The tag has no tag wiki, and SO invites me to help create one. I've got the reputation. I think Database-design really needs a tag wiki. I'd like to help.

But I don't feel quite up to creating a tag wiki on my own for three reasons.

First, I'm not too sure what a good tag wiki looks like, and I don't know the tools that create tag wikis.

Second, the subject of database-design can get quite controversial. There are experienced professionals that I respect that hold very different and mutually contradictory views on what constitutes good database design.

Third, most of today's database design neophytes are interested in building a database to be embedded in a single application, and to be managed without a DBA. Most of the classic works on database design were based on the idea of strategic data management spanning multiple departments, multiple applications, one or more DBAs, and several kinds of stakeholders. The goals of good design are completely different in these two cases.

So I'd like two kinds of help:

First, how do a get skills at building a good wiki?

Second, is there any way several of us could collaborate on a Database-design wiki before launching it on an unsuspecting public?

Edit based on first response.

The most valuable thing I've learned from the response is that the tag wiki should outline the issues more than the answers. Accordingly, I've come up with a document that reflects my first attempt at describing the issues concerning database design.

I'm not entirely happy with it, but it's not a disaster, IMO. It's too long, and it's not as clearly bulleted as the C# tag wiki. Some of that difference may be appropriate. It does clarify most of the issues connected to good database design. I've left a lot for the closely related data-modeling tag wiki, that doesn't exist yet either.

I'm tempted to go ahead and create the wiki, and post my effort. After that the community process can correct for my blind spots. But maybe I should post it here first, and let the meta discussion give some feedback and correction first. Opinions?

I've decided to go ahead and post my first effort at a tag wiki for Database-Design. It will probably be heavily maintained both by me and by others. But it's a start. There probably needs to be a parallel effort on a tag wiki for data modeling (sp?).


3 Answers 3


The first---and perhaps most important---thing the wiki should say is what kinds of questions should have the tag; that is what is the tag supposed to mean. In the case of this is presumably the choice of the number of tables, their keys (primary and foreign), the decision about how much normalization to apply, and possibly the use of indexes. Presumably it is not generally used for the design and programming of RDBMSs.

Beyond that it's up to you. Consider:

  • Some basic definitions
  • A one of two paragraph introduction to the subject
  • Links to common questions
  • Notes that there are disagreements between experts. Feel free to link to internal or external resources that discuss these.

Look at some other wikis for some suggestions. Those for very popular tags like are heavily maintained by multiple high rep users.

  • This response helps. I was thinking about providing a summary of the subject that answers many of the most fundamental questions, and then I was thinking that there are better summeries already out there. You get me to realize that the wiki is about the questions more than the answers. Nov 8, 2010 at 11:41
  • this is excellent! using this as a template for the "What are Tag Wikis?" edit shown on the sidebar of every wiki page. Mar 4, 2011 at 6:05
  • Ironically, the current version of this tag’s wiki totally ignores this advice and dumps all sorts of information on database design onto the reader that does not help using the tag at all.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 26, 2017 at 19:09

I tried to capture some of dmckee's excellent advice here:


It is an explicit goal of the /tags page redesign to put the tag wiki excerpts front and center, for the reasons explained in the blog post.


The purpose of the Tag Wiki is two-fold:

  • So Users will know what a Tag is for
  • So Users will know how to use a Tag

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .