The question What did happen with "xpathengines" and "xqueryengines" tags, and why? focuses on a particular instance where a few high-rep users disagree with the retagging performed in their area of expertise.

  • Should experts (ie, high rep users in the area concerning the tag) be consulted prior to making tagging changes, and if so, how?
  • What should we do when such experts disagree with a change after it's occurred?

While we can use the example provided as an instance to bounce ideas off, please generalize your answer in a way that will be useful for those considering tag changes in the future.

  • Probably a dupe, but I can't find a discussion on this yet. Help me obi wan shog9obi! You're my only dupe finding hope!
    – Pollyanna
    May 4, 2011 at 20:30
  • Pretty sure Grace Note is the dup-finding master 'round these parts, @Adam. I looked, but although there've been requests for lowering the rep-requirement, I haven't seen anything suggesting it be raised. FWIW, you do need to be active in the tag to propose a synonym - perhaps that requirement should be strengthened?
    – Shog9
    May 4, 2011 at 20:39
  • @Shog9 No, I'm pretty sure that's random. I occasionally happen to know things, but random's the expert at it. At any rate, I have recollection of actual consultations of experts, but not so much a question asking about the practice. Otherwise, the closest you're looking at that I know of is questions like this one, which are wildly not duping this.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 4, 2011 at 20:40
  • @Grace: the only way to settle this is to post a question on Meta asking about, and see who posts the longest list of links before it gets closed.
    – Shog9
    May 4, 2011 at 20:44
  • @Shog9 True, but "Grace Note" is more difficult to insert into a movie reference. I'm actually fine with the way the system is now. This question is an attempt to help Alejandro and Dimitre get answers to the questions they are asking in the comments of the referenced question.
    – Pollyanna
    May 4, 2011 at 20:45
  • 3
  • @random I knew you'd pull through. The second one in particular is a very nice find, too.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 4, 2011 at 20:58

2 Answers 2


In general, these kinds of mass tag changes typically see some kind of run through on the Meta site first. That's one of the primary functions of when it is paired with - to get voice on the subject of whether it's a good idea. This voice is ideally to come from both people who are familiar with the tagging system, and people who are familiar with the subject matter - the experts you suggest we consult. I think this practice should simply be continued.

If there is a big disagreement post-change, then what should be done depends on the nature of the change. If it's just renaming the tag, it's very easy to reverse and can be done almost instantly. So we just figure what needs to be the proper name, and once that's settled we make the change. I believe RPG went through a couple cycles with how they tag D&D, which was easier to handle thanks to it being renames.

If it's merged into another tag, though, then it's not easy to reverse. In this scenario, I think that before any further action is taken, everyone should discuss and lay down solid plans for how the tags should be in entirety - both involving the tag that was lost, the tag that it was merged into, and any associated tags. The goal of this would be not just to figure out what must be repaired, but also to prevent that kind of mistake from happening in the future.


Ultimately, a good tag should have a tag-wiki summary and tag-wiki description, written by an expert. This should describe the tag and the use of the tag in detail.

However, it's easy enough for me or anyone else to research a tag. Proper tagging has more to do with the scope of the tag, and various other established conventions over hyphens and so forth, than it does with expert knowledge of the tag.

Put another way, if you need to be an expert to use the tag, the tag itself is probably too localized.

  • Oh, and what @Grace said.
    – user102937
    May 4, 2011 at 20:36
  • 2
    Hah, and I was about to say "Oh, real good point about tag wiki. That's almost a must after doing any big discussion".
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 4, 2011 at 20:36
  • 5
    "If you need to be an expert to use the tag, the tag itself is probably too localized" Very good point.
    – Pollyanna
    May 4, 2011 at 20:37

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