It seems like frequently used but poor quality tags (for whatever reason) are dealt with quite quickly after a few rounds of discussions.

But there are many tags on SO that are also poor quality (for whatever reason) that are only used once or not at all that don't get the same attention.

Could there be a way that the community can help to clean these up without having to alert the whole community, either by flagging or voting or some other mechanism?

I know from this post that Jeff now has a process that runs every six months, but why should tags like notformeitsforafriend(1) and thumnails(0) not be killed off earlier? These tags also show up in the autosuggestion.

I can't see a good reason or a situation where these tags would be valid esp. in cases where it's a spelling mistake and there are no questions attached.

For thumbnails there now exists:

None of which are currently marked as synonyms.

Any suggestions on a quicker process for killing off these tags for those wanting to help?

Maybe a cleanup day or cleanup question (meta community wiki post)?

2 Answers 2


As you found, all single use tags are auto-destroyed after 6 months, and any questions that end up with no tags as a result are re-tagged to [untagged].

Any tags not currently in use that happen to get orphaned through unusual means (rollback, merge, etc) are removed every 24 hours by a background process. However, tags that are still in use won't be removed, obviously.


Well is you ask here like I did once users with enough rep will go and delete them. Not automatic but it works.

  • I wouldn't mind doing that, but there are more than a few. I don't want to clog up meta by continually posting tag close requests (although this may be the current preferred method??).
    – going
    Aug 31, 2010 at 1:47
  • You only need 500 rep to retag questions, but only mods can actually delete tags; they still exist even if you retag all the questions currently using it Aug 31, 2010 at 2:44
  • @Michael Yes I know this, so what is the best processes for getting these abandoned tags removed quickly from the system so they won't be reused?
    – going
    Aug 31, 2010 at 3:18
  • @xia At the moment, posting a request here, like you said in your question. Or proposing synonyms, if applicable Aug 31, 2010 at 3:58

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