People often tag their questions with the words from the question title. Other times they use some syntactic keywords or classes. Examples:

  • [arraylist]
  • [extends]
  • [properties]
  • [stringbuffer]
  • [break]
  • etc, etc.

From time to time I remove those tags, because they do not categorize the question. In my view tags are used by users to watch (and answer). And I will be surprised if someone has chosen to watch the [extends] tag.

So, am I right to do so?

(Related question)

See Also https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/the-death-of-meta-tags/

  • The extends tag can possibly refer to a question about inheritance, or about language syntax. So there isn't a way that you can say that the tag should categorically be deleted from all questions. The same principle is true for all of your other examples.
    – user102937
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 16:06
  • I would replace [extends] with [inheritance] or [class-hierarchy] or something. There aren't a lot of questions that are about the break statement, but there are at least two or three (How do I break all the way out if I'm nested N levels deep in for loops?) and there's no harm in tagging them as such. I guess I don't see much problem with these tags, overall.
    – Tyler
    Commented Apr 12, 2010 at 17:55

2 Answers 2


Tags also figure heavily into search results, so be careful what you delete. I'm not sure about the ones you listed, but please delete any of the following when you see them:

  • [belongs-on-superuser]
  • [belongs-on-serverfault]
  • [belongs-on-meta]
  • [not-programming-related]
  • [probably-homework]
  • [not-a-question]
  • [selfanswer]
  • [stupidity]
  • [stupid-mistake]

I'm sure there are more that could be added, but these are the most frequently used non-tags that I see.

  • 1
    Note that there are variants even without the "belongs-on" part.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 12:46
  • 1
    With over 1200 questions, [not-programming-related] may be a tough one as far as existing questions go, but I definitely agree with the rest. I flagged one down just now.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 12:48
  • 1
    @Jon Seigel: I've been chipping away at npr for months. It's just too big for one person. :) Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 12:52
  • @Gnoupi: We have to be careful, since superuser might be a valid tag by itself. There are 3 questions on SO right now with that tag. (Whether they should be migrated away from SO is a valid question.) Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 12:58
  • 1
    Added a few more ;)
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 12:59
  • 1
    @Bill - true, I tend to forget that. But I remember seeing a "superuser" tagged question landing on SU, that's why I mentioned those. But indeed, careful with these ones.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 13:08
  • Low rep users wishing to help out who do not have "vote-to-close" privileges utilize both comments and [belongs-on-superuser] to suggest such.
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 13:46
  • 3
    @rlb.usa: Commenting that a question should be closed or migrated is okay. This is definitely not what tags are for though. Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 14:08
  • 4
    @rlb.usa: They should totally drop that behavior and use JQuery. And by "JQuery," I mean "the flag for moderator attention" link.
    – Pops
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 14:09
  • 1
    @Jon: [n-p-r] used to be over 1800. I've worked to bring it down slowly and steadily. (However, many are locked due to migration, maybe about half of what's left, which makes finding one to edit.. "fun".)
    – Gnome
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 16:19
  • @Jon Seigel: D'oh! I guess the list got too long for me to hold in memory all at once. ;) Commented Apr 12, 2010 at 19:57

It always depends on the question.

If the tag is directly related to the problem, then leave it in so people can search for it later. But if the tag has no bearing on what's being asked, then yes, edit it out.

If you're not familiar with the subject matter, it's better to leave a tag alone (or ask for help) than to remove it.

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