Is it possible to have an optional brief tag description? To sum-up what could go in it or simply what they are about.

edit: For example knowing what can/should go in the "development" tag. Or explaining with what language are related to "boost" or "groovy". It helps people to know straight away if the question is related to their domain of expertise or not.

edit: solved This is now implemented using tag wiki.


6 Answers 6


I completely agree - there are plenty of tags that not all developers can be expected to know about, and making them self descriptive would just make the tags really long.

Remember that every time someone comes across a question tagged with a tag that they don't recognise then the tag serves no purpose at all for that user.

Some example tags that could do with a short 1 line description:

  • Lucene - Should give a rough idea of what Lucene is
  • r - What the hell is "r"!? Never heard of it before!
  • Groovy - See "r"
  • Editor - Is this tag for people looking for an IDE / editor, or someone developing some sort of editing tool? Or is there some obscure technology known as "editor"?
  • Mac - Apple mac or "media access control"?

Update: I've realised that although this is essentially implemented (sponsored tags), this may in fact undermine the whole sponsored tags thing StackOverflow has going on...

  • Re: R: I've seen the tag many times in questions, and even heard of a concerted effort of R programmers to post all the R documentation on Stack Overflow as questions, and I still don't really know what R is. (Well, it's a language. That's about it, though.) Commented Feb 4, 2010 at 12:30
  • r-project.org
    – nb69307
    Commented Feb 4, 2010 at 12:42

This is now implemented as an info section for each tag with a tag Wiki related page (along with other information such as FAQ and new answers).

Anybody with at least 100 'total score' * on non-community-wiki answers in the related tag and at least 2000 reputation can edit this wiki.

* The total score represents the number of up-votes minus the down-votes


I thought part of the idea behind tags was that tags would describe the question.

If our description needs a description, then our system has a serious problem.

EDIT: Now that I understand your intentions and reasons, I think it's not bad. I just have just three problems:

  1. There are a lot of tags (450+ pages of tags). Many are unnecessary duplicates, and many are somewhat necessary redundancies. Adding descriptions to all of these is going to be a pain, and would probably be better as part of a greater, large-scale "tag reorganization" effort.
  2. Where would the description go? Enough people miss the FAQ as it is, and it's sitting there at the top of the page.
  3. I still feel like tags are (fairly) self-documenting. Sure, I didn't know what Adobe Flex was when I first got here, but I figured it out fairly quickly. Looking things up on the internet is pretty easy. If this is a problem, I don't see it as a very serious one, and with such a potentially time-consuming solution, I'm not sure the solution is worthwhile.

Incidentally, though, a possible answer to #2 would be to put the description on the page that comes up with tagged searches so when you click on a tag, you get the tag description, and questions in that tag.

  • 3
    Tags are not describing they are categorising questions. Commented Feb 4, 2010 at 10:57
  • Categorization is a form of description. Most of the tags are (or should be) fairly self-descriptive. Commented Feb 4, 2010 at 10:59
  • 1
    [while] is not a tag, it's nonsense. [while-loop] could be a tag, but I'm not sure if it is a necessary one. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/31776/why-do-we-tag-questions/… Commented Feb 4, 2010 at 11:01
  • I thought SO was also noob orientated. I used "boost" and "groovy" in my example because i had no idea what they where and had to look it up. Now I know they are not related to .Net i know i'm not going to do further research on them or follow these questions... for the moment. I also thought "what the h is the development tag for on a programming website". I'm not trying to create a debate, i just lifted up this question because my first reaction was to hover my mouse over the tag to have more info. Obviously some tags don't need a description that's why i mentionned "optional" description
    – DrDro
    Commented Feb 4, 2010 at 11:03
  • @DrDro - Ah. I can understand that to an extent. I generally assume that if I don't know what something is, I probably can't help much in that tag. But I'll edit my question to address some concerns I still have. And don't feel like I'm being confrontational or anything. Friendly debates (or heated discussion) is what Meta is for. :) Commented Feb 4, 2010 at 11:06

Click on any tag. Then scroll down the page, until you find a section on the right labeled, "Related Tags". In most cases, the first tags listed therein describe the tag you originally clicked.

Example: groovy

Related tags: grails, java, ...

Example: boost

Related tags: c++, stl, ...

The best part about this is that it doesn't take any extra work to establish and maintain this information: if questions are tagged appropriately, tag relationships can be established automatically.

See also: Create a tag homepage/FAQ


This is a great idea. Perhaps a short paragraph of text could be displayed on the tag pages themselves (i.e. any page whose URL starts with http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/... - searches and stats alike), with the option to collaboratively edit this text opened up to any user who has more than N upvotes in that tag (say 200?).


Since I've discovered the new sport of retagging (and others have too it seems, with many recent retag requests, and tag mergers), I've had some time to think about this.

Perhaps in cooperation with black listing, or perhaps more with the tag synonym suggestion, I too propose that tags can be defined, i.e. have a very short description (editable), for cases of ambiguity.

For example, [delegate] could be defined as "Delegate type from C#", where as delegates would be "general delegates". There are many such cases

The idea would not be to restrict, but to enrich, and guide in the ever crucial tag selection process. The definition would appear next to the selection (there's a big empty space there, after the number of times a tag was used), or on mouse-over (if that's easily doable with a list) at tag creation time. Other places, like on the tag page, are also good.

Editing would be for 10k+.

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