I've noticed that when it comes to straight-up programming concepts, questions are generally either tagged pretty well in the first place or retagged fairly quickly by someone with the privilege. We've got dedicated tags for repository, dependency-injection, exception-handling, and so on.

I've also noticed that in other areas - most notably databases - the tags are almost always generic, and that's something I'd like to help rectify. I got the idea from another SO user who'd retagged some 30-odd database questions with greatest-n-per-group, which isn't the most concise wording, but I thought it was a good thing because it was true, the questions were all very similar and referred to the exact same concept. Every so often I see some of the same patterns and think about doing the same retagging.

But at the same time, I don't want to step on any toes, as it appears that part of the community frowns upon the practice of "mass retagging". Although that post was about redundant, "stupid" tags, it will still bump a bunch of old posts, and I think in order for the tag to "stick" it has to have at least 10 entries, maybe more.

So - what is the recommended practice for when you see a good candidate for a new tag? Should I:

  • Just start retagging the old questions, and let the volume of new questions on SO bump the older questions back down if they aren't interesting?

  • Retag only new similar questions, without touching the old ones?

  • Retag a small handful (5-10?) of the old questions, just to get the tag started, and then stick to new questions?

  • Just leave the whole issue alone and contend with the generic tags? Stick with the philosophy the tags should only represent the platform and not the pattern/concept?

Just to be clear: I really don't care about a badge, for all I know some of the tags already exist and just aren't being used properly.

  • Looks like someone's about to get themselves a Taxonimist badge off of [greatest-n-per-group] then.
    – random
    Jan 15, 2010 at 15:04
  • 2
    @random - sure, and I'll even help him out if I see more of the same questions. :) I think the usefulness of a tag is more important than the intent that went into its creation, but of course that's why I asked this question here.
    – Aarobot
    Jan 15, 2010 at 15:30
  • just mentioning it probably qualifies as helping
    – SamB
    Nov 27, 2010 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


For big changes you post a question about it on meta (tagged [retag-request]), get some feedback, and at least sometime automated help. See https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/retag-request.

InRe comments: Well, once you have the points, feel free to make new tags when you think they are appropriate. Which does not mean to go hog wild on it. The point of tags is to categorize the content, so they should be helpful that way. If you want to apply a new tag to a lot of questions you should consider discussing it on meta first. But I don't think that [retag-request] is ideal for that. Maybe we need a new tag (say [new-tag]) on meta. Pun intended.

  • Yes, I picked up on that, but from what I can tell, that seems to be when you want one (or multiple) tags to be renamed to a new tag, whereas this is referring to adding a tag to questions that are otherwise unidentifiable; can the retag-request be used for that as well? Post a list of questions I'd want to retag, or something like that?
    – Aarobot
    Jan 15, 2010 at 15:32

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