for those who are here to do that, I think this change would also make it easier for people participating in organized retaggings to track their efforts.

One might counter-propose labeling old questions somehow, but that seems harder to get right. Some old questions still require answers, so we'd need to take that into account, and how old is old probably depends on the site and the type of question. Instead of attacking that harder UX problem, I'm proposing that we handle the one kind of edit that we know doesn't change the substance of the question or its answers and make that easier to skip.

Labeling retaggings was requested in 2011 and declined at the time for technical reasons that no longer apply. (Everything used to be "modified", but we now have "asked" and "answered" and enough information for "retagged".)

  • The title was edited in your example as well as the tags... This could get complicated if we get specific enough.
    – Shog9
    Sep 23, 2018 at 2:45
  • @Shog9 whoops, you're right. I've edited in a different example from tonight's browsing that is tag-only. (I'm only requesting this for tag-only edits, because anything else gets subjective and complicated really quickly -- we're into "what's a significant edit?" territory.) Sep 23, 2018 at 2:53
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    It would also be really nice if the users could filter out retag only edits, so they don't have to see them on the front page if they so choose Sep 23, 2018 at 3:06
  • @CharlieBrumbaugh That may be pretty hard to implement. It would be the same as filtering out questions which say "answered x minutes ago" or "asked x minutes ago", and we don't have a system for that right now. And adding that feature to the home page would make it too cluttered IMO: there'd be too much going on and too many options to choose for users whose primary purpose is simply to ask or answer a question..
    – user392547
    Sep 23, 2018 at 10:16
  • Yes, we also get 'modified by the Community user' but when you click through it says: "bumped to the homepage by Community‚ô¶ XX hours ago", and sometimes it's just a http to https conversion. --- It would be useful, in addition to asked, answered, modified, if we could have "retagged", "SSLed" (?), "trivial edit", etc. There's room for a short and informative reason, which is far more simple than implementing the logic to determine bumping; though not bumping https-ing should be easy enough. Perhaps snooping the "Reason" and looking for "spelling" , "tag", etc. could knock it down 20-40 places.
    – Rob
    Sep 24, 2018 at 6:41
  • @Rob the SSL edit was a one-time change, and whether an edit is minor is not always clear. (Consider the impact of adding "no" or "not", for instance.) The intent of Community bumps is to get people to look at the question again, so they won't mark those as "bumped". (I think there's a post about that somewhere.) Sep 25, 2018 at 0:50
  • Yes, I think rather than having the user doing the searching click a checkbox to avoid returns of trivial edits in the results it's up to the editor (even the Community user) to do the checkbox checking during the edit; and the reviewing (if the editor's edits are subject to review) process would look for a correctly checked checkbox (or could choose reject/re-edit) - such edits that were minor would be pushed down the list and have a description on the front page better than the current 3 reasons. Trying to implement an algorithm probably won't work, it needs a human.
    – Rob
    Sep 25, 2018 at 1:01


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