I just saw a question edited from having the former tag to having the latter 3 tags. As the question only had two other tags, it kinda made sense. But before I start having misconceptions on the situation, I thought it'd be mighty better to ask. When it comes to a topic that covers only one or two sites, it is obvious to just to tag that specific site.

When you are referring to something on all of the sites, though, is it more preferable to use all of the individual tags versus the singular [so-family] tag? Is it more that [so-family] should be used when there isn't room for all the individual tags? Or are there connotations associated with the choice of one option over the other, so you need to mark them appropriately?


I made that edit so I should probably explain it.

As an SU mod with a slight case of organizer-OCD, I use this link to search for SU-specific retag-requests:

If you tag things with [so-family] instead of the three site tags, I'll miss that retag-request. Anyone else who uses that link (or the SO/SF variants) will miss it.

If a retag-request is completed, [status-completed] can replace one of the other tags. I assume (but haven't yet tested) that it could replace the [support] tag, but the site may not allow that. Alternately, the three site tags can be replaced with [so-family] when [status-completed] is added -- at that point, showing up in the multi-tag search isn't as important.

  • 1
    note that this is a semi-convention for [retag-request] questions, and not necessarily the case for other questions. Popular Demand's answer is spot-on for the more general case. – quack quixote Apr 23 '10 at 20:31
  • Ah, interesting point. As a <1k user, I don't give much thought to mod behavior past "if I flag this, they can do some magic cleanup with it." – Pops Apr 23 '10 at 21:06
  • @Pop: i've run across several other users on meta who check retag-requests this way. many retaggers are non-diamond-mods with retagging powers and their own slight cases of organizer-OCD. :) – quack quixote Apr 23 '10 at 21:41
  • I understand, I have slight organizer-OCD too. But as you can see from my asked-questions list, it's outweighed by not-wanting-to-cause-a-brouhaha-OCD. The one time I DID do a mass retag, I made sure to do it in the middle of the night so people wouldn't complain about a flooded main page. You'll likely see more and more of me if and when I gain rep. – Pops Apr 23 '10 at 22:06

The problem is that we can only use 5 tags.

Yes, we can fit [support] + [retag-request] + 3 site tags, but then there is no room for an additional [status-___] tag. I was actually thinking about reverting that edit.

I would prefer the expanded out version because it's easier for cross-referenced searching, but the tag limit kind of kills that.

  • yup, tag cross-ref'ing is exactly why i made that change. maybe the best way is to leave the individual site-tags on until they're all done, and then replace with [so-family] and [status-completed]. dunno. – quack quixote Apr 23 '10 at 20:27
  • @quack: I would get on board with that. I search the same way, too. – Jon Seigel Apr 23 '10 at 20:30

Space concerns aside — since that's been discussed — it's about what's most meaningful. If you asked it about SO and it's unique to SO, tag it [stackoverflow]. If you asked some generic question about how all the sites work, tag it [so-family]. If you asked it because of a behavior you noticed on SU, but the issue is equally valid for all the other sites, go with [so-family].

Now that the aforementioned SO family is growing, with several SE sites in public beta and nearly golden, I would like to update this answer. My mental definition of [so-family] is "Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User and — maybe — Meta Stack Overflow." Users who have never experienced an SE site before mid-2010 will likely include Meta Server Fault, Meta Super User, golden SE sites and golden SE sites' meta sites as well. Therefore, I now think we should voluntarily stop using [so-family].

Since MSF and MSU exist, there's no need to worry about things tagged [serverfault] or [superuser] on MSO anymore. (This solves the "not enough room for the [status-whatever] problem, too.) That just leaves [stackoverflow]. Seems clear to me that [stackoverflow] should be used for SO-specific questions, and [stackexchange] should be used for platform-wide/site-independent questions.

  • Accepted as it makes sense and does illustrate the general case. Quack and Jon double-team to explain why it occurred in the situation that was brought up, and for similar situations, so kudos there as well. – Grace Note Apr 26 '10 at 13:47
  • Now that you have updated your answer as the situation has changed, I'm going to borrow this checkmark for now. – Grace Note Jul 27 '10 at 20:14
  • Hey! I was using that to hang my hat on! – Pops Jul 27 '10 at 20:16

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