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A proposal for tag hierarchy on SO

Since so many thousands of tags and topics exist, it would be really useful to visually browse through tags by organizing them into a hierarchy, or hierarchical map. This drill-down map would make it easier to find the tag/subtopic you want or just generally browse within the topics you're interested in.

So we could nest all "visual-studio-2008" and "visual-studio-2003" tags into "visual-studio", which would be under "dev-tools". Something like how Wikipedia's categories have sub-categories.


Tag hierarchy has been declined repeatedly in the past by Jeff. I don't see this changing any time soon.

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  • 10
    Whatever the past, we need it now. +20K tags is no joke. Imagine what a mess something like Wikipedia would be if they had so many uncategorized tags. – Robin Rodricks Jul 17 '09 at 12:32
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    Most of the tags out of that 20k either need to be cleaned up by putting them with another tag (which is something we do every day as moderators on the different sites), deleted because of being obsolete or nonsensical, or left alone because they are very rare. – TheTXI Jul 17 '09 at 12:38
  • Could you add links to where Jeff gave his reasons (with which I find it hard to believe I can agree!)? – PJTraill Mar 9 '17 at 13:25

I agree we need hierarchical tags. But not only for browsing. Let's say I want to add all .net related tags as interested. I would have to add 100s of tags to cover all questions. But if we make hierarchy like this:

.net -> c#
     -> VB
     -> .net3.5 -> entity-framework
                -> linq
                -> ...
     -> asp.net -> asp.net-mvc
                -> ...
     -> ...

one could tag question with only asp.net-mvc and everyone with any parent tag (of asp.net-mvc tag) selected as interesting would have it highlighted. And the same would work for ignored tags: when i put iphone on ignore i dont want to see iphone-3.whatever-sdk tagged questions.

Pls consider it

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  • 1
    You can always add iphone* and anything starting with iphone will be ignored – BinaryMisfit Jul 30 '09 at 10:10
  • Yea, that's one option, although limited one. The only reason I see for not going with hierarchical tags is performance. In all views (except Unanswered->my votes) questions' query ignores your interested and ignore tags so it can be cached. No conceptual problem comes to mind, only technical. – grega g Sep 4 '09 at 9:37
  • I definitely see this as useful, though for the opposite reason - I ignore 'sql-server' questions, but find people stick their tedious questions in front of me by tagging them sql-server-200[058] instead. – user23743 Jul 16 '10 at 7:44

Agree. This should be done by meta tags which are more flexible than a hierarchy.
If you want it to happen then vote Meta tags. request, please.

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I don't think a hierarchy makes sense, but I would like to see some kind of topic map or navigation tool to show tags that are related or correlate with each other. (not a huge priority for me though)

The only time it's really an issue with me is when the tags aren't obvious (especially if I don't know the terminology for a particular thing), either when I'm trying to post a question, or I'm trying to look whether a question has already been asked.

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