When I was asking another question on this meta site, I realized that because of its newness, I wasn't really sure what I should have tagged the question. A had the idea of using the tag "helpmetagthis" which could be used as an alert for editors in the world out there to lend a hand tagging questions which the original author isn't sure what it should be filed under.

I think that this would be a good idea for the other sites as well. This would also allow people to keep it in their "favorite tags" list and allow those topics to be highlighted, giving those of us with a penchant for revision a chance to help out their fellow man.

Comments, suggestions?

  • Might as well use [untagged] for this.
    – Marcelo
    Aug 18, 2011 at 17:32
  • @Marcelo, as per my answer below. ;O)
    – M. Tibbits
    Aug 18, 2011 at 17:39

7 Answers 7


This is currently not a problem on SO (due to many current tags) But when hosted solutions and other SO sites pop up this could be even implemented as a feature for the moderators.

Like a little checkbox where the question gets tagged with some default tag when the user doesn't know how to tag it.

  • 3
    I think that even with the numerous tags on StackOverflow, it could still be an issue, especially for novice users. We have seen numerous times where new posters will post a question and it will have tags that have nothing to do with their actual problem, or they will pick a tag which is so broad that it doesn't help them narrow down the scope of their question.
    – TheTXI
    Jun 29, 2009 at 13:07
  • Good point. But it's still less of an issue than on an "empty" site. Jun 29, 2009 at 13:08

This was a reasonable suggestion when the question was initially asked. However, all other pros and cons aside, a [helpmetagthis] tag would be considered a "meta-tag" today, and as such it would not be welcome on any SE site.

  • I think this tag being not welcome is just the idea - as soon as it appears, others will come and retag it as it should be. Sep 5, 2011 at 13:04
  • Hm, I hadn't looked at it from that angle. It could work. The obvious question is "if someone doesn't know how to tag his question in the first place, how will he know about the [helpmetagthis] option?" (@Paulo)
    – Pops
    Sep 5, 2011 at 18:51
  • One would need some help text suggesting this, I think. But I'm still not sure this is a good idea. (Maybe [untagged] could be used to this goal, if properly documented, as there are right now people observing it.) Sep 5, 2011 at 18:54

I agree that the large number of overlapping tags can be a burden for not just new users but folks posting on topics which are new to them. I don't think, however, that 'helpmetagthis' is any more intuitive for new users. I know I certainly wouldn't think to try that as a newbie.

Instead I think the users should leave the tags blank (and have text which explains the usage) at which point the system inserts a "tag help requested" tag. Think of it as an "other" option.

  • I'm not saying that helpmetagthis is any bit more intuitive to the user, but I was thinking that whatever the standard "I need help tagging" tag was, it could be sort of advertised on the page while they create the question "Don't know what to tag this, use helpmetagthis for community assistance" as an example. I also like your idea of if they insert no tags, the standard "i need help tagging" tag is included automatically.
    – TheTXI
    Jun 29, 2009 at 13:17
  • 1
    I'm a biog advocate of auto-magically helping users rather than making them request it.
    – Rob Allen
    Jun 29, 2009 at 13:42

On Stack Overflow, there is now an where questions are placed after they're orphaned or migrated to Stack Overflow. There are probably enough of us watching this tag to suffice a request.


There are two problems with this for the main SO site:

  • In the two minutes it took for someone to notice and re-tag it it's already too late. The RSS feed went out with bad tag information, and the question may have already dropped off the front page.
  • You'd need to get users to actually use the tag. Most of the bad tagging comes from people who think they know exactly what they're doing.

Good idea, I like it. As a side note some of the tagging issues could be corrected automatically by a parser of even minimal intelligence. For instance how hard is it to have it realize that .net and dotnet are the same thing. How about excel-2007 and excel2007? A days worth of work could go a really long way. It's the proverbial low handing fruit:)


I had the exact same issue on meta. (but not on StackOverflow).. That said, for someone "new to tagging" it can be quite confusing..

Perhaps next to the tag box there could be a "Help!" button - it would display a little box with a short description about tagging, and some suggested tags..

The suggested tags would be generated by getting all the most used tags from the "related questions" (the ones displayed below the Title: input)

It would also mention the "helpmetagthis" tag - although I'd suggest an alternative tag, as I think helpmetagthis is a bit hard to read (too many words, including the first 8 that spell "help meta"), maybe "tagme", "pleasetag", "helpwithtags"?

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