Note: I'm not requesting that this be changed; I'm asking a neutral question as well as starting a discussion.

I'm aware that in order for users to be notified upon their question being edited, the edit has to be substantive enough, and that simply editing the tags of a question won't result in a notification.

Occasionally, I've seen staff members here add in a status tag without making any answer or comment, or substantive edit. As such an edit is tag-only, users aren't notified of the decision of their bug report or feature request if the staff member or moderator opts to go this route.

Is there a reason why this is the case? Was this considered when the decision was made to not notify in any case if the only edit is a retag, even if it involves moderator-only tags? If so, why was it decided to not notify the user regarding the decision of their request in this case?

If not, should users be notified if a moderator edits a status tag without providing an answer, comment, or substantive edit?

  • Older, feature-request version: Notify on retagging (more general, but the post's example is of mod-only tags)
    – muru
    Oct 23 '19 at 9:25

It's not good design, mostly because it's based on assumptions that we'd leave a response when putting a status tag on something. But practically speaking, that's not always possible, especially when putting status tags on posts closely related to others that warrant receiving them after a bug was fixed, or new functionality, or whatever.

Using the VSTS (err, DevOps) backend and API, we hope to bring something we've never been very good at to bugs and feature requests ... presence. Just like in messengers when you see a contact light up? Well, bug reports need to light up or blink when someone's actively doing something with them, same for features. The lack of that actively contributes to a perception that we don't see them (we do, it's just hard to indicate presence for each one in a way that doesn't inflate people's expectations).

I have no idea what this is going to look like once we get something working, and the idea of just having status tags send notifications might be helpful if it looks like it'll be quite a while before we get that sorted out, but that would still often times create more questions than give answers if there wasn't an accompany reply, or at least a link to a post where a relevant reply was posted.

We're aware this isn't optimal and we have taken some pretty big steps to fix it on the back end, I'll try to get an update on what we think is a reasonable ETA for at least testing some better ways to give folks some indication of what's moving around from the outside looking in as soon as I can. We're probably looking at the first half of 2019, but it's too far out to say at this point.

  • 1
    Now that the first half of 2019 has lapsed, any further update? Jul 16 '19 at 1:56
  • Now it's been most of a year, what's happening now? Sep 29 '19 at 14:46

If it was my decision I would also decide it's not worthwhile to notify when only adding a status tag for the following reasons:

  • In most cases, when fixing or rejecting a bug/feature request, there is also official response from SE team explaining what went wrong or at least saying "Fixed in build [...]". Such response comes as either an answer or a comment when it's a minor thing, in both cases it already cause notification. No need to two notifications for same thing. In the rare cases when the fix is recent and there's not even a comment, it probably means it was too trivial anyway.
  • Many times the status tag is added long after the bug is fixed, when someone notice it's fixed and flagging the question asking to tag it properly. In such cases, notifying is not really relevant since it might have been fixed for years already, probably as part of some other change in the code or system.
  • Many times bug reports closed as duplicate are getting the status tags as well, and this also happens usually after long time when someone notice and flags.

Bottom line: while I agree it's not a minor edit, I don't think it justifies a notification.


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