From this quote from an answer by Catija, referring to the recent mass retagging here:

It left questions untagged.

Yeah, it's meta, so there's required tags but those required tags are meta tags... literally. If a question doesn't have any tags other than the required tag, it's untagged! We don't prevent this, but maybe we should.

Do you agree with the point of view that questions here only consisting of required tags are effectively untagged? Should we prevent questions here on meta from only having one or more of the required tags , , , or ?

I'm neutral about it; I just want to see what others think.

  • 1
    The first problem with this idea is that not all necessary tags exist. Imagine someone's asking a question about when SO's new Ask Wizard is coming to the rest of the network: there's no ask-question-wizard here. They'd have to pick something else: stackoverflow or stackexchange are good choices, but... maybe a bit less obvious.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 3:38
  • @Shog9 That's a problem faced on every non-meta site, though, since we require one tag minimum. If this site didn't have required tags, users with insufficient rep to create tags would have that problem already.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 20, 2018 at 4:37
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of On meta sites, require at least one non-required tag Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 14:46
  • @Randal'Thor The answers here are better; the top one suggests a better alternative. Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 14:47

3 Answers 3


Yes, I think this is a good idea. Is it so important that it needs to be in the software? Probably not. But I think it's a guideline that we should try to follow; certainly while editing.

The meta tags are very broad buckets. On its own, one of them is about as useful as a question title like "What do I do in this situation?" Even probably the most useful one as far as categorization, , doesn't give me a whole lot of information about the post on its own. People have lots of crazy proposals. I'm a busy guy. When you add , then my interest gets piqued. The flamingoes are fine, why do we keep trying to change them...

So having other tags is important when the post is first made and active. It helps me decide whether I'm likely to want to engage with the question and answers.

It's also important later, when you're searching. If you're trying to find an old question that you remember, or even if you don't really know what you're looking for, that keyword being attached makes the search much easier. Especially if it's, e.g., the name of a piece of site functionality. More significantly, you can use it to go looking for old discussions or feature requests on that same topic. Like when I wanted to know why everybody decided the flamingoes should go to the left of the zoo entrance, which means their beautiful plumage gets bad lighting most of the day.

So this probably brings us to the issue of magnitude of usage... Well, like the classical radio station here in town likes to say, "All music was once new". Every tag started out tagging just one question. If it didn't get used for a whole lot of questions after that, I'm not sure why that's a big issue. If someone asks how to keep the flamingoes out of her inflatable pool, then is a good tag to have on the question, even if not too many other people have trouble with their pink bird population. And unless the question itself is deemed unsuitable for the site and is deleted, it's hard to see why we'd get rid of a tag that is correctly marking that question with a descriptor.


I'm in favor of this idea, for the reasons mentioned in the question and the other answer ...

... but let's enforce this as a community, not through the system:

  • New users sometimes already have a hard time figuring out if their question is a or (or both). I'd rather have them choose no non-required tag than a wrong one, for the next reason:
  • It's relatively easy to spot questions without a blue tag. Try it yourself: even if you look at the wall next to your monitor, you can see them. These are often questions that need extra attention beyond a mere retagging; since Meta Stack Exchange (and meta sites in general) lack a First Posts review queue, an early extra pair of eyes never hurts. Most spam and blatantly off-topic questions fall into this category as well.
  • I expect a system-level block will lead to creation of unnecessary tags. Users with enough reputation to create tags, who aren't sure if existing non-required tags fit to their question, currently still have the option to just post a .
  • In my experience, Meta Stack Exchange has a large group of rather knowledgeable users who don't mind or even enjoy this kind of housekeeping.

Given we have 4684 questions with only one tag on MSE and this situation has existed for over 6 to 8 years the whole idea that these question are "untagged" is flawed.

All that is needed is agreement to edit incoming questions with appropriate tags. Once extra tags are added the consensus is that those tags should be left alone and only removed in clear, indisputable cases backed by Meta posts. If you happen to be removing a tag from an existing question to only leave one of the required tags, you're doing it wrong. Find a replacement tag or leave it alone.

Nothing needs to be changed.

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