When you search for popular tags, or simply input part of a tag, the system shows the top 50 tags matching the input.

This alone, for me at least, is a big issue as far as cleanup goes. With such a limited list, there is literally no way to find all the tags in the system matching the search criteria, meaning any 1-question tags with ridiculous misspellings could exist, but it's impossible to find out. The New Tags 10k+ feature helps reduce this, but it doesn't solve the problem of tags already in the system. (I'm under 10k, so I don't know what other tools/lists are available. In any event, they aren't available to me, so I'm mentioning this here.)

The more general issue, however, is the way this content is delivered to the user. The list of results appears in 4 columns of 14 tags 1, which leaves no more than 8 tags in the 4th column at any time.

This is confusing because:

  • It looks to the user like it's a complete list of matches, and
  • There is no indication that it is or isn't a complete list of matches

Here are a few suggestions to improve the user experience:

  • Show a count of how many tags matched the query (i.e., "Showing the top 50 of 75 tags"), or
  • Indicate that the list is incomplete when appropriate (i.e., "Additional tags hidden" or "25 additional tags not shown")
  • Expand the result set to fill the available space (56 tags) (this would be in addition to an indication of a complete/incomplete result set)

A simple indication that the list is incomplete (without any kind of count) would be trivial to implement -- search for top 51 results, if there were 51, then show the message and chop off the 51st result. I would rather have a visible count, though, so the search results are completely obvious and transparent.

The best thing, of course, would be to have paginated search results, but I think that may have been declined in the past (not sure).

1 The default Tag Search page shows a full grid of the 70 most popular tags in 5 columns of 14 rows.


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